Contextual treatment of dissociative identity disorder: Three case studies Article

Gold, SN, Elhai, JD, Rea, BD et al. (1997). Contextual treatment of dissociative identity disorder: Three case studies . 2(4), 5-36. 10.1300/J130v02n04_02

cited authors

  • Gold, SN; Elhai, JD; Rea, BD; Weiss, D; Masino, T; Morris, SL; McLninch, J



  • Evidence for the effectiveness of contextual therapy, a new approach for treating adult survivors of prolonged child abuse (PCA), is provided via case studies of three women with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Contextual therapy is based on the premise that it is not only traumatic experiences that account for PCA survivors' psychological difficulties. Even more fundamentally, many survivors grow up in an interpersonal context in which adequate resources for secure attachment and acquisition of adaptive living skills are not available. As a result, they are left with lasting deficits that undermine not only their current functioning, but also their ability to cope with reliving their traumatic memories in therapy. The primary focus of this treatment approach, therefore, is on developing capacities for feeling and functioning better in the present, rather than on extensive exploration and processing of the client's trauma history or, in the case of DID, of identity fragments. Treatment of the three cases presented ranged from eight months to two and one-half years' duration, and culminated in very positive outcomes. The women's reports of achievements, such as obtaining and maintaining gainful employment, greater self-sufficiency, and the establishment of more intimate and gratifying relationships, indicated marked improvements in daily functioning. Objective test data obtained at admission and discharge, and in one case, at follow-up, documented substantial reductions in dissociative, posttraumatic stress, depressive, and other symptoms. © 2001 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

publication date

  • June 10, 1997

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 5

end page

  • 36


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