Interview with Brian Moss: Information for Therapist and Client Working with DID
- Interview with Brian Moss: Qualities and Information Useful for a
Therapist and a Client Working with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
Modified from version originally posted in the Survivorship Journal Vol.
18, Issue 2 December, 2012 at survivorship.org
TOLERANCE FOR AMBIGUITY
Integrating a trauma narrative, especially if it is the result of
sophisticated mind control procedures, is a complex and lengthy process where
subjective states (hypnosis, drugs) and manipulated states (electric shock,
psychic-driving, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation) are mixed with
objective states (veridical memory of ritual/sexual abuse or any other experiences
meant to terrorize.)
CAPACITY TO DISSOCIATE
There is a difference between “forgetting” and “forgetting that you forget
”; one insulates us temporarily as we metabolize our experience while the
other prevents us from fundamentally accessing our experience. The capacity
to dissociate in a healthy sense allows us to live our lives in spite of
what we know—to balance the terror of being alive with the wonder of being
alive. There are so many ways to get derailed: cynicism and anger, despair
and hopelessness, or the false relief of numbness.
TOLERANCE FOR ISOLATION
All of us, survivors and therapists alike, got to where we are in stages.
Painful truths that do not correspond to what we have been told about the
world require new understandings that only gradually come into focus. In
sharing what we have learned and/or remembered, there is deep frustration that
in telling our most urgent truths we are not believed.
AT LEAST ONE TRUE “INTIMATE”
Whether spouse, partner, mentor, friend, find someone that can handle the
material and understand the larger and hidden truths of what you are
learning. The reality behind DID is a “through the looking glass” experience and
is a journey best not taken alone. Therapy is difficult when the client is
lacking outside support or dealing with an unsympathetic spouse/partner.
Clients that are still embedded in the deviant social networks responsible
for their original abuse have an enormous challenge facing them.
A SUBSTANTIAL DEGREE OF DIFFERENTIATION
A significant moment in my early childhood occurred while I was watching
the television adaptation of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds. There is a
scene in which the creatures have landed and are zapping everyone. A priest
comes forth, holds up a bible and is incinerated on the spot. I remember
thinking, “Are they allowed to do that?” Differentiation from family, religion,
dominant paradigms of any kind including television, mainstream media, and
society in general—gives us the ability to think independently and to
tolerate the withdrawal of approval or ridicule that is often the reaction to
INTEREST IN CONTROVERSIAL/FORBIDDEN AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Many DIDs have teams of parts that are used to research psychic phenomena.
These psychic skills are exploited in a variety of contexts including
military and intelligence work. It was eye-opening for me to see the seriousness
with which this research is pursued covertly while being overtly ridiculed
in conventional academic settings.
ABILITY TO DISCERN DISINFORMATION
Quality disinformation must contain a high degree of truth or it will be
rejected outright. The goal of disinformation is to present pieces of the
truth in a way that leads to the wrong conclusions. The other purpose is
obfuscation in general. There is an overwhelming amount of disinformation on
the internet and in our media. Who would have guessed that when Orwell’s “
Ministry of Truth” finally arrived we would embrace it as “Wikipedia”.
COURAGE TO FOLLOW THE CLIENT’S LEAD
Abandoning their clients’ experience in order to preserve their (the
therapist’s) comfortable view of the world is the same dynamic survivors
experience at a societal level. Survivors want—and need—to be believed. No-one is
afraid of the dark itself, they are afraid of what might be in the dark.
Survivors know what is in the dark. They want to tell their therapists; they
want to leave the scenes behind; they want to end the dissociation. They
want—and need—to know it is over. It is essential that therapists do not let
them down. This takes courage as well as expertise.
APPRECIATION OF LIFE’S ABSURD MOMENTS IN ORDER TO DEFEND AGAINST CYNICISM
AND THE NEED TO UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING
One of my teachers had a story that I heard him tell often. It was a true
story he read in the newspaper about a man who had given up and climbed a
bridge preparing to jump. A crowd formed in anticipation of the spectacle
and the police were called who, in their best manner tried to negotiate with
and talk the man down. Getting nowhere, running out of ideas and becoming
increasingly frustrated, one of the officers pulled his gun and threatened
to shoot the man unless he came down. The man climbed down. It is important
to understand that not everything can be understood.
ABILITY TO PERSEVERE IN THE FACE OF SOCIETAL DENIAL
Judith Herman named it in Trauma and Recovery: “The study of psychological
trauma has repeatedly led into realms of the unthinkable and foundered on
fundamental questions of belief.” There will be polarization occurring in
society as more and more information comes out and more survivors come
forward. There will be attempts to discredit survivors and to misinform and
censor content for those seeking information but to no avail. There are too many
survivors and they will continue to speak their truth in an ever
A BELIEF SYSTEM THAT ALLOWS FOR EXISTENCE OF THE SPIRITUAL
Most DID systems contain spiritual guides or transcendents capable of
guiding the work of healing. DID survivors benefit from therapists who are
comfortable with these realities. The transcendents, by their very nature, are
beyond the reach of programming/conditioning and remain untouched by mind
control techniques much as the Sun does not cease to exist simply because a
cloud moves in front or the earth revolves.
BELIEF THAT LIFE HAS MEANING
In enduring or bearing witness to the desecration of every value the
belief that life has meaning frames the ability to go forward rather than fall
into despair. What I have noticed both for myself and the therapists I work
with is that when we are willing to know, and not turn away from darkness,
a corresponding light enters our life to help balance and navigate it.
UNDERSTANDING OF SYSTEMS THINKING
Systems theory addresses the whole, including the relationships of the
parts of the whole to each other. It does not simply focus on the individual
parts in isolation. The concept of wholeness, the integrative process, is the
essence of all psychological growth—not just Dissociative Identity
Disorder alone. The word “therapy” derives from the Greek word therapeia meaning “
to heal”; the word “heal” from the Old English word hælan meaning “whole”
. “Integrate” derives from Latin, integrare, to make whole, from integer,
UNDERSTANDING OF UNCONSCIOUS PROCESS
In terms of unconscious process there is an important distinction to make
between repression and dissociation. Traditionally, therapists received
training in which experience not consciously available was seen to be a kind of
primitive unconscious regulated largely by primary process thinking and
regression. (Repressive model) Contrast this with concealed experience and
memory systems (DID) that are coconscious, where parallel states are existing
with a variety of levels of development, some more healthy or competent
than the presenting personality! Knowing the subtleties of unconscious
perception, and how they are named, informs the therapist and empowers the
UNDERSTANDING OF SYMBOLIC LANGUAGE
Consciously unacceptable material is camouflaged in symbolism. As it is
metabolized, dissociated information will become more representational and
less symbolic. When information is transmitted symbolically the degree of
symbolism used will depend on the tolerance of the system for the material
being depicted. When the information needs to be defended against, the
defending alter will either not be present or will filter the 4 information
symbolically. As integration takes place there is less need for symbolism and both
dreams and artwork become more representational.
UNDERSTANDING OF THE TRUE ETIOLOGY OF DID
Complex DID systems are not simply a response to trauma and stress—even
horrific trauma such as ritual abuse, though it does have a role to play. Nor
is it caused iatrogenically by well-meaning therapists attempting to treat
trauma survivors as Wikipedia would have us believe. DID is mind control,
intentionally practiced and requiring a great deal of effort and
conditioning over a period of many years. To develop an elaborate DID system is to
endure an ongoing medical procedure throughout childhood, one that requires
clinical settings with access to extensive equipment and pharmaceuticals.
At the turn of the century there were indeed cases of “split personality.”
These cases were observed by Pierre Janet in Paris; Breuer and Freud in
Vienna; F.W.H. Myers in London; and Morton Prince in Boston. These initial
cases were found to be the result of trauma in childhood but rarely produced
more than a few alter states and often just one. Childhood incest does not
lead to elaborate DID systems.
Modern DID bears no resemblance to these early, primitive cases but is
instead the outcome of a century of covert research on these dissociative
states and their successful creation and exploitation.
This statement has caused the most discussion yet is critical in
understanding the true causes of present-day Dissociative Identity Disorder. So what
is Mind Control Programming? I use the concepts programming and mind
control interchangeably. All DID systems are the result of mind control and
programming techniques. I want to clarify this statement; it is very important
and has serious implications. The mind does indeed dissociate naturally
both in normative contexts (selective attention) and in response to trauma—but
dissociative states do not self-organize into elaborate systems with the
levels of complexity that we are seeing today—that is something that
requires interference from without. Modern cases of DID demonstrate hierarchy and
are structured to meet a variety of demands. This is never random, or
entirely a response to trauma, though trauma is used to create and maintain the
compartmentalization in DID. These parallel conscious states, each
exhibiting their own conditioning, are what we call alters.
That DID is manufactured in its present form needs to be acknowledged in
order to understand features of DID that would not otherwise make sense and
also to account for the politics of this diagnosis with its troublesome
implications regarding our world. Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), now
known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), is the result of a century of
covert research on these naturally occurring capacities of the mind. This is
where our field truly “leads into realms of the unthinkable and founders
on fundamental questions of disbelief.”
Throughout history, exploitation and control of some members of society by
others is a continual theme. This control can be subtle, as with the
manipulation of peoples’ belief systems through propaganda and religious dogma,
or more direct and heavy-handed as with threats of persecution or violence.
One of the simplest means of control is to maintain the powerlessness that
comes with basic poverty/indebtedness or the lack of access to quality
education. A key dynamic with the more overt forms of control is that when
people are oppressed—they resist. Advanced forms of control address this
fundamental dynamic by developing forms of exploitation that remain largely
outside of conscious awareness both for selected individuals (DID) and the
larger society (control of the public is achieved through propaganda and the
manufacture of consent, an increasingly serious threat with the concentration
Mind control evolved from two main foundations:
1) The Soviet discovery of conditioned reflexes (Pavlov 1903) and
continued research within the field of behavioral psychology.
2) Advances in understanding the creation of parallel dissociative states
with independent memory systems and control mechanisms utilizing research
in hypnosis and trauma-based splitting of conscious processes.
UNDERSTANDING THAT EFFORTS TO CREATE DID IN CHILDREN WERE NOT SIMPLY
EXCESSES OF THE COLD WAR IN THE NAME OF NATIONAL SECURITY
Disturbing as it is, we must acknowledge the ongoing nature of these
activities. Clients are sensitive to any backing away by the therapist and are
reluctant to fully disclose when they fear they won’t be believed. Clearly,
people who would torture children, for any perceived agenda, are
sociopathic. What they are after is a type of power that is outside legal or ethical
constraints and better described as organized crime, no matter the context
in which it is framed.
UNDERSTANDING ISSUES RELATING TO ALTERS
Over-identifying with the innocent child alters and avoiding the mean and
destructive ones maintains division and conflict within the system.
Developing a fascination with certain alters, or with the process of switching
itself, is another way to become triangulated into the system; there is no
reason to encourage switching— most alter systems can be accessed while keeping
a sense of co-consciousness with the normative section. DIDs can parallel
process to an extraordinary degree and this ability can be utilized to
integrate without losing stability.
AWARENESS OF BLENDING VS. SWITCHING
Many clients and therapists expect a more dramatic presentation (switching
with lost time) and miss important system shifts because the client
remains co-conscious. When an alter, or programming is behind, alongside or
blended with the front system, the changing quality of consciousness may present
more subtly. Most alter movement taking place in a therapist’s office
(unless the client is severely destabilized) involves blending with no loss of t
DISCERNMENT REGARDING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STABILITY AND INTEGRATION
The front/normative section is designed to be free from interference and
highly functioning as long as the covert aspects of the system remain
unknown and there is compliance with the demands of the programmers/handlers.
Programming is designed to maintain stability through compartmentalization.
Paradoxically, it is the more effective therapists, who begin to make inroads
into the deeper structures, who find themselves inadvertently
destabilizing their clients. This “success” can trigger programming. (Dissociated
trauma scenes and conditioned self-destructive behavior.) Overt stability is
not the same as integration.
UNDERSTANDING OF DEEPER STRUCTURES OF DID
While allowing for some variation, most programming follows standard
protocols. The front/normative section is designed to be free from interference
and highly functioning as long as the covert aspects of the system remain
unknown and there is compliance with the demands of the
programmers/handlers. Many therapists deal with leaking or triggered trauma scenes related to
sexual abuse and ritual abuse without ever getting to the deeper structures
and teams involved in covert activities or the programming responsible for
it. The trauma scenes act like a mine field keeping these deeper structures
and parts hidden and compartmentalized.
RECOGNITION OF THE DOUBLE-BIND IN MIND CONTROL
As with all double-binds the only way out is to acknowledge the bind and
transcend it. There is no way to resolve the situation if it is accepted as
presented. The basic feature of false choice programs is: “I stay safe and
comply with programming/training or I resist and trigger trauma scenes.” It
is not either/or; alters should be made aware that both sides of the
dilemma are manipulated and all parts of self can come to the present and be
free of the demands.
UNDERSTANDING THE NEED TO WORK “FROM THE OUTSIDE IN”
Trauma programming is layered. A good visual image to illustrate this
concept is the children’s game of Mikado or “pick-up-sticks”—the outermost
sticks must be removed before attempting to move underlying ones. When
working to dismantle programming any interference encountered must be dealt with
before proceeding. Not to do so is like pulling a stick from the middle of
the pile and activating multiple layers of conditioned responses at once—
something guaranteed to stop any further progress and destabilize the client.
UNDERSTANDING THAT EMOTIONAL CATHARSIS IS NOT NECESSARY FOR INITIAL MEMORY
There are two basic forms of memory: explicit memory and implicit memory.
Explicit memory is what most people are referring to when they talk about
memory; it records consciously available information about past experiences.
Implicit memory is information that is not consciously available and was
encoded outside of conscious awareness. Abreaction and triggering can be
understood in terms of implicit memory. The sense of self and self-control
that accompanies explicit memory is lost when a trauma memory is an implicit
recollection. The difference between these two forms of memory must be
acknowledged to understand the basis of trauma programming.
AWARENESS OF POSSIBLE SURVIVOR CONTACT AND SABOTAGE BY HANDLERS
All survivors are monitored internally via programming that is designed to
force compliance or initiate reporting to programmers/handlers in the
event of non-compliance. Of greater concern and missed by many therapists is
that survivors are also often contacted and sabotaged by the people in their
present life—even survivors well along in their recovery; this includes
people (often family in generational cults) known to the survivor as well as
unknown handlers able to access alters outside the awareness of the
A CLOSING STATEMENT FROM BRIAN:
The chance to share this information with you is my pebble in the pond—
maybe reaching you on the far shore. Don’t doubt that there are many survivors
whose voices have been heard, and many therapists who know the truth about
what is going on in the world; all of us working quietly (or out-loud) to
make healing possible for each other and to create the world we know is
Brian Moss, MA, MFT is a Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor of the
American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy. He lives in the Seattle
area and consults widely, specializing in working in partnership with DID
clients and their therapists.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]