For, by, and about people with multiplicity, dissociation, and amnesia

Posts tagged ‘dissociation’

Loads of news for June

Hello, friends of the DI!

We are fortunate to have so many things going on, the network continues to grow and this newsletter takes longer to compile each month!

DI Update

At this stage we do not have enough available and interested people to form a board, so this network is continuing to be supported privately by Sarah and funded through her face painting business. Discussions are ongoing. You are welcome to make a contribution to costs too!

Our New Resources

There are now 2 face to face groups for people who experience dissociation, multiplicity, or amnesia: in Victoria, Echoes Yarra and Echoes Preston! This is a very exciting development. More details in Support Groups.

We now have our postcards advertising the DI in print again! These cost around $35 for 100 when printed on recycled paper or $25 otherwise. If you would like any, please contact Sarah, if you’re able to contribute at all to the printing costs that would be fantastic but ask for some to hand out anyway even if you can’t. Donations towards print costs can be made through my personal blog: Please be sure to clearly let me know you want it used for the DI postcards. 🙂



Some of us in the DI may recall assisting Noel Hunter, a clinical psychology doctoral student in New York City, USA. From the end of last year until the early part of 2015, she conducted interviews with individuals from Australia and across the United States who identify with the diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder. The goal was to try to understand what aspects of treatment people have found to be helpful and/or harmful. Both her extensive analysis of the literature spanning the last century and results of these interviews serve to challenge the modern-day accepted practices of conceptualizing people’s problems in living as “disease” and then treating them in an authoritarian manner that extends from this “broken” perspective. Individuals respond to trauma and chronically stressful life experiences in a myriad of complex ways, and few people can be treated respectfully and helpfully based on a reductionistic and disempowering conceptualization. She hopes more than anything to show how the creative and sometimes destructive ways that people adapt to trauma and distress can be overcome or even used to lead a productive and satisfying life. People recover every day. She is one of those people. Currently, the dissertation is in its final stages of completion, and will hopefully be defended and available by the end of the year. Noel also writes a blog related to the topic of dissociation, psychosis and trauma at

Sarah has recently attended the ISPS conference and was excited to note that some therapies are being adjusted for voice hearers. I’m interested in the possibility of adapting these for people with multiplicity too. If the video below isn’t working for you, view it directly on youtube here.

Sarah’s Psychosis without Destruction Talk was also recently delivered in Adelaide and very well received! I am currently in discussions with many other organisations about giving talks on the same topic or about dissociation or multiplicity around Australia – in some cases I’m waiving my fee completely and just asking for help to cover travel expenses, so please get in touch if you would like me to come and speak at your organisation or group. More about my talks can be found on my website:

Suzanne is working on her documentary about Multiplicity. She’s offered us an update: “In the last couple of weeks I’ve talked to five very different people about their lives and experiences with DID and Multiplicity. Three are in Australia and two in the US. I’ve then spent a lot of hours transcribing the audio and just absorbing what they’ve all said. Transcribing is incredibly tedious, but necessary is so you can find the sentence you want far more quickly than listening through lots of audio trying to remember exactly where its located!! I’ve done this before. It’s quicker to transcribe.

Both the similarities and differences of everyone’s stories are amazing and I’m now in the process of working out how to structure them into a documentary. At them moment I feel like I have a pile of jewels and I need to figure out how to thread them in the right order. I’ve written a rough first draft and it’ll be interesting to see how different the final draft might end up being. I’ll be going to Sydney next weekend along with the other eleven people making documentaries, and we’ll spend an intense weekend of face to face learning and workshopping about sound and voice and effects and recording and microphones and who knows what else. I’m really looking forward to it. Tonight, my son Dave, who is going to write some music and create some sound effects is coming to visit, and we’ll see what a first draft, and some combined creativity can generate.”

Suzanne is currently in Sydney and will keep us updated!

Events & Opportunities

There’s a new study through Towson University, looking into whether people with dissociative disorders find a web-based intervention, in combination with individual psychotherapy is more effective. The  TOP DD Network study is a year-long web-based educational program for patients with dissociative disorders and their therapists. To be eligible, patients must:

  • be 18 or older and able to understand written and spoken English at the 8th grade level
  • commit to doing approximately 2 ½ hours of work per week including: watching short educational videos (between 5-15 minutes each week), completing weekly writing exercises, and practising skills exercises each day;
  • be diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder or Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified/Other Specified Dissociative Disorder
  • be in treatment with a therapist who is willing to also participate by watching the videos and completing surveys
  • have been working with their therapist for at least 3 months
  • therapists can only participate with one of their dissociative clients

Enrolment in the study is now open. Click on the link for more information on their website, or send an email to the Principle Investigator Bethany Brand, Ph.D. at

The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation have their Aus/NZ regional conference coming up on 27th – 29th of November in Sydney, Aust. The ISSTD Conference title is “Broken Structures, Broken Selves: Complex Trauma in the 21st Century”. Registrations are currently open.


Some DI members will recall Anna Van, who interviewed some of us for an article. The article has been published through The Quarry. Identity, Fractured, Anna Van. Anna hastens to apologise for “the errors and/or lack of depth. I feel a little bit embarrassed!!” but thanks us all for our help and involvement. Interactions with anyone in the media around multiplicity can be fraught and require a lot of courage on the part of us who live with it, and a lot of open-mindedness and willingness to listen on the part of those in the media – so cudos all round! Every non-sensational/hostile/voyeuristic bit of media out there is a good thing.



May there be peace in your letting go and courage in your moving on.

Take care all,


The DI will be in the Media!

Hello friends of the DI,

It’s been a busy and productive couple of months, and we have some really exciting news!

Multiplicity Documentary

We have been very fortunate and will be having our first major contact with the media this year! Not just any media, but media which is friendly to our cause and informed about our experiences. Earlier this year we asked for calls for interest in helping us to create a documentary about Multiplicity and people were really keen. Well, the amazing has happened – Suzanne’s documentary about Multiplicity won one of only 12 places in the highly competetive annual Community Broadcasting Association series! It will be aired nationally around Australia and made available as a Podcast for everyone. We’re over the moon! See these links for more information, and read a call for contacts in Suzanne’s own words below:

My name is Suzanne Reece, and I’m Sarah’s mum. I work in community radio and have just been granted a place in this year’s Community Broadcasting Association in their Australia’s National Features and Documentary Series. This is where twelve radio producers across Australia are trained and mentored to produce a documentary for national broadcast. I want to make a documentary about Multiplicity – from the inside. I’m not officially DID, as there are certain things within the official criteria that don’t apply to me. However I very much self-identify as Multiple and have functioned as a ‘collection of selves’ from as far back as I can remember. It always felt normal to me. This is an opportunity for Multiples to tell their stories in their own words, and have those storied treated with understanding, sensitivity and respect. This is a place to say that Multiplicity does not always have to be paired with ‘disorder’. This is an opportunity for the Multiple community to speak about what’s important to them, rather than be explained and defined by other people. I’m hoping that many of you would like to add your voices, your experiences and some of your selves to this documentary. I’m able to disguise voices if that’s important to any of you to protect your anonymity. I’m also able to take your words and have them read by a voice actor if that’s important to any of you.

Please email me at if you’d like to be part of this amazing opportunity.

DI Board and Structure

We have been meeting with interested people about the future of the DI, and drawing inspiration from a number of books and models of small scale social entrepreneurship. We have made links to existing networks such as Community Health Onkaparinga. No incorporation has happened as we are still finding solutions to the problems of a board of keen but very busy people with many existing commitments in their work. Please do not be concerned about this – if we cannot bring together the support to start a board, we will instead continue for now as a part of Sarah’s business. In that case we’ll be unable to seek grant money and will need to raise funds through other means, but the ‘freeze’ on projects will be lifted either way very soon and people can get involved with supporting the existing resources and helping develop more. 🙂

New Resources

Our members are a creative bunch and often find their own ways to reach out and fill some of the gaps in the resources for and about multiplicity. Jade is one who has recently published 2 books. She is also a volunteer admin for our Online Discussion Group! Here’s a little more about her:

Jade Miller is a blogger, artist, SRA survivor, and member of a poly- fragmented DID system. She desires to bring education and awareness about the reality of SRA/DID to the public and increase the number and availability of resources to survivors for healing. Jade has experienced a very diverse life, from living on an agriculturally oriented farm to an inner city apartment to brief homelessness in her more turbulent younger years. She has been in various hospitals and treatment centers for a wide variety of mental health diagnoses since the age of 12 and is now, as an adult, living from a place of continually increasing health and joy. She wishes to use her experiences to help other people who struggle. She wrote Dear Little Ones to help young alters understand Dissociative Identity Disorder, and she wrote Pieces of Me as a more personal look into her healing journey.


Sarah will be offering a free talk Psychosis without Destruction at Mifsa, Wayville on May 27th.

The busy people at the UniSA Department of Rural Health in partnership with the PIR program are putting together a conference called Walk the Talk of service integration. It will be on the 25 & 26 June, in Pt Lincoln SA. Contact Sarah or watch this space for more details.

UniSA Department of Rural Health is also running a set of workshops about voice hearing called Hearing Voices that are Distressing – a simulated training program. It will be on the 23-24 and the 29-30 June at UniSA Whyalla Campus. There are a few subsidized places available for people with lived experience or peer workers on low incomes.

Sarah will be at all of these events and would love to touch base and catch up with any DI friends there! 🙂

Finish with a Quote

I believe in the power of laughter and tears as an antidote to hatred and terror – Charles Chaplin

Take care all,

A new strategy

Hello wonderful people,

You are well and truly due an update with what’s going on at the Dissociative Initiative. 🙂 Bad news first – after our incorporation I’ve been unsuccessful in keeping our board together. Some challenges with a primarily ‘lived experience’ board have been that none of us had ever been on a board or involved in the development of a Not-for-Profit Org before, and as people’s situations changed they’ve either moved onto other exciting and time consuming projects (like having babies!) or experienced a rough patch in their personal lives that needs their time and focus for now. So, without a board, I’m (Sarah) holding the space and keeping the DI ticking along. After many months of uncertainty – where to from here? – I’ve found a way forwards.

I’ve been running a small business as a face painter and artist in Adelaide for several years, and I’m currently adding my mental health peer work to the portfolio of services I offer. I’ll be continuing to provide training and educational talks about all things dissociation and multiplicity related as well as much broader topics – sexuality, psychosis, trauma recovery, cupcake decorating… 😉 but as a freelance consultant rather than employee or volunteer. What this means is that I’m supporting the DI to continue to exist as a community network offering free resources, funded by my business. I am also developing two other free networks, the SA branch of the Hearing Voices Network, and Homeless Care SA.

Our SA group Bridges is still suspended due to pressures on my time, but all our other resources are still running, such as the online discussion group and free Welcome Packs. I would greatly appreciate any support from people interested in this field or who have been helped by the DI to develop further resources such as a professional referral directory – if you have a little time please get in touch, you do not need live locally. Mental health staff, people with lived experience, and family and friends are all welcome to be involved. 🙂

I have been developing and updating our website at, adding new information pages. Feedback and suggestions about what would be helpful would be very welcome!

Lastly, some food for thought from our online group:

And a quote:

“Tell me one last thing,” said Harry. “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”

Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry’s ears even though the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his figure.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

~JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Take care folks, keep up the good work!


Goals for SA

I (Sarah) am back from the World Hearing Voices Congress in Melbourne, with some new goals, ideas, and supportive people on board. One of the most important of these is a number of people keen to support the development of a Voice Hearing network here in South Australia. Obviously I’m passionate about our DI aims and resources also, which complement the VH network but are also distinct. We are going to have discussions about what we can do and the best format for a new, better supported local network – and how it might be part of many other national and international communities who are also doing work around dissociation, the mad pride movement, alternative paradigms for supporting mental health, social justice, and community development.

Here are the plans for the next weeks and months:

  • Rest, recover, catch up on sleep, look after myself (ongoing!)
  • Write up an article about every talk I attended at the congress to share publicly for those who couldn’t attend (I have fairly comprehensive notes)
  • Touch base with my friends over at Mifsa about the congress and the possibility of a new SA network
  • Touch base with my friends involved in the DI about these things
  • Touch base with my local HV group Sound Minds about these things
  • Touch base with other supportive and passionate people for suggestions and advice about mental health networks, community building, and social change – particularly those with experience in these areas
  • Hold a free local talk in SA, the same one I offered at the Congress “Supporting Someone in a Dissociative Crisis”
  • Meet up with people who have put up their hand as interested parties for a local SA network and start to develop some relationships and teams
  • Open the conversation about networks and resources up to everyone via internet discussions and local community gatherings

To keep posted on these developments, please follow this blog or join our Online Discussion Group. If you would like to be involved or attend some of these things, let us know!

Attending the Hearing Voices Congress

Hello all,

I’ve yet to find someone who can manage the newsletters so I’m sorry that updating has become so erratic. This month the most exciting news is that we’ll have a strong presence at at this years World Hearing Voices Congress in Melbourne in November! I’ll be speaking on the topic of Supporting someone through a dissociative crisis, and also submitting a poster about  “About Multiplicity” for display . Hurrah! You can read the abstracts I wrote here. We are expecting to also have three other DI group facilitators present which is unprecedented! This conference is a truly incredible opportunity to become steeped in the approach of the Hearing Voices movement, which have been the basis of a great deal of our work here at the DI. I highly recommend attending if you have the opportunity.

Bridges has navigated the move to a new format. We are about to celebrate our second birthday with the traditional Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, and one of the challenges we were struggling to manage effectively was the different needs of our new members and our long term members. The day group meets fortnightly and has been reformed back to the style of group that we started with particularly aimed at newer members. Members suggest topics for discussion around the management of dissociation and multiplicity. Our small team of facilitators volunteer time to provide support and share from their own experiences.

The evening fortnightly group has been closed to provide a safe place for our long term members. This group has moved to a tight-knit friendship format, being held in members homes over dinner. It has become a private space for members to connect, relax, play, and support each other. We’ve spent the past few months bumping along trying different approaches and this seems to be the one that meets the most needs at the moment.

The DI Board has come back together after a period of illness and/or demanding life circumstances for most members. We’ve reflected upon the demands of a board entirely formed of peer workers, and running a not-for-profit and the conclusion has been that we all value having the DI as an organisation very much and wish to continue developing it. We are planning to meet bi-monthly to work on the next administrative needs of the organisation.

The DI Open Group on Facebook is growing steadily, with 170 members currently. Hopefully we will be able to recruit some more volunteers soon to help us to manage our online resources. If you think you might be able to help out, please get in touch!

One of the recent topics of discussion in Bridges was nightmares, here are some relevant links you may find useful:

Best wishes,

Sarah K Reece