Dissociative Identity Disorder


I was a sexually abused child. The legacies from the abuse literally ruined my life. I became an emotional cripple.

I was finding it very hard to cope until Debs introduced me to tapping.  I was diagnosed a few years ago with DID and life was pretty miserable.

I had a couple of 'child' alters, as well as a teenager, a mature, positive alter, a young male, and a very nasty one which we called 'Critic'.

I was suicidal and could not understand what was happening to me. People were telling me things that I didn't recall saying, or doing, and a few times I found myself in places I didn't remember going to. My dreams were nightmares.

When I began tapping, it first helped me cope with the stress, and all my mixed emotions. Some of the alters revealed themselves and communicated with Debs. They liked and trusted her, and began tapping themselves. This was when things began to change, and after months of perseverance, three of the alters integrated. The children and the teenager.

Recently, two more alters emerged. A small, crying child, and a very nasty, angry one who doesn't want to cooperate, but we are working on it!

There have been other traumas recently, of a personal nature, and I don't think I could have coped as well as I have if I had not been tapping for these things. One of the greatest areas of improvement concerned my problems with damage done by unkind people, both in my childhood and adulthood. I was able to reduce these scores right down and now feel that I have worked through these problems and am able to move on.

I still have a long way to go, but I'm getting there. Thank you Debs!

Written by Arlene (true name withheld)



Please note that all the work carried out here has been done via email and the occasional telephone call, at no time have Arlen and myself sat physically face to face.

Having trained in Meridian Energy Therapies, with emphasis on Emotional Freedom Technique, I found that I was using it for everything (well Gary says try it on everything so I did) – my own phobia of ‘Daddy Long Legs’, a friend’s inability to sleep properly for 15 years as well as another friend’s repressed memories.

Whilst emailing with Arlene, a friend in Australia, back in March 2002 I was expounding about the virtues of Meridian Energy Therapies and how effective they had been and what they had done for so many people, especially EFT, when a response came back immediately – could it help some who had suffered abuse as a child?  I replied by saying that I believed it could, as there already existed write-ups of how EFT had helped adults get over childhood traumas.  Little did I know where this response was to lead!

Over a period of time where several emails passed back and forth, Arlene started to relate that she knew she had suffered abused when she has been a young child and that she had kept this to herself until into her late fifties.  But this wasn’t all that was to be revealed; as Arlene gained confidence in me and my lack of ability to be shocked by her horrors, she finally confided that she had been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Having absolutely no idea of what Dissociative Identity Disorder was, let alone having heard of it, I responded that I would need to investigate it further before I could say either way.  So began my research on the internet, reading so much that my heart ached with what I saw and read.  After my initial finds and readings I suggested to Arlene that she go to Gary Craig’s website, Emotional Freedom Technique.  I explained that EFT utilised the Meridians and that it was derived from Thought Field Therapy that had been constructed by an American psychiatrist Roger Callahan. 

Roger Callahan earned his ‘Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Syracuse University, he was Associate Professor and Director of Psychological Services and Research at Eastern Michigan University, and then taught courses at the University of Michigan.  He served as President of the American Academy of Psychologists in Marital and Family Therapy’.¹   Emotional Freedom Technique was devised by Gary Craig, a Stamford Engineer, who having completed the Thought Field Therapy course felt it could be simplified, hence the birth of EFT and its easier availability to the populace.

Arlene went to Gary Craig’s Emotional Freedom Technique website and read through the many case histories, then wrote to me saying “I saw one of the case stories that someone had kept it in for 30 years.  I have kept mine in for 54 years!  So as you can imagine I have multiple problems, including most on that list – PTSD, fear and anxiety, depression, insomnia, obsessive compulsive behaviour (although mild), habits (I smoke), a fear of men, a fear of sex as well as having arrested emotional development and always the possibility of dissociation especially if I have to face a new trauma.  I’m the PERFECT case to work on!!!! (Thank God I can still laugh at myself).”

Arlene started using the EFT, and what happened firstly was that she found she unblocked her inability to cry, something her psychiatrist had been telling her she needed to do, so much so that she cried for an hour and a half – “not just sobbing, but like it was wrenched from some dark pit within.”  Although exhausted, Arlene felt better but suspected that there was more to come, as there were 55 years of suppressed emotions.

For many, even today, in the medical profession Dissociative Identity Disorder, Multiple Personality Disorder and Border Multiple Personality Disorder are difficult to diagnose and to treat.  Marlene E Hunter, MD, who has been treating dissociative patients since 1977, when she admits that “at least the first one that I recognized.”²   

So what is Dissociative Identity Disorder? It is a condition in which a patient has two or more personalities, it is purported to follow severe childhood trauma or abuse and is assumed to be a protective mechanism of the mind and is found more in women. 

How does Dissociative Identity Disorder develop?  When faced with overwhelmingly traumatic situations from which there is no physical escape, a child may resort to "going away" in his or her head. Children typically use this ability as an extremely effective defense against acute physical and emotional pain, or anxious anticipation of that pain. By this dissociative process, thoughts, feelings, memories, and perceptions of the traumatic experiences can be separated off psychologically, allowing the child to function as if the trauma had not occurred.³

This disorder is not simple; it is not a case of the medical profession offering drugs as a ‘dealing’ or ‘coping’ especially as Marlene Hunter found that using medication at their ‘normal’ dosage had side effects.  She found that many antipsychotic drugs did not help but if used should be in small doses and that it may offer some relief. 

“The young child who is being sexually and emotionally abused or physically beaten is afraid that she will either die or go insane.  She can’t run and she can’t hide.  She can’t even confide in anyone about the abuse for fear of retaliation. Since physical escape is impossible, the child escapes mentally.  She floats out of her body, imagining that somebody else is being raped or beaten, and turns off her emotions, saying, “This isn’t happening to me.”

As the abuse goes on, dissociation becomes routine.  The child continues to detach and float outside her body and create an imaginary person inside her to carry the abuse memories. Though a normal child may have an “imaginary friend” at age four or five who goes away, for the abused child the imaginary friend becomes fixed and continues throughout life.  With habitual dissociation other distinct parts of the person may come along, each with its own name, memories, thoughts, feelings, abilities, chronological age, handwriting, manner of dress, and so forth, and may take control from time to time, often without the person’s awareness.  What was once a healthy, adaptive defense on rare occasions is now an automatic response to everyday stress or any trigger suggestive of the abuse memories – and it never goes away.”4

The other interesting aspect of Dissociative Identity Disorder is that some personalities will be healthier than others, will have different heart rates, blood pressure and different illnesses.  So as can be seen here by this short explanation, treating a dissociative patient is not straight forward which is why prescribing drugs can also be difficult; but Arlene and I believe that EFT seems to offer an alternative treatment which can benefit the ‘host’ as well as the ‘alters’ or other personalities.

Arlene wondered whether, because of the childhood abuse by a woman, she was actually gay; what she did know was that in one sense she felt a sense of ‘love’ with women because she had lacked love from her own mother.  So to start on this path of healing I suggested that she tap for

Even though I have these sexual problems I deeply and completely accept and forgive myself

The result of this was that Arlene found, for the first time, she actively wanted to have and understand a sexual relationship with a man that was not forced or coerced upon her.  This was initiated by a chat room, where she found a young man that actually helped her as the host and an alter who at the age of 17 had never had a boyfriend. The 17 year old alter was very scared but found that by tapping for this fear, she gained confidence and was able to correspond with other young men.

We then turned to Arlene’s problems with regards to lack of motherly love; she was not sure of how complicated this was, so I suggested she tap for

Even though I did not receive motherly love I deeply and completely accept myself

Even though I desire motherly love I deeply and completely accept myself

Even though I need motherly love I deeply and completely accept myself

Even though I am desperate for a mother’s love I deeply and completely accept myself

Even though I want a mother’s love I deeply and completely accept myself

Even though I want my mum to love me I deeply and completely accept myself

Even though I want my mum to show she loves me I deeply and completely accept myself

Even though I want my mum to cuddle me like a mum I deeply and completely accept myself

Even though I have this problem with motherly love I will allow myself to let it go

Arlene tapped and tapped and was able to bring all of the above from levels of 10 to 2 and 1, which she found much easier to deal with and live with.

During further emails Arlene revealed to me that she had difficulty making and keeping friends because many in the past, she felt, regarded her as immature or she no longer offered what they needed.  Arlene felt because of the abuse she had suffered when younger that she did not deserve friends; so I had her tap for

Even though I am good and I deserve love I deeply accept myself

Even though I am good and I deserve good friends I deeply accept myself completely

Again the levels came down.

Then an email arrived whereby Arlene revealed that when she was 9 years of age her grandma died at the dinner table and that ‘something very bad happened’, and that she really went off the edge.  Arlene related how she became paranoid that her parents were going to leave her and that to ensure they hadn’t she would rush home from school during the day to see if their dog was still there; as he truly believed that they would not go anywhere without the dog.  Arlene said “I was a very sick (mentally) child at 9, and remember nothing of the next year or so.  I had dissociated and lost touch with reality completely.  But no one knew, and I received no treatment.”

My response to this was to say the with EFT she did not have to go through the experience as she would with her psychiatrist, I advised her to remember each incident but not to play through the scenes, so hence to tap for

Even when my grandma died I deeply and completely accept myself

Even though something very bad happened I deeply and completely accept myself

Even though my parents are going to leave me I completely accept myself

Even though I truly believe my parents are going without me I accept and forgive myself

By tapping for the above Arlene found that she was able to discuss this incident with less emotion and with virtually no fear entailed.

I now would like to include part of an email from the beginning of April 2002 from Arlene, Arlie who is a 9 year old and Arlene Ann who is 17 years old, both are alters or different personalities, as I believe it goes a long way in explaining dissociation, its problems, its intricacies and their goals.

‘When I started group therapy about 5 years, it became obvious that I had this condition [DID].  My psychiatrist later confirmed it, and since I have been with her we have integrated all except two.**(see note below)  These are sort of ‘in and out’ ones, and just when I think I’ve integrated them, they pop up at times of deep emotion and stress.  They are the youngsters, the 9 year old, and the 17 year old, approximately.  When I first went to [my psychiatrist], there was a little 5 year old who pooped out one day and talked to her.  Another time, she was surprised to get two phone calls from me in the same day, each contradicting the other, because they were two separate parts each having their say!  These are now integrated, also with a little boy called Stan***(see note below) , who helped me cope with the horrors at school.  There was a child who died, but I think she came back (or a mirror image did) with [my psychiatrist’s] help, because I once had a dream about digging up a little skeleton under my floorboards, and when I took it in my arms, I began to cry, because someone had murdered it and just dumped it under the floor to rot.  As I held it and cried, it came alive and began to cry.  I woke up then.  I knew that the dead child was me.  Probably the ORIGINAL me who was born, but died as a result of emotional trauma.’


** Since starting with Arlene there have been many new alters than the two referred to here.

*** Stan, in fact, had not integrated and is still today an active alter with another name, who like a ‘knight in shining armour’ comes to Arlene’s rescue when she is severely upset or stressed by other people.  This alter does not want to integrate as he feels he has an important role in the overall survival of Arlene and her alters.

There were further emails from the alter personalities, Arlie and Arlene Ann (AA), in one AA disclosed she had never had a boyfriend, did not feel pretty, did not feel worthy of a name, did not want to live and explained that the only boy that she had allowed to be close to her had rejected her in a most humiliating manner.  To help AA, I suggested that she tap for (please bear in min this is an alter personality not the actual lady/host):

Even though I am not pretty I deeply and completely accept myself – score 9 eventually to 1

Even though I don’t call me anything, not worth it I deeply and completely accept and forgive myself – score 9 eventually to 1

Even though I don’t want to live I deeply and completely accept and forgive myself – score 9 eventually to 0

Even though I had such high hopes but something’s wrong with me I deeply and completely accept and forgive myself – score 10 eventually to 1

Then a new alter emerged Little A, she was 3 years old, she revealed herself during a telephone conversation asking if I would help a little frightened girl ‘because you sound so nice and I don’t think you will hurt me’.  Little A learnt to type, one finger as she admitted, and in replying to her had to have many things explained in a very simplistic term, she was only 3 years old regardless of the age of the lady/host it is the alter at the time that you are conversing with.  During one of our telephone conversations, and talking to Little A (who spoke in a child’s voice NOT an adults) I explained to her about the tapping and what is was for and would she like to try and see if it would help her, she agreed and said she had ‘seen’ the others doing it and it was okay ‘cause they seemed to feel better’.  I asked Little A to tap for

Even though a man abused me I love me

Even though what that man did was wrong I love me

Even though that woman abused me I love myself

Even though what that woman did was bad I love myself

Even though mum would hit me I still love me

Even though mum hit me and it hurt real bad I love me and mummy

This tapping, along with the others, meant that by mid April Little A had integrated.  This was discovered by the fact that Little A had liked to play games on the computer and could beat Arlene nearly every time and ‘get more medals’.  Arlene found that suddenly as herself she could get the high scores and medals, something she hadn’t been able to achieve.  From this point we never heard from Little A but Arlene found that she had a whole new set of memories – Little A’s – tapping had reduced the emotional level prior to integration and although traumatic memories the emotional intensity was not as high as would have been expected.

It was also at this time, the beginning of April 2002, that Arlene disclosed that “there are bout 12 years that I’d like to delete forever, I can’t talk about them, I’m sorry.  I can’t bear to even remember those years.  They were some of the worst legacies from the abuse that I’ve ever experienced.”  To start the healing and to be able to go forward I knew that this period and what occurred would have to be accessed, so I suggested to Arlene that she “allocate a keyword, colour or name… that if you refer to it again just think of it by that.”

Even though black was horrendous I deeply and completely accept myself

“Your subconscious will know what ‘black’ means without your conscious having to experience it.”

It took until nearly the end of April before Arlene could start to write about some of the incidences during those 12 years, but the step forward was that she could break them down and then start to work on each incident – she could finally face those 12 years.  They were indeed traumatic and harsh, and after Arlene had related some of the incidences to me in writing she wrote saying she had to stop because she felt so sick.  The next email I received stated that having related some of this time, that she found she was unable to sleep – tapping came to the rescue and she told me that after doing a couple of rounds and that had been able to sleep.  There had been one main encompassing experience which went from a 10 to a 5.

Then towards the end of May 2002, another alter revealed herself, Arlene C, who said that she came into being when Arlen was but 20 months old stating “Over the years, I have developed and matured along with her mind, of which I am a significant part and I do not operate apart from her.  It only seems that way because at her present age she has enough life experience and common sense to solve her own problems.  However, when her younger selves lock up, or go ‘walkabout’ (as AA has done now) she needs my help.  When things throw her into shock, or great pain, she needs my help to keep her finger on the pulse.”  This personality is known as an Inner Self Help (ISH).

The next day I received an email from Arlene, stating “I’m quite sure that the tapping has had a far reaching effect, rather than an immediate one.  I think I am reaping the benefits even now for tapping I did a month or so ago.  [My psychiatrist] noticed an improvement today.  She was able to see it more clearly because I haven’t seen her for two weeks.  Today was a marked difference to my last visit.  So yes, the tapping DOES work.”

At the beginning of July I received an email from AA, saying that this would be the last post from her because she was so happy and content that she wanted to integrate with Arlene to enjoy the new happy emotions of love and care.  Although sad, I knew that this was what was needed to help and enhance Arlene’s life.

At this time, Arlene’s life became less confused and she settled into, perhaps, the most evenly balanced period of her lifetime.  Arlene continued to tap for issues that came up but the alters had integrated, she was in love and loved truly for the first time and although she suffered several months of serious illness there was nothing in particular that caused undue concern.

That is until March 2004, when one of her dogs went missing.

More to follow

  1. Tapping The Healer Within – Roger Callahan & Richard Trubo, P.5

  2. Understanding Dissociative Disorder – Marlene E Hunter, MD, P.v

  3. Brochure Sirdan Foundation at

  4. The Stranger In The Mirror – Marlene Steinberg MD & Maxine Schnall, P.16