• An Online Educational Program for Individuals With Dissociative Disorders and Their Clinicians: 1-Year and 2-Year Follow-Up

      Brand, B.L.; Schielke, H.J.; Putnam, K.T. (John Wiley and Sons Inc., 2019)
      Individuals with dissociative disorders (DDs) are underrecognized, underserved, and often severely psychiatrically ill, characterized by marked dissociative and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms with significant disability. Patients with DD have high rates of nonsuicidal self‐injury (NSSI) and suicide attempts. Despite this, there is a dearth of training about DDs. We report the outcome of a web‐based psychoeducational intervention for an international sample of 111 patients diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID) or other complex DDs. The Treatment of Patients with Dissociative Disorders Network (TOP DD Network) program was designed to investigate whether, over the course of a web‐based psychoeducational program, DD patients would exhibit improved functioning and decreased symptoms, including among patients typically excluded from treatment studies for safety reasons. Using video, written, and behavioral practice exercises, the TOP DD Network program provided therapists and patients with education about DDs as well as skills for improving emotion regulation, managing safety issues, and decreasing symptoms. Participation was associated with reductions in dissociation and PTSD symptoms, improved emotion regulation, and higher adaptive capacities, with overall sample |d|s = 0.44–0.90, as well as reduced NSSI. The improvements in NSSI among the most self‐injurious patients were particularly striking. Although all patient groups showed significant improvements, individuals with higher levels of dissociation demonstrated greater and faster improvement compared to those lower in dissociation |d|s = 0.54–1.04 vs. |d|s = 0.24–0.75, respectively. These findings support dissemination of DD treatment training and initiation of treatment studies with randomized controlled designs. Copyright 2019 The Authors. International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies