KEYNOTE — The Counter-Conference: A Timeline & Call for Renewal

Emma Sunshaw (“Dr. E”) of System Speak

On YouTube at

Content Warning:

How we got from the first documented case study in 1584 to where we are now: A brief history of DID, an explanation of the unfolding diagnosis through the history of the DSM, and an introduction to modern issues in the clinical world. The benefits and limitations of the ISSTD and related organizations will be explored, and updates on the most recent research will be given, as well as reasons for recent changes in research to be explained. A call for renewal will be issued, in effort to bridge the gap between the clinical and survivor communities, and this call to action will address current clinical issues including appropriation, oppression, and the rights of plurals in treatment and as a community of survivors.


Emma Sunshaw, PhD, earned her B.S. in Human Development, her M.S. in Professional Counseling, and her PhD specialized in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in two states, as well as a certified chaplain. She has been in private practice since 2004, with additional experience in ER triage, inpatient psychiatric, residential treatment, school-based, and outpatient settings. In presenting for this conference, she is sharing information and experience only, and not providing any medical or therapeutic advice.

Emma and her system were diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder by a licensed therapist and psychiatrist following inpatient treatment for a significant fugue experience and related trauma issues. Prior to this experience, Emma had functioned well for twenty years as a doctorate level clinician, until both her parents passed away. The layers of this experience triggered a collapse of protective walls that had thus far sustained them internally, leading them to seek treatment. Finding appropriate and quality treatment was more difficult than expected, and Emma now travels four hours from home for weekly two-hour sessions.

Emma and her system began their global podcast, System Speak, when they recognized the need for an ongoing DID-related podcast to educate themselves and others. System Speak is about documenting one journey, educating many, and finding her own voice. It is about finding a way to bridge the gap between survivor and clinician. It is about advocacy, fighting stigma, and adding substance and quality and rawness to the online conversation regarding trauma in general, and Dissociative Identity Disorder specifically.

System Speak podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and most other players, as well as the website