Dissociative Identity Disorder Kills

Originally published under the title: “MPD Kills” when Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) was called Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). The basic premise of the disorder and treatment, however, have not changed significantly.


MPD Kills

by Jaye D. Bartha

“Jaye, Betty Ann is dead!” she screamed into my ear through the phone.

“What!” I answered in horror.

“Yeah. She took an overdose.” Kathy frantically gave me blow by blow details as if she were an excited sports commentator. Gasping, she continued, “They saved her but when she returned to the hospital she ran from her wheelchair, sprinted down the hall, collapsed and died right there on the spot. She’s dead! Betty Ann is dead! She was my best friend. What am I going to do?”

Betty Ann was 26. Her death was the second I dealt with while a patient of repressed memory therapy. I buried two more friends, before realizing Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) was a bogus diagnosis, and one more after that. Five friends dead. Each death occurred during treatment for (MPD), now referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

It seems to me that patients in treatment for MPD/DID often live in a chronic state of suicidal thinking and that acting out suicidal impulses is a by-product of treatment. While the intense search for memories of abuse is in progress, I observed doctors and hospital staff making provisions for suicidal behavior. They hospitalized patients, increased medication, instituted suicide watches, and in extreme cases implemented physical and/or chemical restraints.

In my experience, suicide is a pervasive problem of treatment for MPD/DID and should be yanked out of the dark corner of treatment closets. This diagnosis is a serious threat to human life and ought to be addressed as such. The medical community supporting the MPD/DID diagnosis often views suicide as the patient’s inability to cope with the horrors of an abusive past when, in fact, it is the treatment itself that is likely the culprit.

Originally published in the FMS Foundation  Newsletter, April/May 1999  Vol. 8  No. 3, ISSN #1069-0484. Copyright (c) 1998  by  the  FMS Foundation

Reprint by permission.

Books: How Multiple Personalities Can Be Created

Acocella, J., Creating Hysteria: women and multiple personality disorder, 1999.

Brainerd, C.J. & V.F. Reyna, The Science of False Memory, 2005.

Dawes, Robyn M., Everyday Irrationality: How Pseudo-Scientists, Lunatics, and the Rest of Us Systematically Fail to Think Rationally. 2001.

_____ House of Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy Built on Myth. 1996.

Dineen, Tana, Dr., Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry is Doing to People. 2000, 3rd. Ed.

Fairlie, Jim, Unbreakable Bonds: ‘they know about you Dad’ (2010) Austin & Macauley Publishers

Goldstein, Eleanor, Farmer, Kevin. True Stories of False Memories. 1993.

Hirstein, William, Brain Fiction: Self-Deception and the Riddle of Confabulation. 2005.

Lalich, Janja, Take Back Your Life: Recovering from cults & abusive relationships.

Kilby, Jane. Violence and the Cultural Politics of Trauma. 2007.

Klein, Naomi. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. 1993.

Lifton, Robert J. , Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China. 1961.

Lilienfeld, Scott O., Steven Jay Lynn, John Ruscio, and the late, great skeptic Barry L. Beyerstein. 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior

Loftus, Elizabeth, Memory. 2nd Ed. 1980.

__________, Eyewitness Testimony. With a New Preface  by the Author.1996b.

Loftus, Elizabeth & Ketchem, Katherine, Witness for the Defense: The Accused, The Eyewitness and the Expert Who Puts Memory on Trial. 1992.

____________,  The Myth of Repressed Memory: False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse. 1996a.

McHugh, Paul R. M.D., Try to Remember: Psychiatry’s Clash over Meaning, Memory, and Mind. 2008.

Maran, Meredith, My Lie: A True Story of False Memory. 2010.

Mercer, Jean; Sarner, Larry; and Rosa, Linda,  Attachment Therapy on Trial: The Torture and Death of Candace Newmaker. 2003.

Nathan, Debbie & Snedeker, Michael, Satan’s Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt. 2001.

Nathan, Debbie. Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case. 2012

Ofshe, Richard, Watters, Ethan, Making Monsters: False Memories, Psychotherapy, and Sexual Hysteria. 1996.

Pendergrast, Mark, Victims of Memory: Incest Accusations and Shattered Lives. 1995.

Piper, August Jr., M.D.. Hoax and Reality: The Bizarre World of Multiple Personality Disorder. 1998.

Schacter, Daniel L., Ed., The Cognitive Neuropsychology of False Memories. 1999.

Schnider, Armin. The Confabulating Mind: How the Brain Creates Reality. 2008.

Tavris, Carol & Aronson, Elliot. Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. 2007.

Wassil-Grimm, Claudette, Diagnosis for Disaster: The Devastating Truth About False Memory. 1996.

Watters, Ethan & Ofshe, Richard. Therapy’s Delusions: The myth of the unconscious and the exploitation of today’s walking worried. 1999.

Whittier, Nancy. The Politics of Child Sexual Abuse: Emotion, Social Movements, and the State. 2009.


The Same Old Elephant ..by Richard Kluft, MD,PhD

Available online: 24 Jan 2012

Journal of Trauma & Dissociation


We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will

be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot (Little Gidding, 1971)


Sorry folks, this is all the abstract states on the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation web page. This article is by Richard Kluft, MD who is a prolific writer & researcher about multiple personalities and dissociative identity disorder and is a major player in the movement.

This scant abstract tells the public nothing. Article for purchase $36 US dollars. How’s that for easy access to information?

Got money?

updated 9-15-14.

Directory: Dissociative Identity Disorder & Multiple Personality Blogs, Websites, Support Groups, Forums, & Discussions.

Below are websites written by people who support the existence of multiple personalities & the diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder and related topics such as: dissociation, repressed memories, delayed recall, massive repression, internal family systems, parts therapy, the non-existence of false memory, and related topics.

There is no disrespect intended to people who own these blogs and websites. This list was compiled to encourage readers to seek other opinions on issues and conversations presented on this blog.

The blogs and website owners listed below have the option of making their sites private and/or password protected; many have opted not to do so, therefore making their sites open to interested parties.

This list enables you to learn about the lifestyle, thought processes, and beliefs related to multiple personalities and Dissociative Identity Disorder.

I do not endorse or support any site listed below, nor do I condemn anyone for holding whatever beliefs they choose.

An elementary Internet search using Google groups, Yahoo groups, bing or other search engines will offer you the same information listed below. This list was compiled to offer you a short-cut to your quest for public information related to Dissociative Identity Disorder & multiple personalities.

These websites change constantly and every effort is made to keep it up to date.

22 Faces

2012 The Awakening

Abuse-Survivors – Google group, closed membership

A Canvas of the Minds

A Survivors Thoughts on Life

A Song of Life

A Survivors Thoughts on Life

All Psych, Alejandra Swartz

Alter Meets God the Father

Alternate Sources of Light

Alter Meets God the Father

An Infinite Mind

Ann’s Multiple World of Personality


Apart from Normal

Aspergers the Alien

Basic Information on Dissociative Identity Disorder

Being Emily Living Plural, Now private (update 01/08/13)

Bipolar Disorder – Living with it. No longer blogging (update 01/08/13)

Bongo is Me

Brett Jolly

Buffalopines Blog

Candycan and Co.: Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder

Chaos and Control

Christ the Healer Ministries

Christian Forums

Clinically Clueless

Coming Out of the Trees

Community: Wizard 

Confessions of a Madwoman

Confessions of a Sex Addict in Recovery

Containing Multitudes 

Coping with Dissociation

Coping with dissociative identity disorder- message board

Cosmopolitan Magazine, United Kingdom

Covenant Warriors Ministries 

Crazy in the Coconut

Daily Strength: Multiple Personality Support Group

Dawn Awakening: Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder in Australia

Delightfully Scattered Thoughts

Dichotomistic logic


DID Awareness, Ashley’s Blog (Now private, update 01/08/12)

DID World Map

Discussing Dissociation, Kathy Broady LCSW

Dissociative Disorders

courtesy extended, link removed by request 02-27-13

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative Identity Disorder Blog moved

Dissociative Identity Disorder and Me, Candycan & Co.

Dissociative Personality Disorder – Everythin you ever wanted to know about it

Don’t Call Me Sybil: Dehumanizing & Demystifying Dissociative Identity Disorder – Holly Gray – now private, update 11-26-13

Downward Spiral into the vortex, renamed 11-23-13 Downward Spiral

DP Self-Help Depersonalization Community

Dissociation Link – Australia

Dr. Deborah  renamed Dr. Deb Psychological Perspectives 11-26-13

Dr. M. Kay  11-23-13  renamed Dissociative Identity Disorder Blog by Kay L. Schlagel

Inside Voices

International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISST-D)

Into the Mind defunct, update 11-23-13.

Ivory Garden

Jeff: Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder

Jenny Sawlee defunct, updated 11-23-13

Journey of the Broken Pieces: Healing through life with dissociative identity disorder

Just Answer – chat forum

Just Call Me Frank

Kate is Rising

Kim Noble

Leslie’s Illusions

Life, Multiplied: Dissociative Identity Disorder, personified

Life’s a Committee

Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder

Like a Bird on a Wire  –  Private

Live-Natural – discussions

Living Multiple

Living with Bipolar Disorder, DID, and Childhood Abuse

Living Successfully with DID

Lost in a Fog

Lost Shadow Child’s Blog

Lothlorien: Healing Dissociative Identity Disorder

Loving My DID Girls – link may not connect   defunct, update  11-26-13

Loving Someone with DID   defunct  update, 11-26-13

Many Answers – New Zealand

Me, Myself and I – Name change to  Moodswings, Musings & Mania

Memoir of a Redemptive Life

Mental Political Parent,  defunct  update, 11-26-13

Missing in Sight

Moodswings, Musings and Mania

More Heads

Multiple Moments of Me

Multiple Personality – Google Groups

Multiple Personality Disorder Cure, Symptoms, & Information defunct update, 11-26-13

Multiple Voices: Christian Support Group for MPD/DID – renamed Multiple Voices

Multiplicity: The Missing Manual

My Anime List

My Clouds, My Storms & Multiple Personality Disorder

My Hidden Faces

My Thoughs On/In Dissociatiative Identity Disorder

Myriad Musings: A day in the life of a multiple

Neorlan, defunct update, 01-08-13

New Landscape: MPD/DID


Nimble Books, defunct, update 01-08-13.

Nothing in My Noggin

Nurse Deborah Wesson

OCD site

Our LIfe with MPD/DID

Pandora’s Project

Pavillion: Voices of Plurality in Action

Peace Pink

Personality Cafe

Protect Your Joys

Psych Central

Raven CV. Brook  defunct update, 11-26-13.

Rehab Info 

Resolving Memories of Childhood Abuse – renamed 11-26-13

Ritual Abuse

Robert Lindsay, Beyond Highbrow

Rose Roars, Child Sexual Abuse Survivor & DID/MPD  

Solene’s Blog  (private)

SIAD Stuck in a Doorway 

Sarah K. Reece, Holding My Childhood to Ransom, poetry, art, writing, mental health, life 

Sarah Tun A Life Examined

Sarah Take (private)

Scattered Pieces – defunct, update 11-23-13.

Science Clarified: Multiple personality disorder  

Seasons Change, and so Have I

Seeing Through Multiple Eyes

Sensuous Amberville

Shades of Ivory

Shadow Light’s Blog

Shape Shifters: Living with Dissociation – defunct update 11-23-13.

Silent Symphony

Six Billion Secrets defunct update 11-23-13.

Social Anxiety Support Forum

Straight Dope – The Straight Dope

Stephanie’s Safehavenl

Stuart Hayashi: BPD Awareness

Stuff Red Said, defunct, update 11-23-13.

Sunshine & Shadows Life with DID

Survivor Forum, defunce update 05/14/12. Try searching Kathy Broady or  www.SuvivorForum.com

Suzy-LivingSucessfully with DID,   renamed Living Successfully  11-23-13

Sybil’s Friend

Tattooed Multiple’s Waffle

The Beehive 27, name change, update 11-23-13,  Between the Minds – The Beehive

The little survivor No longer found, update 01-08-13.

The Multiplicity of Me, Now private, update 01/08/13.

The Natural Recovery Plan

The Orchestra, defunct update, 01/08/13.

The People Behind My Eyes

The Search for Clarity

The Soulful Heart Maps

Third of a Lifetime, Sarah E. Olson

Through My Eyes  defunct update, 11-23-13.

Twenty Two Faces by Judy Byington

Trauma & Dissociation

Trauma to Treasure

Uncommon Forum, name change, 11-23-13  Uncommon Knowledge

Undercoverdid’s Blog

Voices of Glass  defunct, update 11-23-13.

Vwoop Vwoop: Empty Memories

We Are One

What it’s like to live with multiple personality disorder?

What to Do About Me and D.I.D

Web MD 

Wild Minds


Why Not: dissociative degu?

You Might be a Multiple if …


last update 09-12-14.


Copyrights extend to updates.

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1904: Multiple Personality & Human Individuality, by Sidis & Goodhart

Multiple Personality:

An Experimental Investigation Into the Nature of Human Individuality

ISBN: 978-1-59147-626-9   Publication Date: 1904
APA Print-on-Demand books are currently unavailable for purchase. We apologize for the inconvenience.

This book looks at multiple personality through the lens of individuality. Each part deals with a specific aspect of multiple personality: personality, double personality, and finally, consciousness and multiple personality. The work of Parts I and III covers a period of eight years. Out of the material accumulated by Dr. Sidis and his collaborators, some experiments and observations of functional psychopathic cases have been utilized in the last part of this volume. The authors note that the case of double personality described in Part II is of great interest and is specially recommended to the reader’s attention. This case was investigated in the Pathological Institute of the New York State Hospitals.

Here is a link to the table of contents http://www.sidis.net/mpcontents.htm

Boris Sidis

Boris Sidis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Excerpt from wikipedia

Boris Sidis, Ph.D., M.D. October 12, 1867 – October 24, 1923) was a Ukrainian psychologist, physician, psychiatrist, and philosopher of education. Sidis founded the New York State Psychopathic Institute and the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Boris Sidis eventually opposed mainstream psychology and Sigmund Freud, and thereby died ostracized.

From Google Books:

S. P. GOODHART, PH.B., M.D. Assistant Professor of Neurology, Columbia University Neurologist to the Montefiore Hospital NEW YORK CITY, USA


I am finding old, old articles that refer to multiple personalities as “functional psychosis”. Unfortunately, this book is out of print and no longer a print-on-demand. Maybe one of you will get lucky and find it. JB

Updated: 09-15-14.

Bridging the Gap Between Clinical Research & Clinical Practice

Bridging the gap between clinical research and clinical practice: Introduction to the special section.
Teachman, Bethany A.; Drabick, Deborah A. G.; Hershenberg, Rachel; Vivian, Dina; Wolfe, Barry E.; Goldfried, Marvin R.
Psychotherapy, Vol 49(2), Jun 2012, 97-100.
Special Section: Research-Practice Integration.
This Special Section, developed by the American Psychology Association‘s Division 12 (Clinical) 2011 Committee on Science and Practice, highlights different ideas to help bridge the gap between clinical research and clinical practice, and notes recent innovations that help make research–practice integration feasible.

The articles consider how to break down the barriers to enhance researcher–practitioner dialogue, as well as how to make ongoing outcome assessment feasible for clinicians. Moreover, the articles address how to promote training in evidence-based practice, and how to translate efficacy research into clinical practice and clinical insight into empirical study to better establish a two-way bridge between research and practice.

Ultimately, we hope this series can speak to many different types of psychologists, whether they work mainly as researchers or practitioners, so they can see new ways to integrate and learn from both research and practice. \
Way to go American Psychology Association !

What We Know and What We Need to Learn About the Treatment of Dissociative Disorders

Journal of Trauma & Dissociation

Bethany L. Brand PhDa*

Volume 13, Issue 4, 2012. pages 387-396.

Available online: 31 May 2012


In this editorial, I briefly review research design issues and the current treatment research for dissociative disorders (DD), discuss the limitations and challenges of conducting treatment studies for patients with DD, and conclude by describing what I see as the first wave and second wave in the field of dissociation.

Insurers and federally funded programs are increasingly requiring that treatment be empirically supported in order for treatment to be reimbursed. For example, psychoanalysis will no longer be reimbursed in The Netherlands because of what is perceived as a lack of empirical support.

Other countries have also established standards about the treatments that have sufficient empirical support to merit government payment. I believe it is only a matter of time before it is common for patients with DD to be required to seek out empirically supported treatment if they want treatment to be reimbursed.

We need to financially support treatment studies in order to develop a more solid empirical basis for the treatment of DD.



Insurance companies are placing more requirements on empirically established therapies (those based on clinical observation only) used to treat dissociative identity disorder/multiple personalities. Insurers want evidence that the psychotherapy is effective probably because payment for services seems endless for this psychiatric diagnosis.

This article, unfortunately, seems to be more of a warning signal than a call for mental health providers to be responsible and provide mental health consumers with psychotherapy that has a record of working.

Since the American Psychiatric Association evidently has no intention of making such requirements of psychotherapy or those who practice it for a living, the policing of this powerful and influential Industry is left to the courts – usually when a patient and/or their families sue the provider – and/or to the Insurance Industry.

If the Insurance industry keeps losing money by providing coverage for therapies with no proven effectiveness yet requires years and years and sometimes decades of treatment, we can expect to see coverage limited or discontinued and a shift to proven effective treatment to increase.

Below are some links to aid in your understanding of the difference between scientific evidence & methods and that of empirical research and evidence based only on clinical-observation.

In short, empirical evidence means observation only. Scientific evidence must be observable And measurable using strictly established methods that evaluate a theory. It takes ideas therapists have – like the link between childhood sexual abuse and multiple personalities – to the next step beyond simple observation or empirical evidence.

Mental health care consumers using only empirical evidence (observation) – like that made by a psychotherapist during sessions to evaluate and prove the effectiveness of their therapy –  are buying therapy based on someone’s opinion, not science.


What is empirical evidence?

  • Scientifically-based research from fields such as psychology, sociology, economics, and neuroscience, and especially from research in educational settings
  • Empirical data on performance used to compare, evaluate, and monitor progress

United States Department of Education


Empirical research is a way of gaining knowledge by means of direct and indirect observation or experience.

Empirical evidence (the record of one’s direct observations or experiences) can be analyzed quantitatively or qualitatively. Through quantifying the evidence or making sense of it in qualitative form, a researcher can answer empirical questions, which should be clearly defined and answerable with the evidence collected (usually called data).

Research design varies by field and by the question being investigated. Many researchers combine qualitative and quantitative forms of analysis to better answer questions which cannot be studied in laboratory settings, particularly in the social sciences and in education.

In some fields, quantitative research may begin with a research question (e.g., “Does listening to vocal music during the learning of a word list have an effect on later memory for these words?”) which is tested through experimentation in a lab. Usually, a researcher has a certain theory regarding the topic under investigation.

Based on this theory some statements, or hypotheses, will be proposed (e.g., “Listening to vocal music has a negative effect on learning a word list.”). From these hypotheses predictions about specific events are derived (e.g., “People who study a word list while listening to vocal music will remember fewer words on a later memory test than people who study a word list in silence.”). These predictions can then be tested with a suitable experiment.

Depending on the outcomes of the experiment, the theory on which the hypotheses and predictions were based will be supported or not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empirical_research Retrieved 06/01/12.

Scientific Method – definition Wikipedia Retrieved 06/01/12.

To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.[2] The Oxford English Dictionary says that scientific method is: “a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.


Alter Possession: Some demons are better left unexorcised

The Exorcist Steps, a reenactment close-up

Image by voteprime via Flickr

Agnieszka Tennant | posted 9/03/2001 12:00AM

Any respectable exorcist has heard about—if not agonized over—dissociative identity disorder (DID), an illness that sometimes resembles demonization. Consequently, many “dissociatives” stumble into the offices of exorcists and spiritual warfare counselors, who, they insist, must do something about it.

…Psychologists explain the controversial disorder in four ways, says John E. Kelley, director of Biola Counseling Center in La Mirada, California:

1) DID results from a severe trauma, which usually takes place in childhood and often surfaces through controversial “recovered” memories. DID leads to fragmentation into at least two selves (one of whom is often an abused child). That is why survivors of alleged ritual abuse are often diagnosed with DID.

2) DID is a role-playing phenomenon that may or may not be based in a real-life trauma. “Dissociatives” play different roles because they are affirmed for doing so.

3) DID is faked by people who want attention.

4) DID is born in therapy. The disorder is brought on by therapists who use suggestion (intentional and unintentional) through which they end up convincing their patients that they have dissociated identities.

A Demon—or a Split Self?

…Deliverance ministers began to learn about DID from therapists in the 1970s. One of these therapists is Jerry Mungadze, head of a group of Christian clinicians in the Dallas area who treat severe cases of dissociation and ritual abuse.

Having grown up in Zimbabwe, Mungadze is no stranger to power encounters. He believes demons may harass people, but rarely. If someone exhibits symptoms of DID, suffered a trauma in childhood, shows no supernatural powers, and hasn’t made pacts with the Devil, there is no need for exorcism. A deliverance session may only “antagonize the created personas,” Mungadze says.

But DID and demonization aren’t mutually exclusive. By detaching a person from his or her personality, the disorder may open the door to demonic harassment. Even then the safer healing route is restoration of mental health, which gives the afflicted the strength to resist demonic attacks, Mungadze says.

… (See “Pandora’s Box of SRA,” p. 54.)

In counseling DID patients, Kelley became suspicious; it seemed that other therapists clearly had been suggesting fabrications to their clients. When he challenged some of them on it, at least one therapist began spreading rumors that he was a “dirty” doctor. A psychiatrist friend and a secretary confirmed that this therapist was accusing him of being a cult member.

Retrieved 11/06/11.

Man Wrongly Accused of Crimes Against Children Freed After 20 Years

Judge orders Henderson County man freed after 20 years

Citizen-Times |  August 25, 2014   by Romando Dixson reports:

North Carolina, USA. Buncombe County Superior Court frees Michael Parker who “was convicted on all 12 charges in January 1994 and sentenced to eight consecutive terms of life imprisonment for the first-degree sex offenses and an additional 40 years on the indecent liberties convictions … crimes he says he did not commit.”

Parker was tried during the satanic child abuse scare of the 1980s and 90s. He was offered a deal to leave prison last year, but Parker held to his innocence and refused.

“There were procedures and opinions from these doctors a number of years ago that were the trial held today, the medical findings then would not indicate abuse if given today,”  said District Attorney Greg Newman.


Full story: Citizen Times

Satanic Ritual Abuse Scare Hit Here Put Man in Prison

Dr. Phil & Multiple Personalities Follow the Discussion on Psych Forums

Dr. Phil re-airs: “My Husband, My Kids, and My Multiple Personalities”

Follow the live discussion on Psych Forums


Last year a person or persons with multiple personalities complained to wordpress about a post of mine that said multiple personalities don’t exist and I think I also put a link to her blog.

Therefore, I am permanently banned from PsychForums. This is what Psych Forums posts when I try to sign-in:

You have been permanently banned from this board..

Reason given for ban: Being very disrespectful to people with DID by saying it does not exist

Seems to me that Psych Forums should have said I was censored from speaking on their website because I don’t agree with them.


Dr. Phil’s website advertizement for people to be on the show. The quote below is from the Dr. Phil website.

Living with Multiple Personalities?

Are you or someone you know struggling with multiple personality disorder, otherwise known as dissociative identity disorder?  Does your family not understand?  Or maybe you haven’t told them about it? Are you comfortable switching between your different personalities? 


Although I think multiple personalities are fabrications and a dance between therapist and client rendering them a product of therapy, to exploit patients is not OK. The show has not yet aired where I live so I wait before making further comments.

After viewing: Dr. Phil did a good job bringing reality into the show by pointing out inconsistencies in statements made by alter personalities, by showing the long, long list of medications Tracy has been on and by educating her that there are usually more than one diagnosis for a mental illness, thus suggestion and encouraging her to seek other avenues of treatment. Hopefully she will take advantage of the treatment center he offered.

Psychiatric Misadventures by Paul R. McHugh, M.D.

access to proof of its proposals even as it deals with disorders
of the most complex features of human life--mind and behaviour.
Yet, probably because of the earlier examples of Freud and Jung,
a belief persists that psychiatrists are entitled to special
privileges-that they know the secret of human nature--and thus can
venture beyond their clinic-based competencies to instruct on
non-medical matters: interpreting literature, counselling the
electorate, prescribing for the millennium.
	At The Johns Hopkins University, my better days are spent
teaching psychiatry to residents and medical students. As I attempt
to make clear to them what psychiatrists actually do know and how
they know it, I am often aware that I am drawing them back from
trendy thought, redirecting them from Salvationist aspirations
toward the traditional concerns of psychiatry, which is about the
differentiation, understanding, and treatment of the mentally ill.
	Part of my justification for curbing my students' expansive
impulses is that they have enough to learn, and several things to
unlearn, about patients. Such sciences as epidemiology, genetics,
and neuropharmacology, which support and surround psychiatry today,
are bringing new power to our practice just as science did for
internal medicine and surgery earlier in this century. Only those
physicians with critical capacities--who see the conceptual
structure of this discipline and can distinguish valid from invalid
opinions--will be competent to make use of these new scientific
concepts and technologies in productive ways. I want my students
to number among those who will transform psychiatry in the future.
	But my other justification for corralling their enthusiasms
is the sense that the intermingling of psychiatry with contemporary
culture is excessive and injures both parties. During the thirty
years of my professional experience, I have witnessed the power of
cultural fashion to lead psychiatric thought and practice off in
false, eve disastrous, directions. I have become familiar with how
these fashions and their consequences caused psychiatry to lose its
moorings. Roughly every ten years, from the mid-1960s on,
psychiatric practice has condoned some bizarre misdirection,
proving how all too often the discipline has been the captive of
the culture.
	Each misdirection was the consequence of one of three common
medical mistakes--oversimplification, misplaced emphasis, or pure
invention. Psychiatry may be more vulnerable to such errors than
other clinical endeavours, given its lack of checks and
correctives, such as the autopsies and laboratory tests that
protect other medical specialties. But for each error, cultural
fashion provided the inclination and the impetus. When caught up
by the social suppositions of their time, psychiatrists can do much


	The most conspicuous misdirection of psychiatric practice--
the precipitate dismissal of patients with severe, chronic mental
disorders such as schizophrenia from psychiatric hospitals--
certainly required a vastly oversimplified view of mental illness.
These actions were defended as efforts to bring "freedom" to these
people, sounding a typical 1960s theme, as though it were not their
illnesses but society that deprived them of freedom in the first
	There were several collaborators in this sad enterprise--
prominent among them the state governments looking for release from
the traditional but heavy fiscal burden of housing the mentally
ill. Crucial to the process were the fashionable opinions of the
time about society's institutions and, specifically, the
oversimplified opinions about schizophrenia and other mental
illnesses generated by the so-called "anti-psychiatrists": Thomas
Szasz, R. D. Laing, Erving Goffman, Michael Foucault, and the rest.
These men provided an acid commentary on psychiatric thought and
practice, which in turn eroded confidence in the spirit of
psychiatric concern for the mentally ill that had previously
generated, and regularly regenerated, advocacy on the part of
mainstream psychiatry for their welfare. This traditional concern
had lasted for more than 120 years in America, or ever since the
1840s crusades led by Dorothea Dix to provide professional services
and humane conditions for the mentally ill.
	The "anti-psychiatry" school depicted mental institutions as
medically useless, self-serving institutions run for the
management, and quite unnecessary for patients. These commentators
scorned social attitudes about the mentally ill and the
contemporary psychiatric practice, but not one of them described
the impairments of mind in patients with schizophrenia,
manic-depressive illness, or with mental retardation or senility.
Data about these impairments were what Dix and an enlightened
public came to emphasize when founding psychiatrically supervised,
state-supported hospitals. These hospitals rescued the mentally ill
from destitution, jails, and the mean streets of cities.
	Description of the mental problems of psychiatric patients was
not the style of the popular 1960s commentators. They were more
interested in painting a picture of their own devising that would
provoke first suspicion and then disdain for contemporary
psychiatric practices and did so, not by producing new standards
or reforming specific practices, but by ridiculing and caricaturing
efforts of the institutions and people at hand just as fashion
directed. The power of their scorn was surprising and had amazing
results, leading many to believe that it was the institutions that
provoked the patients' illnesses rather than the illnesses that
called out for shelter and treatment.
	Here, from Szasz's book, Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of
Psychiatry, is a typical comment:
	"The sense in which I mean that Psychiatry creates
schizophrenia is readily illustrated by the analogy between
institutional psychiatry and involuntary servitude. If there is no
slavery there can be no slaves.... Similarly if there is no
psychiatry there can be no schizophrenics. In other words, the
identity of an individual as a schizophrenic depends on the
existence of the social system of [institutional] psychiatry."
	The only reply to such commentary is to know the patients for
what they are-in schizophrenia, people disabled by delusions,
hallucinations, and disruptions of thinking capacities-and to
reject an approach that would trivialize their impairments and deny
them their frequent need for hospital care.
	On one occasion in the early 1970s, when I was working at
Cornell University Medical Center in New York, a friend and senior
member of the biochemistry faculty called me about a medical
student who was balking over a term paper because his career plan
was to become a champion of the "psychiatrically oppressed."
Biochemistry term papers seemed "irrelevant." Could I offer him a
project with psychiatric patients that might be developed into a
term paper satisfying the requirements of her department? "He's a
neat guy," she said, "but he is stubborn about this and full of
views about contemporary psychiatry." "Send him over," I said, but
I awaited his arrival with some apprehension. I needn't have feared
the encounter because, in contrast to many other students of those
times, he was not looking for a fight. "It's just that I know what
I want to do--understand the people who are isolated by the label
schizophrenia--and help them achieve what they want in life. I've
written enough irrelevant papers in my life," he said. He had
graduated summa cum laude from Princeton, with a concentration i
philosophy, so he certainly had placed a large number of words o
	"Have you ever seen anyone with schizophrenia?" I asked.
	"Not in the flesh," he said, "but I think I know what you do
with them."
	"Well," I replied, "I will be glad to have you see one, and
let you tell me how to appreciate his choice of an eccentric way
of life that he could be released to express it."
   I had plenty of patients under my care at the time and chose
one who was the same age as the student but who had a severe
disruption in his thought processes. Even to talk with him was a
distressing experience because few of his thoughts were connected,
and all of them were vaguely tied to delusional beliefs about the
world, his family, and our society. He wasn't aggressive or in any
way threatening. He was just bewilderingly incoherent. I left the
student with the patient, promising to return in half an hour to
learn what he thought.
	On my return, I found the student subdued. I started, in a
slightly teasing way, to ask where he suggested I might send the
patient to start his new life-but was quickly cut off by the
student who, finding his voice, said, "That was nothing like what
I expected and nothing like what I've read about. Obviously you
can't send this poor fellow out of the hospital. Please tell me how
you're treating him."
	With this evidence confirming my colleague's judgment of the
student's basic good nature in what, after all, had been a
heartfelt if inexperienced opinion, we went on to talk about the
impairments and disabilities of patients with serious mental
illnesses, their partial responses to combinations of medication
and psychological management, and, finally, to the meretricious
ideas about their treatment that had been promulgated by
contemporary fashion and the anti-psychiatry critics without making
an effort to examine patients.
	The student wrote his biochemistry paper on emerging concepts
of the neurochemistry of mental disorders. He buckled down in
medical school, and he came, after graduation, to join me as a
resident psychiatrist and eventually proved to be one of the best
doctors I ever taught. We had overcome something together--all out
of going to see a patient, recognizing his burdens, and avoiding
assumptions about what fashion said we should find.
	A saving grace for any medical theory or practice--the thing
that spares it perpetual thraldom to the gusty winds of fashion--
is the patients. They are real, they are around, and a knowledge
of their distressing symptoms guards against oversimplification.


	The claim that schizophrenic patients are in any sense living
a alternative "life style" that our institutions were inhibiting
was of course fatuous. It is now obvious to every citizen of our
cities that these patients have impaired capacities to comprehend
the world and that they need protection and serious active
treatment. Without such help, they drift back to precisely the
place Dorothea Dix found them 150 years ago.
	From the faddish idea of institutions as essentially
oppressive emerged a nuance that became more dominant as the 1970s
progressed. This was that social custom was itself oppressive. In
fact, according to this view, all standards by which behaviours are
judged are simply matters of opinion--and emotional opinions at
that, likely to be enforced but never justified. In the 1970s, this
antinomian idea fuelled several psychiatric misdirections.
	A challenge to standards can affect at least the discourse in
a psychiatric clinic, if not the practice. These challenges are
expressed in such slogans as "Do your own thing," "Whose life is
it anyway?" "Be sure to get your own," or Joseph Campbell's "Follow
your bliss." All of these slogans are familiar to psychiatrists
trying to redirect confused, depressed, and often self-belittling
patients. Such is their pervasiveness in the culture that they may
even divert psychiatrists into misplaced emphases in their
understanding of patients.
	This interrelationship of cultural antinomianism and a
psychiatric misplaced emphasis is seen at its grimmest in the
practice known as sex-reassignment surgery. I happen to know about
this because Johns Hopkins was one of the places in the United
States where this practice was given its start. It was part of my
intention, when I arrived in Baltimore in 1975, to help end it.
	Not uncommonly, a person comes to the clinic and says
something like, "As long as I can remember, I've thought I was in
the wrong body. True, I've married and had a couple of kids, and
I've had a number of homosexual encounters, but always, in the back
and now more often in the front of my mind, there's this idea that
actually I'm more a woman than a man."
	When we ask what he has done about this, the man often says,
"I've tried dressing like a woman and feel quite comfortable. I've
eve made myself up and gone out in public. I can get away with it
because it's all so natural to me. I'm here because all this male
equipment is disgusting to me. I want medical help to change my
body: hormone treatments, silicone implants, surgical amputation
of my genitalia, and the construction of a vagina. Will you do it?"
The patient claims it is a torture for him to live as a man,
especially now that he has read in the newspapers about the
possibility of switching surgically to womanhood. Upon examination
it is not difficult to identify other mental and personality
difficulties in him, but he is primarily disquieted because of his
intrusive thoughts that his sex is not a settled issue in his life.
	Experts say that "gender identity," a sense of one's own
maleness or femaleness, is complicated. They believe that it will
emerge through the step-like features of most complex developmental
processes in which nature and nurture combine. They venture that,
although their research on those born with genital and hormonal
abnormalities may not apply to a person with normal bodily
structures, something must have gone wrong in this patient's early
and formative life to cause him to feel as he does. Why not help
him look more like what he says he feels? Our surgeons can do it.
What the hell!
	The skills of our plastic surgeons, particularly on the
genito-urinary system, are impressive. They were obtained, however,
not to treat the gender identity problem, but to repair congenital
defects, injuries, and the effects of destructive diseases such as
cancer in this region of the body.
	That you can get something done doesn't always mean that you
should do it. In sex reassignment cases, there are so many problems
right at the start. The patient's claim that this has been a
lifelong problem is seldom checked with others who have known him
since childhood. It seems so intrusive and untrusting to discuss
the problem with others, even though they might provide a better
gage of the seriousness of the problem, how it emerged, its
fluctuations of intensity over time, and its connection with other
experiences. When you discuss what the patient means by "feeling
like a woman," you often get a sex stereotype in return--something
that woman physicians note immediately is a male caricature of
women's attitudes and interests. One of our patients, for example,
said that, as a woman, he would be more "invested with being than
with doing."
	It is not obvious how this patient's feeling that he is a
woman trapped in a man's body differs from the feeling of a patient
with anorexia nervosa that she is obese despite her emaciated,
cachectic state. We don't do liposuction on anorexics. Why amputate
the genitals of these poor men? Surely, the fault is in the mind
not the member.
	Yet, if you justify augmenting breasts for women who feel
underendowed, why not do it and more for the man who wants to be
a woman? A plastic surgeon at Johns Hopkins provided the voice of
reality for me on this matter based on his practice and his natural
awe at the mystery of the body. One day while we were talking about
it, he said to me: "Imagine what it's like to get up at dawn and
think about spending the day slashing with a knife at perfectly
well-formed organs, because you psychiatrists do not understand
what is the problem here but hope surgery may do the poor wretch
some good."
	The zeal for this sex-change surgery--perhaps, with the
exception of frontal lobotomy, the most radical therapy ever
encouraged by twentieth century psychiatrists--did not derive from
critical reasoning or thoughtful assessments. These were so faulty
that no one holds them up anymore as standards for launching any
therapeutic exercise, let alone one so irretrievable as a
sex-change operation. The energy came from the fashions of the
seventies that invaded the clinic--if you can do it and he wants
it, why not do it? It was all tied up with the spirit of doing your
thing, following your bliss, an aesthetic that sees diversity as
everything and can accept any idea, including that of permanent sex
change, as interesting and that views resistance to such ideas as
uptight if not oppressive. Moral matters should have some salience
here. These include the waste of human resources; the confusions
imposed on society where these men/women insist on acceptance, even
in athletic competition, with women; the encouragement of the
"illusion of technique," which assumes that the body is like a suit
of clothes to be hemmed and stitched to style; and, finally, the
ghastliness of the mutilated anatomy.
	But lay these strong moral objections aside and consider only
that this surgical practice has distracted effort from genuine
investigations attempting to find out just what has gone wrong for
these people--what has, by their testimony, given them years of
torment and psychological distress and prompted them to accept
these grim and disfiguring surgical procedures.
	We need to know how to prevent such sadness, indeed horror.
We have to learn how to manage this condition as a mental disorder
when we fail to prevent it. If it depends on child rearing, then
let's hear about its inner dynamics so that parents can be taught
to guide their children properly. If it is an aspect of confusion
tied to homosexuality, we need to understand its nature and exactly
how to manage it as a manifestation of serious mental disorder
among homosexual individuals.  But instead of attempting to learn
enough to accomplish these worthy goals, psychiatrists collaborated
in a exercise of folly with distressed people during a time when
"do your own thing" had something akin to the force of a command.
As physicians, psychiatrists, when they give in to this, abandon
the role of protecting patients from their symptoms and become
little more than technicians working on behalf of a cultural force.


	Medical errors of oversimplification and misplaced emphasis
usually play themselves out for all to see. But the pure inventions
bring out a darker, hateful potential when psychiatric thought goes
awry. The invention of entities of mind and then their elaborate
description, usually fuelled by the energy from some social
attitude they amplify, is a recurring event in the history of
	Most psychiatric histories choose to describe such invention
by detailing its most vivid example--witches. The experience in
Salem, Massachusetts, of three hundred years ago is prototypical.
Briefly, in 1692, several young women and girls who had for some
weeks been secretly listening to tales of spells, voodoo, and
illicit cultic practices from a Barbados slave suddenly displayed
a set of mystifying mental and behavioural changes. They developed
trance-like states, falling on the ground and flailing away, and
screaming at night and at prayer, seemingly in great distress and
in need of help. The local physician, who witnessed this, was as
bewildered as anyone else and eventually made a diagnosis of
"bewitchment." "The evil hand is on them," he said and turned them
over to the local officials for care.
	The clergy and magistrates, regarding the young people as
victims and pampering them by showing much attention to their
symptoms, assumed that local agents of Satan were at work and,
using as grounds the answers to leading questions, indicted several
citizens. The accepted proof of guilt was bizarre. The young women
spoke of visions of the accused, of sensing their presence at night
by pains and torments and of ghostly visitations to their homes,
all occurring while the accused were known to be elsewhere. The
victims even screeched out in court that they felt pinches and
pains provoked by the accused, even while they were sitting quietly
across the room. Judges believed this "spectral" evidence because
it conformed to contemporary thought about the capacities of
witches; they dismissed all denials of the accused and promptly
executed them.
	The whole exercise should have been discredited when, after
the executions, there was no change in the distraught behaviour of
the young women. Instead more and more citizens were indicted. A
prosecution depending on "spectral evidence" was at last seen as
capricious--as irrefutable as it was undemonstrable. The trials
ceased, and eventually several of the young women admitted that
their beliefs had been "delusions" and their accusations false.
	The modern diagnosis for these young women is, of course,
hysteria not bewitchment. Psychiatrists use the term hysteria to
identify behavioural displays in which physical or mental disorders
are imitated. The reasons for the behaviour vary with the person
displaying the disorder but are derived from that person's more or
less unconscious effort to appear more significant to others and
to be more entitled to their interest and support. The status of
the putatively bewitched in Salem of 1692 brought both attentive
concern and license to indict to young women previously scarcely
noticed by the community. The forms of hysterical behavior--whether
they be physical activities, such as falling and shaking, or mental
phenomena, such as pains, visions, or memories--are shaped by
unintended suggestions from others and sustained by the attention
of onlookers--especially such onlookers as doctors who are socially
empowered to assign, by affixing a diagnosis, the status of
"patient" to a person. Whenever these diagnosticians mistake
hysteria for what it is attempting to imitate-misidentifying it
either as a physical illness or inventing some psychological
explanation such as bewitchment--then the behavioural display will
continue, expand, and, in certain settings, spread to others. The
usual result is trouble for everyone.
	During the last seven or eight years, another example of
misidentified hysterical behaviour has surfaced and again has been
bolstered by an invented view of its cause that fits a cultural
fashion. This condition is "multiple personality disorder" (MPD,
as it has come to be abbreviated). The majority of the patients who
eventually receive this diagnosis come to therapists with standard
psychiatric complaints, such as depression or difficulty in
relationships. Some therapists see much more in these symptoms and
suggest to the patient and to others that they represent the subtle
actions of several alternative personalities, or "alters,"
co-existing in the patient's mental life. These suggestions
encourage many patients to see their problems in a fresh and, to
them, remarkably interesting way. Suddenly they are transformed
into odd people with repeated shifts of demeanour and deportment
that they display on command.
	Sexual politics in the 1980s and 1990s, particularly those
connected with sexual oppression and victimization, galvanizes
these inventions. Forgotten sexual mistreatment in childhood is
the most frequently proffered explanation of MPD. Just as an
epidemic of bewitchment served to prove the arrival of Satan in
Salem, so in our day an epidemic of MPD is used to confirm that a
vast number of adults were sexually abused by guardians during
their childhood. Now I don't for a moment deny that children are
sometimes victims of sexual abuse, or that a behavioural problem
originating from such abuse can be a hidden feature in any life.
Such realities are not at issue. What I am concerned with here is
what has been imagined from these realities and inventively applied
to others.
	Adults with MPD, so the theory goes, were assaulted as young
children by a trusted and beloved person--usually a father, but
grandfathers, uncles, brothers, or others, often abetted by women
in their power, are also possibilities. This sexual assault, the
theory holds, is blocked from memory (repressed and dissociated)
because it was so shocking. This dissociating blockade itself--
again according to the theory--destroys the integration of mind and
evokes multiple personalities as separate, disconnected,
sequestered, "alternative" collections of thought, memory, and
feeling. These resultant distinct "personalities" produce a variety
of what might seem standard psychiatric symptoms--depression,
weight problems, panic states, demoralization, and so forth--that
only careful review will reveal to be expressions of MPD that is
the outcome of sexual abuse.
	These patients have not come to treatment reporting a sexual
assault in childhood. Only after therapy has promoted MPD behaviour
is the possibility that they were sexually abused as children
suggested to them. From recollections of the mists of childhood,
a vague sense of vulnerability may slowly emerge, facilitated and
encouraged by the treating group. This sense of vulnerability is
thought a harbinger of clearer memories of victimization that,
although buried, have been active for decades producing the
different "personalities." The long supposedly forgotten abuse is
finally "remembered" after months of "uncovering" therapy, during
which long conversations by the therapist with "alter"
personalities take place. Any other actual proof of the assault is
thought unnecessary. Spectral evidence-developed through
suggestions and just as irrefutable as that at Salem-once again is
	Like bewitchment from Satan's local agents, the idea of MPD
and its cause has caught on among large numbers of psychiatrists
and psychotherapists. Its partisans see the patients as victims,
cosset them in groups, encourage more expressions of "alters" (up
to as many as eighty or ninety), and are ferocious toward any
defenders of those they believe are perpetrators of the abuse. Just
as the divines of Massachusetts were convinced that they were
fighting Satan by recognizing bewitchment, so the contemporary
divines--these are therapists--are confident that they are fighting
perpetrators of a common expression of sexual oppression, child
abuse, by recognizing MPD.
	The incidence of MPD has of late indeed taken on epidemic
proportions, particularly in certain treatment centers. Whereas its
diagnosis was reported less than two hundred times from a variety
of supposed causes in the last century, it has been applied to more
than 20,000 people in the last decade and largely attributed to
sexual abuse.
	I have been involved in direct and indirect ways with five
such cases in the past year alone. In every one, the very same
story has been played out in a stereotyped script-like way. In each
a young woman with a rather straightforward set of psychiatric
symptoms--depression and demoralization--sought help and her case
was stretched into a diagnosis of MPD. Eventually, in each example,
an accusation of prior sexual abuse was levelled by her against her
father. The accusation developed after months of therapy, first as
vague feelings of a dream-like kind--childhood reminiscences of
danger and darkness eventually crystallizing, sometimes "in a
flash," into a recollection of father forcing sex upon the patient
as a child. No other evidence of these events was presented but the
memory, and plenty of refuting testimony, coming from former
nursemaids and the mother, was available but dismissed.
	On one occasion, the identity of the molester--forgotten for
years and now first vaguely and then more surely remembered under
the persuasive power of therapy--changed, but the change was as
telling about the nature of evidence as was the emergence of the
original charge. A woman called her mother to claim that she had
come to realize that when she was young she was severely and
repeatedly sexually molested by her uncle, the mother's brother.
The mother questioned the daughter carefully about the dates and
times of these incidents and then set about determining whether
they were in fact possible. She soon discovered that her brother
was on military service in Korea at the time of the alleged abuse.
With this information, the mother went to her daughter with the
hope of showing her that her therapist was misleading her in
destructive ways. When she heard this new information, the daughter
seemed momentarily taken aback, but then said, "I see, Mother. Yes.
Well, let me think. If your dates are right, I suppose it must have
been Dad." And with that, she began to claim that she had been a
victim of her father's abusive attentions, and nothing could
dissuade her.
	The accused men whom I studied, denying the charges and amazed
at their source, submitted to detailed reviews of their sexual
lives and polygraphic testing to try to prove their innocence and
thereby erase doubts about themselves. Professional requests by me
to the daughters' therapists for better evidence of the abuse were
dismissed as derived from the pleadings of the guilty and scorned
as beneath contempt, given that the diagnosis of MPD and the
testimony of the patients patently confirmed the assumptions.
	In Salem, the conviction depended on how judges thought
witches behaved. In our day, the conviction depends on how some
therapists think a child's memory of trauma works. In fact, severe
traumas are not blocked out by children but remembered all too
well. They are amplified in consciousness, remaining like grief to
be reborn and reemphasized on anniversaries and in settings that
can simulate the environments where they occurred. Good evidence
for this is found in the memories of children from concentration
camps. More recently, the children of Chowchilla, California, who
were kidnapped in their school bus and buried in sand for many
hours, remembered every detail of their traumatic experience and
needed psychiatric assistance, not to bring out forgotten material
that was repressed, but to help them move away from a constant
ruminative preoccupation with the experience .
	Many psychiatrists upon first hearing of these diagnostic
formulations (MPD being the result of repressed memories of sexual
abuse in childhood) have fallen back upon what they think is a
evenhanded way of approaching it. "The mind is very mysterious in
its ways," they say. "Anything is possible in a family." In fact,
this credulous stance toward evidence and the failure to consider
the alternative of hysterical behaviours and memories are what
continue to support this crude psychiatric analysis.
	The helpful clinical approach to the patient with putative
MPD, as with any instance of hysterical display, is to direct
attention away from the behaviour--one simply never talks to an
"alter." Within a few days of a consistent therapeutic emphasis
away from the MPD behaviour, it fades and generally useful
psychotherapy on the presenting true problems begins. Real sexual
traumas can be dealt with, if they are present, as can the
ambivalent and confused feelings that many adults have about their
	Similarly, the proper approach to end epidemics of MPD and the
assumptions of a vast prevalence of sexual abuse in ordinary
families is for psychiatrists to be aware of the potential,
whenever we are dealing with hysteria, to mistake it for something
else. When it is so mistaken, this can lead to monstrous concepts
defended by coincidence, the induction of memories, and a display
of "spectral" evidence--all to justify a belief that the community
is under siege. This belief, of course, is what releases the power
of the witches' court and the Lynch mob.
	As a corrective, psychiatrists need only review with a patient
how the MPD behaviour was diagnosed and how the putative memories
of sexual abuse were suggested. These practices will eventually be
discredited, and this epidemic will end in the same way that the
witch trials ended in Salem. But time is passing, many families are
being hurt, and confidence in the competence and impartiality of
psychiatry is eroding.


	Major psychiatric misdirections often share this intimidating
mixture of a medical mistake lashed to a trendy idea. Any challenge
to such a misdirection must confront simultaneously the
professional authority of the proponents and the political power
of fashionable convictions. Such challenges are not for the
fainthearted or inexperienced. They seldom quickly succeed because
they are often misrepresented as ignorant or, in the cant word of
our day, uncaring. Each of the three misdirections I have dealt
with in this essay ran for a full decade, despite vigorous
criticism. Eventually the mischief became obvious to nearly
everyone and fashion moved on to attach itself to something else.
	In ten years much damage can be done and much effort over a
longer period of time is required to repair it. Thus with the
mentally-ill homeless, only a new crusade and social commitment
will bring them adequate help again. Age accentuates the sad
caricature of the sexual reassigned and saps their bravado. Some,
pathetically, ask about re-reassignment. Groups of parents falsely
accused of sexual mistreatment by their grown children are
gathering together to fight back in ways that will produce dramatic
but distressing spectacles. How good it would have been if in the
first place all these misguided programs had been avoided or at
least their spa abbreviated.
	Psychiatry, it needs always to be remembered, is a medical
discipline--capable of glorious medical triumphs and hideous
medical mistakes. We psychiatrists don't know the secret of human
nature. We cannot build a New Jerusalem. But we can teach the
lessons of our past. We can describe how our explanations for
mental disorders are devised and develop--where they are strong and
where they are vulnerable to misuse. We can clarify the
presumptions about what we know and how we know it. We can strive
within the traditional responsibilities of our profession to build
a sound relationship with people who consult us--placing them on
more equal terms with us and encouraging them to approach us as
they would any other medical specialists, by asking questions and
expecting answers, based on science, about our assumptions,
practices, and plans. With effort and good sense, we can construct
a clinical discipline that, while delivering less to fashion, will
bring more to patients and their families.


PAUL R. McHUGH is Henry Phipps Professor and Director of the
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at the Johns
Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is the author (with
Phillip R. Slavney) of _The Perspectives of Psychiatry and
Psychiatric Polarities._ This article is from The _American
Scholar,_ Autumn 1992.

Dr. McHugh holds the copyright. Reprint with permission.

Press Release from the American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) Draws Nearly 2,300 Public Responses

originally published June 2012

According to the APA website: “The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society whose more than 36,000 physicians specialize in the diagnosis, treatment prevention and research of mental illnesses, including substance abuse disorders.”

The DSM is the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This publication is often referred to as the bible of psychiatry. It holds diagnostic categories of mental disorders, definitions, symptoms, and specific numbers assigned to each for billing purposes.

The fifth edition slated for publication in 2013 has drawn controversy from psychiatrists and psychologists who object to dissociative identity disorder (DID) being included. The task force making the final decision is likely to include DID although there is no credible evidence that supports this mental disorder beyond clinical observations and flimsy theoretical ideas.

Treatment for DID has shown to be lengthy often spanning years and sometimes decades. There is little evidence that therapy is successful. Most patients remain in treatment even though their physical and mental health deteriorates over time and does not usually improve.

Dissociative identity disorder treatment is big business. The Psychology Industry has much to gain by keeping DID in the bible of mental disorders because it generates steady and long-term income for many clinicians worldwide. Both mental health providers and Big Pharma will continue gain substantial financial gain from preying on vulnerable patients – and their families. Potent psychiatric drugs are used to only to quell symptoms like anxiety & sleep disorders since DID has not proven to have a biological cause which would make drug therapy useful.

Mistakenly, many patients think this publication validates dissociative identity disorder/multiple personalities and, therefore, proves that the bogus diagnosis exists. Holding this belief, most patients remain in treatment.


ARLINGTON, Va, USA. (June 26, 2012) – The final public comment period for the draft diagnostic criteria of the upcoming Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) drew 2,298 responses from across the country and abroad.

This feedback, submitted online … ” total, more than 15,000 comments about the proposed DSM-5 criteria have been received since 2010 from mental health clinicians and researchers, the overall medical community, and patients, families and advocates. As was the case following the other comment periods, the DSM-5 Task Force and Work Groups will now review and consider each response as they begin final revisions to the criteria.
Although each disorder area drew a wide range of comments, the two Work Groups with the highest number were the Neurodevelopmental Work Group (397 comments) and the Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum, Posttraumatic Stress and Dissociative Disorders Work Group (545 comments). APA also received more than 800 comments focused broadly on DSM-5.
After the Work Groups make their last revisions to the draft diagnostic criteria, the proposals will receive multi-level reviews by the entire DSM-5 Task Force, a separate Scientific Review Committee and a Clinical and Public Health Committee. The latter two committees will be working to evaluate the strength of scientific evidence supporting significant changes and to assess the impact of changes for clinicians and public health.
The Task Force will make recommendations to the APA Board of Trustees for its final decisions on the manual’s fifth edition late this year.

Retrieved 06/28/12. Full pdf  http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/12-30%20Final%20DSM%20Public%20Comment.pdf

45 Years of Psychotherapy Fails to Heal Psychiatrist with Multiple Personalities

Treatment for  multiple personalities is known to be long and arduous but I doubt few, if any, psychotherapists disclose the probable cost and duration of the treatment they sell. It is common for patients to be in treatment for decades and sometimes a lifetime.

Dissociative Identity Disorder, the formal diagnosis for those deemed to have multiple personalities, is a disorder that finds the patient’s personal life crumbling whereby making it difficult to take care of daily activities, jobs, and children.

How this psychiatrist managed to treat others while having such a debilitating condition himself makes me skeptical. Does this doctor really have typical symptoms of multiple personalities?  Did he offer psychotherapy that is up to the standard of care of other psychiatrists?


Meet Dr Jekyll

29 August, 2014 Amanda Davey

Published by: 6 Minutes of interesting stuff for doctors today

A South Australian psychiatrist practised for decades while suffering from dissociative identity disorder (DID), according to a case report in Australian Psychiatry (see link below).
The recently retired Dr S* underwent over 45 years of psychotherapy for the disorder and continues to see a private psychiatrist weekly.

Dr S says he regularly treated DID patients in his private practice while dealing with his own psychiatric illness.


Full story here

Related links:

Journal of Australian Psychiatry






Full Story here

South Korea: The Multiple Personality Defense

Prosecutor accuses man in parent-stabbing case of ‘fake split personality’

by Julie Chu julie.chu@scmp.com

Excerpts by blogger

A man who claimed that a split identity drove him to make up a plan to kill his parents did not suffer from multiple-personality disorder, the Court of First Instance heard yesterday.

Prosecutor Diane Crebbin said two government doctors who examined Ian Lee Christoffer Fok Lap-yin, 20, after his arrest last year found he did not have the mental illness.

Crebbin was cross-examining Fok, who is accused along with ex-schoolmate Chan Ming-tin, 20, of murdering his father Fok Lai-chi, 50, and attempting to murder his mother Irene Fok.

Fok has pleaded not guilty to both charges but Chan has admitted the murder charge.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Peter Line on Monday.

Full Story here


Inpatient Suicide

by the Law Offices of Skip Simpson

The loss of a loved one is devastating

An inpatient suicide is a shock to friends and family. You may have spent time choosing the right facility. You may have placed your loved one into a psychiatric or rehabilitation center, believing he or she would receive increased attention from healthcare providers. Unfortunately, when healthcare providers fail meet the standard of care, or to follow procedures or lack adequate training, inpatient suicides can occur. A suicide might occur because a staff member failed to conduct a regular check of the patient’s well-being. It is not the standard of care to put a suicidal patient on an every 15 minute observation level.

It is estimated 1,500 patients die each year by suicide in our hospitals and many thousands more make non-fatal attempts. Among other factors, investigations have shown these injuries and deaths can be attributed to inadequate staff training in a) how to detect, assess, and communicate suicide risk, and b) how to properly monitor known at-risk patients in the emergency room or hospital.

Dangerous hospital practices persist

Even when clinicians know patients are at elevated risk for suicidal behaviors, antiquated, untested, and dangerous hospital practices persist; e.g., the so-called every 15 minute monitoring level – a routine “intervention” that allows patients 14 minutes and 59 seconds to kill themselves using obvious anchor points, ligatures and sharp instruments.

There is no standard of care that allows healthcare professionals to needlessly endanger patients known to be at risk for suicidal behaviors. Published studies point to improved practice models, use of environmental safety and procedural checklists, and evidence-based training in how to detect, assess, monitor and manage suicidal patients – training that is now accessible, available, affordable, and which establishes the standard of care.

When a patient is at increased risk for suicidal behavior

Suicidality is the most common reason for inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. When a patient is admitted to the hospital because of thoughts of suicide, the clinician and hospital is on notice that the patient is at an increased risk for suicidal behavior. When hospital staff members are aware of a patient’s suicidal tendencies, the hospital assumes the duty to take reasonable steps to prevent the patient from inflicting harm.

Filing a claim can be difficult following a traumatic event. At the Law Offices of Skip Simpson, we provide compassionate representation for family members who have lost loved ones. You and your family have placed a large amount of trust in the medical professionals, from doctors to orderlies. They have a duty to provide their patients with correct diagnoses and to take appropriate action based on the symptoms.

How an inpatient suicide can happen

An inpatient suicide usually occurs in a psychiatric hospital, but can occur in a general hospital. They may have been placed at the facility involuntarily (a court has made a determination that they’re imminently suicidal). They may have checked in to a facility voluntarily.

An inpatient suicide may occur under any of the following circumstances:

  • Inadequate suicide assessment
  • Improper suicide watch or negligent suicide watch
  • An unsafe environment of care
  • Failure to remove environmental dangers
  • Inadequate policies and procedures regarding dangerous contraband
  • Failure to remove shoe laces or belt from patient

In handling an inpatient suicide case, we typically investigate hospital records and patient charts. Our investigation consists of interviews with witnesses and reviews of logs.

Contact our law firm

For a free and confidential consultation, contact a compassionate attorney who cares about people and demands justice. Contact the Law Offices of Skip Simpson. See what we can do for you. Call 214-618-8222 or reach a personal injury lawyer by completing our online contact form.

Retrieved 06/21/12. Reprint by permission.

Credibility, respectability, suggestibility, and spirit travel: Lurena Brackett and animal magnetism.

The abstract of this article by Quinn addresses the belief that education & knowledge exempts, or somehow insulates, one from being duped and manipulated – in this case by a traveling hypnotist. This scenario can also be seen in Dissociative Identity Disorder whereby educated women are often viewed as not falling prey to psychotherapies that defy logic and reason.
An informal survey published by the False Memory Syndrome Foundation found that most women who fell prey to illogically minded therapies were educated above the high school level. It also found that the families usually had parents who were married for decades ( indicating that single parents are probably not the reason women fled to therapy) and generally enjoy an upper-middle class life.
In the case of Multiple Personality Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder & Internal Family Systems therapies we see respectable “teachers/researchers/professors” held in high-esteem as though obtaining a medical degree and a license to practice psychotherapy exempts one from peddling nonsense when in fact the opposite may be true.
As the old saying goes: in the graduating class of 100 medical doctors, someone came in 100th yet student #100 still obtained the degree, prestige and status of “doctor” who advises, makes decisions, and offers opinions and decisions on the mental health care of others.
by Sheila O’Brien Quinn
In: History of Psychology, Vol 15, Issue 3, Aug 2012, 273-282.
In the 1830s, when 20-year-old medical student Charles Poyen (1815–1844) began the demonstration tour that led to the popularization of animal magnetism in New England, he met with considerable resistance from both the medical profession and the general public.
Skeptics argued that the phenomena apparently demonstrated during mesmeric sessions were so extraordinary that they had to be the result of intentional deception. The deception argument was bolstered by referencing the then popular prejudices against the working-class women who served as mesmeric subjects.
Conveniently, these prejudices included belief in a special talent for deception that was not found in women from more respectable backgrounds.
Mesmerists defended themselves against accusations of dishonesty by publicizing the achievements of Lurena Brackett (1816–1857), a young woman who escaped the prejudices associated with the working-class mesmeric subjects but still demonstrated apparently extraordinary mesmeric phenomena.
Lurena’s supporters argued that her respectable background made deception impossible.
This article uses Shorter’s work on the history of hysteria and Trembinski’s analysis of the history of trauma to argue that some of the seemingly extraordinary phenomena observed during a mesmeric séance can be better understood with reference to conversion disorder and the concept of hypnotic suggestion rather than intentional deception. While Lurena’s respectability made her audience ready to accept her credibility, a conversion disorder would have produced the physical symptoms that responded so convincingly to mesmerism.

On Bullshit Psychology

 I enjoy reading essays penned by people who tell is like they see it. Well done article IMHO. JB

“I was going to write this post on ” pop psychology ” but decided that moniker just doesn’t cut it, and the scope is too limited and easy.  What we are referring to when we say “pop psychology” is 99% bullshit.  Not too hard to see that, if you read 50 of those books and your life still sucks .  But for that matter, what passes for “evidence-based” psychology is still probably at least 60% bullshit.  I’m going to go beyond bashing the obvious targets that lard up our bookshelves, the self-help books and so forth.  I want to target much of what clinical psychology that the public encounters eagerly defines itself as.  It’s not “popular” necessarily, but it is awfully self-important and mostly wrong and potentially damaging to the public.  Actually, So let’s call it what it is: Bullshit psychology.

The main premise of bullshit psychology is that there is something wrong with you, and you need psychology to fix what’s wrong with you.  This is the first premise of bullshit.  I want to highlight this premise because all else in bullshit psychology rests on it.  You are broken, we will fix you.  We, the experts, will provide you the information to fix yourself.  Bullshit.”



About Dr. Rinewine

Retrieved 08-12-14, Full Article: Portlandmindful.com

Public sketicism of psychology by Scott O. Lilienfeld

Public skepticism of psychology: Why many people perceive the study of human behavior as unscientific.
By Lilienfeld, Scott O.
American Psychologist, Jun 13 , 2011, No Pagination Specified.
Data indicate that large percentages of the general public regard psychology’s scientific status with considerable skepticism. I examine 6 criticisms commonly directed at the scientific basis of psychology (e.g., psychology is merely common sense, psychology does not use scientific methods, psychology is not useful to society) and offer 6 rebuttals. I then address 8 potential sources of public skepticism toward psychology and argue that although some of these sources reflect cognitive errors (e.g., hindsight bias) or misunderstandings of psychological science (e.g., failure to distinguish basic from applied research), others (e.g., psychology’s failure to police itself, psychology’s problematic public face) reflect the failure of professional psychology to get its own house in order. I offer several individual and institutional recommendations for enhancing psychology’s image and contend that public skepticism toward psychology may, paradoxically, be one of our field’s strongest allies.
Retrieved 12/26/11. Bold typeface by blogger.

Multiple Personalities: A Lifestyle of Choice

It wasn’t until the mid 1980s that hundreds of women believed they had multiple personalities and began to live their lives accordingly – whatever that meant. By the 1990s their numbers at least doubled. Richard Kluft, M.D., Bennett Braun, M.D., Cornelia Wilbur, M.D., Colin Ross, M.D., Richard E. Hicks, M.D. a other proponents at the center of the multiple personality debacle, had significant influence on their colleagues. Kluft confesses  –  “not much has changed over the years.”

Kluft is wrong, and so are the others whether or not they admit it. The change in the relationships between adult-multiples and their birth families is devastating for all – except for Kluft and others who conjure up theories, treat patients, collect numerous paychecks and then go home to enjoy the weekend. These medical doctors are either unaware or don’t care about the human carnage left behind their therapeutic wake. The impact of this psychotherapy on the families of multiple’s is profound.

You may be wondering what I mean by ‘lifestyle.” When I was misdiagnosed (by Kluft and my treating psychiatrist) and believed I had multiple personalities, life was difficult every hour of every day. It was difficult to live alone and find a means to support myself, difficult to be in and out of a hospital, difficult to be with family – difficult to be without them, and difficult to be uncertain about my future. Would I always be multiple? would I recover? were questions that plagued me.

Stress was enormous. Everyone around me believed I had multiple personalities stemming from horrific childhood sexual abuse. If they didn’t believe I was a survivor, they were replaced by others who did. Over time, my family was shunned and then cut-off altogether because I was brainwashed into believing they would impede my recovery and/or damage me further. I missed being a part of the lives of the children in my family as they grew up, missed birthday parties with kooky cakes and presents, holidays with traditional foods, songs and celebrations. I missed it all – by choice.

I was the only one in the family who was multiple; the only one who had been abused. I alone was the survivor of multi-generational sexual torture, secrecy, and nefarious acts. Common sense was no longer working in my brain. If I was the only one relating abuse stories, wasn’t it possible I was the one who was wrong – rather than declaring that everyone else was in denial? Nope. Again, that common sense switch was turned off.

I chose to surround myself with other multiples who said they were similarly abused and I allowed myself to be guided by a psychiatrist who promoted abuse theories and encouraged me to stay away from family. I’m the one who went to art therapy, to music therapy, and who sequestered myself either in my apartment, or in a hospital room ingesting psychotropic drugs ordered to relieve psychic pain by my negligent psychiatrist.

If I changed one thing about my multiple-lifestyle be it a new apartment, different friends, or treatment at a different hospital by a different psychiatrist it would have been the collapse of my social and psychic infrastructure – I unknowingly proved that theory right when I fled therapy. I found that shedding the multiple-lifestyle left me with nothing but a need to rebuild my life from the ground up.

Knowing multiple personalities didn’t exist and that the psychiatrist had a personal agenda was helpful, but didn’t put my life back together. It didn’t instantly mend my family; didn’t reinstate my career or give me a regular paycheck. I was homeless and on the run from the psychiatrist who was eager to find me and return me to treatment even if it was against my will – he court ordered treatment before and I knew he would do so again.

It’s unfortunate that multiple personality doctors and others similarly influential in the DID movement don’t spend an extended time with multiples and/or their families. If they reunite families, these theorists and therapists have a lot to lose. Some would lose their entire practice, other would lose book deals, TV consulting contracts, and the admiration of colleagues of they stopped to look at the human carnage they create. If any one of them decided to decry the multiple lifestyle as one of utter dysfunction and chaos and, instead, promoted lifestyles based on health and growth – without multiple personalities they would create an unprecedented stir in the psychiatric community that would ultimately heal many people – this time, at their own demise. Reinstate “do no harm” would kill the careers and lucrative income of many mental health care providers.

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Multiple Personalities & Driving Motor Vehicles

Car Accident - Franklin Ave & Old Airport Rd

Image by KyleWiTh via Flickr

I believe that people who think they have multiple personalities have no business operating heavy machinery or driving a car or truck. See my post: “Multiples Should Have Driver’s Licenses Revoked”.

Below are quotes about driving published by individuals who believe they possess other personalities, their friends, relatives, spouses and others.

~~~~~~~~~~ updated 07-23-13

In her late 20s came a period of relative stability. With the immensely capable Hayley personality predominant during work hours, Kim was able to hold down a job as a van driver for five years. But one day something must have caused a switch and a disturbed personality called Julie suddenly found herself driving the van. She ploughed straight into a line of parked cars. This led to another mental health section, and a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Kim Noble: The woman with 100 personalities by Amancy Mitchinson, The Guardian, 09-30-11

retrieved 07-23-13

What if a child alter comes out while driving the car and does not know how to drive?

This was one of our first concerns — after all, the first alter we had any regular contact with was only three years old. We soon understood that each alter has a “job”, an assigned task to perform. Some jobs are somewhat general, others are very specific. Some alters’ jobs will overlap with those of others. They all work together to ensure that the person can function in whatever situation may arise. If the situation requires the ability to drive a car, then only those alters who have that skill are permitted to be active during that time.

http://jdcard.com/mpdfrnd1.htm#ChildDrive  07-23-13

What if a child alter comes out while driving the car and does not know how to drive?

This was one of our first concerns — after all, the first alter we had any regular contact with was only three years old. We soon understood that each alter has a “job”, an assigned task to perform. Some jobs are somewhat general, others are very specific. Some alters’ jobs will overlap with those of others. They all work together to ensure that the person can function in whatever situation may arise. If the situation requires the ability to drive a car, then only those alters who have that skill are permitted to be active during that time.

http://jdcard.com/mpdfrnd1.htm#ChildDrive retrieved 07-23-13.

Help! My Friend Has Multiple Personalities by James Card


i hit the bumper of a car tonite. i was drifting to a stop going less than 5mph. of course he hopped out and said the last time someone hit him it cost $3k cause his suspension is right under the bumper. !?!?!?! then his wife hops out and she’s just a jerk who keeps  reiterating … my license plate holder left a 16th inch deep screw dent in the bumper.

… and i wanted to say “got it. you’re looking to screw me. message received.” then she wanted to call the
police…. her husband was more sane and kept telling her to get in the car. no police. no
checking. just contact me tomorrow. ..

… i already pay higher insurance cause of sliding on ice last winter. don’t want to call insurance company but
if they try to screw with me i will just take the hit. …

didn’t go to thpy today cause i am beyond trying anymore. waste waste waste. hate self. never going to change. give up trying cause it is just a reminder that i can’t get past this wall. maybe i want the
wall. maybe i want to fail. i don’t know. i don’t care anymore. …

Retrieved 10/27/11. alt.support. dissociation 10/25/11


Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity: The “I have multiple personalities” defense

Formerly called multiple personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a controversial diagnosis that challenges forensic psychiatrists, other mental health clinicians, legal professionals, the media, and the public. DID cases often present in the criminal justice system rather than in the mental health system, and the illness perplexes experts in both professions.

Individuals may commit criminal acts while in a dissociated state….Defendants occasionally use DID as a basis for pleading not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI). Controversy over the DID diagnosis has contributed to debates about the disorder’s role in criminal responsibility.

Theoretically, harm by a trusted caregiver forces a child to split off awareness and memory of the trauma to survive in the relationship.

The legal approach used by the defense in cases of NGRI due to DID will be determined by the jurisdiction in which the case is tried. The “Alter-in-control” approach considers the key issue as which “alter” (personality) was in control at the time of the offense and whether he or she met the insanity standard, the “Each-alter” approach considers whether each personality met the insanity standard, and the “Host-alter” approach considers whether the dominant or primary personality met the insanity standard.9

retrieved, 08-07-14 full article dissociative-identity-disorder-no-excuse-for-criminal-activity

Dissociative Identity Disorder: An empirical overview

Proponents of multiple personality disorder – renamed and sometimes disguised as unscientifically sound Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) – make claims that research indicates this or that… Problem with this statement is that studies, upon closer examination, are fraught with researcher or journal bias & study flaws. Researcher bias is not a technical term but one easily explained and understood by the average Jane looking for specific treatment. Without tight controls, researchers can easily find what they are looking for therefore results are bias. Certain journals, like the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation published by the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) usually find what they are looking for. There are scant articles criticizing DID or shooting down beliefs or concepts that do not hold up after research is conducted.

I am always skeptical about research or articles, for example, that involve Bethany L. Brand who has repeatedly demonstrated researcher bias. Over and over she finds exactly what she’s looking for. Brand is oft published in the ISSTD Journal.

Upon reading the description below I was surprised to find the authors admitting that the “literature on DID is accumulating.” Although this seems promising for the advancement of psychology and psychiatry for those who support this controversial concept, what disturbs me is that many researchers have, for years, claimed there is already an abundance of research supporting the existence of  alter personalities that require certain types of psychiatric intervention.

Treating multiple personalities is big business. Long-term treatment can span years, decades, and sometimes the entire adulthood of patients. Former patients, during litigation for medical malpractice against providers of treatment for DID, show the cost for their therapy was over $1,000,000.

Patients who believe they have multiple personalities wrongly think there is already an abundance of scientific research supporting their diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder and, therefore, wrongly make conclusions that their disorder is valid and treatable.* In the presence of bias, there is too much room for mistakes and false conclusions.

I am thrilled that this article confesses that there are cultural variables at work. Many of us have been saying that what is a psychiatric disorder in the United States is not a psychiatric disorder worldwide. To think otherwise is short-sited and bias.


*The fact that DID is in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) does not prove anything other than the malady is recognized and is believed to have certain traits. Remember, many disorders are eventually debunked or viewed differently over time and dropped from the DSM. Homosexuality was a mental disorder worthy of treatment, yet this view is no longer held so and it was dropped from the DSM. Dissociative Identity Disorder may likely suffer the same fate.


Dissociative Identity Disorder: An empirical overview

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry

Aust N Z J Psychiatry May 1, 2014 48: 389-390


Objective: Despite its long and auspicious place in the history of psychiatry, dissociative identity disorder (DID) has been associated with controversy. This paper aims to examine the empirical data related to DID and outline the contextual challenges to its scientific investigation.

Methods: The overview is limited to DID-specific research in which one or more of the following conditions are met: (i) a sample of participants with DID was systematically investigated, (ii) psychometrically-sound measures were utilised, (iii) comparisons were made with other samples, (iv) DID was differentiated from other disorders, including other dissociative disorders, (v) extraneous variables were controlled or (vi) DID diagnosis was confirmed. Following an examination of challenges to research, data are organised around the validity and phenomenology of DID, its aetiology and epidemiology, the neurobiological and cognitive correlates of the disorder, and finally its treatment.

Results: DID was found to be a complex yet valid disorder across a range of markers. It can be accurately discriminated from other disorders, especially when structured diagnostic interviews assess identity alterations and amnesia. DID is aetiologically associated with a complex combination of developmental and cultural factors, including severe childhood relational trauma. The prevalence of DID appears highest in emergency psychiatric settings and affects approximately 1% of the general population. Psychobiological studies are beginning to identify clear correlates of DID associated with diverse brain areas and cognitive functions. They are also providing an understanding of the potential metacognitive origins of amnesia. Phase-oriented empirically-guided treatments are emerging for DID.

Conclusions: The empirical literature on DID is accumulating, although some areas remain under-investigated. Existing data show DID as a complex, valid and not uncommon disorder, associated with developmental and cultural variables, that is amenable to psychotherapeutic intervention.


  1. 1Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

  2. 2Department of Psychology, Towson University, Towson, USA

  3. 3Department of Psychiatry, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey

  4. 4Department of Psychiatry, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

  5. 5Adults Surviving Child Abuse, Sydney, Australia

  6. 6Department of Psychology, Carlos Albizu University, San Juan, Puerto Rico

  7. 7Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, USA

  8. 8Department of Psychiatry, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  1. Martin J Dorahy, Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand. Email: martin.dorahy@canterbury.ac.nz


retrieved 08-05-14 http://anp.sagepub.com/content/48/5/402.short

Carol Tavris, Ph.D.: How to Spot Pseudoneuroscience & Biobunk

“When it comes to pseudoscience, social psychologist and writer Carol A. Tavris is a self-appointed curmudgeon.

“I have spent many years lobbing hand grenades at psychobabble — that wonderful assortment of pop psych ideas that permeate our culture in spite of having no means of empirical support,” said Tavris at the 24th APS Annual Convention.“Today, however, we face an even greater challenge because in this era of the medical-pharmaceutical-industrial complex, where psychobabble goes, can biobunk be far behind?””

Carol Tavris is one of the most engaging speakers I’ve heard. Her teaching methods, wit, wisdom, and endless wonder at the absurdities of human nature bring her audiences to laughter frequently. At the end of this post are several lectures you may find enlightening and perspective adjusting.

“Not every aspect of this “biomedical revolution,” as Tavris calls it, is unwelcome. She admitted that she gets very excited about many of these discoveries. What she takes issue with is the perception that biomedical explanations are infallible. Similar to the psychobabble that plagues psychological science, “brainless neuroscience” should be giving the field an image problem, but because most people don’t know how to spot biobunk, they are more willing to accept bad neuroscience findings over good psychological ones.”

Carol Tavris IIG.jpg

According to Dr. Tavris there are a few surefire ways to spot biobunk:

1. Technomyopia – Technology knows more that I do

2. Murky Methods – Questionable methods are a sure sign of pseudoneuroscience. Statistical problems and artifacts are often hidden behind flashy findings. Imaging studies are one of the most common culprits

3. Rampant Reductionism - Be wary of conclusions that seem too neat and simple

4. Neuromarketing – Watch out for hype and overselling. Often “neuromarketers” will hawk impressive sounding devices or treatments to desperate parents, students, and teachers that are backed by questionable science.

More Abaoaut Psychobabble and Brain Silliness

How to Spot Pseudoneuroscience and Biobunk

A Skeptical Look at Pseudoneuroscience  YouTube


Psychoababbly and BioBunk: Using Psychological Science to Think Critically about Popular Psychology, 3rd Edition

Mistakes were Made (But Not by Me):Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad  Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

The Mismeasure of Woman

Psychology 10th Edition

Invitation to Psychology with DSM-5 Update

Invitition to Psychology 5th Edition

**Trigger Warning** What the heck is that?

***Trigger Warnings*** are caution signs usually found at the top of a message in an Internet forum.

It is a heads-up to people disclosing that what they are about to read may be offensive. More to the point, a trigger warning is meant to tell the reader that by continuing to read the post they may have an emotional reaction, sometimes an unforeseeable post-traumatic response.

In the multiple personality & dissociative identity disorder community it is believed, and often assumed, that the reader may find the post upsetting to a particular personality or personalities and unexpectedly cause flashbacks – usually referring to sexual or ritual abuse.

The warning is there to avert an abreaction (a reliving of the trauma) or other behaviors or thoughts that may require medical an/or psychological intervention.

In theory, this seems like a helpful and kind thought. In reality, many of the posts are read anyway and the comments that follow are comments and discussions about how the triggers embedded in the text of the post injured the reader.

Instead of acting like a caution sign, it is often a “read this” advertisement.
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Is Change in Handwriting Evidence of Multiple Personalities & Dissociative Identity Disorder?

English: Cournut_handwriting_and_signature_25_...

Image via Wikipedia

I updated this article because Dr. Yank, whose research was sited, stated that I misunderstood her research study from 1991.

I am grateful that she came here and gave me this opportunity.

Dr. Yank submitted the following (an excerpt):

I happened to stumble upon this website and noticed a comment about my research. The research was rigorously performed and evaluated, but it seems that the blogger may not have understood the intent of the study.

I am a handwriting researcher. My goal in this study was to determine whether individuals could write different styles so consistently over time that it would make it difficult to ascertain authorship on documents. This question is relevant in the case of questioned signatures and writings (wills, forgeries, written statements, and others). That goal was clearly stated in the article.

I do not have an opinion on whether or not DID exists. My research showed that in some rare cases, alleged alters wrote in unique and consistent patterns over the time that samples were gathered (several months). These situations were very rare and were verified by people who knew the writers (I did not).

Original article:

Is a change in handwriting proof that an individual possesses multiple personalities or has dissociative identity disorder as many expert believe?

Different and/or changing handwriting styles has been used as evidence of the existence of multiple personalities for decades. It is argued that an individual, either believing in or having a diagnosis of MPD/DID, can have alter personalities who write and express themselves differently on paper. It is furthermore argued that each personality can be identified by their handwriting.

I won’t argue the point that any given alter personality can be identified by their handwriting as Jane Redfield Yank, M.S.S.W. did in “Handwriting Variation in Individuals with Multiple Personality Disorder, 1991. It’s easy enough to create a character with all types of personality traits that can be reenacted and recreated over time. It occurs in films, theater, novels, and television every day. It would be interesting, however, to have a handwriting expert analyze writing samples of someone who believes they have multiple personalities. I know of no such study, but my guess is that there would be consistent inconsistency through all personalities.

I was researching the life and work of  Dr. Wallace Nutting, a minister who was also a photographer and interested in preserving antiquities. Nutting (1861-1941) became interested in photography after ill health forced him to retire from ministry. His photographs were sometimes hand-colored and often signed by the colorist, rather than Nutting himself. As a result, there are many authorized signatures on file at the Wallace Nutting Library.

Here are quotes from the Library website that address the multiple personality/handwriting theory:

“Wallace Nuttings career spanned several decades so it would reasonably be expected that his signature style would change to some degree.” Of course, my handwriting is not the same as it was when in high school is yours?

“During the several decades that the Nutting Studio was in operation, several head colorist were authorized to sign Nutting’s name to his work. For this reason the signature style will vary depending on when and in what studio the picture was made.”

Wallace Nutting Library Authorized Signatures

The library shows illustrations of Nutting’s signatures over the decades of his life. They are most interesting as they changed considerably as the culture changed, his health failed, time constraints on his art grew, colorists entered his work, and daily life moved on.

While I was in treatment, and diagnosed with multiple personalities, my former doctor used my handwriting changes as evidence that I had alters inside me that wanted to have a voice. I was initially shocked. His observations and analysis were enlightening because they quelled my doubts, and his observations were terribly frightening – leaving me with increased feelings of unreality, disconnectedness, and loss of control. Upon further thought, however, I found the statement odd for several reasons.

First, I was a prolific journalist in the early 1980s before I met him and wrote for many hours daily  – easily filling a blank book in a few weeks with tiny letters and tight use of space. When I told the doctor, he chose to ignore me.

I also knew that at times I got tired and my hand hurt – so of course my handwriting changed. When I told the doctor, he chose to ignore me.

When I was mad, or in a hurry, my letters were larger, as were the loops. The script in general was more intense, bold, and forceful. When I told the doctor, he chose to ignore me.

I savored the joy of the physical act of writing, the texture and smell of different types of paper, the feel of fountain pens or plastic ones off an assembly line, and enjoyed watching how the ink flowed as I wrote. I liked the colors, the feel of a pen in my hand and how the right combination of pen and paper could keep me writing for hours. And how the wrong texture of paper and pen could keep my journal entries short. I wrote at my desk, on my lap, while on a bus, and any other place whether or not I was stationary – so of course my handwriting changed. When I told the doctor, he chose to ignore me.

I gave up trying to tell him how writers love the instruments of their craft and that there was an another explanation to the changes in my handwriting. I let the matter go and choose to ignore him – sometimes.

Back to Wallace Nutting. His plethora of signatures could easily have been used as evidence of severe childhood sexual abuse and, therefore, he could have been diagnosed with multiple personalities had he survived and lived in America during the explosion of the MPD diagnosis in the 1980s and 1990s.

I know some will say Nutting was an undiagnosed multiple. I can’t change that. Those who put weight on changing handwriting using it as proof or evidence that multiple personalities and dissociative identity disorder exist might take a moment and factor into the equation that different handwriting exists just because we are human and change all the time.

Yank, J.R. Dissociation_Vol._4_No._1_p._002-012_Handwriting_variations_in_individuals_with_MPD

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