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Multiple Personality—Mental Disorder, Myth, or Metaphor?

Multiple Personality Disorder is a fake diagnosis that occurs when a gullible therapist and a suggestible patient influence each other in the creation of new personalities. Read More

This is an absolutely

This is an absolutely terrible article. The writer clearly knows nothing about trauma...especially childhood trauma and abuse.

What are you basing that

What are you basing that statement on? DID has always been a controversial diagnosis, and more and more clinicians in the field are dismissing it as a fad diagnosis that just tends to be reinforced by preconceptions generated in the media and practitioner bias.

EXACTLY! Where is the

EXACTLY! Where is the research??... There is none.It doesn't support the bank accounts of psychiatrists cuz you can treat it with a pill.

Difficulties In Multiplication

I have numerous personalities: one bipolar, one crazy, one anxious, one depressed- the rest are well adjusted

Multiple Personality

MPD has been called DID, or Dissociative Identity Disorder, for several years now. Dr. Frances may not believe in this, but I do. I'm an experienced therapist with clients with DID who were ritualistically abused; I did not give them this notion--it's how they've been victimized and how they've had to live. It happened, and they're dealing with it. My clients with DID switch regularly into other alters, not because they're trying to trick me or anyone else, but because they need "air time." I don't ask them to switch; and I don't delve into the past until someone wants to. When an alter needs to be out in my office, he or she shows up. Seeing a person with DID is like seeing a family; different "members" speak up at different times and for different reasons.
I agree with a previous commenter--Dr. Frances clearly is not knowledgeable about trauma and its possible effects.

THANK YOU!! DID and MPD are

THANK YOU!! DID and MPD are the same DID is the new way to say it because media and Hollywood have stereotyped it teaching that people like me with MPD are monsters or crazy.

I couldn’t agree more. I have

I couldn’t agree more. I have treated many individuals who were called multiple personalities. There is no such thing. There certainly are people who have suffered major abuse, significantly sexual, who do dissociate. The treatment is to face and mourn the pain and the person heals. Usually I have had to remove them from some therapist who has been parading them around giving exhibitions, and then get down to work.
Robert A Berezin, MD is the author of "Psychotherapy of Character, the Play of Consciousness in the Theater of the Brain'
www.robertberezin.com

YOUR AN IDIOT TO THINK THIS!

YOUR AN IDIOT TO THINK THIS! Maybe the therapist wasn't parading them around but trying help them and studying them because none of the rest of you doctors psychiatrists are doing anything but trying to shove pills down are throat when MPD is not treatable with medication.

A bad fad

The fact that people still cling to this disastrous fad says a lot about the catastrophic state of psychology and psychiatry. The psychiatrists who put this fraud into their latest's DSM must have suffered from the same psychosis that befell the people in the "The Emperor's New Clothes". Even Hollywood, who loves the myth, is through with that crap since "Primal Fear".

Guess your behind on

Guess your behind on movies... try Identity, 23, and many others including law and Order SVU and other TV shows..guess you didn't do your research either. Media is still eating it up makes a great thriller movie. Obviously your among the ignorant....

I agree totally

The whole history of DID is ripe with fraud, all the way back to the Sybill fraud. Its funny how DID went from a rare hardly seen disorder to almost an epidemic of people with dozens of "alters" after media portrayals of DID.

DID grew out of the recovered memory therapies of the 70s and 80s- that lead to a lot of false memories. These false memories were often of child sexual abuse and even ritual Satanic abuse. There was a huge moral panic at the time about child abuse and satanic ritual abuse (despite there being no evidence of the latter) which seemed to influence practitioners as they "guided" clients to "repressed" memories. Very sad time for our field.

As a practitioner, I've seen many people claiming to have "alters." None of them actually did. All did meet criteria for DID, and at least two of them met criteria for Histrionic personality disorder. Now, I'm not saying that all clients are lying- practitioners are to fault a lot in this. Its sad, but if I got a referral from a specific social worker, or a specific hospital, I was guaranteed that the person had a DID diagnosis.

To answer your first

To answer your first statement what you call an 'epidemic' occurred because we thought that being as it was recognized by the media that maybe it would open the eyes and minds to people like you that obviously haven't done any genuine study or research you see it makes it alot easier to sleep at night believing it's all in our heads or is the imagination of a therapist. Besides you all will make more money if it is something you believe requires medicine.
So you've seen people that claim to have DID/MPD what proof did you run across that you can say " None of them actually did" ? I bet they just realized you weren't gonna believe them and so they decided to recant. Much like any victim that is pushed in a corner by someone they think really cares. How many of those people still see you?

The problem is that this

The problem is that this "epidemic" was seen only in a handful of providers- a small group of providers saw dozens or hundreds of cases, while most never had a single case in their career. That points to a more iatregenic cause- that DID is a phenomenon that grows out of provider preferences and techniques. It cropped up at the same time as the now-bebunked "recovered memory therapy" which had the unfortunate effect of convincing many people that they were abused when they weren't. It even convinced thousands of people that they were the victims of "Satanic Ritual Abuse"- a phenomenon that, while it was a "moral panic" there is not actually any documented cases of this happening. (And Satanists don't actually worship Satan- they are just atheists who follow the philosophy of Hedonism). Satanic Ritual Abuse is it's own syndrome, and it is recognized as a side effect of this unfortunate Recovered Memory Therapy in which therapist's imaginations got away with themselves.

I personally don't profit or suffer financially as a result of my position on DID. I'm a psychotherapist and I don't provide medication, just therapy.

My skepticisms of former patients who claimed DID came as a result of frequent contact and psychological testing. For example, I had a patient who was quite histrionic- she'd be happy and cheerful until she knew a staff member was watching and then she'd be horribly depressed until she thought we couldn't her again. She'd claim to have illnesses that she didn't (we did tests), and then on top of it- had DID. She'd talk about her alters- how she was fully aware of their actions and say for example that her alter made her beat her head against a tub- but would have no bruises. So- obviously I was quite skeptical with this pattern- and it is a pattern I have seen often in those who claim DID. Others- they'd receive psychological testing that would indicate that they were intentionally magnifying and exaggerating their symptoms. Now- to be honest, I never directly confronted their diagnoses. The only person I even slightly challenged on it was someone who I was telling met criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder.

Most (about 75%) of people who report DID meet criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). All the clients I have encountered with reports of DID met criteria for BPD, and at least two also for Histrionic PD. This is because the experience of DID and BPD is so similar- with people with severe BPD experiencing dissociative states- and their extreme mood shifts and unstable sense of identity can lead to feeling like different people at times. Sadly at times therapists can for example encourage them to discuss these different states as if they were different people, rather than just a result of their unstable emotions and sense of self.

Were you not paying attention

Were you not paying attention when I said I have felt with this for as long as I can remember? That I thought it was normal until 04 when after a couple decades this was told to me as a possibility that later was confirmed.
yes positive attention or percieved positive attention is desired by all of us because of the lack of affection a and attention we got from extreme abuse and neglect by people that were suppose to protect us.
Just because you didn't see any bruises doesn't mean they weren't banging there head on the tub. You can bang your head on the tub quite hard multiple times and not leave bruises. I've done such things I never was bold enough to tell anyone out of fear of hospitalization. Your so closed minded.
BPD I'm very familiar with that diagnosis the I hate you don't leave me disorder.. good book. If you actually took the time to look deeper into MPD and BPD you'd know they are nothing alike and have totally different characteristics.
I wish I could go through 'the testing' you speak of I have 104 personalities and although you may think it's a misdiagnosis your wrong and you know how I know? Because I have lived with this for 32 years and I have tried every medication you can take been doing therapy and medication for 10 years. I know that satanic ritual abuse does not entail worshiping Satan that it comes of the philosophy of hedonism. Don't insult my intelligence by assuming that I have not thoroughly done research and studied looking for answers and a resolution. It is not a side effect and there are documented cases of it..again where are you getting your information? You never directly confronted any of them why did you fear your assumptions would be proven false. . How long did you work with any of them and again how many do you still treat. Many questions you seem to avoid answering. I think you would find me a rather interesting study but alas your mind seems to already be made up.

Were you not paying attention

Were you not paying attention when I said I have felt with this for as long as I can remember? That I thought it was normal until 04 when after a couple decades this was told to me as a possibility that later was confirmed.
yes positive attention or percieved positive attention is desired by all of us because of the lack of affection a and attention we got from extreme abuse and neglect by people that were suppose to protect us.
Just because you didn't see any bruises doesn't mean they weren't banging there head on the tub. You can bang your head on the tub quite hard multiple times and not leave bruises. I've done such things I never was bold enough to tell anyone out of fear of hospitalization. Your so closed minded.
BPD I'm very familiar with that diagnosis the I hate you don't leave me disorder.. good book. If you actually took the time to look deeper into MPD and BPD you'd know they are nothing alike and have totally different characteristics.
I wish I could go through 'the testing' you speak of I have 104 personalities and although you may think it's a misdiagnosis your wrong and you know how I know? Because I have lived with this for 32 years and I have tried every medication you can take been doing therapy and medication for 10 years. I know that satanic ritual abuse does not entail worshiping Satan that it comes of the philosophy of hedonism. Don't insult my intelligence by assuming that I have not thoroughly done research and studied looking for answers and a resolution. It is not a side effect and there are documented cases of it..again where are you getting your information? You never directly confronted any of them why did you fear your assumptions would be proven false. . How long did you work with any of them and again how many do you still treat. Many questions you seem to avoid answering. I think you would find me a rather interesting study but alas your mind seems to already be made up.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

My experience is so different than yours. Please consider reading a post I did a while back: http://www.mindingtherapy.com/sybil-exposed-multiplicity/.

I can't find it...

I can't find it...

DID

Not sure what happened--my last reply was supposed to be directed to Ryan Ebersole (as well as anyone else who may be interested). I was saying that my experience as a therapist is so different than his and asked him to consider reading my blog post of a while ago: http://www.mindingtherapy.com/sybil-exposed-multiplicity/.

My mother has Dissociative

My mother has Dissociative Identity Disorder. She was sexually abused as a child. I have seen her switch into other alters and she was not the one driving. I met three distinct personalities, they didn't know who I was. DID is very real and I resent this article for dismissing the very real experiences of people who suffer from DID. My mother has been diagnosed as DID by multiple clinicians and it is not just a "fad" diagnosis (she was diagnosed back in the early 90s) and it wasn't just one "naive" therapist but many therapists who drew the same conclusions. Perhaps the writer of this article really did work with people who didn't really have DID, but the problem there might be over diagnosis not the disorder not existing. It's actually a creative way for people who are abused as children to deal with the trauma. My mother has recently integrated the personalities so she no longer has episodes. But I studied diagnosis as recently as six years ago and I learned that DID is a very real disorder (although controversial as a diagnosis). Just because none of your clients actually have DID does not mean the disorder does not exist. It's not exactly the most common disorder.

The phenomenon does exist, does it really matter what brought it on, if using this approach cures better than not using it?

I don’t see why this diagnosis could not still be accounted as a real condition even if it is in part iatrogenically caused? There are a lot of mental disorders where nobody knows exactly where it came from just that it is there. I don’t really see the harm in treating some one having just inner conflicts and milder forms of trauma reactions, dissociation etc. with the concept of different ego-states or split of personalities that ought to be integrated. There are scheme therapies and congnitive-analytic therapies that approach bpd this way and it has proven effective not disasterious. In DID patients there are still trauma type responses that were there before any therapist intervention and “acting out” that felt for the patient as unreal and as it was just happening to them and a history of trauma. This is of course the case in many other clinical patient groups, but if some can be helped, some problems conceptualized by using this diagnosis and approach of ego-states that need to be integrated then what is the harm? People with dissociative disorders can be cured using this approach and actually can be cured more often than scitzophrenic, bipolar or personality disordered patients.

I for one know intimately a person who was doomed to be a schizophrenic patient on antipsychotic for the rest of her life un-able to work etc. and did not read any books, receive any therapy – but in one psychiatric hospital was given a more thorough testing battery including SCID-R-test and then received this new diagnosis of DID (which she didn’t believe herself for a while) and only after that was given therapy (as scitzophrenia in Finland is not considered treatable but DID is) and has now gone back to her studies, not in need of medication and has gotten rid of all the auditory hallucinations (later named as alters speaking). I don’t really care if it was caused by this one test and not by her childhood, but only that it as phenomenon did excist and as an approach gave her away back to health!

Just adding that before it was believed that all bpd had trauma history

.... and now the reasons behind that condition are more flexibally listed and if some DID cases are in fact more of sociological-type not only caused by trauma - then it doesn't mean that the condition doesn't excist nor that it should not be treated!

Still treating DID has more hope than treating many severe illnesses that these patients at first were receiving treatment for!

I have DID

I have never had anyone suggest to me that I have DID. I have never been hypnotized. For me, dissociation was a way to survive. My young mind couldn't deal with the abuse so it took me somewhere else.

I do not consider my other identities alters. I view them as fragments of me. Roles that I subconsciously slip into to endure a situation. They do not have their own names. All answer to the same name. Sometimes I will remember what happened after I have slipped into another role. Sometimes I won't. I slip into one of the roles before I even realize it. Now that I have come to the conclusion that I have DID, when I leave that role my reaction is often "Whoa! That was strange."

Before I became aware of DID, I was confused by the frequent lapse in memory. There is no organic cause for my memory problems nor do I have any other mental health problem that would have such a serious effect on my memory. People I know would tell me of things I said or did and I would have no memory of it.

I understand that others do not believe in DID. That is their right. I disagree with them.

I certainly do not disagree

I certainly do not disagree with you. You accurately describe dissociating, which is a way of coping with abuse. It is unnecessary to call it DID like it is some kind of thing. It is an adaptation to a horrible situation. And you are correct that they are fragments of you. I can tell you that psychotherapy helps to mourn the unbearable pain and that allows one to be more whole.

Me and DID

For me, acknowledging it as DID is a form of validation. That is important to me to call it that. It explained at lot of things about myself to me. It has helped me to understand that because of the trauma, mentally I splintered instead of maturing the way I most likely would have as mentally healthy child.

My dear that isn't DID it's

My dear that isn't DID it's MPD. MPD scares people so they changed what it's called and tweaked it so it's so vague it sounds different.Were stereotyped and ridiculed because people don't understand so we are portrayed as monsters or crazy in Hollywood and the media.That is why it explains things about yourself so you understand.

Living with Multiple Personality Disoder

I first want to say thank you to all those that believe!
I have had MPD my whole life but didn't know what it was or what it was called until 2004. I endured Satanic Ritual Abuse from a very young age i also have dealt with incest 4 pregnancies by my father and rape by my father and his pedophile buddies since I was 3. I witnessed infants and children be sacrificed and skinned alive including my baby sister at age 1. She would be 32 this past may (2014). I am 36 as of today June 4 14.
I have 104 personalities That have been there as long as I can remember and way before I ever had any interaction with therapists hospitals or psychologists I thought it was normal.
The problem with the criticisms are that people have never sincerely researched or studied this. Instead we get stereotyped by media mocked scrutinized and persecuted because people don't understand. I have done so much research and there is very little to find. All that really can be found is Biography's of people that have found a way to heal.
I can answer the reason as to why it has not been common but at brief spurts. It's because we have had to adapt to a world of judgement and learn to become more subtle. In these brief times of 'Epidemics' a new generation has emerged that hasn't lost faith in humanity, so we reach out in hopes that maybe this time someone will believe and accept and help us as we all so desperately want. Psychiatrist don't want to support it because guess what it doesn't help there bank accounts as MPD is not helped with any medication. These gullible therapists that is spoke of are most likely the ones that genuinely care and want to help but articles like this shoot them down causing financial burdens because there reputations have been ruined by the allegations of ignorance like this one. So we hide again in the shadows of shame.
This is me reaching out.....

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Allen Frances, M.D., was chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and is currently professor emeritus at Duke.

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