The United States of Tara: A Thanks From the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation

Dispite hilarious distortions of a serious “mental illness” that is painful for those believed to be suffering from it, the foremost authority for research, study, and dissemination of information – the ISST-D still thanks Steven Speilberg. Speilberg is appreciated for bringing public awareness just after they state that this show is largely a misrepresentation. Richard Kluft, MD a member of the ISST-D is one of the show’s consultants.

Is Richard Kluft displaying a conflict of interest, supporting educational information about MPD/DID, shooting for fame, or doing what he can to collect a hefty paycheck from Speilberg? You decide.

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Thank You!

“The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation is grateful to Showtime, Inc., Steven Spielberg, Kate Capshaw, screenwriter Diablo Cody, actress Toni Collette, and the supporting cast and producers of The United States of Tara for their portrayal of the complicated, confusing, and sometimes desperate life lived below the visible surface of an everyday person with dissociative identity disorder. As Richard P. Kluft, M.D. noted in the special educational video produced by Showtime on their website (and available on this website, above), only a small percentage of people with dissociative identity disorder have the classical presentation of obvious switching from one personality state to another. Most people with this disorder go to work, raise families, and struggle to live their lives while healing from the painful emotional wounds of their earlier years. Too often, public discussion of dissociation and dissociative disorders is sensationalized. This is a public Thank You to Showtime, and all involved, for increasing interest about an important psychological disorder. We hope this increased interest results in improved treatments, and better lives for our patients, their families, and our communities!”

“The views of Showtime Inc. and the production team of the United States of Tara, are  their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of ISSTD or its members.  The ISSTD website provides accurate, current scientific information about Dissociative Identity Disorder.”

Retrieved 3/15/11. ISST-D Thanks Steven Speilberg

Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder Metaphors or Genuine Entities?

Clinical Psychology Review 22 (2002) 481–497

Harald Merckelbacha,Grant J. Devillyc, Eric Rassina,

Abstract
How should the different identities (i.e., alters) that are thought to be typical for dissociative identity disorder (DID) be interpreted? Are they just metaphors for different emotional states or are they truly autonomous entities that are capable of willful action?

This issue is important because it has implications for the way in which courts may handle cases that involve DID patients.

Referring to studies demonstrating that alters of DID patients differ in their memory performance or physiological profile, some authors have concluded that alters are more than just metaphors.

We argue that such line of reasoning is highly problematic.

There is little consensus among authors about the degree to which various types of memory information (implicit, explicit, procedural) may leak from one to the other alter. Without such theoretical accord, any given outcome of memory studies on DID may be taken as support for the assumption that alters are in some sense ‘‘real.’’

As physiological studies on alter activity often lack proper control conditions, most of them are inconclusive as to the status of alters. To date, neither memory studies nor psychobiological studies have delivered compelling evidence that alters of DID patients exist in a factual sense. As a matter of fact, results of these studies are open to multiple interpretations and in no way refute an interpretation of alters in terms of metaphors for different emotional states.

Conclusion
The older literature on DID offers some strong claims as to the literal status of alters. Anecdotal reports of alters differing in their allergic reactions, in their response to medication, and in their optical functioning abound (e.g., Miller, 1989). These anecdotes
led Simpson (1997, p. 124) to pose the following question: ‘‘Why not claim that they wear different size shoes?’’ …

Still, a literal interpretation of alters can also be found in the DSM-IV and in many serious articles on DID. In their thought-provoking essay on DID, Lilienfeld et al. (1999) present several examples of treatment interventions that seem to be predicated on the belief that alters in DID are independent agents. These examples include asking to meet an alter, giving names to alters, and encouraging alters to write letters to each other. On the basis of these examples, Lilienfeld et al. (p. 513) conclude that ‘‘many or most influential authors in the DID treatment literature treat alters as independent entities or even personalities, at least during the early phase of treatment.’’

It is this literal view on alters …. Yet, theoretical and methodological shortcomings of these studies restrict any conclusions that can be drawn from them. Memory studies on DID suffer from the absence of articulated theories about memory functioning in DID.

Psychobiological studies, on the other hand, primarily suffer from the absence of proper control conditions. This is unfortunate, becauseit is now perfectly possible to specify control conditions for this type of research.

…Neither memory studies, nor psychobiological studies have elicited compelling evidence
that supports a literal view on alters in DID. …A case in point is Gleaves (1996, p. 48) who notes that ‘‘what is critical to understand is that acknowledging a patient with DID to have genuine experiences of alters as real people or entities is not the same as stating that alters are actually real people or entities.’’ Obviously, this conceptualization of alters is reminiscent of the position that alters exist largely as a result of role enactment in which patients become absorbed.

Thus, it is probably time to de-emphasize the literal interpretation of alters advocated by the DSM-IV. …

…Meanwhile, the hypothesis that alters in DID may be nothing more than the result of some patients’ tendency to attribute causality to inside agents, only becomes a coherent position when one seriously considers the possibility that expressed alters are metaphors rather than real entities.

Ticker Tape: Mental Health Topics & More

Mental health issues are vast and expand quickly. Keeping up with the constant stream of news reports and peer-reviewed articles 24/7/365 is a daunting task so here is a list of links and titles of news reports you may find interesting or useful.*

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Sybil: A Brilliant Hysteric? New York Times | 11-25-14. Barbara Dury, producer (Includes interview with this blogger)

The alliance in adult psychotherapy: A meta-analytic synthesis. http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-23951-001

United Kingdom: Couple with 400 Different Personalities Between Them, Stephanie Linning, Daily Mail, 03-28-18.

Why Handwriting Changes as you Age. CBS News, 02-01-11

Bullies Win: Elizabeth Loftus Awarded 2016 John-Maddox Prize for Courage

Two who resigned from the DSM-5 work group explain why. Psychology Today 10-01-15.

Child Taken from Mum with Multiple Personalities (Dissociative Identity Disorder)

Psychiatrists Maryann Weisman & Stacey Zuniga Arrested on Alleged Prescription Drug Crimes, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, USA.

False Memory Syndrome Led Woman to Make Farm Rape Claims in Devon. North Devon Journal, 5-21-15.

The Forgotten Childhood: Why early memories fade. National Public Radio: All things considered. 4-8-14

The Devil and Mercy Ministries: A conversation with Chelsea Darhower | Dysgenics| 05-04-15.

The San Antonio Four Go Back to Court | Texas Public Radio | Apr 20, 2015

Reforming Mental Health Care: How recovered memory treatments brought informed-consent Psychiatric Times | June 05, 2015  by Christopher Barden, J.D., Ph.D.
retrieved 03-24-15.

Could You Be Convinced You Committed a Crime That You Didn’t Commit?

 Constructing Rich False Memories of Committing Crime | Psychological Science | 11-04-14.

Testimony Reliance Unsettles U.S. Courts

False Memory Syndrome Foundation Advisory Board Profiles

Researchers are now able to erase and restore memories in rats

Out of Mind Out of Sight: Suppressing unwanted memories reduces their unconscious influence.

A Life in Pieces by Richard K. Baer

England: Suicide among mental health patients receiving home treatment doubles

*For information purposes only.

European Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation: Interview with Andrew Moskowitz

The European Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation, ESSTD,  released a for members only video.

If you are interested in what Andrew Moskowitz writes about so you can guess what he might lecture about, see the references below.

Again, why is the ESSTD withholding information the public may find useful when making decisions about their mental health care?

Lack of transparency breeds suspicion & distrust.

Retrieved 06/22/12. http://www.estd.org/news/interview-with-andrew-moskowitz/

Interview with Andrew Moskowitz

18 Apr 2012

A new video interview with Andrew Moskowitz is available on the Members only Section where he talks about the differentiation between psychosis and dissociation.

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Publications by Andrew Moskowitz:

Psychosis, Trauma and Dissociation: Emerging Perspectives on Severe Psychopathology, 2009

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Journal of Trauma, Violence & Abuse, no date or volume available

Dissociation and Violence

A Review of the Literature

  1. Andrew Moskowitz, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Abstract

Violent acts are sometimes committed by people who do not normally appear violent or aggressive. This simple observation and others have led some to speculate about a relationship between dissociation and violence. However, no systematic review of the literature has so far been published.

To address this gap, studies assessing the prevalence of dissociation among violent individuals, and violence among highly dissociative persons, are reviewed.

Possible links between dissociation and violent behavior are explored. It is concluded that dissociation predicts violence in a wide range of populations and may be crucial to an understanding of violent behavior.

There is a clear need, however, for large scale, well-designed studies using reliable structured instruments in a number of areas reviewed.

Recommendations for clinical applications include the routine screening of offenders for dissociative disorders and adequate consideration of dissociation and dissociative disorders in the development and implementation of violence treatment and prevention programs.

updated 12-26-14.

 

Persecutory Alters and Ego States: Protectors, Friends, and Allies

by Lisa Goodman & Jay Peters

date of publication unknown, appears to be around 1992

Abstract

Persecutor alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder are uniformly described in behavioral terms as belligerent, abusive, and violent. While most authors agree that persecutors begin as helpers there is no consensus about their later development or function within the system. This paper presents a theoretical model of the etiology and development of persecutor alters. It elucidates the underlying and continuously protective nature of the alter which becomes masked by the apparently “persecutory” behavior.

Using clinical examples which build on their appreciation of the positive function of persecutor alters the authors present their treatment techniques, which include: engagement, building rapport with the underlying protective function, psychoeducation of the alter, and finally, family therapy style negotiations of roles, expectations, and boundaries.

The paper concludes with an examination of the countertransference issues which commonly arise in working with persecutor alters and their impact on the clinician and the therapeutic task.

Retrieved 07/15/12. http://www.umaine.edu/sws/Writing/persecut.htm

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