Donald B. Beere  |  Retired


All publications

All presentations

Back to Psychologist

          Dissociative Disorders
In the early 80s, I recognized that I was working with a client who had multiple personality disorder, now called dissociative identity disorder (DID). I attended the very first international conference on the disorder in 1984, and subsequently got as much additional training as I could in order to understand, treat and diagnose this disorder. As I developed expertise, I began to make  presentations on DID at international, national, regional and state conferences.  I began to test hypotheses by doing research and eventually developed the perceptual theory of dissociation to explain how dissociative experiences occur.  I conducted many experiments that supported my theory.  In the 90s, I was one of the few academic psychologists in the USA doing research related to DID and training doctoral students to work clinically with it.  I summarized my theory and research in two chapters in the definitive book by Dell & O´┐ŻNeil (Eds.) (2009), Dissociation and the Dissociative Disorders: DSM-V and Beyond. New York: Routledge. In 2019, I was  asked to update my two chapters into a single one for the second edition of Dissociation and the Dissociative Disorders. The book should be published in 2021.

In relation to dissociation, I have 11 refereed publications and  39 presentations at professional conferences.

I got involved with the governance of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD),, in the 90s and served as Chair of the Membership Committee.  I later served on the Board of Directors (1999-2002).  In 2007, ISSTD presented me with their Distinguished Achievement Award.

After retiring from CMU, I moved to Northern Kentucky and began a full time clinical practice. At the same time, I  taught courses to mental health professionals on the treatment of dissociation. 
Specifically, I taught Regular, Advanced and Master courses for over 10 years. These courses were for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and  were developed and administered by ISSTD. They generally met monthly for 9 months. During this time, many mental health professionals across the country sought me out for clinical consultation with their dissociative clients.

Over the past 30 years, a significant body of research has validated the existence of dissociation and unearthed the conditions that lead to the disorder. Dissociative individuals have different EEGs and different physiological responses than non-dissociative individuals.  Almost always, severe childhood trauma is a precursor to later dissociation.  Difficulties with attachment are strongly associated with later dissociativity. It is estimated that 10% of the population are likely diagnosable with a dissociative disorder, and between 1-3% with dissociative identity disorder. Unfortunately, knowledge of the research base about and having clinical training to work with the dissociative disorders is almost non-existent in psychiatry, psychology, and social work programs, textbooks, and training programs.

Updated April 26 2020