The psychodynamic view for dissociative identity disorders believe that the patient creates another identity to either cope with the anxiety or to express the undesirable impulses. In the cases of dissociative amnesia and/or fugue, the patient disconnects and the “ego protects itself from anxiety by blotting out disturbing memories or by dissociating threatening impulses of a sexual or aggressive nature” (Nevid, Rathus, & Greene, 2011, p. 221). Social-cognitive theorists believe dissociative disorders to be a form of role-playing as a way of coping with traumatic events that have occurred and that it is a learned response involving distancing or separating themselves from the “disturbing memories or emotions” (Nevid, Rathus, & Greene, 2011, p. 222).
Psychotherapy is the most common approach to treating those with dissociative disorders. This type of therapy will help the patient talk through the related issues and come up with different ways of coping with the anxiety or stress that has caused the disorder. Part of the psychotherapy may include hypnosis to help uncover the trauma that triggered the dissociative disorder. With cognitive therapy, the therapist will work with the patient to help them alter their thoughts and beliefs from a negative perspective to a positive perspective. Both of these types of therapy will be extremely difficult because it may take a long time to uncover the actual cause and the patient may become too impatient, or the pain may be too much for them to bear, to keep up with the treatment. Biological treatment or medication for dissociative disorders are not used to specifically treat the dissociative disorder, but may be prescribed to treat the depression or anxiety associated with the disorder (Gluck, 2008). Because some dissociative disorders, such as amnesia and fugue may be short lived or come and go quickly, this could also cause difficulty in treatment. These types of dissociative disorders usually happen during times of stress, anxiety, or depression. In these cases, treatment usually focuses on “managing the anxiety or depression” (Nevid, Rathus, & Greene, 2011, p. 222).
The individual repressing the internal conflict and it surfacing in a physical ailment causes somatoform disorders in the psychodynamic view. An example of this would be the World War II bomber pilot that “suffered from night blindness that prevented them from carrying out dangerous nighttime missions” (Nevid, Rathus, & Greene, 2011, p. 235). The psychodynamic view of the pilot is that the pilot is feeling guilty about harming other humans, thus suffers from night blindness. It also achieves removing the pilot from a dangerous situation. Learning theorists look at somatoform disorders as a way of avoiding responsibility and gaining sympathy and attention of others. Cognitive theorists see somatoform disorders as a diversion. They believe that those that suffer from somatoform disorders are diverting attention to physical ailments and avoiding the actual life problems causing the disorder.
The psychoanalytical approach to treating somatoform disorders looks to bring the unconscious thoughts into the conscious, and once the “conflict is aired and worked through, the symptom is no longer needed and should disappear “(Nevid, Rathus, & Greene, 2011, p. 236). The behavioral approach looks to removing the reinforcement or the enablers of the behavior. They believe that those close to the patient have the mindset that the patient is not capable of handling responsibilities, stress, and/or anxiety, so