Therapists, Do You Believe Your Client Will Heal?

The subject of therapists believing their client’s needs to be heard by those who treat any type of mental health problem. This is especially true for a diagnosis as frustrating as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

This article will hopefully send a message to therapists and those living with dissociative identity disorder. It will cover briefly how clients might respond when their therapist does not believe they can heal. Later, the piece delves into how therapists change the outcome for their client’s healing just by believing in them.

The Therapist Who Does Not Listen

The therapeutic alliance between a therapist and their client is one of the most sacred in human relationships. This is because clients pour out their guts to toa total stranger and believe they will keep what they say confidential.

A therapeutic alliance is built between therapist and client depending wholly on how each they see the other.  Many of us who have dissociative identity disorder have met therapists who did not believe in our healing. They are easy to spot because of their body language and how they try to offer therapies that are worthless.

My advice to others who find themselves in the presence of a therapist who feels they will never heal is to leave. Find a therapist who does believe you can heal. If you do not, you will yourself in a relationship where you remain sick because that is what is expected of you.

That is human nature.

Now a few paragraphs to therapists.

The Miracle of Life-Giving Recovery

People living with DID are especially vulnerable to how you as a therapist think of them. Do you believe they will heal? Do you believe they can go on to live a full life? Do you believe they are lying and do not have DID?

These questions are vital because they determine if you can be helpful when dealing with such a frustrating diagnosis as dissociative identity disorder.

When folks with DID encounter a therapist, who shows them in both verbal and non-verbal languages that they believe in their ability to get well, the miracle of lifegiving recovery happens.

However, the Converse is True

Humans are very intuitive creatures. We can sense whether another person likes us and believes in us. We all do it without thinking about it. We form our self-beliefs quite a bit on what we believe others feel about us from verbal and non-verbal cues.

Too often when a client enters a therapist’s office suffering from the symptoms of DID they are desperately looking for help. They need acceptance and hope not someone thinking to themselves he or she is a hopeless case.

If someone walks into your office with DID and your belief is they will never, ever heal, it is written all over you. Oh, the words may not be spoken, and you may placate that client, but you are shouting your doubt. Clients will only heal as much as you feel they can.

I Do Not Know

Too often when a client enters a therapist’s office suffering from the symptoms of living with DID they are usually desperately looking for help. They need acceptance and hope not someone thinking to themselves he or she is a hopeless case.

If you, as a therapist, do not know or want to treat a client with DID, you should not accept them as a client and be honest with them. A therapist should never be afraid to admit to themselves or others that they are not qualified to treat someone. Therapists should not be afraid to say the magic words, “I don’t know.”

If you decide to not take my advice and treat a person living with DID when you do not believe in them, you are committing a crime.

More Therapists Need to Believe in Their Clients

The state of Illinois has a slogan, “The Expectation is Recovery”. Providers all over the world need to reconsider their thoughts on the clients they treat and align themselves with this motto.

Perhaps You Should Re-examine the Reasons You Entered the Listening Profession.

Did you get in it for the money? I hope no. There is not much to be earned.

Did you get in it for prestige? I hope not, there is not much prestige in being someone who sits in an office and listens to people’s problems all day.

Did you get into the listening profession because you thought it was easy?

I hope not.

What Can You Do as a Therapist?

My therapist flew by the seat of her pants and called enormously on her training, but she never gave up on me. She never thought to herself or said to me in any physical or verbal fashion that I was hopeless and a waste of her time. She employed some very tough tactics when I acted childishly or got stuck in my own misery, but she was always my rock.

She was the one person I knew that believed I would heal.

It was her belief in my healing made all the difference in the world. I am now functioning very well and living an average life. All because someone believed that I would heal.

No One is Hopeless, All People Are Valuable

People who enter a therapist’s office are not hopeless cases and are valuable human beings no matter what their diagnosis.

If you take away nothing else from this piece, remember that folks in treatment for any type of mental health disorder will excel when their therapist believes they will.

If you do not believe they will heal deep down where it counts, refer them to someone else. There is no shame in admitting to yourself that you cannot treat someone. There is great shame in allowing someone to believe in you and then not receive the treatment they deserve.  

“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, and that each of us has something that no one else has or ever will have—something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.”

~ Fred Rogers

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