The Most Dangerous Idea in Mental Health by Ed Cara

USA, Pacific Standard: The Science of Society. November 3, 2014.

Ed Cara Mr. Cara lives in New York City. He writes about the intersection of science and social justice at his blog, Grumbles and Rumbles.

Excerpts:

“The belief that hidden memories can be “recovered” in therapy should have been exorcised years ago, when a rash of false memories dominated the airwaves, tore families apart, and put people on the stand for crimes they didn’t commit. But the mental health establishment does not always learn from its mistakes—and families are still paying the price.

Nearly four years ago, Tom and his ex-wife sent their daughter to an eating-disorder clinic called the Castlewood Treatment Center, outside St. Louis. In her five months there, Anna grew to believe she had recovered memories of a deeply abusive childhood that she had previously banished from her conscious mind.”

Full article retrieved 11-18-14.

I am adding Mr. Cara’s article to my growing list of historical developments of the false memory syndrome craze, repressed memory theories, multiple personality, dissociative identity disorder and others. Society can no longer ignore the fact that some of these treatments began way back in the 1905, and earlier, but they still thrive today – one hundred years later.

The ever growing list of family tragedies stemming from some types of psychotherapies based on pseudoscience that may treat medical disorders with personal beliefs and politics, rather than science, will no longer be ignored on this blog.

The organizations listed below, to my knowledge, have not taken major steps to insist on science-based treatment for people seeking mental health care. These goofy-therapy debacles that were largely ignored by the United States organizations, like the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association and most recently the US backed National Association of Social Workers – who recently offered continuing education credits for attendees of a recent conference on multiple personalities, disguised in my opinion, as a trauma and dissociation conference held in Seattle, Washington, USA, must be include for an accurate history.

The Warping of the American Women’s Movement

The credibility of the “survivor movement” reached a higher level in the late 1980s when victims of  sexual abuse perceived that American culture had changed significantly in their favor. Women rejoiced believing they were finally able to speak of their silent sexual abuses and that society was ready to listen and take action. Some voices were heard publicly –  others privately.

Women, including me, had marched for equality and the right to be heard in the hot, summer streets of Washington D.C.. We carried banners and colorful flags and sang our songs for years – years that stretched into decades, but our time had come.

By the early 1990s, the survivor movement warped into the “victims” movement. It wasn’t a calculated change, but one that occurred when the psychology industry grasped onto the struggles of women who were sexually abused. Born from the marriage between vulnerable women and psychotherapy was repressed memory therapy. A new technique believed to help women recall buried memories of sexual abuse. The victim movement warped yet again when some women remembered satanic ritual abuse and other atrocities that included human sacrifices and violent torture.

Over the next decade, while women flooded therapist’s offices remembering all sorts of abuses, the large survivor movement took yet another turn that was not apparent until years later. After years of repressed memory therapy, an increasing number of women realized that the psychology industry took advantage of them when they were vulnerable and in need of medical care. In a variety of ways, many of came to understand that they had not been sexually abused, but had been led to believe so by overzealous therapists who refused to hear their protestations.

What happened to those of us swept into the psychotherapy machine? We were silenced. Women, silenced again. The women’s movement had been fractured by a tenacious psychotherapy beast unwilling, and by then, unable to back down and confess its wrongdoing. But this time the silencing was done by other women.

It was a difficult time for me because I as an activist, I fought in the streets of Washington with thousands of other women and now my voice was silenced. No one wanted to hear that I was coerced into believing I had been sexually abused when I had not been because it was feared that women who had been abused would once again be silenced and disregarded.

I don’t know if Americans understand the power, might, and influence of the psychology industry. The beast keeps many women in its claws by supporting and encouraging the “victim” mentality. This group of women will not relinquish their position in society as abuse survivors who demand understanding and support by the rest of us. By the increasing number of Internet blogs and groups alone, it is clear that some women will never be healed no matter how much therapy is received or to what depth therapists encourage them to fall.

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The Warping of the American Women’s Movement by Jeanette Bartha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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Chris Costner Sizemore: AKA The Three Faces of Eve (1927- )

Update 01-11-14. To date, I know of one high profile case of multiple personalities or Dissociative Identity Disorder that did not claim childhood sexual abuse as it antecedent or cause. That case is reported by Hershel Walker, former American football icon, who claims his multiple personalities were caused by childhood bullying.

If there are people out there who claim to have developed multiple personalities by causes other than childhood child abuse, I’d be interested to hear from you.

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Christine (Chris) Costner Sizemore

born 1927 –

Most Noted for:

Diagnosed in the 1950s, she is considered by some to be the first documented case of multiple personality disorder in the 20th century. Chris Sizemore is known by the pseudonym, Eve.

Sizemore had eight psychiatrists during her lengthily treatment that spanned over two decades. Corbett Thigpen and colleague, Hervey Cleckley, M.D., published a book that was a historical case study based on her life titled: “The Three Faces of Eve” which gained best-seller status as did the movie by the same title.

During the later part of her illness and recovery from multiple personality disorder, Chris Sizemore was treated for four years by Dr. Tony Tsitos in Virginia.

Early childhood traumas:

Chris Sizemore, in a YouTube documentary “Hard Talk,” a BBC Interview, said that at the age of two, she experienced three consecutive traumas.

  1. her mother cut her arm badly
  2. she saw a drowned man being recovered from a ditch, heard the word “death,” and began to believe that anyone who was sick or hurt was “dying.”
  3. she witnessed a man cut in half at a lumber yard.

Chris Sizemore repeatedly states that it was with the help of her psychiatrists, devoted family, and her belief in God that saw her through her illness and led to her recovery.

Publications:

1958.  The Final Face of Eve

1977. I’m Eve

1989. A Mind of My Own

Sources:

Georgia Encyclopedia

Sizemore, Chris Costner, 1989. A Mind of My Own.

Wikipedia: “Chris Costner Sizemore”

YouTube: “Multiple Personality Disorder on Hard Talk BBC Interviews – Chris Costner Sizemore, Part I”rumiscience”  watch?v=CTvr2fDBjmg Retrieved 3/14/11.

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

Multiple Personality:

An Experimental Investigation Into the Nature of Human Individuality

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

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

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

Boris Sidis

Boris Sidis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Excerpt from wikipedia

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

From Google Books:

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

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

Updated: 09-15-14.

On the incidence of multiple personality disorder: A brief communication (by the early therapists for “Eve”) 1984

According to two of the psychiatrists who treated Chris Sizemore (The Three Faces of Eve), they found only one (1) case that fit the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder until this article was published in 1984.

Given this analysis of the medical literature it seems there was a huge explosion of misdiagnosed patients after 1984. Why is this information tucked in old medical journals? Because it would not serve the needs and wishes of some contemporary theorists and psychotherapists – and patients who desperately want to fit into what they perceive as a romantic and highly- intellectualized diagnostic category.

Chris Sizemore was an interesting clinical case study for her first two psychiatrists, Corbett H. Thigpen & Hervey M. Cleckley, but mundane in comparison to the multiple personalities displayed by Shirley Mason AKA Sybil, years later.

Sizemore, the earlier face of multiple personalities, claimed that successive tragedies she merely witnessed as a three-year-old caused her personality fragmentation. She did not claim to have been sexually abused during childhood.

Why then, do nearly 99% of people diagnosed with multiple personalities or dissociative identity disorder claim to have survived childhood sexual abuse? Where are the people like Chris Sizemore who have multiple personalities due to other reasons? Are other non-sexually abused cases of multiple personalities going unreported other that Hershel Walker, famed football player? Perhaps they simply vanished or didn’t exist in the first place.

If we look at Shirley Mason and the character of “Sybil” that grew from her therapist, Cornelia Wilbur’s, imagination and clinical observations, Chris Sizemore’s life played out in The Three Faces of Eve pales in comparison. In comparing these two cases, it must be remembered that both women behind the flamboyant theatrical characters had other therapists who treated them. Withholding this information to the pubic only serves to perpetuate the mystery and entertainment value behind these iconic folk legends. If it was widely known that these women had other doctors on their treatment teams who disagreed with the multiple personality diagnosis, and stated so, would it have made as much money at the box office? Note too, that the therapists of Chris Sizemore banked the money, not Chris.

Read the summary of the article below written by Chris Sizemore/Eve’s first two therapists who were responsible for the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder. And let’s not forget that it was they who led their patient to Hollywood and reaped the financial rewards – not their patient. Read their own words, not mine or anyone else’s. Find out for yourself and reach your own conclusions.

In hindsight, this is a profound warning to the psychiatry industry who chose to ignore warnings of impending disaster to their profession as the diagnosis of multiple personalities and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) proliferated and continues to do so.

Photo credit unknown. If you are the owner, please contact me.

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International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis

Volume 32, Issue 2, 1984

On the incidence of multiple personality disorder: A brief communication

Corbett H. Thigpen & Hervey M. Cleckley
pages 63-66

Available online: 31 Jan 2008

Abstract

Abstraet: Since reporting a case of multiple personality (Eve) over 25 years ago, we have seen many patients who were thought by others or themselves to have the disorder, but we have found only 1 case that fit the diagnosis. The other cases manifested either pseudo- or quasidissociative symptoms related to dissatisfaction with self-identity or hysterical acting out for secondary gain. One particular form of secondary gain, namely, avoiding responsibility for certain actions, was evident in a recent legal case where the person was diagnosed as having the disorder and successfully pled not guilty by reason of insanity. We urge that a diagnosis of multiple personality not be used in such a manner and recommend that therapists consider the hysterical basis of the symptoms, as well as the adaptive dynamics of personality before diagnosing someone as having the disorder. (type face by blogger) If such factors are considered, the incidence of the disorder will be found to be far less than the “epidemic” recently claimed.

Retrieved 7/24/11.

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On the incidence of multiple personality disorder: A brief communication (by the early therapists for “Eve”) 1984 by Jeanette Bartha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.mentalhealthmatters2.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.mentalhealthmatters2.wordpress.com.

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