If you haven’t gathered yet from our home page, DIVERSITY features a lot! We value a diverse and inclusive community that invites people with many different experiences and perspectives around dissociation and multiplicity to take part.
This is also about the value of ACCEPTANCE, which means that we aim to make room and time for all people who benefit from being part of the DI. Each person is welcome to be however they need to be in a group or online, as long as safety and respect is maintained. Group members are at different places and have different experiences. Some people with multiplicity may switch during face to face groups, there is no problem with this. Some people with multiplicity may be overt and share names while others may prefer not to. Some people with dissociation and amnesia may have difficultly remembering conversations, events, or things like group values. We will try to make all resources “dissociation and multiplicity friendly” and allow for these common challenges. No condition or experience is more special than any other, and all pain is pain, there’s no competition prize, or hierarchy of people more deserving of compassion or support.
Part of what helps a diverse community to function in a healthy way is the value of RESPECT! That means we aim to treat each person, their ideas and perspectives, with respect. We don’t need to agree with each other and we avoid advising each other as people are very individual and what works for one person may not be at all helpful for another. We do share our thoughts, ideas and experiences so that we can learn from each other, but we don’t try to make other people agree with us. We all have the right to explore and understand our experiences in our own way.
Another key value of healthy communities is that of SAFETY. Everyone has the right to experience a sense of safety. Safety can be very challenging to define, because what helps one person feel safe can make another person feel very unsafe. We don’t see safety as something we achieve all the time for everyone, but rather as a goal we’re always striving towards, in tension with and balanced by the other values. Everyone is encouraged to speak up if they are feeling unsafe! Practically, there are some specific ways we try to make groups safer for people such as asking people to mindful of not distressing each other by publicly discussing sensitive things such as graphic abuse memories. Asking that personal sharing within the group remain confidential, the only exceptions are those required by mandatory reporting if someone is at risk of harm. Asking for people to be especially careful not to accidentally ‘out’ anyone, some people have not told others in their lives that they have experiences of dissociation or multiplicity or that they attend a group or access other resources about this. We ask group facilitators to be available if anyone needs to debrief or wishes to discuss something further outside of the group. We create resources based on the principles of Trauma Informed Care, without assuming that trauma is relevant to everyone.
Lastly, we value DIGNITY. This value embraces The Recovery Model as developed in the work of Marianne Farkas and others. The use of the word ‘recovery’ is not meant to imply illness or cure, that everyone should aim for the same goals, or that people should try to get over their experiences. The recovery model is an alternative set of principles to The Medical Model of care for people in distress. It does not use a doctor/patient paradigm and involves a significant shift of how power is held and shared in services. The recovery model includes ideas such as the right to self determination. This means we encourage people to decide for themselves what is helpful, when, and how much. We aim to treat people as capable and competent, and support them to self-refer and self-regulate their involvement. We aim to create services that hold a sense of hope for all people, without coercing people to be positive or feel hopeful themselves. We recognise that experiences such as dissociation or multiplicity are only part of a person’s self and life and do not define them, while also accepting that for some people, chosen identities such as being ‘a multiple’ or ‘a voice hearer’ can be deeply important reclaimed terms, in the same way that identifying as gay and being involved in queer community and ‘Pride’ events can be a deeply important aspect of personal identity.