Advanced Integrative Therapy for Dissociative Identity Disorder 5/5: An Eight-Year-Old Part
Terrifying dreams are common among clients with dissociative identity disorder, condemning all their internal parts to long, sleepless nights. But to which part do the nightmares belong, and why might this be important to ascertain? In the final part of her series on energy therapy for DID, therapist and author Gill Frost describes how she worked with one client’s eight-year-old alter to free her from her night terrors – and allow each of the client’s parts to sleep in peace.
Image Credit: Gill Frost
In last week’s blog, I described how I enlisted the help of Vivian’s eight-year-old alter, Izzy, to provide Advanced Integrative Therapy for another part, Baby. After seeing the amazing effectiveness of energy psychotherapy for Baby, Izzy finally agreed to try it herself. It was wonderful to see this sensitive, eight-year-old part of Vivian grow in self-confidence and trust.
Gradually we came to realise it was Izzy who held the most terrifying night-time memories. She eventually admitted she had been waking Vivian and Little Vivvi nightly, because she felt too frightened to be alone. Consequently, sleep deprivation had become a disturbing issue for them all.
At the root of Izzy’s traumas lay ‘Terror’. She drew pictures to show me what this looked like. In one she had drawn herself being engulfed by a huge, dark, ghostly figure. In another there was simply a bed, completely surrounded by swirling, thick, black mist.
There had been no escape from Terror. Well, not until Izzy embarked on her own energy treatment, which she named ‘CT (Calming Therapy)’. As she still felt uncomfortable about touching her body we needed to adapt the way treatment was done. We agreed that I would place my hands on my relevant energy centres, whilst Izzy imagined she was doing the same to herself. As we did this we would say the chosen phrases in unison.
The first treatment phrase we used was ‘Scared stiff’, which summed up her response to Dark Terror. In fact, on a couple of occasions I had witnessed Izzy having such extreme panic attacks that she was mute, rigid and shaking with fear. She was very conscious that this terror was stuck in her body, and it would take time for it to be released.
Over a period of weeks, Izzy and I continued to work energetically on her night traumas. She managed to confront her overwhelming terror and was rewarded for her bravery. Her fears diminished and eventually Izzy said, “Every time we do the treatment the blackness gets smaller. I don’t know how CT works, but it’s setting me free.”
Advanced Integrative Therapy (what Izzy called CT) also enabled Izzy – and therefore Vivian and Little Vivvi as well – to sleep soundly for the first time ever. Vivian was overjoyed by this. For a lifetime she had experienced horrific nightmares, which meant she’d never had more than four or five hours broken sleep at night. None of us had understood that these terrifying dreams belonged to Izzy, who in turn needed Vivian and Little Vivvi to wake up and keep her company.
All these outcomes were so astonishing that Vivian and I wanted to raise awareness of the effectiveness of energy therapy. We also wanted more people to know the truth about DID and give hope to survivors of childhood trauma. This is why I decided to write The Girls Within: A True Story of Triumph Over Trauma and Abuse.
This book is written in a very accessible style – for our clients as well as for us therapists – and enables anyone with an interest in DID to follow the uplifting therapeutic journey that I undertook with Vivian and the girls within her. As I have kept in touch with Vivian, post-therapy, I am delighted to report that the effectiveness of her treatment has continued long-term.
Having trained in energy therapy to support Vivian, I was able to use AIT with all my clients in the last 10 years of my career. It was wonderful to witness scores of other clients benefit greatly by working energetically to shift embodied trauma.
My hope is that this blog series will stimulate real interest in therapists, and encourage some to sign up for training courses related to trauma and dissociative disorders. Those who have experienced terrifying childhoods deserve to be offered therapy that has the potential to heal the wounds from the past – and heal every wounded part.