The experience of people diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder in the workplace : perspectives of therapists
Awareness due to increase crime has highlighted the occurrence of immense personal and social problems. Problems resulting from disorders such as Schizophrenia, Alzheimer's and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) are less common but have a profound impact on all of us. Research has shown that 97% of people with severe abuse and life trauma before the age of nine, develop DID. The objective of this study was to investigate (from the perspectives of therapists) the experience of people diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) in the workplace. A qualitative research design was used to capture the essence of the individual's experience thereby enabling the researcher to develop an understanding from the participant's point of view. In this study seven therapists were interviewed and each completed a questionnaire. This was the basis used to demonstrate the typical behaviour of DID in the workplace. The results indicated that DIDs cope to a certain extent but tend to switch (switching) personalities when exposed to trauma, stress or events that triggers past life trauma. Defense mechanisms and switching can have a negative influence on the organisation and its employees, but most of all on the DID. If professional treatment is available, the condition can be fully cured. Most patients treated were female, averaged 29 years of age, were single, and had experienced some kind of abuse. Patients experienced problems directly related to DID, such as lack of concentration, attention deficiency and memory loss, depression, migraine and constant headaches. Their behaviour is inconsistent and unpredictable, and they experience relationship problems. Results show that DIDs can hold relatively senior positions but tend to change jobs on a regular basis. Although this condition can be differentiated from other Psychological conditions, most DIDs have previously been misdiagnosed. A Psychological-based paradigm is mostly used to diagnose the condition. Recommendations to the organisation (especially to the HR department) and recommendations for future research were made.