🌠ToSD Summarized🌠
Hopefully an easily digestible thread on ToSD. There's a lot of misinfo on twit & other places so here's some facts w/ sources. Stay informed!
#syscourse #dissociatwt #plurality #dissociativeidentitydisorder #ToSD #structuraldissociation
🌖What is ToSD?
ToSD stands for "theory of structural dissociation." Outside of twitter, though, it's actually called TSDP more often. That's bc the full name of the theory is "structural dissociation of the personality."

I'll be using TSDP in this thread instead of ToSD.
TSDP is a theory that provides an essential framework for understanding & working with trauma & dissociation. The core concepts of the theory were proposed in an academic book called The Haunted Self (THS), published in 2006. amazon.com/Haunted-Self-D…
THS is often regarded as one of the most important books on trauma & dissociation.
Here's a review from the ISTSS:
Here's a review from a doctor: ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.11…
Here's a review from a DID system (@DIS_SOS):
🌑Authors & Research
THS was authored by 3 people: Onno van der hart, Ellert R.S. Nijenjuis, & Kathy Steele. At the time, they collectively had 65+ years of research & professional experience with dissociation & trauma under their belts. The book also took 4+ years to complete.
The bulk of TSDP is actually built off of prior research + theories. It's an impressive integration of important research on chronic traumatization & dissociation into a theory & a suggested treatment model.
🌓What does the theory apply to?
THS & TSDP exclusively applies to pathological dissociation from chronic traumatization. This means posttraumatic disorders like PTSD, OSDD, DID, & their treatment are the focus.

It does not apply to endogenic plurality or healthy experiences.
🌔What is the theory?
The theory is that chronic traumatization can lead to the division of the personality & the creation of dissociated parts. THS states that all dissociated parts have a sense of self, but not all of them are distinct or autonomous. Not all are alters, either.
One of the core ideas in TSDP is that everyone's personality has underlying mental systems called action systems. These action systems mediate how you distinguish & react to situations that are helpful or harmful. Chronic trauma leads to a division between these action systems.
The divided action systems are split between what THS calls "dissociated parts of the personality" (these are not inherently alters btw). TSDP divides these dissociated parts into two categories: apparently normal part (ANP) & emotional part (EP).
The ANP is the part of the personality that is mediated by action systems for daily life. As an ANP, the person with PTSD engages in life & avoids their trauma. The EP is mediated by action systems for defense. When their EP is triggered, the person relives their trauma.
TSDP is divided into 3 levels.

Primary: One ANP & one EP.
Secondary: One ANP & many EP. Caused by more prolonged or overwhelming trauma.
Tertiary: Many ANP & many EP. Caused by trauma intermixing with daily life.
Here are where the authors placed each posttraumatic diagnosis (based on outdated DSM-IV diagnoses so this isn't really accurate anymore but still good to know).

Primary: ACS, PTSD, & simple DDs
Secondary: CPTSD, DESNOS, DDNOS, BPD, complex DDs
Tertiary: DID
🌕Common misinfo I see
1. "TSDP invalidates endogenic plurality."
No, it doesn't! TSDP only applies to pathological dissociation caused by trauma, such as what's key to PTSD & DID. If you aren't experiencing a trauma-caused disorder, then TSDP has nothing to do with you.
2. "If you don't relate to TSDP then you're a faker."
If people don't relate to it, that doesn't make them fake. Lots of people feel like the model is flawed & could use some work. That's just the nature of this kind of stuff.
3. "If you relate to TSDP then you're a sysmed."
Seriously? This attitude is no better than calling someone a faker.
4. "The author of TSDP lost his medical license so you shouldn't support it."
Yes, it's true that one of the authors lost his medical license for abusing a client. You're absolutely allowed to condemn him and his actions. It was not okay and I'm glad he lost his license.
Theory and research does not fall onto the shoulders of one person. TSDP was created by multiple people, and built upon decades of prior research. No one is supporting Onno van der Hart by relating to TSDP or finding its suggestions helpful to their recovery.
5. "TSDP dehumanizes people with DID!"
Really? Bc it says that my alters are all real people with a sense of self. It just doesn't acknowledge them as physically separate entities or existing outside of the single brain that I have. That's not dehumanizing to me.
I can see how it may seem dehumanizing to plurals with spirits, headmates from other worlds, or other such entities that exist from outside of their brain. But none of those things are pathological dissociation from trauma so they don't count here.
6. "TSDP says that everyone is born plural..."
Honestly this really depends on how you define plurality. Secondly, this isn't something that TSDP introduced! It was a prevalent theory before TSDP that everyone has multiple parts that work together to make up their personality.
7. "TSDP says that only people with DID can be plural..."
No... It doesn't. Once again, TSDP really has nothing to do with plurality. It only discusses pathological dissociation caused by trauma, which effect disorders like PTSD, ACS, OSDD, DID, etc.
8. "TSDP says that alters only exist because of their amnesia."
No. It doesn't. THS talks extensively about the spectrum of amnesia and how many people with alters don't experience it, like in DDNOS/OSDD. Furthermore, DID systems can recover to have no amnesia.
9. "All dissociated parts are alters."
No! They're not. People can have dissociated parts (and regular, non-dissociated parts) without them being alters. This is a major subject in TSDP. Here's also a good article on this:

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Elliot

Elliot Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @alteredparts

7 Jun
I want to talk about how people with DID-PTSD express their trauma, dissociation, reality, recovery, etc. in different ways, and how policing that expression can lead to harm. #dissociativeidentitydisorder #dissociatwt #pluralgang #DIDOSDD
(Up front, this thread is about DID-PTSD but if you find it useful for endogenic or non-disordered plurality then that's cool.)
A lot of #syscourse tends to focus on the "personhood" of alters, dissociated parts, headmates, whatever you want to call them. It's an understandable topic. Routinely, we are denied our personhood even as collective wholes. Having DID-PTSD means that you have
Read 21 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!