The Management of Malevolent Ego States in Multiple Personality Disorder

Watkins, John G.m Watkins, Helen, Dissociation : Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 067-072


“Malevolent” personalities create tremendous problems to both the patient and the therapist. The dangers of possible suicide, homocide and other acting-out by such angry states multiply the difficulties in achieving personality integration. Such entities originally developed to protect the individual. They represent a defense for the abused child who was confronted with a situation with which he could not cope. Suggestions by the therapist that the treatment goal is “fusion” constitute a threat to the existence of alter personalities, and mobilize their resistance. Ego-state theory holds that “dividing” lies on a continuum, ranging from normal, adaptive differentiation (as represented by different moods) to pathological dissociation (as represented by true multiple personality disorder). Between lie covert “ego-states” which are organizations of behavior and experience separated by semi-permeable boundaries. In this theory, treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder involves reducing the rigidity of the boundaries and moving them down the continuum until they become ego-states-such as are found in normal subjects under hypnosis. From this point of view malevolent alters need not be threatened with non-existence, but are promised continued selfness and identity within a larger organizational framework. Such an approach lowers their resistance to treatment, and “integration” (which is not the same as “fusion”) is more easily attained. The therapist becomes their “friend” rather than their “enemy.”

Retrieved 9/14/11.



Adjective: Having or showing a wish to do evil to others.
In the early days of the study of multiple personalities the following was theorizes:
  1. integration of personalities/alters was a goal of treatment
  2. Ego-state theories were applied overview.html
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