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Dissociation is Not a Dirty Word: Insights from the Lived Experience of a Trauma Expert with Dissociative Identities

Tuesday, October 31 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

“Don’t let them dissociate!”

“Everybody has parts… that doesn’t mean you’re one of those people with DID.”

“Dissociation is the opposite of mindfulness.”

Myths, misconceptions, and cruel assessments of people who dissociate still abound in the helping professions. Although dissociation, or severing/separating, is a natural part of all trauma response and the human experience, even seasoned professionals can find themselves baffled in addressing dissociation clinically. Your guide for this presentation addresses these problems from several angles—as a person with a dissociative disorder and intricate internal system, as an EMDR Therapy practitioner and trainer, and as a long-time recipient of various approaches to trauma therapy as a client. Solutions are proposed for helping professionals become less afraid of dissociation by more fully embracing their own internal world of responses and parts and committing to address the abundance of stigma that exists toward people with dissociative identities in helping professions and in society at large. These paradigm shifts can lead us to more effectively serve our clients and to not judge all dissociative minds as the same.


  •  Define dissociation in a comprehensive manner, identifying three of the most common myths and misconceptions about conducting trauma therapy with people who have dissociative identities (DID) and other dissociative responses
  • Discuss dissociation through the lens of human experience and not as a purely pathological construct, using EMDR Therapy founder Dr. Francine Shapiro’s concepts of adaptive and maladaptive to navigate decision-making
  • Describe how stigma in both the media and the psychological professions have created a hesitancy or fear of addressing dissociation clinically, and then articulate 2-3 solutions for addressing such barriers
  • Explain how phenomenology, or listening to lived experiences of people with dissociative disorders, can help you build more effective treatment plans and strategies

About Jamie Marich, Ph.D., LPCC-S, REAT, RYT-500

Dr. Jamie Marich (she/they) a woman in long-term recovery from an addictive disorder and is living loudly and proudly as a woman with a dissociative disorder with the goal of smashing stigma about dissociation in the mental health field and in society at large. Jamie began her career as a humanitarian aid worker in Bosnia-Hercegovina from 2000-2003, primarily teaching English and music. Jamie travels internationally teaching on topics related to trauma, EMDR therapy, expressive arts, mindfulness, and yoga, while maintaining a private practice and online education operations in her home base of Northeast Ohio. Marich is the founder of the Institute for Creative Mindfulness and the developer of the Dancing Mindfulness approach to expressive arts therapy. Marich is the author of EMDR Made Simple: 4 Approaches for Using EMDR with Every Client (2011), Trauma and the Twelve Steps: A Complete Guide for Recovery Enhancement (2012), Creative Mindfulness (2013), Trauma Made Simple: Competencies in Assessment, Treatment, and Working with Survivors, Dancing Mindfulness: A Creative Path to Healing and Transformation (2015), and Process Not Perfection: Expressive Arts Solutions for Trauma Recovery (2019). Marich co-authored EMDR Therapy & Mindfulness for Trauma-Focused Care along with colleague Dr. Stephen Dansiger in 2018, and their new book with Springer Publishing Healing Addiction with EMDR Therapy: A Trauma-Focused Guide released in 2021. North Atlantic Books published a revised and expanded edition of Trauma and the 12 Steps in the Summer of 2020, and they released The Healing Power of Jiu-Jitsu: A Guide to Transforming Trauma and Facilitating Recovery in 2022. Her latest release with North Atlantic Book, Dissociation Made Simple: A Stigma-Free Guide to Embracing Your Dissociative Mind and Navigating Life released in January 2023.

NALGAP: The Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Addiction Professionals and Their Allies awarded Jamie with their esteemed President’s Award in 2015 for her work as an LGBT advocate. The EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) granted Jamie the 2019 Advocacy in EMDR Award for her using her public platform in media and in the addiction field to advance awareness about EMDR therapy and to reduce stigma around mental health. Marich formerly sat on the clinical workgroup of EMDRIA’s Council of Scholars, and currently sits on the editorial board of the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research.


Tuesday, October 31
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
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