Research: Hypnosis and Memory: Two Hundred Years of Adventures and Still Going!


Giuliana Mazzoni1 Email for, Jean-Roch Laurence2, Michael Heap3

1Department of Psychology, University of Hull
2Department of Psychology, Concordia University
3Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield

Journal of Psychology of Consciousness: Theory , Research, and Practice

Volume 1, Number 2 / June 2014


One of the most persistent beliefs about hypnosis is its ability to transcend mnemonic abilities. This belief has paved the way to the use of hypnosis in the clinical and legal arenas. The authors review the phenomena of hypnotic hypermnesia, pseudo-memories, and amnesia in light of current knowledge of hypnosis and memory. The investigation of the relation between hypnosis and memory processes has played an important role in our understanding of memory in action. Hypnosis provides a fertile field to explore the social, neuropsychological, and cognitive variables at play when individuals are asked to remember or to forget their past. We suggest promising avenues of research that may further our knowledge of the building blocks of memories and the mechanisms that leads to forgetfulness.

First Page Preview

Psychiatric Maladies, the DSM, and Self-Deception

People don’t usually set out to copy or mimic medical or psychiatric symptoms and then fake a particular illness. When they do, it is easier to understand and identify.

Women who believe they have multiple personalities do not necessarily set out to develop symptoms associated with this psychiatric malady – although that is exactly what occurs. They are not usually malingerers, or otherwise intentionally trying to deceive others. They are misled by the psychiatric industry into a belief system and a lifestyle wrought with pain and psychic distress that is in need of medical services.

The problem is the self-deceptive aspect of believing in an illness that does not exist yet is reinforced by the powerful and influential psychiatric profession, practitioners, insurance companies who pay for the treatment, and its inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (listing of psychiatric disorders) – DSM IV.

The DSM is a list of psychiatric symptoms. A disorder’s inclusion in this publication is not “proof” that it exists. The DSM was created so practitioners could list and follow psychiatric symptoms – it is not a diagnostic tool. It was not designed for that purpose, yet most do not understand the circumstances under which the DSM came into existence and mistakenly think the DSM legitimizes their illness because of its inclusion.

I am repeatedly deluged with passionate arguments from women who claim they have multiple personalities who use the DSM as “proof” that their condition is real and, therefore, that it exists. Wrong. Inclusion of MPD/DID means nothing of the sort.

Ferris Jabr eloquently addresses self-deception in his article, “Self-Fulfilling Fakery: Feigning Mental Illness Is a Form of Self-Deception.” He states that, “by pretending to be sick, people can convince themselves they really are.”

Regarding MPD,  however, I would say that by believing to have alter personalities, convinces women that they have this psychiatric condition – which leads to defending its existence.

Ferris Jabr’s full article at, July 28, 2010.

Ohio, USA: Is a Workshop in Advances Techniques in Treating Dissociative Disorders Responsible?

Dublin Counseling Center offered continuing education credits, required by mental health practitioners so they can keep licensure – referred to as continuing education credits. The objectives of this workshop are listed below.  Absent from the list is the decades long controversy surrounding the diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder or the fact that the treatment has repeatedly shown that patient harm has been sustained.

If you have questions as to why Dublin Counseling Center is offering continuing education credits for such a controversial diagnosis, contact:

Questions regarding registration or logistics, contact Mary Ann Lewandowski via email at or  614.273.2951


Advanced Techniques in Treating Complex Trauma & Dissociative Disorders

Posted January 21, 2014

Presented by: Helen Hill, LISW-S & Cheri Kerr, PCC-S

Objectives: Participants will learn

  • Grounding/mindfulness, internal communication and internal cooperation
  • Managing problematic alter activity
  • Affect modulation, self-soothing and self care
  • Dealing with eating issues unique to this population
  • Discerning and intervening with ego state issues
  • Helping the clinician, and therefore the client, understand and intervene with the internal system

Workshop Fee: $125

Making up History: False Memories of Fake News Stories

European Journal of Psychology, Vol 8, No 2 (2012
Danielle C. Polage


Previous research has shown that information that is repeated is more likely to be rated as true than information that has not been heard before.  The current experiment examines whether familiarity with false news stories would increase rates of truthfulness and plausibility for these events.  Further, the experiment tested whether false stories that were familiar would result in the creation of a false memory of having heard the story outside of the experiment.  Participants were exposed to false new stories, each portrayed by the investigator as true news stories.  After a five week delay, participants who had read the false experimental stories rated them as more truthful and more plausible than participants who had not been exposed to the stories.  In addition, there was evidence of the creation of false memories for the source of the news story.  Participants who had previously read about the stories were more likely to believe that they had heard the false stories from a source outside the experiment.  These results suggest that repeating false claims will not only increase their believability but may also result in source monitoring errors.

Retrieved 06/05/12.

Memory in the Courtroom

What Every Attorney Should Know

by Dr. Paul Simpson,

Forensic Psychologist

A presentation for the State Bar of Arizona, USA. May 19, 2014

Memory is a vital function supporting learning, consciousness, cognition and behavior.Yet most people have little grasp of how memory works, its real purpose, or how remembered information relates to actual past events. Most laypersons believe memory functions to provide conscious knowledge of the past. Memory researchers, however, view memory as guiding current behavior based on past experience. Conscious knowledge may be a side effect, or one means to achieve behavioral guidance, but is not the real objective of the system. From this viewpoint, forgetting and other memory “failures” illuminate normal function in the same way visual illusions reveal normal visual function.

They are not mere inefficiencies but are the infrequent down-side of powerful heuristics that guide current behavior with minimal load on working memory and attention.

Full presentation by Dr. Paul Simpson, pdf

Video Lecture, Michael Shermer: Why people believe strange things

Lecture: Michael Shermer, PhD, Why People Belive Strange Things  from the Psychology Video Collection. 2006

“Why do people see the Virgin Mary on cheese sandwiches or hear demonic lyrics in “Stairway to Heaven”? Using video, images and music, professional skeptic Michael Shermer explores these and other phenomena, including UFOs and alien sightings. He offers cognitive context: In the absence of sound science, incomplete information can combine with the power of suggestion (helping us hear those Satanic lyrics in Led Zeppelin). In fact, he says, humans tend to convince ourselves to believe: We overvalue the “hits” that support our beliefs, and discount the more numerous “misses.””

Directory: Videos About Multiple Personalities and Dissociative Identity Disorder

This is a directory of videos about multiple personalities, dissociative identity disorder, and related subjects that anyone can find on the Internet.

Some videos feature mental health professionals; some feature people who believe they have the disorder. Likewise, some videos are news broadcasts aired by major networks in the United States while others are amateur videographers.

Permission to link to professionally produced videos not obtained, therefore, only the YouTube title is provided. Readers wishing to view the films need to search YouTube by the titles provided below.

This directory is for informational purposes only. This blogger produced none of the videos listed and does not refute or support them.


America Undercover  Multiple Personality Disorder – amazing stories – “Gretchen”  Part 1/5  by MissPressPlay  Retrieved 01-20-13.

“Gretchen” Multiple Personality Disorder – amazing stories – Part 2/5, shows 4-point physical restraint. (1992) Retrieved 10-20-13.

Course Title Concept 7: Multiple Personality Disorder. Features Paul McHugh, M.D. (Johns Hopkins University, USA), Richard Kluft , M.D., PhD, Hershel Walker (football legend).

DID/MPD Vlogs: Intro by Mosaix Nebula. You Tube video removed & labeled “private”

INSiDE short film Directed by Trevor Sands. You Tube Title: Inside short film.

DID/MPD Blogs: Alter Roles

Dissociative Identity Disorder: It is very real ** Caution!

HBO documentary featuring patient, Gretchen. You Tube Title: Multiple Personality Disorder – Documentary. No permission to publish, therefore, link not provided.

Oprah Show, You Tube Title: Jewish Satanic Ritual Abuse Survivor. Owner of video likely Harpo Studios. link not provided.

The Mom Series

Oprah Show 1990 featuring Trudi Chase, You Tube Title: MPD/DID With Truddi Chase. Owner of video likely Harpo Studios. link not provided.

Woman with 15 personaltiies

Full-length film. You Tube Title: Voices Within – The Lives of Truddi Chase.

My Jamie teaching MPD and DID  Retrieved 01-20-13.

I am more than D.I.D and trauma **Triggering** by WeAreSurreal  Retrieved 01-20-13.

Margo The Extraordinary – Multiple PersonalitiesFeaturning Dr. David Speigel, Retrieved 01-20-13

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Creative Commons License

Licensed under Creative Commons

Are state medical boards doing enough to protect patients?

Wisconsin state medical board faces scrutiny with few actions against doctors
January 29, 2013 | By
The Wisconsin state medical board is facing criticism that the state fails to discipline doctors who make mistakes, according to a special report by the Wisconsin State Journal.

Wisconsin has one of the lowest rates of physician discipline, with the other low discipline states being Minnesota, South Carolina, Massachusetts and Connecticut, according to Public Citizen data analyzed by the Wisconsin State Journal. Wisconsin has 1.9 actions per 1,000 physicians. …

Public Citizen has long argued the lax state medical boards allow incompetent or dangerous doctors to fly under the radar.

… the state Supreme Court ruled the medical board is supposed to protect the public, deter wrongdoing and rehabilitate doctors–not punish them.

I…the state medical board said it lacks the resources to revoke or suspend medical licenses

For more information:
- see the Wisconsin State Journal article, map data on actions and chart of reprimanded physicians

Retrieved 01-29-13

Related Articles:
Could a national registry save hospital from hiring problem workers?
Medical board, watchdog group clash over doc discipline
HHS: Doctor malpractice, disciplinary data no longer public
Medical board lacks resources to punish dangerous docs
High number of New York doctors on medical board watch list
State medical board fails to discipline, disclose bad docs
State medical board disciplining more docs

1954, Thigpen, Corbett H., Cleckley, Hervey M. “A case of multiple personalities”

Thigpen, Corbett H., Cleckley, Hervey M., A case of multiple personalities, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1954. 135-151


This publication preceded their book, The Three Faces of Eve that became a film produced and directed by Nunnally Johnson in 1957.

Corbett Thigpen and Hervey Cleckley were psychiatrists at the Medical College of Georgia, later Georgia Health Sciences University, Georgia, USA when they documented the life of Chris Costner Sizemore AKA Eve.


Secondary Trauma Issues for Psychiatrists Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder

Trauma therapists have a difficult job and I respect them for their attempts to help people suffering the fallout from the past.

In my experience, those with multiple personalities and the subsequent treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder are needy and require attention and intervention on a constant basis. In addition to regular therapy sessions, there are often emergencies that again require the attention of a mental health care provider quickly.

The pressure on therapists to provide constant oversight of their patients must be tremendously stressful. Thankfully, most therapists who diagnose and treat Dissociative Identity Disorder have a light case load.



Secondary Trauma Issues for Psychiatrists
By Joseph A. Boscarino, PhD, MPH, Richard E. Adams, PhD, and Charles R. Figley, PhD

Psychiatric Times. Vol. 27 No. 11, 2010

“Psychiatrists face growing challenges both as health practitioners and as sources of reassurance and empathy for their patients. But what if the effort to understand and help patients itself becomes a burden? The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of what we know about secondary trauma—frequently called compassion fatigue or vicarious trauma. …

Secondary traumatization also affects other health care professionals, including
those who work with patients with AIDS or cancer or who are involved in
critical care or hospice care. …it has been suggested that providing
therapy to patients who have experienced a traumatic event can be especially emotionally difficult.

Specifically, therapists who work with traumatized patients often show signs of psychological distress, including symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which appears to result from “vicarious” traumatization. Thus, it appears that providing psychotherapy to traumatized patients puts therapists at risk for mental health problems.”

Retrieved 21/22/11. Full PDF

Happy Father’s Day to all the Men Accused of Abuse that Never Happened

Its Father’s Day and I’m thinking of all the adult-children who haven’t seen their father’s face since remembering abuse 10 – 20 – or more years after is is supposed to have happened. Memory is faulty. I hope you are not misremembering your childhood.

I’m joyful that I realized therapy was nonsense and that I can hug my father and cherish him on Father’s Day.


Philadelphia: Friends Hospital Cited for Patient Neglect

This occurred in 2009. Since I missed it, here it is.

According to Tom Avril of the Inquirer,

“Friends Hospital, the historic psychiatric treatment center in Northeast Philadelphia, has replaced its chief executive officer after state and city regulators accused the facility of inadequate oversight of patients, including one who committed suicide.

The officials’ concerns focused on the hospital’s “crisis response center” – the equivalent of an emergency room – where the patient committed suicide in April. Separately, Delaware County stopped referring patients to the inpatient unit at Friends because of the suicide, general security concerns, and “allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior,” a county official said.”

Full Story: Troubled Hospital

What the Belief in Dissociative Identity Disorder or Multiple Personaltiies Teaches

Learning about dissociation, multiple personalities, alter selves, inner selves or other terminology preferred is intricate but not difficult to determine or understand. I was in this type of therapy and thankfully left.

I suspect that people who get involved in DID do not think indoctrination is a huge aspect of how this therapy works and how it keeps patients/anyone entrenched in it. The word indoctrination is difficult to accept largely because it may seem to indicate that someone nefariously tried to harm another. It may not involve intention to harm, control, or manipulate yet there is an element of trying to help someone change their beliefs about their past.

Of course this therapy indoctrinates/teaches/encourages/suggests that the cause of needing to split off into alter parts is due to extreme trauma – usually childhood sexual abuse.

This is what therapy for multiple personalities and/or dissociative identity disorder teaches (indoctrinates) people to accept and believe:

-that MPD/DID survivors are highly intelligent

-they are creative

- anyone who disagrees or questions the sexual abuse believed to have been endured is wrong and is (or considered) abusive just for not agreeing with DID, denying that the abuse occurred (such as a sibling, cousin, aunt)

- those who dare to question must be eliminated from the DID persons life (usually parents)

- a therapist or support group or Internet forum/message board is used for support and validation

- leaving the family of origin because they may hinder treatment, will not confess to sexual crimes, and are considered abusers and/or pedophiles

- that alter selves hold memories of traumatic events that other alter parts have no memory of

- one must dig up and/or discover additional alter personalities to piece together the past

- having no memory of the past or large chunks of it

- loss of time indicates that something one cannot remember, usually sexual crimes, have occurred

I suspect that people in this therapy would not accept that this is indoctrination and fight to prove my statements false. Remember, I was entrenched in this therapy and believed all the statements listed above.

Secondly, thought reform – occurs as new memories replace previously held beliefs and knowledge, like thinking childhood was normal or happy, with beliefs that severe childhood sexual abuse occurred and is the underlying cause of apparent adult dissociation and inability to function.

The diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder brings with it a subtle replacement of what an individual once knew about their past with an entirely rewritten biography over a period of years. Slowly, treatment erodes what one knows to be true with confabulated and reinvented memories.

When people are entrenched in the slow changing and influence of previously held beliefs they do not realize it is occurring. Nonetheless, it is and does,and will.

Creative Commons License
What the Belief in Dissociative Identity Disorder or Multiple Personaltiies Teaches by Jeanette Bartha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at
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Dr. Phil Exposes Deranged Psychotherapist

Deranged psychotherapist? May seem like an oxymoron – but it’s reality this time.

It’s hardly news that the Dr. Phil Show, a psychotherapy for entertainment venue taped in the United States, has at it’s core the exploitation of human tragedy for viewer consumption. Watching the dysfunction of other people can offer us a feeling of wellness and an opportunity to say: “Hey, glad that’s not me!” or “And we thought our family was bad.”

The show has it’s merits. It offers viewers information and educates the public about mental health issues. Whether or not Dr. Phil exploits patients and their families is, in my account, a question every viewer must ask and answer for themselves – while indulging in the voyeurism the television show offers.

On Friday, January 12th, 2013, the Dr. Phil show aired a program titled: Bipolar and Mentally Ill Moms. The producers slid in the Dissociative Identity Disorder/multiple personality diagnosis and lifestyle under that title. Why that decision was made is up for grabs. While I think a critique of the show is in order, it’s  a blog post left for another day. If interested in the show, keep an eye on video-clips on YouTube where full-length episodes of Dr. Phil eventually appear.

Here is the synopsis from the Dr. Phil website regarding Jenny – a mother claiming to suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder, commonly known as multiple personalities.

“Then, Jenny is a 53-year-old mother of three who says she suffers from dissociative identity disorder, formally known as multiple personality disorder. She says she has 22 “alters,” whom she calls “parts of me.” Jenny reveals the traumatic childhood experiences that she believes caused her to take on multiple personalities. And, Jenny’s son, Robert, 30, shares what life was like growing up with Jenny. Then, Jenny’s biographer, Judy, a retired therapist who wrote Twenty-Two Faces, based on Jenny’s journals and their sessions together, joins the show to defend herself against accusations that she may be exploiting Jenny.”  Retrieved 01/12/13.

Judy, the retired psychotherapist claiming to have treated Jenny for 20 years published her patient’s biography- I refuse to offer the title (currently out of stock at Amazon).

Before I go further, I want to say “Thank you” to Jenny’s son, Robert, for appearing on the show. Robert offered facts about his mother’s life saying that the biography does not correspond with his family narrative. The Dr. Phil show offered a very important fact in this patient/therapist drama – the therapist sued Robert so she could retain lifetime rights to his mother’s story. Viewers learned that the therapist is reaping monetary gain from her patient’s life.

Moving forward:

The Dr. Phil show gave viewers the opportunity to see multiple personalities and the diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder for what it is – absurd. The show highlighted how a deranged psychotherapist led her patient into a lifetime of mental illness and distress. The audience gasped and laughed at some of the therapist’s wild claims.

But for a woman and her family suffering under the direction of a psychotherapist-gone-mad, the show and biography would be laughable. Reality, however, begs compassion for a family exploited for monetary fame and gain by a psychotherapist – behavior that should be admonished by the psychiatric profession on ethical grounds. Will any psychotherapist, or psychiatric association, speak out and do so?.

I admit, I bought and read the book. I want to write an extensive book review, as Douglas Mesner, a Harvard journalist, took the time to do, but I can’t get myself to do it. This book is one of the most difficult reads I’ve mastered – because it is poorly written, disorganized, and contrived. I gave this biography my time and attention. I wrote extensive notes to myself outlining page numbers and evidence of contradictions and implausible plot twists. My notes, however, will unlikely morph into a book review. The book … will collect dust in my study.

You know what? In disgust, I can write no more.


Retrieved 01-12-13.


Further support of Jenny Hill and her therapist/friend/biographer Judy Byington-Weindorf

The Mom Series

Mark Schwartz, accused of malpractice, removed from Castlewood clinic staff

I have been informed that The who published the article below received complaints about someone the author, Mr. Mesner, named in the article below. While the complaints are without merit and Mr. Mesner followed journalistic integrity, I have redacted the name of the person and the organization cited.

If you are outraged by the actions of The Examiner pulling Mr. Mesner’s article, contact David Horan @

What continues to occur from people who do not like opinions expressed on this blog and others, is that bogus complaints are levied against us threatening legal action if we do not comply with their demand to take their name(s) off our blogs.

When people write articles and form organizations they do not have a right to threaten legal action when cited properly – yet that is what happened to Mr. Mesner and me.  Authors of blogs, websites, and publications are considered “public figures” and have no right to file complaints when journalists cite their work and quote their words properly – which Mr. Mesner and I do.

There is, of course, no copyright or other infringement nonetheless these complaints pour in. I have to admit the action works and they get what they want even though people like me and Mr. Mesner publish with journalistic integrity and abide by journalist ethics.

It’s You, readers, who suffer. Journalists cannot offer you complete information and you should be outraged.

These actions are pure highjacking of freedom of information. The individual Mr. Mesner named in the article below filed a bogus lawsuit against Mr. Mesner and choose not to show in court. The point only seems to have been to silence Mr. Mesner and cause him financial harm.

Although under duress I redact the article below, I choose to take the easy route even though it impinges on my freedom of speech and your freedom of information. I am working on many projects bigger and more important and tangling with people who file bogus complaints and who encourage silencing of information must take a back-seat so I can keep focused on my work.

Below is the article published by The with the name of said person and the organization they operate – redacted. This action is done under duress until such time as those making bogus complaints and filing bogus lawsuits can be stopped from doing so and held accountable for their deplorable behavior.

Seems those supporting the existence of multiple personalities and Dissociative Identity Disorder hate the truth and do not want the public to know what happens behind closed doors.


Guest re-blog     By:

May 25, 2013

The bizarre nature of the lawsuits created a minor, short-lived sensation among the national press at the times of their filings. The first, dated November 21, 2011 — Lisa Nasseff vs. Castlewood Treatment Center, LLC. — alleged to gross malpractice suffered while undergoing “treatment” at the St. Louis eating disorders clinic. To quote directly from the suit:


“defendant carelessly and negligently hypnotized plaintiff at a time when she was under the influence of various psychotropic medications and said hypnotic treatment directly caused or contributed to cause the creation, reinforcement, or increase in plaintiff’s mind, of false memories including the following:

a) Plaintiff suffered physical and sexual abuse;
b) Plaintiff suffered multiple rapes;
c) Plaintiff suffered satanic ritual abuse;
d) Plaintiff was caused to believe she was a member of a satanic cult and that she was involved in or perpetrated various criminal and horrific acts of abuse;
e) Plaintiff was caused to believe that she had multiple personalities at one time totaling twenty separate personalities.”

By November 09, 2012, four total lawsuits had been filed, all of a similar nature, all of which are still yet to go to trial. The allegations claim that among the false memories cultivated under the influence of Castlewood’s systematic narcosis “therapy” are disturbed, traumatizing delusions of ritual murder. No doubt, such “memories”, even when recognized as delusions, must exact a severe emotional toll, nor could the intentional cultivation of such delusions be considered anything but malpractice.

(The four lawsuits represent only some patients who now recognize their “memories” of abuse as false. Numerous families — some having started an online support network under the name of Castlewood Victims Unite — claim that they may have forever lost their daughters to false memories of Ritual Abuse that have caused them to withdraw from contact, and reason, entirely.)

But how could such delusions be cultivated in the course of treatment for eating disorders, and for what purpose? According to the allegations, it seems, the theory at Castlewood is (or was) that eating disorders signify outer manifestations of inner repressed traumas of abuse.

“Repressed”, of course, is to say that the patient does not consciously remember the traumatic event(s). Treatments based on these assumptions always seem to rely on bringing these presumed traumas out into conscious scrutiny. This, we are told, is the only way to neutralize them… the only way to end the outer symptoms these hidden traumas are believed to cause.

Is it credible to think that the co-founders of Castlewood, Mark Schwartz and his wife Lori Galperin — both internationally recognized experts in eating disorders, and both implicated in the suits — could have been reckless enough to lead vulnerable and medicated patients to cultivate absurd delusions of satanic cult abuse, or is something else going on?

In fact, wherever the idea of “repressed memories” and multiple personalities rears its ugly, debunked head, unhinged “memories” of imagined abuse are never far behind. Throughout the 80s and 90s, internationally recognized experts in trauma and dissociation (such as Richard Kluft and Colin Ross) promoted a deranged conspiracy theory of satanic cult abuse based upon accounts that had been “recovered” by their clients. Multiple investigations debunked the narrative of these accounts entirely, and it became quite clear what was really going on: an irresponsible and unscientific therapeutic practice was being employed to encourage vulnerable mental health consumers to confabulate memories of abuse — and then, in many cases, further encouraged them to insistently believe them. These confabulations, not-so-remarkably, had an enormously high probability of validating the therapist’s assumptions, regardless of how improbable those assumptions may have been.

In parallel to the satanic ritual abuse scare (now known to sociologists as the “Satanic Panic”) the exact same theories of memory retrieval brought us the mythology of alien abduction. Believing they had developed a check-list of probable symptoms of extraterrestrial contact that had subsequently been concealed from memory, “abductologists” used the same techniques employed by multiple personality specialists to draw forth elaborate narratives involving interplanetary visitors.

Interestingly, some professionals of abductology have found, in their probing explorations of their clients’ concealed “memories”, that the extraterrestrials are here to help us — they occasionally intervene in our affairs, but only on our behalf, and with unconditional benevolence and love. This contrasts heavily with narratives revealing a nefarious plot of oddly anal-centric human vivisection and exploitation. Why the discrepancy? I have personally sought out and interviewed a number of the top names in alien abduction research with this very question. In every instance, the answer has been the same: the other guys are doing the therapy wrong. They are interpreting “screen memories” improperly, or they are interpreting fear of the unknown as malice on the part of the extraterrestrials. Both sides assert that if only the other was to “dig deeper”, they would find the truth.

Incidentally, I attended a lecture, just last month, given by one Richard Schwartz, former member of Castlewood’s clinical staff, and creator of a therapy model, used at the Castlewood treatment center, called Internal Family Systems (IFS). IFS asserts that we all have multiple personalities, called “parts”, and by understanding and reconciling these parts, we may find inner peace. Some parts are destructive (suicidal, self-undermining, irrational, etc.) and it is the therapist’s job to find those parts and understand what distresses them individually.

During a Question & Answer segment of Dr. Schwartz’s presentation, I raised my hand:

Q: I worry about the distinction between getting people to recognize naturally occurring “parts” and being blamed [as a therapist] for causing people to contextualize themselves into parts to the point where you’re blamed for [creating] destructive parts. And I know there’s an eating disorders clinic that was using IFS and has lawsuits against it now. I was wondering if they could have done things differently [in their utilization of IFS therapy], or if that’s just a professional hazard?

Dick Schwartz: You know… that one’s a tough one, because what I’ve done — early in my career what I’ve done… The lawsuit’s around false memories — that whole movement’s come back some. Early in my career I had a client who went through all these cult memories. You know, I was really into it. Did some investigating, checked things out. And then, one session, we found a part that was generating all this to keep my interest because I had seen (some interest in her[?]) I’m very, very careful to never lead people toward any kind of… never presume what’s going to come out as they do their own witnessing. Even in ways — when something scary comes out — something like that — [I] say, well, we can’t really know whether this is true or not, but it is what the part needs to show so we’re going to go with it for now and later you can evaluate it, whether it’s true or not. So, it’s not just IFS, but any therapy that goes deep with people will come upon that phenomenon… and not everybody is careful in… those… realms…

Just as with alien abduction, one can always “dig deeper” in the context of IFS so as to re-narrate the entire tale. How do licensed professionals fall for this rubbish? The lecture I attended was delivered to a full-house of professional, credulous rubes in the mental health profession.

In 2009 I attended a “Ritual Abuse/Mind-Control conference” held annually in Connecticut by an organization known as XXXXXX. The conference is organized by a licensed Mental Health professional, XXXXXX, from XXXXXXXXX. A vendor booth at the conference was selling electromagnetic-beam blocking hats, and one of the speakers casually lectured us about mind-control and “demonic harmonics”, which “involves using musical tones and quantum physics to open up portals into the spiritual realms.” XXXXXX claims to have recovered memories that XXXXXX was a brainwashed assassin for the satanic cult conspiracy within the Illuminati-controlled CIA. Theories of repressed trauma are used to support the notion that if this type of lunacy can be “recalled”, so too must it all be true. (I wrote a report about this conference which XXXXXX has subsequently been attempting to litigate against on grounds of “defamation”, though, interestingly, none of the factual claims in the report are contested in the suit at all.)

The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) hosts professional conferences where the debunked diagnosis of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) (now referred to in the American Psychiatric Association’s [APA] Diagnostic & Statistical Manual [DSM] as Dissociative Identity Disorder) is discussed and elaborated upon. Their last conference found a regular speaker from the annual xxxxx conferences co-delivering a lecture on “Ritual Abuse”, a slightly euphemistic term for the conspiracy theory of satanic cult abuse.

The task force chair of the 4th edition of the DSM, Dr. Allen Frances, has recently admitted to the Wall Street Journal that MPD/DID is “complete bunk”, yet the diagnosis remains in the current 5th edition, rolled-out only last week, of the revised DSM. This refusal to acknowledge the harmful realities regarding some of their imaginary disorders surely played a role in the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) decision, announced early this month, to abandon the DSM altogether, along with a statement recognizing that “patients with mental disorders deserve better.”

Indeed they do. The APA must bear responsibility for enabling the quackery endorsed by the ISSTD, who must bear some responsibility for lending any credibility to the delusional assertions of XXXXXX

…And Richard Schwartz’s IFS must bear some responsibility for the allegations against Castlewood… and Castlewood must bear responsibility for Mark Schwartz and Lori Galperin.

New evidence suggests that Castlewood is trying to distance themselves from that responsibility as much as possible. Both Mark Schwartz and Lori Galperin were recently removed entirely from the Castlewood staff shortly after depositions were taken regarding the malpractice suits. Whether they were allowed to abruptly resign, or were outright fired is unclear at this time.

If the accusations against Schwartz and his wife prove true, let us hope they never practice again… But let us also understand, the problem is far bigger than the both of them, and it is a long way from being resolved.

More on Castlewood, by journalist Ed Cara, can be read here:


Related topics

  • Castlewood Victims Unite (Facebook)
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • eating disorder treatment
  • false memory
  • repression
  • repressed memories
  • parts therapy
  • IFS
  • Internal Family Systems
  • memory recall
  • false accusations of sexual abuse
  • Multiple Personality Disorder
  • multiple personalities
  • Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • DSM-5
  • International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISST-D)
  • False Memory Syndrome Action Network (Facebook)

Mental Health Awareness Week: Are you buying treatment based on science?

The United Kingdom based Mental Health Foundation, according to their website, “is a service improvement charity finding new ways of looking at mental health and improving the lives of people experiencing mental illness for more than sixty years. The vision is to help us all live mentally healthier lives and our mission is to help people survive, recover from and prevent mental health problems.”

The scope of what constitutes mental illness is wide. For example, depression can be environmentally based, like when a loved one dies, or depression can be biologically based, both, or neither. How long is it OK to experience depression while mourning and when is depression considered chronic and debilitating and in need of medical attention?

This year I am adding to the educational component of Mental Health Awareness Week by challenging you to investigate what type of psychotherapy you are receiving (or searching for) to find out if what you purchase is based on science or only the “clinical observations” of psychotherapists. Are you buying mental health care that has proven effective, of short duration, at an affordable price? Or is it is long, arduous, expensive, and with scant results?

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), or multiple personalities, is a diagnosis and therapeutic intervention that has little, if any, scientific evidence proving its effectiveness. Unlike most psychiatric treatment, DID is steeped in controversy because many providers, researchers, as well as former patients and their families conclude that multiple personalities are no more than a product of the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist – or iatrogenically produced. An example of iatrogenic illness is like going to the hospital to have a broken leg fixed and leaving with a fixed leg + a chest cold. If not for the fact that you were in a hospital, you would not have developed a cold – this is an iatrogenic condition.

In my case, I had no evidence of other selves or personalities prior to treatment for depression. While in therapy, however, I developed symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder because my psychiatrist was considered an expert in this field, and unknowingly I embarked on lengthily and traumatic treatment that cost me and my insurance company over one million dollars, yes that’s $1,000,000 US dollars, or 726300.00 EUR, 591800.00 GBP, 1066400.00 AUD, or 1088500.00 CAD. If that doesn’t make you choke, maybe you need more information about treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder and multiple personalities.

There is no consensus among therapists who treat multiple personalities, assumed to be based on childhood sexual abuse that is often blocked from the patient’s awareness. Treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder is documented to be a lengthily process spanning years, decades, and often a lifetime. The expenditure of personal monies, insurance coverage, and public funds allocated for mental health treatment scantly based on science, with little or no evidence of its effectiveness, is profane and an obscene abuse of public trust.

Copyright Jeanette Bartha





Play Therapy with Multiple Personality Disorder Clients

International Journal of Play Therapy

1993  Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 1-1

Klein, Jeffrey Wm.; Landreth, Garry L.

The use of play therapy with child alters of adults who have multiple personality disorders is explored.
Various approaches to play therapy that are used with children may also be effectively used with child alters.
Play may be used to help sublimate expressions of anger, recover dissociated memories, and increase communication and cooperation among alter personalities.
Play therapy offers distinct advantages when working with child alters, and the play room allows for special techniques that can be used with all alters in the personality system.

Crime and Courts: Rethinking the ‘false memory’ controversy by Steven Elbow | The Capital Times

The article below, penned by Steven Elbow of The Capitol Times, Madison, Wisconsin, is one of the most faulty articles I’ve read. The misquotes, misinformation, and simply wrong information in this publication is astounding. Some of the facts Mr. Elbow got wrong could have easily been published correctly had he conducted a simple Google search that would have led him to the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) website; a search most 13-year old students know how to conduct.

I am not a spokesperson for the FMSF; I am not, nor have I ever been, a member. I’m posting this article because I abhor misinformation posing as fact.

Mr. Elbow, in his own words did research (and I use that word loosely) “to cobble together a quick and interesting story”. However, he not to tell his readers that facts would be lacking.

I contacted Dr. Pamela Freyd at the False Memory Syndrome Foundation to inform her of Mr. Elbow’s sloppy reporting and the quotes used out of context to fit his agenda against the Foundation and its distinguished advisory board. Dr. Freyd told me she spent an hour on the phone with Mr. Elbow during his investigative research for this article.

Evidently, he wasn’t listening to Dr. Freyd.

For accurate information about the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, please visit their website @ or call Dr. Pamela Freyd, Executive Director, at USA 215-940-1040.

This is a long article. Below are only pertinent excerpts illustrating the misinformation published:

Crime and Courts: Rethinking the ‘false memory’ controversy

STEVEN ELBOW | The Capital Times | | Posted: Sunday, April 17, 2011 1:45 pm

“In December I wrote a story about a case in Dane County Circuit Court in which the parents of a woman sued their daughter’s therapists for psychotherapy treatment they said prompted false memories of sexual abuse by the father.

The case was being closely watched by the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, a group founded in 1992 to advocate for parents who were wrongly accused.”

…A Wisconsin member of the foundation gave me a call to tip me off to the case, then put me in contact with executive director Pamela Freyd, who offered compelling quotes and easy research for a reporter trying to cobble together a quick and interesting story. It never occurred to me that I was dealing with a highly organized public relations machine until a victim and a sexual assault advocate emailed me with their concerns.”

Mr. Elbow then uses anecdotes from a victim of child sexual abuse, “Beth” who claims her memories just came to her one day at the age of 37 – she also claims to have a confession from her brother regarding the abuse. “Beth” goes on to say: “It appeared that because some women recanted their story, we should believe that recovering memories of childhood sexual abuse as adults is not something that happens.”

Mr. Elbow states that the FMSF “…rejects the idea of trauma-induced amnesia, often called repressed memories, the notion that long-forgotten incidents of abuse can be later recollected by adults. …

…The phenomenon that people think of as repressed memories can be explained by ordinary memory processes,” says Freyd, a psychiatrist. “It doesn’t take some kind of special mechanism to explain them. It doesn’t mean that the memory was repressed. …

Beth and many others maintain that perpetrators will go to any lengths to deny the allegations against them. And they believe the False Memory Syndrome Foundation provides offenders with the means to refute the allegations against them.

…Freyd says she has no way of knowing if any of the tens of thousands of parents who have contacted the foundation are perpetrators.”

“We don’t know the truth or falsity of what happened in people’s families,” she says. “The only thing that we can do is provide people with information. We can put them in touch with other families, if that’s what they want. We can help them find therapists, if that’s what they want. We can help them find attorneys, if that’s what they want.”

“The foundation does more than that, sometimes providing expert witnesses in court cases to discredit accusers. …

In an even more embarrassing incident, Ralph Underwager, a psychologist and minister who helped found the group and who became a prominent expert witness in cases involving accused parents, gave an interview to a Dutch pro-pedophilia magazine that sank his career….

…Freyd and her husband, Peter Freyd, also a psychologist, founded the False Memory Syndrome Foundation after their daughter, Jennifer Freyd, accused Peter of sexually abusing her during her teen years. Memories of the abuse surfaced in the course of psychotherapy treatment.

Jennifer Freyd has never recanted her accusations, and has become a well-respected memory researcher in her own right at the University of Oregon. …

…”Pamela Freyd says it may be time to declare the mission accomplished. A long string of court cases has practically stamped out controversial therapies for memory retrieval. And court cases concerning repressed memories that have been teased out through therapy are now rare.”

Mr. Elbow goes on to report on detail a recent case in Wisconsin where the parents of an adult-child in therapy sued the therapist for encouraging false information of sexual abuse to be remembered.

“What is the impact of mental health records being used against a patient’s will?” asks Kelly Anderson, executive director of the Dane County Rape Crisis Center.

She says the release of protected mental health records could set a dangerous precedent.”

…”Freyd says the number of cases of false memories has fallen precipitously as litigation has changed psychiatric practices.

Retrieved again on 4/28/11.

About Steve Elbow

Steve Elbow

Steven Elbow has covered police and court issues for more than a decade in Wisconsin. He joined The Capital Times in 2000, where he has covered city, county and state government in addition to law enforcement. He has also worked for the Portage Daily Register and has written for the Isthmus weekly newspaper in Madison. Retrieved from The Cap Times, published 9/1/09.


Brief reality Check: Elementary My Dear Watson.

Pamela Fryed, PhD holds a degree in Education – she is NOT a psychiatrist (someone who holds a medical degree) as Mr. Elbow states

Peter Freyd, PhD holds a degree in mathematics – he is NOT a psychologist, as Mr. Elbow states.

Mr. Elbow may have written a quick and interesting story and in so doing failed miserably in writing a piece with journalistic integrity. He chose not to present factual statements and took information out of context as many do whose actual agenda is to discredit.

This type of sloppy reporting is shameful to investigative journalism and to the Capitol Times who published it. Perhaps Mr. Elbow would be interested in writing another article that he could pack with facts and with a slant towards the truth in this controversy that rips apart many families?

Mr. Elbow could have done a lot to bring polarized opinions in this matter towards understanding through information – instead he took the lazy way out and did nothing more than meet his deadline and entertain a few people for a few minutes with his “quick and interesting” story.


The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) USA: Supports Dissociative Identity Disorder & Mutiple Personalities

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a premier organization supporting individuals with mental illness, and their families, published this Fact Sheet where they inform consumers that there is huge controversy surrounding this diagnosis and treatment, yet they are not compelled to remove it from their site. Therefore, NAMI gives the impression that Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is an acceptable diagnostic category and mainstream instead of taking a stance one way or the other.

NAMI, being a resource for many mental health care consumers and their families, misleads those in need of treatment. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a responsibility to inform consumers of the following:

  • treatment for multiple personalities, resulting in a diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder, may result in a need for extensive psychotherapy that often lasts years or decades.
  • treatment is expensive
  • treatment is unlikely to be covered by insurance
  • treatment is chaotic and will disrupt family harmony
  • treatment has led to severe and lifelong disability in some cases

Dr. Duckworth and Dr. Freeman are listed as “reviewers” of the pdf file below. I do not know what NAMI means by reviewer, but I take it to mean they did not write the article. If I am in error, perhaps NAMI will correct me.

Support for Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) without informing consumers and their families about the controversy is a shameful and irresponsible act. Failing to do so makes me question everything else they say on their site.  (2012)

About the reviewers of this Fact Sheet:

Kenneth Duckworth, MD (medical doctor): Medical director for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Doard certified in adult and child and adolescent psychiatry; and a forensic psychiatry fellowship.An Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard University Medical School and  works as Associate Medical Director for Behavioral Health at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts.Attended the University of Michigan and Temple University School of Medicine.

He is also a family member of a person living with mental illness.

Jacob Freeman, MD (medical doctor) resident in psychiatry at The Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Training Program in Boston, Massachusetts.A graduate of The College of William and Mary and The University of Massachusetts Medical School.

About the National Alliance on Mental Illness from their website:

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope for all of those in need.

From its inception in 1979, NAMI has been dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. Financial contributions allow NAMI to offer an array of programs, initiatives and activities in support of the NAMI mission.


Dissociative Disorders FACT SHEET, pdf

NAMI • The National Alliance on Mental Illness

What is dissociation?

A number of people with mental illnesses experience dissociation: a disturbance of thinking, awareness, identity, consciousness or memory. Dissociation is more severe than just ordinary forgetfulness and is also not associated with any underlying cause of memory deficits or altered consciousness (e.g., neurological illnesses, substance or alcohol abuse). Some people have dissociative events that last only moments where as others experience extended periods of dissociation.

Some people will experience having limited ability to regulate their bodily functions and may feel like they are “going crazy” or are “out of my body” during dissociative events. Other people may lose control of their emotions or actions during a dissociative event and can do things that are otherwise quite uncharacteristic. Some people will have limited memory of the dissociative event and may feel surprised or disoriented when it ends. Many people may later recall what happened during their dissociation, but others may not be able to remember significant parts of what occurred, sometimes for even for a time before they dissociated.

There is an association between traumatic events and the process of dissociation. It may be that dissociation is a way the mind/brain contends with overwhelming stimuli. There is much more to be learned about the process of dissociation and the best strategies to address it. Dissociation can be part of a symptom of an existing mental illness. For example, many people who have experienced a traumatic event, such as physical or sexual abuse, may have some aspect of dissociation during the event itself and will be unable to recall details regarding their victimization. Dissociation can be a symptom associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and with certain anxiety disorders, including panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What are dissociative disorders?

Dissociative disorders are a controversial sub-group of mental illnesses. The most dramatic condition in this area is called dissociative identity disorder, formerly called multiple personality disorder. The media has a history of sensational portrayals of dissociative and of persons who have pretended to have dissociative illnesses in order to avoid criminal charges. Researchers, clinicians, and the public alike find the topic compelling and challenging to understand.

There is controversy over whether or not dissociative disorders are over diagnosed or improperly diagnosed by certain mental health professionals. This is an ongoing debate that is unlikely to be resolved soon.

In rare cases, some individuals have severe symptoms of dissociation in the absence of another primary mental or medical illness. In these situations, the DSM-IV-TR lists criteria by which dissociative disorders may be diagnosed. Dissociative disorders as defined by the DSM-IV-TR include:

• Dissociative amnesia—characterized by severe impairment in remembering important information about one’s self. This is perhaps the most common of the dissociative disorders and—like all other dissociative illnesses—is associated with traumatic events. This amnesia can be limited to specific details or events but can also encompass entire aspects of a person’s life.
• Dissociative fugue—a massive disorientation of self that leads to confusion about one’s personal identity and potentially the assumption of a new identity
• Depersonalization disorder—marked by recurrent feelings of detachment or distance from one’s own experiences and can be associated with the experience that the world is unreal. While many people experience these sensations at one point in their lives, an individual with depersonalization disorder has this experience so frequently or severely that it interrupts his or her functioning.
• Dissociative identify disorder (DID)—previously called multiple personality disorder, DID is the most famous and controversial of the dissociative disorders. This is characterized by having multiple “alters” (personal identities) that control an individual’s behavior and actions at different times.

What are some available treatments?

In patients where dissociation is thought to be a symptom of another mental illness (e.g., borderline personality disorder or PTSD), treatment of the primary cause is of upmost importance. This can involve psychotherapy and psychiatric medications when appropriate. It is important to note that there is no clear consensus on the treatment of dissociative symptoms themselves with medications for it is unclear whether or not psychiatric drugs can help to decrease symptoms of dissociation and depersonalization.

Psychotherapy is generally helpful for people who experience dissociative episodes. Different cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) techniques have been specifically developed by mental health professionals to decrease symptom frequency and improve coping strategies for the experience of dissociation.

As with any mental illness, the caring support of loved ones cannot be underestimated, particularly for individuals with a traumatic past.
Reviewed by Ken Duckworth, M.D., and Jacob L. Freedman, M.D., November 2012

Related links:

Kenneth Duckworth, MD bio

Kenneth Duckworth, MD Question & Answer interview:

Revised 12-02-12

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.

Research on Dissociative Identity Disorder 2000-2010: Only 9 per year shows lack of evidence?

Purpose: to assess the scientific and etiological status of dissociative identity disorder (DID).

How: by examining cases published from 2000 to 2010.

Findings: The review yielded 21 case studies and 80 empirical studies, presenting data on 1171 new cases of DID.  A mean of 9 articles, each containing a mean of 17 new cases of DID, emerged each year.


  • Most cases of DID emerged from a small number of countries and clinicians.
  • people simulating DID in the laboratory were mostly indistinguishable from individuals with DID
  • the research lacks the productivity and focus needed to resolve ongoing controversies surrounding the disorder.


J Nerv Ment Dis. 2013 Jan;201(1):5-11. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31827aaf81.

A review of published research on adult dissociative identity disorder: 2000-2010.

Author Information: Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Fredonia, USA.


The purpose of this study was to assess the scientific and etiological status of dissociative identity disorder (DID) by examining cases published from 2000 to 2010. In terms of scientific status, DID is a small but ongoing field of study. The review yielded 21 case studies and 80 empirical studies, presenting data on 1171 new cases of DID. A mean of 9 articles, each containing a mean of 17 new cases of DID, emerged each year. In terms of etiological status, many of the central criticisms of the disorder’s validity remain unaddressed. Most cases of DID emerged from a small number of countries and clinicians. In addition, documented cases occurring outside treatment were almost nonexistent. Finally, people simulating DID in the laboratory were mostly indistinguishable from individuals with DID. Overall, DID is still a topic of study, but the research lacks the productivity and focus needed to resolve ongoing controversies surrounding the disorder.

Comment in

When the Devil Knocks a documentary by Helen Slinger

Bountiful Films presents:

Helen Slinger’s, When The Devil Knocks.

This documentary “sheds light on a misunderstood mental illness, but more strikingly provides viewers with a deeply intimate and stirring portrait of a long suffering woman with multiple personalities.”

Hilary Stanton, the patient starring in the film, has over 30 “alters” as she and her therapist, Dr. Cheryl Malmo, call them.

Although Dr. Malmo has worked with Hilary for over 10 years, it is not clear from the film trailer if her patient has overcome her presenting problem of childhood sexual abuse or if she has rid herself of the need for alter personalities. It seems, however, that Dr. Malmo is incompetent at her job, and that Hilary could use a second opinion and a new mental health care provider.

Happy Kreter, one reviewer of the film calls it “deeply disturbing” and I’m sure it is but for reasons beyong portraying a women tormented for over 10 years with alter personalities and with little apparent relief from them or her abusive past. It would be disturbing to most people to see a patient depicted in a film in this manner. If, as Dr. Malmo claims, Hilary has 30 or more personalities, there is no way this woman could give informed consent to be the star of a deeply intimate exposure of her personal life.

The film shows Hilary regressed to alters that are 5 years of age. There can be no informed consent from a child.

Helen Slinger, although breaching patient privacy, has provided viewers with a true look at what occurs behind the closed doors of a therapy room where DID behaviors are learned and encouraged to develop. It shows a devoted and loving therapist leading her patient through the experiences of “alters” and shows the patient, as a regressed alter, divulging her experiences.

Is this a documentary ? or patient exploitation?


Reporters without Borders: May 3rd is World Press Freedom Day

“For the first time ever, Reporters Without Borders is publishing a list of profiles of “100 information heroes” for World Press Freedom Day (3 May). Through their courageous work or activism, these “100 heroes” help to promote the freedom enshrined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the freedom to “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

2014 Press freedom barometer 16
journalists killed
journalists imprisoned
netizens imprisoned



          This blogger offers appreciation & thanks to all journalists who believe  information does not belong to anyone and who put this belief into practice by fighting to keep information flowing worldwide.

          Here’s a tiny example of what I’ve had to address on this blog that shows what journalists have to cope with just to keep information flowing without interference or censorship.

          Early in my blogging career, a few years ago, I published a post that someone did not like. The post I published included this person’s website address amongst a hundred other blog addresses owned by people who believe they have multiple personalities or the psychiatric diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder, (DID). It was a directory compiled so my readership could easily and quickly access information.

The angry blogger, I’ll call Mary, had been visiting my blog regularly leaving hateful comments telling me my opinions were wrong and, therefore, I was an awful person. I don’t like being called names but allowed the discourse because I believe in freedom of thought and expression.

          Mary demanded that I remove her web address from my post. I contemplated her request and decided to leave the post as is. Soon thereafter I received an email from WordPress, the host and owner of the software, telling me there was a complaint against me for copyright infringement. Yep, copyright infringement. “What?” I thought. Furthermore, I was given a short time to correct the matter, or have my blog shut down. “What?”

          When I investigated the complaint, I found that Mary, the angry blogger who didn’t want her web address on my blog, filed a false complaint of copyright infringement, and named her friend, I’ll call Sara Pawn as the paralegal handling the complaint. I did a paralegal Internet search using the name “Sara Pawn” that turned up two hits in the United States. I spoke to both law firms and their Sara Pawn was not associated with the WordPress complainant, Mary.

          Knowing I had not infringed on copyright law and finding no paralegal in the United States named Sara Pawn associated with the angry blogger, I concluded the complaint was without merit. However according to WordPress, I had a choice of removing Mary’s web address or have my blog shut down. I allowed this blog to be shut down while I decided what to do. WordPress representatives informed me that they do not investigate the veracity of complaints, they just forward them to the blogger, me. I eventually removed the address and WordPress reinstated my blog because it was easier than continuing a ridiculous fight.

          I offer this anecdote as an example of what journalists deal with on a daily basis. My story is infinitely small compared to journalists in war torn countries struggling to keep news flowing, but it shows how easy it is to hurl insults and lies in an effort to silence journalists and how journalists have to stop reporting on world events in order to handle side-shows.

          Sometimes journalists are jailed; some go missing; others are killed while getting you and me information.

          Several years have passed since Mary falsely accused me of not having journalistic integrity. I now know the lengths people will go to silence me and to censor the information I bring to you simply because they have differing opinions. This is a tiny blog on the Internet, imagine the stress and struggle high-profile journalists cope with.

          The next false complaint against this blogger will not be met with compliance.

The Persistence of Folly: Critical Examination of DID

Critical Examination of Dissociative Identity Disorder. Part II.
The Defence and Decline of Multiple Personality
or Dissociative Identity Disorder

August Piper, MD, Harold Merskey, DM






In this second part of our review, we continue to explore the illogical nature of the arguments offered to support the concept of dissociative identity disorder (DID). We also examine the harm done to patients by DID proponents’ diagnostic and treatment methods. It is shown that these practices reify the alters and thereby iatrogenically encourage patients to behave as if they have multiple selves. We next examine the factors that make impossible a reliable diagnosis of DID—for example, the unsatisfactory, vague, and elastic definition of “alter personality.” Because the diagnosis is unreliable, we believe that US and Canadian courts cannot responsibly accept testimony in favour of DID. Finally, we conclude with a guess about the condition’s status over the next 10 years.(Can J Psychiatry 2004;49:678-683)

Man Accused of Sexual Assault & Murder of Infant Daughter: Blames alter personality

Another excuse of “My alter personality did it!

South Carolina, USA reports:



Vincent Ortiz Delvalle charged in death of 4-month-old daughter

UPDATED 6:53 AM EDT May 01, 2014
by Myra Ruiz

GREENVILLE, S.C. —Testimony in a hearing on Wednesday revealed that a Greenville County man accused of

Vincent Ortiz Delvalle is charged with criminal sexual conduct and homicide by child abuse in the death of 4-month-old Callia Sky Ortiz in March 2013.


According to Investigator Wayne Campbell with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, Delvalle told the child’s mother that he has two personalities.

Delvalle initially faced only a criminal sexual conduct with a minor charge. Themurderchargewas [sic] added as the investigation continued.

Retrieved 05-02-14

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