International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD), publishing ad campaigns disguised as research?

The study below begs the questions: Is the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, the official publication of the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) , simply drumming up business by publishing pseud-science? Is Dr. Colin Ross conducting studies to back his beliefs and the need for long-term treatment? Is the ISSTD and/or Dr. Colin Ross adding to the body of scientific knowledge?

Dr. Colin Ross, past president of the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) has been on the cutting edge of the controversial diagnosis of Multiple Personality Disorder, renamed Dissociative Identity Disorder, for nearly 20 years. Following his tenure at the ISSTD, he founded the Colin A. Ross Institute in 1995 to “further the understanding of psychological trauma and its consequences by providing educational services, research, and clinical treatment of trauma based disorders” according to his website.

The mental malady of multiple personalities was popularized in the 1980s and enjoyed growth through the 1990s until it was debunked by mental health professionals who found it useless and harmful and by patients testifying that it was the process of psychotherapy, not a psychiatric condition, that created their alter personalities. In addition, many medical doctors like Colin Ross were sued for the treatment they offered patients, see Martha Ann Tyo v. Colin A. Ross, MD, et al.

People unfamiliar with the history of multiple personalities or Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) would likely read this study and conclude that indeed, those diagnosed with two conditions 1) DID  and 2) Borderline Personalization Disorder have suffered more sexual abuse trauma than those diagnosed with only one condition and, therefore, the need for intense, long-term treatment is justified. For a thorough history of this diagnosis, see The Persistance of Folly by Drs. August Pipers and Harold Merskey.

The abstract offered by the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation regarding Dr. Ross’ study states that the human subjects used for the collection of data are from
“a hospital Trauma Program”. That statement tells readers nothing, but makes this blogger wonder if the subjects used for this study were Dr. Ross’ patients who are, or were, treated at his Institute in Texas, USA? Is there a conflict of interest here? Unless the population of patients used for this study come from a “Trauma Program” not associated with the Colin A. Ross Institute the conflict of interest may be quite high.

Is this a scientific study or a well disguised ad campaign created by the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation who states that the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation is their “official” publication?

In addition, The Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule used in this study was developed by Dr. Ross. Another conflict of interest? The form can be found on the Dr. Ross’ website Sample Forms.

It is most unfortunate that the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation publishes studies like this that clearly show the potential for a conflict of interest that supports the need for more therapy while pushing aside treatment likeDialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) that has a high rate of success behind it.

Where is accountability? Where is patient welfare? Is the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation fighting for job-security and making money off pseudo-studies like this?


Co-Occurrence of Dissociative Identity Disorder and

Borderline Personality Disorder

Colin A. Ross M.D., Lynn Ferrell, Psy.D., Elizabeth Schroeder, B.A.

09 Sep 2013


The literature indicates that, among individuals with borderline personality disorder, pathological dissociation correlates with a wide range of impairments and difficulties in psychological function.

It also predicts a poorer response to dialectical behavior therapy for borderline personality disorder.


1) dissociative identity disorder commonly co-occurs with borderline personality disorder and vice versa

2) individuals who meet criteria for both disorders have more comorbidity and trauma than individuals who meet criteria for only one.

Method of the Study

They interviewed a sample of inpatients in a hospital Trauma Program with three measures of dissociation. The most symptomatic group was those participants who met criteria for both borderline personality disorder and dissociative identity disorder on the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule, followed by those who met criteria for dissociative identity disorder only, then those with borderline personality disorder only, and finally those with neither disorder. Greater attention should be paid to the relationship between borderline personality disorder and dissociative identity disorder.

Author affiliations

  •  The Colin A. Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma , Richardson , Texas , USA
Leave a comment


  1. Sheri J. Storm

     /  08/19/2014

    Money, Money, Money, Money… MONEY.

    What a hugely succe$$ful, global enterprise. What do you get when you pair Borderline Personality with Imaginary Cohabitants?

    Ching, ching… Forever Patients.

    Ching, ching – Counterfactual Trauma Virtuosos

    Isn’t Collin Ross the “Dr” who teaches “professionals” how to spot DID in toddlers, selling “specialist” credentials to conference attendees and book buyers? A simple internet search yields compelling evidence that this “DID Movement” is the largest (pseudo) psychological pyramid scheme allowed to flourish (while disregarding the hippocratic oath.)

    The financial opportunities, potential and incentives for mental health charlatans digging for alleged repressed memories – staggering. The exploitation and victimization of patients, families, loved ones – beyond unconscionable.


    • There is big money in the “survivor” industry.

      It’s somewhat easy to spot the professional survivors, but does the public know how to spot it?

      Thanks for your comments.



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