“I’m Sybil.” Thus, Shirley Mason shared her secret identity with Nancy Preston, her former student. That disclosure cemented an enduring twenty-eight year friendship between the two via phone calls, visits, and letters. From Shirley’s first letter to her last phone call to Nancy, After Sybil is a revealing glimpse into the daily life of the woman whose sixteen personalities were merged into the one Nancy knew and loved. Letters, photos, and quotes offer insight to Shirley’s view of her parents, her therapist, and the bestselling book and subsequent movies about her. Interspersed are examples of Shirley’s art, including a self portrait.
Note: Just because a book appears in this list does not mean we recommend it. Most of them present multiplicity strictly in terms of multiple personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder, or MPD/DID -- which is not our view.
The problem with most if not all books on MPD/DID is that if you've read one, you've read them all. In each case you've got a bewildered frontrunner, a "fascinating cast of characters", a well-meaning though often just as bewildered therapist, hundreds of pages of grueling depictions of child sex and violence (often bordering on "pornography of the victim"), and a bittersweet, Hallmark Classics ending of integration -- with few exceptions. Lemarath^Shandra has something to say about this as well.
If you would like to tell us something about any of these books, use our mailform. You can be anonymous, and you don't have to use HTML. Just write and tell us what you think.
The books are listed alphabetically by author. To find a title you're interested in, do a Control-F and type in your title.
How To Get These Books
We are back at amazon.com, at least for now. A surprising number of the books in this list, especially more recent ones, can be found there: check it out! Accompanying each book is a link which will take you (if in print) to the reference page for that particular book. You can buy it right then and there. (Amazon sells used copies of out-of-print books.) If all else fails, try ABE Books - Advanced Book Exchange.
Joan Acocella has expanded the controversial article she originally wrote for The New Yorker in 1997. It's an excellent book, makes excellent sense, is a powerful expose of unethical practices in the mental health industry, and draws entirely the wrong conclusions. Even so, we recommend that everyone who is in therapy (multiple or not) read this book. Read it if you have ever had questions about the way your doctor tries to dredge up questionable traumatic memories -- or if you feel like you're being pressed to accept a certain view of yourself, the people in your multiple system (if any) and your childhood that doesn't fit your truth. Many therapists did, and some apparently still do, use the tactics described in this book.
Acocella's theory of multiplicity as nonexistent save as a "cultural idiom of distress" is completely wrong, but she is dead-on accurate about what goes on in the mental health industry.
"This work covers the diagnosis and treatment of patients who have experienced traumas and subsequent dissociative disorders. An epidemic of these patients has caused controversy about their treatment. Clinicians from various disciplines offer specialised knowledge for effective treatments."
Singlet psychiatrist and former minister Ralph Allison narrates his first discovery of and work with multiple clients, his observations and clients' description of their experiences. When this book first came out in 1980 it was called Minds in Many Pieces: The Making of a Very Special Doctor. (He's got a very interesting brief summary here.) The 1999 expanded edition which is what we're selling here calls it Minds in Many Pieces: The Spiritual Side of Multiple Personality Disorder.
Allison believes that all multiples are fragmented bits of an original whole person who needs to be integrated "back together" through intensive hypnotherapy. He thinks that supernatural folks in your group are thought-forms, that is, they are created by one's own mind and manifest as images inside one's aura. But he also believes in malignant "entities" who can slip in through the cracks. This is all based in rudimentary Theosophy and beliefs about the astral plane. It seems that he had one or two clients who really fit this description, and ended up believing that all multiples were like this.
Allison has done a lot of work in forensic psychiatry with clients, usually violent criminals, some of whom he believes are multiple. He was also an expert witness in the trial of the Hillside Strangler in an interminable show trial that was probably the basis for the one in Sidney Sheldon's Tell Me Your Dreams.
He applied the term inner self-helper to certain persons in multiple systems who fit the profile of an objective, portentous 'guide' who was not a split-off part, but came (or was 'sent') from outside. Originally this term was "inner-self helper" and referred to Christians who experienced Christ's personal guidance. Allison's final chapter includes a number of assertions for which he provides no references; we assume these were provided to him by one of his clients, who appears to have been a New Age channel revealing the true nature of the cosmos to him, Unobstructed Universe-style. Today, he is a member of the Association for Humanistic Psychology; as Ian Hacking says in Rewriting the Soul, the last thing that an emergent science wants is intimations of Helena Blavatsky, so Allison has been somewhat marginalized (to put it mildly).
Our difficulty with Allison isn't his habit of taking clients' word for their experiences -- like if a client said they were possessed he would do an exorcism. That's great. What's troubling is the way he imposes his current spiritual beliefs on clients for whom that model may not fit. He did not do that in his early days of researching and working with multiples. One thing we really admire him for is the fact that he (not Cornelia Wilbur) was the first to get multiplicity accepted and taken seriously by members of his profession, and especially his his stand on use of the term 'multiple personality' as opposed to 'dissociative identity disorder'. Also he appears really to have helped a few of his clients.
You can find out All About Multiple Personality and what Allison currently believes about it at his page, dissociation.com.
Title: Got Parts? An Insider's Guide to Managing Life Successfully with Dissociative Identity Disorder Author: ATW Publisher: New Horizons 2004 ISBN: 1932690034
Written by someone who describes herself as a "survivor of DID" as if the condition itself were life-threatening, it is intended as a practical guide for trauma-split groups who experience being multiple as a disorder they want to heal from by integrating (or as she calls it "re-integrating"). Shows you how to map your system and determine which of your life traumas created your selves (she calls them "parts" and "alters"). This is not a book about healthy multiplicity, but a group in crisis (especially a blackout group) might use it to organize themselves.
This might also be good for abuse survivors who are not multiple as the focus is not on the experience of other selves but on overcoming triggers, flashbacks, body memories and other common PTSD experiences. This could be a good guide for systems in chaos to establish an operating system.
Zoe Parry appeared on Geraldo back in '88, after her arrest for kidnapping a child she was supposed to be babysitting. We list it because you don't often hear about Zoe Parry.
"Fractured by a lifetime of monstrous acts of abuse and incest, Zoe Parry's mind has become a battleground, and only now can she tell her story. For years, more than 150 personalities have been at war within her, each struggling for control. Readers journey into Zoe's world, where child voices beg, seductive voices beguile, angry voices hiss threats, and the horror never ends."
This is about very early case studies on what we now know as multiple personalities, hosting and soulbonding with historical persons. You might have a little trouble finding this. Book antiquarians sometimes carry it, and you might try Advanced Book Exchange.
The Exceptional Human Experience Network has this summary: "There are 28 chapters, averaging 6 pages each, each consisting of a sketch of a case, often well known, of multiple personality. Some, such as Ansel Bourne, Helene Smith, Doris Fischer, and Patience Worth appear in the parapsychological literature. The cases date from 1811-1981 and are listed in alphabetical order. In the Foreword, the author points out that only in 1980 did the American Psychiatric Association define multiple personality as a distinct disorder, but diagnosed cases of multiple personality were already on the rise in the 1970s (50-plus cases* in that decade as opposed to 90 in the preceding century and a half). Baldwin observes that persistent time loss, chronic sleepwalking, automatic writing, and hallucinations are usually closely associated with multiple personality, and sometimes possession and mediumship abilities as well."
*That's reported, diagnosed cases. By now it should be pretty clear to anyone paying attention that the so-called "rise in multiples" is a coming out of the closet phenomenon, separate from the diagnostic fad of the 80s & 90s.
Title:Katherine, It's Time Author: Stephen Bechtel with Kit Castle Publisher: Harper & Row, 1989 ISBN:006015926X
Like Three Faces of Eve and Sybil, this so-called "true life story" is actually a novel purporting to document the life history, psychiatric treatment, and ultimate integration of one of those fascinating multiples, complete with detailed and sometimes unlikely accounts of parental abuse. Bechtel invents characters and Shirley MacLaine-like incidents, inserts a lot of "great, doomed drama" (he said it, not me!), and provides a sugary, depressing integration=death ending. Some of us call it Katherine, It's Prime Time. See what you think of it.
Title:Hidden Selves Author: Edited by Moira Walker and Jenifer Black Publisher: Open University Press 1999 ISBN: 0335202004
Another novel "based upon the story of a survivor of abuse who tells of her experiences with multiple personality and its impact on her life." Note "based on"... so again, you can't trust that it isn't taking off at right angles from what really happened. Everybody's trying to be William Peter Blatty.
Alibris.com says:"Since the time of Mesmer, in the late eighteenth century, spectacular feats of hypnosis have been documented by respected scientific researchers, yet hypnosis has remained divorced from the main body of science. In this groundbreaking work, Dr. Eugene Bliss shows that the hypnotic capability of the mind is important to the theory and practice of psychiatry, and suggests that it deserves much more attention and research.
"In Multiple Personality, Allied Disorders and Hypnosis, Bliss explores both the nature of multiple personality and hypnosis, and discusses how an understanding of the latter can provide insight into the nature of certain psychiatric disorders. For instance, he views multiple personality as a form of self-hypnosis, an instance of learned schizophrenia rather than an organic disorder, as is generally thought. He outlines the trace elements involved in multiple personality and other psychiatric disorders, provides a fascinating history of the origins and current ideas about hypnosis, and gives a detailed account of the use of hypnosis in the treatment of multiple personality.
"Based on thirty years of clinical experience, and filled with insightful personal observations, Multiple Personality, Allied Disorders and Hypnosis is an informative, fascinating book for psychiatrists, psychologists, and anyone intrigued by hypnosis and its possible beneficial use."
Another novel along the lines of Sybil. Singlet Dr. Eugene Bliss' treatment of a multiple client with a lengthy, graphically depicted abuse history. Talk about "the horror never ends," this is one of the worst.
Came in for a scalding review by one of our readers, who pointed out the racism inherent in blaming the violent abuse in Andrea Biaggi's family on "normal" behavior for Sicilian and Corsican families. The novel really took off at right angles with the discourse on omertà, and one had a feeling at that point that it really was a novel. Our impression was that Bliss, or whoever he was working with, had been watching too many reruns of The Godfather.
Professional Resource Press says this book "Focuses on dissociative disorders (post-traumatic stress disorder, psychogenic amnesia, depersonalization disorder, etc.) and the dissociative nature of behaviors such as child abuse. Defines the characteristics, etiology, and differential diagnosis of dissociative, multiple personality, and ego state disorders. Advises on interview techniques and strategies, testing adaptations, special treatment problems, and child treatment issues."
For what it's worth, singlet Dr. Richard Kluft says: "Dr. Bloch has succeeded in crafting an excellent introduction to multiple personality disorder and allied conditions. The strengths of his contribution are the breadth of the issues that he addresses and his ability to achieve a synthesis of newly-emerging findings in the dissociative disorders with traditional psychotherapeutic observations. This book is an excellent bridge by which the traditionally-trained psychotherapist can come to an understanding of the major concerns of the dissociative disorders literature."
Braude is a plain-language philosopher; you will be able to understand what he says. Wastes no time debating whether or not multiplicity is real. He knows it is; all he wants is to talk about what it implies as far as why we think there should only be one person or "self", etc. This is a revised edition where he talks about the overdiagnosis scandals and lawsuits of the 1980s and 90s. If you want a scholarly, intelligent refutation of the "false memory syndrome" crap, read this book. Highly recommended.
Singlet, founder of the International Society for the Study of Multiple Personality and Dissociation (now the ISSD/ISSTD) and head of Rush Presbyterian Hospital's Dissociative Disorders Unit, Bennett Braun was the defendant in a number of civil actions in the late 1990s concerning his treatment of clients whom he had diagnosed with multiple personality disorder and identified as victims of Satanic ritual abuse. The facts are revealed in some detail in Acocella's Creating Hysteria. Some of these clients may have been multiple; others were not; all were abused and exploited. Here's a summary of his story.You might also want to read this.
Claims to demystify multiple personality by "redefining" it as "a creative and sensible way of surviving a childhood of extreme trauma and absolute powerlessness." It does have the advantage of Judy Kessler onboard. If you really think you are suffering with a disorder and are looking for integration as healing, it's a safe bet you will get something helpful from Kessler.
Every once in a while someone asks us what we know about integration. Answer: not much! However, one thing we do know is that there are not enough books on what happens after integration.. Most of the books, including the ones on this list, don't talk much about that, but seem to regard integration as the happy end of the story, the ultimate healing.
In practical life, according to the bits we've heard from therapists willing to talk about it, integration is actually the middle step in a complex process of re-education and re-training designed to change the multiple's thinking processes and conditioned reflexes. The objective, of course, is to learn how to respond to daily life with a single, consistent perspective, instead of each person having his or her own unique response.
This book talks about that process and how it works from both the clinician's and the client's point of view. While we haven't read it, we used to know Judy Kessler on line and were impressed with her calm, well-balanced
writing. So this is probably a good book if you are thinking about integration, for learning more about not just the integration process, but what it is like to live everyday as one person.
Another book on what happens after integration is Mending Ourselves, which we have read and recommend if you are thinking about integration.
The late Cat W. of Geode@chatlink.com gives us this review: "[Hazelden is] not a christian publicist, a 12 step publicist, big, big difference. He defines a few things simply not covered in your other texts and very well worth reading. No caveat necessary. Read it."
David Calof is also a singlet, a hypnotherapist and a believer in satanic ritual abuse, for what that's worth, and seems to have used (at least in the past) the same dubious methods described in Creating Hysteria for diagnosing and treating MPD. Like most MPD therapists he is a singlet who has no personal experience of multiplicity.
Title:They Say You're Crazy:
How the World's Most Powerful Psychiatrists Decide Who's Normal
Author: Paula J. Caplan Publisher: Perseus, 1995 ISBN: 0201407582
Amazon.Com Review: In a disturbing insider's look at how the mental health establishment decides who is normal and who is "sick," [Caplan] charges that the DSM board's decision-making process, dominated by a handful of conservative white male psychiatrists, is arbitrary, condescending, profit-driven and riddled with personal biases and political consideration. Facile labeling of personality problems, she shows, can cause personal suffering as well as material harm because DSM categories figure prominently in who wins child custody, who gets hospitalized against their will and whose psychotherapy is covered by insurance.
We were sent a review copy of this. It's another "everyone is multiple" book, but with a twist.
The best description of our impression of this book would be well-intentioned, but annoying. In addition to an assortment of almost What the Bleep-like assertions about what "the mind" can do, and what "science now knows" is possible -- most of which are wildly inaccurate -- the author provides us with the same old rationales of hypnosis and dissociation. Is everybody drinking the ISSD kool-aid around here? Even psychiatrists using those concepts in a well-meaning way are basically asserting that multiples are sleepwalking through life and living in a fantasy world they think is real, trying to escape unpleasant reality. Carter actually believes that true multiplicity, at root, consists of naming parts of your own individual consciousness and pretending they are separate persons (the link will show you a quote from the singlet mental health professional who came up with that one).
This is what forms the basis of the second half of the book, which is a how-to section. That's right -- something for the people who write to us asking how they can become multiple. It's the kind of thing that might work, temporarily. Write to us if you've successfully created whole, independent people and a functional government/ operating system this way.
Mood shifts and variations in thought and attitude are not separate persons. Ask anyone who's been unfortunate enough to be in therapy with one of those overenthusiastic types who thinks it's a "new personality" every time the client wears a different cologne or has a new sweater.
We know this book has been well received by some groups, and maybe we're just ornery old coots who lack a sense of humor. There are some interesting ideas in this book, and she does provide a referral to our website (for which we thank her), but in our opinion she should go back and do her homework and put out a second edition. Returned for regrooving.
Another novel from the heyday of MPD popularity. Blackout multiple wakes up on high ledge because another is about to jump, grueling therapy follows, memories of nightmarish abuse (fortunately not covered in detail), journey to wholeness, etc., etc. What might prove interesting is the willingness of the group's therapist to listen to them about themselves and how their operating system worked. It's also a look at typical practices of the time -- the (singlet) doctor jumps from realizing the client has "dissociative periods" to instantly diagnosing her with MPD, when even at that time there were a variety of dissociative conditions other than MPD recognized. You can also get some idea of the kind of therapist-client enmeshment routine in MPD treatment -- the decision to "reparent" various group members, for instance.
Title:When Rabbit Howls Author: The Troops for Truddi Chase Publisher: Dutton, 1987. Still in print from Berkeley, Jove Books
(paperback), 1990. ISBN: 0515103292
Parallel storylines might be confusing at first, but are an excellent example of the way a multiple's minds can run on several tracks at once.
Upside: The narrative provides extremely vivid, clear descriptions of the group's childhood and what it was really like not only to be sexually abused, but to be psychologically abused and manipulated by both parents. The Troops were the first to describe co-running and co-presence, [although those words are not used]. The group strongly rejects integration. They demonstrate that multiples, and survivors of even the most violent abuse, can be self-employed and successful in the business world. The writing conveys a deep natural sensuality, a determination to live life to the fullest, and clear pictures of the Troops as individuals, not just "lesser personalities" or "fragments".
One very interesting remark is made about midway through the book by the fictitious "Dr. Marshall Fielding", the Troops' personification of their own research: "there is a very small percentage of multiples who never were abused as children." There's no followup on this in the book, but it appears to have been based in a study by Frank Putnam.
Downside: The reader might come away with the impression that only the most extreme abuse can lead to multiplicity. Due to the group's personal experience, the narrative repeatedly implies that all multiples have extreme psychic ability and that there are amazing secrets known to therapists who have worked with multiples, but which they are afraid to reveal publicly. This may not have been their original intention.
Looking at what firstname.lastname@example.org (below) says, it may be that Truddi&'s
actual story is more complex and realistic than what we read in
When Rabbit Howls, but that it's been sensationalised.
A different view from email@example.com [circa 1996]:
"truly a hideous book. fractured tales and nonsensical editing done to a woman who is being exploited by a therp. her therp, btw, has become rich off truddi, and is now her 'manager', promoting tv and personal
appearances for $. truddi, on the other hand, continues to live in pain."
If someone could provide us with more details regarding what Ophelia said, we would very much appreciate it! "When Rabbit Howls", with its descriptions of co-running and co-presence and a subjective world, told our frontrunners we were really multiple and not crazy or making up our own experiences, so if there's a scandal here, we want solid evidence of it. Plus we would have liked to have seen the Troops get real help if they had not been. All we knew was that by the time the book came out they were living in Dallas with a man friend and were planning to get back into art and write another book, about Ireland.
Truddi Chase died March 10, 2010. It's possible (but unlikely) that their daughter Kari will want to say anything about the Troops. You can contribute to Fidos for Freedom in their memory.
A "weird" family moves to a small town and impinges on the life of the local grocer. Everyone in the family has some kind of cute eccentricity, and the female romantic lead -- one of a pair of twins -- is multiple and of course the carrier of the "dark family secret". The town grocer, who lost a twin brother himself years ago, immediately falls in love with her.
Tamsin of Amorpha says:
"The main character was kidnapped as a child by a crazy couple who molested
her and killed chickens to scare her; now twenty years later she has MPD.
Whee. Yawn. The mystery here is that someone kills their abuser and of
course everyone immediately suspects them of doing it, so their therapist
has to find out if they did or didn't. (They didn't.) And yeah, it was
pretty down the track, but not too over-the-top stereotypical. You've got
the scared host who doesn't know what's going on, the one who tries to
seduce the therapist, the token male, etc..."
Another Sybil-takeoff novel. Stereotypical depiction of dysfunctional MPD, fragmented, dissociation, blah blah blah, ending in the usual integration/happy ending/courageous healing. What disturbed us about this story was that the very fact of Kathy Roth's multiplicity was considered to be what was wrong with her; it wasn't a question of violent abuse, she hadn't had any! But we can't have people running around with 16th century witches in their heads, can we?
This is the book where the kindly (singlet) therapist to the rescue, tells her that "multiple" and "manipulate" are related, and that the answer to all her problems is "don't dissociate."
Title:Three Faces of Eve Author: Cleckley, Hervey M. and Corbett Thigpen (singlets) Publisher: Fawcett 1957 ISBN: 0911238514
Library of Congress #: 56-012526
Fifty years after it was published, this piece of felonious nonsense was still being referred to as the latest thinking on multiplicity. Two supposedly outstanding psychologists (both singlets) called it "The most delightful treatise of psychopathological literature of the mid-twentieth century." It's the book that set the standard for multiple-personality narratives. And according to the woman it's supposedly about, it is a complete fabrication. Thigpen embellished and fictionized and outright lied throughout this book, hoping to land a lucrative movie deal (he got it) and never guessing that the woman he took advantage of would someday haul Twentieth-Century Fox into court over the rights to her life story which he had signed away (she got'em back).
This is the 1992 revised edition. And we're also selling the Three Faces of Eve film with Joanne Woodward.
"A deeply personal account of one woman's battle with multiple-personality
disorder describes the childhood horrors and abuse at the hands of her father
that led to a fragmentation into three separate entities and discusses her long
battle to overcome de6cx 591\mg 2[; p ;p ;p NO CARRIER"
This was the book that told us things had to change.
Under the auspices of Many Voices and the ISSMPD (now ISSTD), essays and notes by abuse survivors and trauma-split multiples. According to the publisher's description, we are to be reassured that the writers are "guided by therapists", as if they couldn't write independently. They could and did, and each unique voice in the text is clear.
The way this worked, readers of Many Voices and members of the ISSMPD were asked to write essays in response to three questions: 1) What do you wish you'd known when you were first diagnosed with MPD? 2) What would you like therapists to know about MPD? 3) What do you wish your loved ones to know about MPD? Family members were asked: What would you like to tell other friends and family members about MPD?
The responses are arranged in chapters according to experience; diagnosis, pain, skeptics, hope and (of course) unification. MPD and severe childhood trauma are portrayed as being the same thing. Many of the writers describe extreme dependence on therapists; in most cases the therapists were the only ones they could be openly themselves with. A set of guidelines for clients included "be ready to sell your home, car, or even go bankrupt to pay for therapy". Most of the essays were by "the host" or "the main person", rather than by other group members. There are one or two skeptical voices. One woman described being in an incest survivors' support group where the facilitator handed out copies of Sybil and When Rabbit Howls and had people keep journals of their "parts". There are a number of astute observations about psychotherapy. Many express suspicion of the paradigm, and especially about integration as a necessary part of the healing process.
In the 1980s and 90s, this was as close as multiples could get to speaking for themselves. The cultural identity called "multiple personality" was completely bound to the world of psychiatry. People who felt they were sharing their bodies with others could not talk about it without attempting to fit themselves into the established profile. And if they didn't, the people they told about it certainly would! Multiplicity was always seen as a mental disorder, a form of extreme dissociation, caused by a certain kind or severity of abuse or trauma in childhood. And adult multiples never knew that they were until given the diagnosis by that noble (singlet) therapist, who proceeded to light the path of their courageous healing, which always culminated in integration.
In those days, few had ever heard of living multiple; outside of a relative handful of therapists who practiced family therapy with multiple clients to help them build a working operating system instead of integration.
This of course skews the editors' choice of client descriptions of what it's like to be multiple, or more specifically, what it's like to have multiple personality disorder. Text and art were all carefully selected to present a near-uniform picture of suffering, fear and pain. Obviously this was done to show readers that if they were experiencing similar feelings, they were not alone. However, it excludes those who are multiple but do not fit this particular profile. We wondered about the material that didn't make the cut. This was why we read the book and felt that things needed to change.
If you feel you really have classic MPD or DID, you could not do better than to read this book. It must be an amazingly validating feeling, to know that others have gone through the same thing you are going through. Unlike most of the popular accounts, this book has no extensively grueling descriptions of sexual or other trauma that are supposed to cause MPD, only an acknowledgement that those things exist and that healing and recovery are possible.
Starts out skeptical about the existence of multiplicity, but through
his research comes to believe in it. He thinks that many psychiatrists
are overeager to condemn MP as something induced by therapists onto
This book by the father of a child who may or may not be on the "spectrum" is unique among parental accounts because of its lack of tragedy. Instead of seeing his son as a victim of a horrible devastating illness, Collins refused to buy into the pronouncements of alleged experts. He saw his son's unique reading and mathematical abilities and his love of computers over people as part of what was right about the kid. His own scholarly gifts and interests in historical trivia lead him to go back in time to find individuals who may or may not have been autistic, some of them now well known like Henry Darger, some all but forgotten.
Even after Collins finally lets himself get talked into believing that his son needs some kind of help to improve the social side of things, he repeatedly gives us the message that it's a mistake to try to force we autistics into so called normality. Parents of other autistic kids tell Collins about how their kid went through the pink monkey routine when they were mainstreamed, but did fine in an autistic school where they're allowed to communicate in their own way. Simply letting autistic people be autistic is such a revolutionary idea! But it may well be the future.
Title:The Medicalization of Society:
On the Transformation of Human Conditions into Treatable Disorders Author: Peter Conrad Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press 2007 ISBN: 080188585X
A scholarly examination of how the psychiatric industry, in cooperation with the mass media, furthered the notion of ordinary life problems as mental diseases that require lifelong medication.
"Building on more than three decades of research, Peter Conrad explores the changing forces behind this trend with case studies of short stature, social anxiety, "male menopause," erectile dysfunction, adult ADHD, and sexual orientation. He examines the emergence of and changes in medicalization, the consequences of the expanding medical domain, and the implications for health and society. He finds in recent developments—such as the growing number of possible diagnoses and biomedical enhancements—the future direction of medicalization.
"Conrad contends that the impact of medical professionals on medicalization has diminished. Instead, the pharmaceutical and biotechnical industries, insurance companies and HMOs, and the patient as consumer have become the major forces promoting medicalization. This thought-provoking study offers valuable insight into not only how medicalization got to this point but also how it may continue to evolve."
Title:Multiple Man Author: Adam Crabtree Publisher: Praeger, 1985 ISBN: 0275900797
The Author makes a compelling case for multiplicity being a natural state
of humanity. At times scholarly, at times chatty; goes to a bit of extremes on the supposed paranormal connection.
Title:Trance Zero Author: Adam Crabtree Publisher: Somerville, 1997
The book is worth reading by all who are concerned about social perception and the media, whether related to multiplicity, or to anything else, owing to the discussion of on cultural trance and group minds. Less impressive is his presentation of trance states as something everyone experiences constantly, and which detracts from a so-called maximum state. The idea that people go around in a trance, dissociated from reality, is based in the philosophy of occultist G.I. Gurdjieff, and is reflected today in the idea of a dissociation epidemic.
There may be such a thing as a maximum state, similar to satori, which is impermanent by definition: beware of anyone who tries to persuade you that such a state can be made permanent with enough mental discipline. There is a book out called Snapping which explains how many religious and spiritual groups have used this tactic to attract and keep followers.
Title:Ending the Battle Within: How to Create a Harmonious Life by Working with Your Sub-Personalities Author: Verlaine Crawford Publisher: High Castle 1994 ISBN: 0964185407
And now for something completely different. This little book is by a positive-thinking, motivational speaker. She teaches that one of the things impeding our path to permanent health, wealth and success is the chaos and chatter created by our "subpersonalities". You can read a bit more about this at her website. Be sure to have some Alka-Seltzer handy.
Sidran sez: "This wonderful little book is unlike any other available on this subject. It is a very simple, direct, and extremely powerful look into the basic therapy process for treatment of MPD. The stick-figure drawings and economic text combine to provide very focused "food for thought," accessible to recovering individuals who may be easily distracted and to the youngest child alters.
"The author/illustrator describes herself as an integrated recovering multiple, social worker, mother, sister, and friend. One of her purposes for this book is to provide hope that abuse, need not overpower the natural drive for healing and wholeness.
"Themes include diagnosis, trust, respect for the mind, acceptance, pacing, fears, becoming whole, recovery, and more."
Title:From India to Mars Author: Theodore Flournoy Publisher: Princeton University Press, 1900, reprinted 1994 ISBN: 0691034079
Helene Smith was a Spiritualist medium who described astral journeys to Mars. The book is by a psychology professor who attended her seances. In spite of his patronizing, often sneering tone describing this mere working-class female and her aspirations to a higher class, the story is intriguing. We think he is right about one thing; this is more about worldbuilding and constructed languages than it is about being multiple.
Title: Spiritual and Clinical Dimensions of Multiple Personality
Disorder Author: Loreda Fox Publisher: Sangre de Cristo 1992
Buy this book through:
Books of Sangre de Cristo PO Box 963 Salida, CO 81201
Write to us if you have any more
information about this book. We'd like a brief review.
Write to Jim Leftwich, who
first informed us of the existence of this book when he posted a message to Usenet. He's looking for a copy.
Title: : Persons one and three; a study in multiple personalities Author: : Shepherd I. Franz Publisher: : New York and London: Whittlesey house, McGraw-Hill 1933.
"Stories of dual or of multiple personalities, which technically are called continued amnesias, have been interesting both to the novelist and to the psychologist. They have attracted the attention of the former because of their spectacular character, and of the latter because of their speculative possibilities. To some of the latter it may be unimportant to read an account of an individual with loss of memory without a new, or without a confirmation of an old, explanation. The tale to be spun here is, however, unaccompanied by hypothesis. To the writer it seems more valuable at this time to recount the facts, whether they be behavioristic or introspectional, than to attempt to conceal them with gauzy guesses about neurograms* or synaptic retractions, or to clothe them with the fashionable garments of unconscious mechanisms and levels of consciousness.
From the Intl. Journal of Psychoanalysis: "This is a narrative report of an excellent example of secondary personality (Person Three) in a British ex-soldier of the World War. The change is attributed to a severe physical trauma sustained prior to 1915 from which date onward a fairly constant retrograde amnesia existed until he was found in a confused state in California in December, 1929. Certain intermediary states between Persons One and Three are recorded, and during the entire period of Personality Three the patient had a vague consciousness of the existence of his lost identity. This feeling may account for his constant wanderings and possibly fugues as Person Three. The only psycho-analytic point of interest in the account is the fact that when the patient was found he was definitely adopted by a woman and her daughter as their long-lost son and brother who had disappeared about 1915 -- evidently an identification based upon wish fulfilment."
*neurogram: a modification in nerve structure associated with memory.
Jennifer Freyd, the woman whose genuine recovered memories of childhood sexual harrassment inspired her parents to create the False Memory Syndrome Foundation to cover up their guilt, presents a very professional discussion of why some people suppress memories of trauma.
"Where you see only illness, a curse to be corrected, we see the untapped
potential of humanity... God save us from an earth in which all men are the
The first work of fiction we have seen to present multiplicity and other
neurological idiosyncracies as vital, positive qualities. Friedman tells of
societies of mutants, descendants of abandoned Earth colonies, who have
developed unique mental and physical characteristics, revel in their
outrageous differences, and build viable societies and guilds around them. We were particularly impressed with her description of iru, who are clearly meant to be autistic.
The young heroine must come to terms with the fact that she's been the
victim of a cruel commercial experiment designed to give her multiple
personalities. Far from crippling her, her selves are important to her
survival, and there is no stupid integration happy solution at the end.
A biotech Internet and its attendant hackers and viruses are here, in a
subplot of mystery and intrigue. Echoes of James H. Schmitz, Frank Herbert and good ol'Cordwainer Smith (whom she has the courtesy to credit!). Highly
recommended. This Alien Shore fan page Ask your questions and read what the author has to say about this and her other books.
Title:Uncovering the Mystery of MPD:
Its Shocking Origins, Its Surprising Cure Author: Rev. James Friesen Publisher: Wipf & Stock 1997 ISBN: 1579100627
Friesen, a singlet, Fundamentalist preacher, appears to take up where Ralph Allison and
D. Scott Rogo left off. That is, he believes that childhood misfortunes not only
make people multiple, but open them to demonic possession. (We're not exactly wild about his notion that nearly all psychiatric clients have "alters", and he is a proponent of "it has to get worse before it gets better.") He does recognize
that selves often portray themselves as demons without actually being them, and
he does not believe in exorcising everyone who comes out. However, at least in
Uncovering the Mystery of MPD, he has no awareness of the ancient experience of being otherkin. He does not apparently recognize that members of a multiple system can be animals, or creatures usually considered mythological, or shapeshifters -- he says these are invariably demons. He's written some more books since then -- maybe he revises that.
Friesen's methods have been adopted by other preachers who have used them (I
think I should say misused) against countless women and children, some multiple,
some not. A typical modern exorcism ceremony
involving a multiple. I think this so-called deliverance activity owes as
much to M. Scott Peck (author of People of the Lie) as it does to
Someone in a self-aware system we correspond with told us they liked Friesen's book. They read it independently -- it was not pushed at them by a therapist or minister. They found it helpful because according to his list of standards, they came to understand they were genuinely multiple and not
possessed or insane.
"Ann M. Garvey, the author, writes a daily non-traumatizing journal about her day to day world as someone with multiple personality disorder. The story takes place between August, 2003 and August, 2004 as Ms. Garvey again restarts her full-time work responsibilities after a two-month hospitalization for depression and acting out suicide idealizations. Journalism/blogging in an online community becomes an imaginative outcome in communicating with external others and acting as a reference point for her many selves. Ms. Garvey's world is not about integration; it is about communication, trust and understanding. Life isn't always smooth, but runs effectively with effort."
Again, even though this book takes the angle that multiplicity is caused by child abuse, it is pretty good when it comes to reassuring multiples that they don't have to live as basket cases. This might be a good book for people who were newly diagnosed in therapy. Eliana Gil is involved with ChildHelp, which many survivors have found useful.
Began as a series of interviews exploring multiple personality in an attempt to relate it to postmodern views of what personality and identity really are, Glass found himself entrapped in the midst of the SRA / mind control witchhunt that swept through the Dissociative Disorders Unit of Shepard-Pratt Hospital in the late 1980s. Extreme, suffocating isolation and an overworked sense of suspension of disbelief created a genuine nightmare. An excerpt from the book is found at Soul's Self-Help Central.
Shepard-Pratt was not the only place this happened. No wonder so many DDUs were closed.
Title: Two Souls in One Body?:
a Case of Dual Personality; a Study of a Remarkable Case:
Its Significance for Education
and for the Mental Hygiene of Childhood Author: H.H. Goddard Publisher: London: Rider, 1927
For many years, young Deborah has withstood the cruelty of the earth world through her gift of access to the Kingdom of Yr, a mysterious dimension whose deities have made her queen among them. Now, at sixteen, the very people upon whom she's relied for help have turned against her. But she fears there is no place for her on Earth. The story tells of her battles in both the ancient kingdom where she is captive and victim, and on Earth, where her body is living in a mental hospital.
This is based on the personal experiences of Joanne Greenberg, although she took plenty of artistic license with her own story. The important message of the book, according to the author, is that there is no link between creativity and insanity. Insane people are not more creative than non-insane people, and creativity does not lead to insanity. In her experience, her creativity flourished in the insane asylum despite, not because of, her mental problems.
Creative people and geniuses might be more likely to go crackers because of societal and financial pressures.
In 2001, Eyada.com had an interview with Joanne Greenberg and Gail Hornstein, who had just written a biography of Freida Fromm-Reichmann, "Dr. Clara Fried" from Rose Garden. Unfortunately, as of 17:00 hours on July 10th, www.eyada.com went the way of many dot.coms; i.e, bankrupt and closed their doors. We are still trying to get a downloaded copy of the interview for you, and we will.
This controversial book explores multiplicity as an aspect of changing scientific and religious views about memory. These views were almost immediately politicised when rationalist science tried to replace belief in an immortal soul with belief in memory. Many who feel that multiplicity is a dissociative disorder arising from buried trauma think of Hacking as someone who denies their truth. This may have been, at least in part, a case of timing (note publication date) and the fact that he has a couple of good things to say about the despicable False Memory Syndrome Foundation -- one hopes that he's since become better informed about them. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons we like this book is the way he illustrates the child abuse awareness political agenda behind the upswing in MPD/DID diagnoses in the 1970s and 1980s, but does NOT conclude that multiplicity is simply a therapist-created fantasy. However, since the book was not a support guide to hope and healing for courageous survivors, it was guaranteed to draw flak.
It seems that it was the very fact that Hacking strives for neutrality, refusing to get into the debate over the literal truth of recovered memories and daring to explore the history of what people believed about what we now think of as multiplicity, which led to this misunderstanding. The book is very subtly written, and he is careful to state many times that he wishes not to draw any conclusion.
Title: Out of the darkness into the light: a journey with two
multiples Author: Edie Hand Publisher: Birmingham, Ala.: Front Row Productions ; 1990 (Recording)
Format 1 sound recording (45 min.) : analog, mono.
With Patricia Eggleston and Chris Costner Sizemore. Edie Hand is best known for her books of recipes, inspirational material, and Elvis Presley.
Truddi Chase& mention this book and the 1981 film version with David Birney in When Rabbit Howls. It's a bit hard to find the book these days and the film is never shown any more. Hawksworth was a client of Ralph Allison, who believed him to have psychic powers including the ability to read auras. Perhaps by taking Hawksworth seriously about this, Allison seems to have actually helped him.
A brief, classic manual for people who feel they are suffering with a disorder, this book features an introduction by Colin Ross, a singlet and self-styled "expert" on multiplicity. The text covers things like how to look for a competent therapist, and a "contract for survival" in which people in the group agree to refrain from harming the body and to contact a support person (as if self-harm were a requirement of being multiple). However, some reviewers complain that it has no trigger warnings and doesn't talk about medication and hospitalization, so it may be worth checking out.
Even though this book approaches multiplicity strictly from the angle of dissociative disorder caused by child abuse, it's said to be excellent for giving the singlets around you a clue, that being multiple doesn't make you a basket case.
Title:: Body Scripture: A Therapist's Journal of Recovery from Multiple Personality Author: Barbara Hope Publisher: Wyndham Hall 2000 ISBN: 1556052979
"This book is a personal account of recovery from multiple personality disorder. I describe a ten year therapy process during which dozens of alternate selves emerged and slowly disclosed their trauma" etc.
Her story is no different from anything you've read in countless other books. Barbara came from a working-class Catholic background and beginning at a very early age was raped by numerous men including her father, a family friend, and a priest. She later entered an abusive marriage and had four children. When she initially tried to go in for psychotherapy, the (female) therapist tried to seduce her. She's had other therapists, who don't always seem to maintain ethical professional boundaries.
Obviously multiple, with a team of about forty, she was diagnosed as schizophrenic in 1998 (during the backlash and retrenching of the mental health industry). She tries to rationalize this by thinking of schizophrenia and multiplicity as overlapping and that she developed a "thought disorder" when her "dissociative defenses" (persons in her team) were hurt.
A biography of Dr. Freida Fromm-Reichmann, "Dr. Clara Fried" in I Never Promised You A Rose Garden. Seems a bit
thrown together, but provides an indepth look at how Chestnut Lodge was
founded. Therapists at the Lodge believed that some schizophrenics and
psychotics could be helped with ordinary psychotherapy. Joanne Greenberg was
only one (and the most famous) example, and not the sole success story. We
learn a bit more about Miss Greenberg's situation, about Yr (its actual name
was Iria), and some accidental insights into her family, and her decision to
write Rose Garden. There is an entire chapter on public response.
The official journal of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), published between 1988 and 1997. Digitization project by Jennifer Freyd, PhD (singlet); Frank Putnam, MD (singlet); Richard Kluft, MD (singlet); Catherine Fine, PhD (singlet); Ruth Blizard, PhD (singlet); and ISSD (a lot of singlets).
This way, you can see what they were saying about us and how they defined, described and perceived our experiences.
A print copy of this journal is available through the UO Libraries under the call number: KNIGHT RC553.D5 D57
Just about here you should sit back, relax, have a nice cup of tea or coffee
or something, and look at something intriguing that doesn't have the least thing to do with multiplicity. If you've read this far you've earned it, so go ahead, have one, indulge yourself and blame it on us.
Originally written in 1954. Shirley Jackson researched this one as carefully
as she could at the time. She was certainly capable of thinking of herself as
multiple, with some justification.
Read Bird's Nest with this in
mind: it was published three years before Three Faces of Eve. It is
amazing to us that feisty Shirley did not hit Corbett Thigpen with a lawsuit.
Both Three Faces of Eve and Sybil contain many elements from this novel.
In 1957, Bird's Nest was made into Lizzie, a fair-to-middling
movie (Johnny Mathis' songs are worth it though). Shirley didn't like
Lizzie -- she said it was too camped up. Almost no one remembers
Lizzie today. It is not available on DVD or videocassette. If you stay up late you might catch it on Turner channels. Shirley said:
Practically the only lines of mine they left in are the ones for Joan Blondell, who is the old aunt; she sits there with a fifth of bourbon and babbles. They must have used up twenty cases of bourbon in the movie; there are shots of people carrying out bushel baskets of empty bottles. [Shirley's husband] Stanley says it is because in Hollywood they don't know anything about drinking because they all take dope. They don't know much about psychology either.
You might also want to read this vivid biography of Jackson, whose private life could be as disturbing as her stories.
Title:The Passion of Ansel Bourne:
Multiple Personality in American Culture
Smithsonian Series in Ethnographic Inquiry Vol. 5 Author: Michael Kenny (singlet) Publisher: Smithsonian Institute Press, 1986 ISBN: 0874745721
Show this to the next person who tells you that multiple personality was invented in the 1970s and that "there were no cases before Sybil". Kenny goes into depth about 19th century studies of multiples -- not just Ansel, but Mary Reynolds, Sally Beauchamp, Nellie Parsons Bean and many others. Recommended because Kenny is not sympathetic to the traditional psychiatric model for multiplicity. He also describes the multiplicity/Spiritualist connection, and is a good deal more pragmatic about it than Crabtree, Rogo et al.
Exceptional Human Experience Network says: "A social anthropologist familiar with the phenomenon of possession in primitive cultures writes about multiple personality, which he views as a cultural variant of possession.
The first chapter tells the story of a pioneer case of multiple personality, Mary Babcock. The case of Ansel Bourne is described in the second chapter. In the next chapter Kenny examines spiritism (mediumship), which he views as an important aspect of multiple personality as it was expressed in the 1890s. He discusses the impact Spiritualism had on nineteenth-century psychology, and deals with a specific case; that of Mrs. Piper and her communicating spirit, G.P. In Chapter 4 he deals with the work of Morton Prince with 'Miss Beauchamp' [Sally or Christine Beauchamp, real name Clara Norton Fowler] and B.C.A. [Nellie Parsons Bean]."
In a concluding chapter he writes about the current wave of interest in multiple personality, in which many multiple selves are manifested. Throughout the book Kenny attempts to show how the expression of the multiple personality syndrome was influenced by and served as an expression of cultural factors. Just as in non-Western societies, spirit possession occurs in individuals in difficult, contradictory, or traditional situations, so he observed that in Western society multiple personality appears to be "a complex metaphorical response" to cultural and personal situations of stress and transition.
The life story of a multiple who was convicted of armed robbery and rape. (There were NO serial killers in this group, as many have reported). Not as bleak as you might think. Keyes, author of Flowers for Algernon (Charly), conveys their experience well.
As of April 13, 2010: Billy (himself) says he is arranging to self-publish his book The Milligan Wars, about his struggle with the mental health system, online as a free e-book. When it goes up we'll let you know.
One would have hoped that his years of interviews with Billy Milligan
would have given him a better idea of multiple experience,
rather than just trotting out the same old stereotypical jazz. Maybe he
explains this in his autobiography.
"It is difficult to overstate how useful art, movement, music, poetry, and occupational therapy can be with DID patients. Often stymied in their verbal expression, these modalities may provide a forum for the expression of what cannot be said and acknowledged in words. Since many DID patients are very creative, they often are able to use these modalities with great ease. A discussion of the roles of these modalities is available in Estelle Kluft's text."
A doctor's experience of working with a group whose chief
presenting self was a young gay man, in the days when being gay was listed
as a mental disorder, multiplicity was not listed at all, and the doctor
herself was considered borderline psychotic for believing there was
such a thing as multiplicity. Ends with a look at the early phase of the
AIDS epidemic and how it affected the gay community.
Remember the outcry when the cute little cartoons advertising Zoloft, an antidepressant, were retooled to promote Zoloft's use as a medicine for social anxiety disorder? Or the Prozac commercial that magically changed the nametags at a cocktail party? First you invent the pill, right, then you invent the illness for which the pill is the cure -- you know that one. Using as his sources letters and memos written by mental health professionals, Lane builds a very convincing case for another instance of mental health industry fraud in which shy persons are told they have a mental disease. He also demonstrates how the public was fooled into thinking that these pills had been sufficiently tested and were relatively harmless.
Title:City of Illusions Author: Ursula K. Le Guin Publisher: Ace, 1967 ISBN: 0-8240-1422-7
Gabriel writes: I always forget about this one. Auntie Ursula, may Her name be praised, started out to write a story about a man with two minds. There really is a man with two minds in this story, although you have to read to the end to find out about it. It's the third volume of a long series so it ends in a kind of to-be-continued way. Ursula talks about this book in The Language of the Night, which is one of the best collections of essays on fantasy writing I have ever read.
This book received a great deal of publicity among fans of singer Stevie Nicks when she revealed that it was her source for the name "Rhiannon". Nicks simply used the name, leaving the book behind, and it's well that she did so. Triad was an apparent attempt to cash in on the Exorcist fad and includes all The Usual -- an ordinary housewife whose life starts going to pieces, missing time, losing things, stuff moving around, and all the boring rest of it, soon after losing her child to crib death and subsequently moving to a mysterious old house. (If that sounds like the beginning of Lawrence Block's terrific 1981 Ariel, it's probably because it is. The elements are virtually the same -- it's what Block decided to do with them that makes his book a classic.) Believing she is possessed by the spirit of her long-dead cousin Rhiannon, whose spun-sugar exterior had masked a sociopathic evil, she turns for help not to the church but to a doctor. Sure enough she has "another personality", but then there's a surprise twist, of course. And on, and on, and on. And the horror never ends. Sigh.
Title: The Psychiatric Clinics of North America: Multiple Personality Disorder Guest Editor: Richard J. Loewenstein, The Psychiatric Clinics of North America
Vol 14, No 3, Sept 1991 Publisher: W.B. Saunders Co
Wildfire says: "Very technical but extremely informative book. Excellent
section on diagnosis and treatment of children, which, as a DID Mom, I
found helpful in forcing psychiatrist to address possibility of DID in my
Title:The Surprising Case of Rachel Baker, Who Prays and Preaches in Her Sleep: With Specimens of her Extraordinary Performances
Taken Down Accurately in Short Hand at the Time. Author: C. Mais Publisher: New York: Whiting and Watson, 1814
This is about a trance speaker. Trance speakers were very common in the
nineteenth century and were a little like New Age channels of today, but
not as silly: they spoke about spiritual and practical matters and political issues. Many of the early spokespersons for women's rights were trance speakers.
Many women activists and speechmakers were assumed to be trance speakers because it was widely believed that women, on their own, without supernatural aid, were incapable of public speaking or of even having many of the thoughts and ideas presented in their addresses.
There is no clear way to tell if these ladies (and some gentlemen) were spirit mediums or if they were multiple or both. Dual personality (it was often called that even when there were more than two selves) was a known and accepted thing in those times. They key was thought to be, not child abuse, but a sensitive nature, open to feelings and emotions.
Echoes of Ursula K. LeGuin and Elizabeth Hand resonate through this compelling
tale of a society in which some children are born multiple, and their places in
both traditional and urban societies.
Title:People in Pieces: Multiple Personality in Milder Forms and
Greater Numbers Author: Alan Marshall Publisher: Rainbow Books 1993 ISBN: 0-935834-94-x
Approaching multiplicity as the usual dissociative disorder, really nothing new here except that he covers the idea of a "dissociative continuum" meaning that it might be useful to people who feel they are "not quite multiple" or somewhere in between, as a midcontinuum or median experience.
Title:Amongst Ourselves Author: Karen Marshall with Tracy Alderman Publisher: New Harbinger 1998 ISBN: 1572241225
Moral of this story: There's plenty of help out there if you're an abuse
survivor, but the therapist who can help you with household management
issues is rare and precious. Most therapists only understand multiple personalities from an abuse-survivorship perspective. This book gives the lie to the old assumption that as persons in the system evidence to the front and relate memories of abuse, they will then disappear and be integrated into a whole person. Although this book is really for abuse survivors who happen to be multiple, it does have some good qualities, notably its plain language.
The Rhymers have this review: "Amongst Ourselves is drivel. First of all, the authors assume that 'alters' don't know how to control themselves; for instance, that all 'the littles' are interested in is finding candy. Nonhuman system members are supposed to occur when the host, while being abused, wishes they could fly away from abuse or burrow into a hole. The book also features a bullshit opinion that multiple systems are not anchored in the body and have to be taught how to live in the body. Because obviously when we sit on a chair for five minutes we cease to feel the chair under our rears and feel like we're instead floating on a cloud. Stinks very much of 'be here now' thinking.
"The main body of the reading is a bit dry, but there are activities that'll help you get to know each other. And the authors don't insist that you have to integrate. But they do assume that the host is in charge and must give love and care to her various alters and treat them like her little family. Imagine if you will, Jaclyn Pia's Multiple Personality Gift, only minus the integration assumptions and activities and you've got it. It has that same sort of condescending tone, despite having been written by a multiple."
This is the book on the subject. Some of it will look very familiar to you if you've been abused in any way and then attempted to tell someone about it, only to be accused of false memory syndrome.
Title: A Dark Science: Women, Sexuality, and Psychiatry in the Nineteenth Century Author: Jeffrey Masson Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux 1988 ISBN: 0374521239
Want to know the atmosphere and belief system in which modern psychiatry began?
"Here translated for the first time are a series of shocking texts from the 19th century German psychiatric literature which, while almost completely unknown to modern readers, have had a devastating influence on attitudes toward women and children in the 20th century. The articles on the sexual "lies" and sexual "fantasies" of children were seminal, brutal and still resonate in today's literature, having taken a terrible toll on the intellectual ideas of modern psychiatry."
A New Zealand correspondent says this was written by a frontrunner in a group, who is gay. Looks like the same old stuff to us.
"Multiple personality disorder is rare and little understood. Matthew Daniels had no idea at first what was wrong with him when he started suffering from terrible headaches, exhaustion, and blackouts that could last for days. But what was he doing during the time he blacked out? What were all these voices in his head? The author recreates his experiences with multiple personality disorder in this book. His personalities include old and young, men and women. They were obnoxious, innocent, literary, ignorant, frightening, frightened. They were all him.
"Matthew Daniels is now in control of his multiple personalties. In this compelling and beautifully written book, he recreates his experiences."
Title:Through Divided Minds, Probing the Mysteries of Multiple Personalities: A Doctor's Story Author: Robert Mayer, Ph.D. Publisher: Doubleday, 1988 ISBN: 0380719207
Singlet Mayer meant well, but allowed his gender bias to undermine whatever good he might have done in helping multiples in crisis develop stable operating systems. Like many who approach multiplicity through the hypnosis angle, he seems to have held a certain amount of contempt for his clients. He played God with hundreds of lives, imposing integration as the only possible answer, insisting that group members die, while admitting he didn't know what he was doing.
Title: Satan's Children Author: Robert Mayer, Ph.D. Publisher: Putnam, 1991 ISBN: 0399136274
In this follow-up to Through Divided Minds, Mayer delves into the world of Satanic ritual abuse survivorship, outrageous claims and the usual fascinating cast of characters. Wisely, he tries to remain neutral on whether or not his clients really went through the schlock horror movie roles that they say they did.
Title: : Mindsplit: The Psychology of Multiple Personality and the Dissociated Self Author: Peter McKellar Publisher: London: Dent (arthur dent), 1979 ISBN: 046004348X
This doesn't have anything to do with plurality either, but it's a fun read. A
young woman accidentally turns herself into a super-powered heroine -- who, to
all appearances, is just twelve years old -- and she can't change back! How does
tiny blue-haired Skye convince people she's the same person as ordinary
thirtyish Marcy? What happens as a consequence of her instinct to help people
with her amazing powers? Identity and responsibility are the themes here, with
liberty, large fries and a coffee to go.
Title:Women From Another Planet,
Our Lives in the Universe of Autism Author: Jean Kearns Miller Publisher: Authorhouse 2003 ISBN: 1410734315
Amazon's Roguealleycat sez: "Wow. A look at our real, whole lives for once... meant as a crossroads between feminism and the neurodiversity movement, and a discussion of life as autistic women."
Title:For Your Own Good:
Hidden Brutality in Child-Rearing,
and the Roots of Violence Author: Dr. Alice Miller Publisher: Noonday 1990 ISBN: 0374522693
If you think you were never abused, read this book. Most people do suffer some form of physical, emotional or intellectual brutality in childhood. People who are acknowledged by society to have been abused tell horrific battle stories. Those of us who were "merely" slapped, spanked, and bullied as children are thus inclined to overlook our experiences as trivial. Most child abuse goes under the sobriquet of parental discipline. It affects our thoughts and feelings in later life, often in subtle ways we don't even notice. "It made me stronger" often simply means "it made me numb". This is not a whiny book, nor is it a Bradshaw feel-good hugfest. Child abuse exists and chances are you've been through it. Don't revisit it on your kids. And the next time someone says "You think you had it tough" and starts talking about some publicized extreme case, show them this book.
"Jenna Rai Miller presents a successful healing of her own excruciating struggles with dissociative identity disorder through an insightful, hopeful, faith-filled story," etc. Classic DID experience marked by her determination to "embrace oneness". Nice cover.
Another in the long line of books presenting the trauma/dissociation model for multiplicity (note the publication date). Mollon believes multiplicity is a matter of "trauma and pretense". Might be worth a few laughs.
This is out of print but the authors are working on an updated version.
Title: Multiple Personalities, Multiple Disorders:
Psychiatric Classification and Media Influence Author: Carol S. North Publisher: Oxford University Press 1993 ISBN: 0195080955
Yes, this is by the Carol S. North, the author of Welcome Silence who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but actually had something that was driving her insane but could be cured by dialysis. Dialysis. So instead of suggesting that multiple personality might have some kind of similar physical source to whatever she actually had, she decides that there are no real multiples at all, just people who saw something on TV and decided to do a little play-acting to get attention. What if people had thought that about her when she tried to get help? No sympathy or insight whatsoever into her own condition or anyone else's.
Title:Moira Author: Martin Obler Publisher: New Horizon Press 1993 ISBN: 0882821202
We've never actually read this one but have seen two reviews. One said that
this is a badly written novel ("the "adding or altering of scenes when necessary" -- yeesh!) with an inexplicably horrible ending. Another
said that it fairly well described classical MPD and might be a good
introduction for clinical psychology interns. It's probably the same old stuff.
Worth it? Read it and tell us what you think.
Like multiplicity, autism is not a disorder and need not be dysfunctional. The brains of autistic people are
simply hardwired differently. This book explores autism's benefits and beauties for the first time, and
explains what may look like bizarre, stereotyped behavior. Like multiples, autistics need to be accepted as
they are, not forced to behave in an allegedly normal fashion.
That is the basic theme of this book, the author providing examples from her own life. By and large, we
agreed with and enjoyed her explanations. However, we had problems with a few of her assertions. Many
autistics are not nearly as able to interact in mainstream society as Miss O'Neill. It's too overwhelming and
requires the processing of a lot of sensory input that a lot of autistics simply can't handle no matter how
intelligent they may be otherwise.
This book runs the risk of romanticising autism even as it seeks to demystify it, especially the old myth of
a connection between genius and autism. Having worked with severe classic-style autistics who are also (at
least apparently) mentally retarded, I cannot agree with her claim that all autism is a beautiful form of
genius. That is a really misleading statement. Autism is not about intelligence, it has to do with sensory perception and processing. It's more like being nearsighted than like being a genius. Autistics are just as likely as multiples to display a range of intelligences. Like multiples, autistics will not be served by being universally classed as geniuses. Intelligence is a slippery concept anyway.
After my experience growing up with autism which I thought at first was "Asperger" simply because I had no
speech delays -- I wasn't diagnosed until I was almost thirty --and working with profoundly affected
"classic" or "Kanner" autistic teens, I think we need educational programs that will take the unique
qualities and deficits of autistic people into account, and teach basic self-care in a way that can be
understood and adapted to the individual's strengths and comprehensions, without brutalisation or an
insistence on completely "normal" behavior.
Title: Becoming One Author: Sarah Olson Publisher:LPC/Trilogy 1997 ISBN: 0962387983
We have trouble not calling this book "How we all got squished together" or,
"How I squished everybody together" or something. Another one of those rambling
accounts of abuse and courageous healing that became popular after When Rabbit Howls became a bestseller. We got a review
copy of this one in the mail. Totally unasked for.
Title: Criminal Responsibility and Multiple Personality Defendants Edited by Sabra Owens Publisher: ABA, July 1997 ISBN: 1570734607
Exploration and analysis of the use of multiple personality disorder defenses in the crinimal justice system; with table of cases.
Title:A Fractured Mind Author: Robert Oxnam& Publisher:Hyperion 2006 ISBN: 1401302270
I notice that most of the amazon.com reviews do not believe Oxnam was multiple and that he& is faking it to get publicity or bolster a sagging career in middle age. I think this may be because he& was such a highly visible public figure, such a familiar face on Nightline and The MacNeill-Lehrer News Hour, and spoke so rationally and competently about China, that he& does not fit most people's preconceived notion of who a multiple is. That's of course providing they even believe that multiplicity exists. It seems that today if you say the words MPD or multiple personality, the majority of people in this culture automatically translate in their minds to "excuses made by a loser with weak character". In other words, we're exactly where we started fifty years ago.
If classic MPD is supposed to be a coping strategy to allow normal or higher levels of daily functioning while putting aside abuse or other unpleasant experiences instead of taking time to process them, then the majority of MPD clients should be like Oxnam& -- or Chase&, with their real estate business. MPD should enable success, not failure. Difficulties with continuity, as well as the intrusion of unwanted images or ideas which may or may not be early memories, take place as an MPD operating system begins to change or fall apart. Such clients are still told, as Oxnam was, that the multiplicity is the problem, when what they may need is help putting together a different operating system that will allow them to return to their previous level of functioning. - A. Temple
Title: The Magic Daughter Author: Jane Phillips Publisher: Penguin 1996 ISBN: 0140244557
Don't get your hopes up. - Gabe
This would make a good don't-let-this-happen-to-you book. It is about a very, very badly managed group with practically no communication. Unlike most books on so-called MPD/DID, Phillips concentrates not on childhood horror stories (though of course there are some) but on everyday life with a group whose operating system becomes so out of whack they often can't even get it together enough to accomplish routine tasks. This makes things pretty rough on them, as they are (under their actual name) an award-winning author and professor of French language and literature.
You find out how this happened as she researches her own memories. She didn't seem to have repressed anything, just put things she already knew into place. Because of her failure to measure up to bizarre familial expectations, she was being medicated at the age of three, for Christ's sake, and was on Librium by 15. These things can affect the way a person's mind develops -- it's no wonder she has huge memory gaps. She finds evidence that she was multiple long before any sexual abuse occurred (she was seven when that started), but her doctor doesn't listen; he is one of those who believed multiplicity originates only with sexual abuse. In fact, this lady looks to have been emotionally and physically abused by her parents because she was multiple, before the sexual attacks by her brother started. She may even have been born naturally multiple (she even brings this up), and had her operating system destroyed by the abuse and by the drugs. How often does this happen and professionals just assume it's the other way around? It was exhausting just to read this book and experience the grind of psychotherapy with a less than competent doctor.
Title: Managing Our Selves: Building a Community of Caring Author: Elizabeth Power Publisher: E. Power & Assoc. 1992 ISBN: 1-883307-01-5
Friday, April 16, 2010: At present, the Managing Our Selves books are available only through Sidran. These include Building A Community of Caring and God in Our Midst which looks at abuse from a "when bad things happen to good people" perspective without all the crap about ritual abuse, demons, etc.
Title:Victims of Memory Author: Mark Pendergrast Publisher: Upper Access Book Publishers ISBN: 0942679180 (revised edition, 1997)
Pendergrast is out to set the record straight on the recovery movement, pro and con (mostly con). Written by a scholar whose own daughters have accused him of molesting them, apparently based only on recovered memories. Like Joan Acocella (who drew heavily on Victims of Memory for her research) Pendergrast exposes the mental health racket that grew out of the recovery movement, labeling people as victims and multiples whether they were or not. He has also got a lot to say about the use of Reid police questioning technique on young children to pressure them into "admitting" they were sexually abused -- whether they were or not.
You may not agree with Pendergrast at all. Most of his research consists of anecdotal interviews and personal stories rather than scientific research. He has little or nothing on studies of actual repressed and recovered memories, and he does not believe that multiplicity exists. But his findings should be considered in light of your own therapy. Have you been asked to dredge up questionable traumatic memories? Do you feel pressed to accept a certain view of yourself, the people in your multiple system (if any) and your childhood that doesn't fit your truth? Read this, then make your own decisions.
“I’m Sybil.” Thus, Shirley Mason shared her secret identity with Nancy Preston, her former student. That disclosure cemented an enduring twenty-eight year friendship between the two via phone calls, visits, and letters. From Shirley’s first letter to her last phone call to Nancy, After Sybil is a revealing glimpse into the daily life of the woman whose sixteen personalities were merged into the one Nancy knew and loved. Letters, photos, and quotes offer insight to Shirley’s view of her parents, her therapist, and the bestselling book and subsequent movies about her. Interspersed are examples of Shirley’s art, including a self portrait.
Dr. Putnam (singlet) is at the forefront of study on the biochemical and neurological
reality of child abuse, for which we salute him. We don't necessarily agree with all of his conclusions about multiples, and along with Richard Kluft (singlet) he advocates some atrocious methods of discovering whether a
patient is multiple. Still, he is worth reading, if only to see his contributions to the standard therapeutic views and myths about multiple personality.
Title: Infinite Boundary: A Psychic Look at Spirit Possession, Madness, and Multiple Personality Author: D. Scott Rogo Publisher: New York: Dodd Mead, 1987 ISBN:0396089682
Published just three months after When Rabbit Howls, this book
purports to explore the comparative history of mediumship, possession
and multiplicity. After kind of a shaky beginning in which we learn that
gender dysphoria and transsexuality can be cured through exorcism, he
continues with a look at the famous case of Frederic Thompson, the
jeweler who was apparently possessed (quite beneficially) by the
departed spirit of painter R. Swain Gifford, takes a half-turn at
Spiritualism with complete credulity (they couldn't possibly have been
faking those effectscould they?) and psychic
surgery, and after a lengthy recap of the Doris Fischer case, finishes us off with a
remarkable interview with Ralph Allison. Allison's theories are clearly
the basis of Truddi Chase's speculations about multiples and ESP, and
they're all laid out here for our benefit. You'll be pleased to know
that Allison's never met a multiple who wasn't 'highly psychic', and many of us are psychic vampires to boot. Another one of Rogo's interviewees is M. Scott Peck, who touts his "people of the lie" theory. It's possible that this book (along with Michelle Remembers and the original Courage to Heal) was source material for the SRA hysteria that went into high gear a couple of years later.
"The Way Back is unique in that it is written by a person diagnosed with MPD." Well, there are lots of books like that now, but maybe she didn't know about them. "MPD is a strange phenomenon; however, you will read that anyone facing any unwanted circumstance can rise above the fears and difficulty to their desired goal." Now, that we can agree with! "The greatest blessing of all was that the journey took me right into my Divine Nature." So, this might be helpful to people who believe in Divine Natures.
Osiris, my friend! What has happened to your nose? Title: The Osiris Complex: Case Studies in Multiple Personality
Disorder Author: Colin A. Ross (singlet) Publisher: Univ. of Toronto Press 1994 ISBN: 0802028586
More than adequately exemplifies the current mode of thought in the mental
health industry concerning multiplicity. Having declared multiplicity a
disorder, they've spent the last twenty years playing the game for all it was
worth... making money and prestige by exploitive therapy of abuse victims,
multiples, and those who were simply looking for meaning in their lives. Now
that the public has seen behind the curtain, it's not fun any more, so it's the
DID dustbin for us; multiple personality officially no longer exists. "Contrary to prevalent opinion, MPD patients do not have more than one personality; the so-called different personalities are fragmented components of a single personality, abnormally personified and dissociated from each other." Yeah.
Title: Discovering Your Subpersonalities: Our Inner World and the
People In It Author: John Rowan Publisher: New York: Routledge, 1993 ISBN: 0-415-07366-9
We didn't even know what a "subpersonality" was, so we had to look it up: What Are Subpersonalities He seems to be doing a New Age version
of "everyone has different sides to themselves". Or maybe it's midcontinuum.
Pretty stereotypical account by the author of 101 Common Therapeutic Blunders, who certainly exemplifies those here in a self-serving narrative. If this account is even real, which some reviewers have questioned, Schoenewolf was an inexperienced newbie shrink who found himself working with a multiple, and did not immediately refer her to a more knowledgeable therapist. He fell in love with his client&, who responded (?) by spontaneously integrating (or was it really integration?). He finally did refer her to another, disinterested therapist. The book contains not only his diary, but her diary -- a simulation, written by Schoenewolf himself!
One of our correspondents said: "Not too bad a book, even if I did want to smack the author upside the head a couple times. (He got integration and co-consciousness mixed up, for one!) But I cheered him when he realized he might not have any business trying to get them to integrate; what if Jennifer was (gasp!) better off this way? If nothing else, he said one very interesting thing: Sybil and crew's integration wasn't permanent.... they came back and she just let them stay. If that's true, I imagine she figured/realized she had no choice. I'm hoping it's true! ... It WAS the first book I've ever read that said multiplicity is .. a lifestyle option.... But the therapist tried to tell a couple of system residents that they weren't real and/or not a different person than Jennifer and/or just her walking, talking unconsious. Mildred [of Jennifer's system] tried to set him straight, and neither was listening to
Everything we have on the Sybil book, Sybil film, and Shirley Ardell Mason, is on our Controversy page.
Please try to keep in mind that what you see in the movie Sybil with Sally Field is only very loosely based on the real events in the life of Shirley Ardell Mason. The novel by Flora Rheta Schreiber is not a psychiatric case history. It is a fictionalized narrative, exaggerated for shock value, and the film even more so. In fact, the Sybil movie was deliberately made to resemble a horror movie. The remake starring Tammy Blanchard was also based on the book, rather than on what actually happened between Cornelia Wilbur and Shirley Ardell Mason.
The Sybil book and films are the public image of multiple personalities -- and have done a lot of damage to multiples. (Please read that if you don't read anything else on this page.)
Among the many untruths perpetuated by the 2007 Sybil remake, one of the worst came at the end, with the statement that Shirley Ardell Mason ended her life as a "recluse". She was an artist who exhibited her paintings at local galleries. She taught art for years, designed toys, and owned her own business. She was a devout member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and was well known and liked there. Only a very few people knew Shirley was Sybil.
But at rock bottom, the facts are these: Shirley Ardell Mason was multiple, and her therapy with Dr. Wilbur helped her.
Nancy L. Preston's book After Sybil presents a much more realistic picture of Shirley Ardell Mason. Ms. Preston was interviewed for the DVD and that interview is included in the extras. Ms. Preston's website, Sybil's Friend, has lots of personal reminiscences about her art teacher, mentor and friend.
To see if a store close to you rents copies either of the DVD release or the old VHS version (which was drastically cut); Formovies.com Sybil Listing
If you are still interested in the old VHS version or want to try for the old 192-minute version; Video Addicts Want List Here, post a message saying you want a copy of the Sybil movie. Don't forget to mention our website.
December 03, 2011: Dr. Schwartz and his son Mark are currently involved in this lawsuit alleging malpractice. It's like something out of Pendergrast's or Joan Acocella's accounts of the 80s and 90s. Is it for real, or is the claimant -- who owns and manages several entertainment companies -- trying to cash in?
Based on the award-winning "Profitable Addictions" series of investigative reports by the Houston Chronicle, this book explains the classic psychiatric insurance scam by focusing on one institution, Fair Oaks Hospital in Summit, New Jersey. Amazon says: "Many in the psychiatric profession have abandoned the severely mentally ill while private, investor-owned hospitals offer bounties of up to $1500 to clergy, teachers, police and "crisis counselors" for recruiting -- one Texas legislator uses the term "body-snatching" -- troubled adults, adolescents and children covered by insurance policies that pay up to $30,000 for inpatient care. In 1993, the fraud practiced by Medicare- and Medicaid-subsidized hospital chains such as National Medical Enterprises, with 86 psychiatric hospitals and revenues of $1.74 billion in 1991, was revealed by the FBI. The psychiatric industry, Sharkey warns in this chilling, well-documented account, is lobbying for a large slice of the health reform pie and continues to "create mental illness with advertising."
Sidis believed there was such a thing as adult onset multiplicity, caused by physical injury. He has a lot of case studies of people who never showed signs of amnesia, dissociation or other selves until they were in an accident, mostly when they had a head injury. He also has the usual "hystero-epilepsy" cases. This is a fascinating side trip.
Title:I'm Eve Author: Chris Costner Sizemore with Elen Sain Pittillo Publisher: New York : Jove, 1978 ISBN: 0515075140
Chris Sizemore tells her life story which was (to put it mildly) erroneously reported by Dr. Corbett Thigpen in "The Three Faces of Eve".
Title:A Mind of My Own Author: Chris Costner-Sizemore Publisher: Morrow, 1989 ISBN: 0688081991
Chris continues telling her own true story, begun in I'm Eve, in a warm, engaging narrative. While she continues to maintain her stance that multiplicity is a mental illness for which the only cure is integration (she reports a brief confrontation with the Troops (Truddi Chase) over this issue), what she has to say about it is not like the usual psychiatric blah blah.
Chris does not believe in fragmentation. Describing her research into reincarnation and past-life memories (citing Ian Wilson's studies among others), she asserts that her actual selves (not the stereotypes described by Thigpen and Cleckley) were separate entities.
"Despite authorities' claims to the contrary, my former alters were not fragments of my birth personality. They were entities, whole in their own rights, who coexisted with my birth personality before I was born. They were not me, but they remain intrinsically related to what it means to be me."
Title:Magic Castle Author: Carole Smith Publisher: St. Martin's Press ISBN: 031217196X
The real story here is not little Alex and his violent behavior which was interpreted by his mother and doctor as multiple personalities, but his mom's fight against the mental health industry to try to get some help for his real problems. One wonders if the SRA stories were invented by her, for example. It's not at all clear whether he was actually multiple, or whether the idea of MPD was used as a kind of therapeutic tool that he could work with to sort out his genuine issues.
Title:Muses, Madmen, and Prophets:
Rethinking the History, Science,
and Meaning of Auditory Hallucination Author: Daniel Smith Publisher: Penguin 2007 ISBN: 1594201102
Very few books on multiplicity are written by loved ones. I'm Eve was co-written by Chris Sizemore and her cousin, and After Sybil was written by Nancy L. Preston, one of Shirley Mason's close friends. Now, Which One Am I explores what it's like to have a life partner who's plural. This is not about natural multiplicity -- Darrell Williams& have classic blackout DID/MPD originating in childhood abuse, and much of the story is dedicated to how they found out about their past. But they have chosen to refuse integration and live as they are. Most important, they have found a loving and caring partner in Thomas Smith.
Stacey based a lot of her book on Mollie Fancher, the Brooklyn Enigma: An
Authentic Statement of Facts in the Life of Mary J. Fancher by A.H. Dailey
(Brooklyn: Eagle Book Printing, 1894). This book is out of print. look for
copies of Mollie Fancher through Advanced Book Exchange: One does
occasionally turn up, usually going for about $75-100.
Stein, a Jungian therapist, wrote this book to raise tough questions about incest, the therapy process and the therapist-patient relationship. It is written in a clear, readable style, and still relevant today.
Title:The Stranger in the Mirror: Dissociation, the Hidden
Epidemic Author: Marlene Steinberg (singlet) Publisher: Cliff Street 2000 ISBN: 0060195649
Another in a recent series of books by professionals assuring us that
dissociation is real and happens to everyone, and promoting the idea of the
"dissociative spectrum" with, of course, multiplicity at the extreme end. And,
of course, being multiple is still a disorder. The author seems to be a little
out of touch with present-day realities -- she uses dissociation and
multiplicity to explain why some people feel they are the opposite gender from
their bodies, and to let us know that anyone who believes in reincarnation is
Remember, DID is an identity disorder - they're trying to depoliticize it by
telling us no one really has more than one person per body. The goal is to keep multiples as clients, just reshuffling the deck a little.
Reviews at Amazon say: "Presents autism in a positive light, and describes why we do things instead of dismissing us as uniformly defective and inappropriate." "He proves autism is not this wild unmanagable condition that requires massive intervention." Describes the reasons behind the things autistics do without being flowery or assuming autistics are all geniuses.
Roguealleycat@amazon sez: "Some great points and people should read it, although he has some notions of respectful language that are certainly not universal to the autistic community." And, that the author "does not make it sound as if those of us who are happy with ourselves either lack insight or aren't autistic enough to appreciate how disabled we are."
By the Author of Violation and Virtuality. How the internet and other
means of communication have undermined the established illusion of
one-self-per-body. Go for it.
Title:The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of
Author: Martha Stout Publisher: Viking 2001 ISBN: 0670894753
As far as we can tell, the real message of this book is that behavior we all
thought was normal or merely idiosyncratic is actually symptomatic of a
treatable mental disorder.
Think about it: we've all heard that dissociation is a natural response
(whether to trauma, or whatever). If that's the case, then why is modern
psychiatry trying to cure it rather than merely observing it?
It's wise to ask ourselves as we read this and other such books: Who
benefits? If we accept the dissociation belief system -- particularly this
New Wave variety which discounts multiplicity as just another dissociative
delusion -- what do we get out of it? What does the doctor get out of it?
Title:Sybil In Her Own Words: The Life, Letters and Art of Shirley Ardell Mason Author: Patrick Suraci, Ph.D. Publisher: Abandoned Ladder 2011 ISBN: 0615446000
Upon Flora Schreiber’s death in 1993, Dr. Patrick Suraci inherited a painting that Shirley Mason had done for her, initiating a friendship with Ms. Mason that lasted until her death in 1998. Dr. Suraci’s recently published book picks up where Schreiber’s story left off. It explores the productive life of Shirley Mason as artist and teacher, mostly through letters and taped conversations. Dr. Suraci verified details of Shirley's early life and abuse, her work with Dr. Wilbur and her later life.
Dr. Suraci is a psychologist in private practice in the city of New York.
Here's a video where Dr. Suraci shows some of Shirley Mason's pictures and explains their symbolic meaning:
Title:Trance and Possession in Bali: A Window on Western Multiple
Personality, Possession Disorder, and Suicide Author: Luh K. Suryani and Gordon D. Jensen Publisher: Oxford University Press 1994 ISBN: 0-19-588610-0
A well-written, detailed but completely understandable exploration of
possession trance, its relation to multiplicity, and their place in the
healing rituals of traditional, indigenous cultures.
"In this book, the authors describe the psychosocial experiences of the Balinese in Trance-possession states during traditional healing, dance, drama and gamelan performance, as well as in several mental disorders. This book is a collaboration between a Western psychiatrist with a wide experience of Balinese Culture and Mental Health and Western trained Balinese steeped in local culture."
"It concludes that trance-possession in Bali is the same, phenomenologically, as multiple personality disorder (MPD) in the West. It also presents criteria for the diagnosis of possession in any culture, a new theory of possession, and multifold comparisons of trance-possession in Bali with MPD in the West."
This is as relevant today as the day it came out. Szasz uses clear, simple language to expose the facts behind
the stigmatization of those who are different. He insists that most of the
things we call mental illnesses are merely variances in normal human behaviour,
or normal emotional states like loneliness or insecurity that could be helped
in ordinary ways. You may not agree with everything he says, but that's not why
this book is listed here.
Szasz restates his claims, presents his findings and explains his theories in
plain language. He even gives you a bit on why he uses plain language. This
book may be a better introduction than "The Myth of Mental Illness" if you've
never read Szasz before. His theme is always the same: what we term mental
illness is, by and large, behaviour which is explicable and reasonable given
the society in which we live. Society's vigorous repression (through drugs,
electroshock, etc.) of those who are different has become a form of
institutionalised hate crime. We have come to regard the mental health industry
as a kind of religion, as the standard against which normalcy is measured.
Once more, Szasz takes a look at our lives and times and how the pharmaceutical industry, in cooperation with the mainstream media and the legal system, have formed a government of social control. Medical and health decisions are made for us, "for our own good", every day. Find out what the system is doing to you and your kids -- how much of your life can you take back?
Title: Coercion as Cure, A Critical History of Psychotherapy Author: Thomas Szasz Publisher: Transaction 2007 ISBN: 0765803798
Like Masson, Szasz pulls no punches. This is what happens when we presume that a certain select group of people know more about ourselves than we do. This is not about the misuse of psychiatry; this is about the idea that psychiatry itself is a misuse of social and political power.
You might also be interested in The Etiology of a Social Epidemic. Written by a social worker, it begins as an indictment of so-called "attachment disorder" and the brutal, sometimes fatal "therapies" designed to cure it. But she goes further, exploring the origins of psychoanalysis and the place of psychiatry as a tool of social control. More on toxic psychiatry here.
According to Robert H. Wozniak's page on William James, James
didn't believe normal people had a single self -- that's an illusion, he thought. He lived at about the same time as Mollie Fancher and there is much more about him in The Passion of Ansel Bourne. This book consists of transcriptions of scholarly lectures by James in 1896, covering Dreams and Hypnotism, Automatism, Hysteria, Multiple Personality, Demoniacal Possession, Witchcraft, Degeneration, and Genius. "The first four talks establish James as the master of a modern dynamic psychology of the subconscious, while the remainder articulate the pathological working of the subconscious in the social sphere."
Listen to this: "At one extreme, the unitary self maintains its oneness by
repressing all that does not fit. Thus censored, the illegitimate parts of the self are not accessible. This model would of course function best within a fairly rigid social structure with clearly defined rules and roles."
Did you hear that? A singlet is one who has repressed everything that doesn't fit. That presumes that there were lots of things that didn't fit in the first place.
This would seem to suggest that multiples who do feel they are parts of a whole are keeping all those "illegitimate" parts of the self uncensored. Isn't that a lot better than the dissociation theory?
One of the very few books on life after the integration process. A
series of short essays like Multiple Personality from the
Inside Out and just as readable. If you are opting for integration, this
one is highly recommended.
Title:Wounded Innocents Author: Richard Wexler Publisher: Prometheus, 1995 ISBN: 0879759364
"The war against child abuse has become a war against children. In the name of
"child protection" innocent families are disrupted nearly two million times
every year and thousands of children are needlessly torn from their parents and
thrown into foster care--even as children in real danger are ignored. While the
problem of child abuse is serious and real, journalist Richard Wexler charges
that our solutions to the problem have actually made it worse--in fact, hurting
the very children that they were intended to help." From the Lifting the Veil review, which you can read in its entirety here.
Title: First Person Plural Author: Cameron West Publisher: Hyperion 1998
It is another courageous healing story. It has aroused some controversy
because of the relative ease with which he learned to communicate with his
people once he realized they were there. This isn't unusual though,
despite what you're told in some of those cheap dime novels. People
reading this book and comparing it with their own experiences, remember
that as Truddi Chase says no two groups or systems are alike, we all have
different ways of communicating, perceiving the world, processing
information, and different people handling different things for different
West does in fact have a degree in psychology, but it is from the Association of Humanistic Psychology, not the standard APA, and he explains in the text that he worked for the degree in order to better understand multiplicity in general as well as his own condition. He is not a practicing therapist.
Title:A Rainbow for Patti Author: Carol West Publisher: Behavioral Science Center 1993 ISBN: 0-938837-11-7
"The author's story of how and why a multiple personality develops is based on her own experience and was designed to explain this disorder to children who use this technique to survive."
21 Dec 2006: The author says: "Contrary to most of the books published on Multiple Personality Disorder, A Rainbow for Patti is a gentle, non-threatenting introduction to this disorder. It is written at a child's level, and is only 45 about pages, with several illustrations done by child selves. It is designed for therapists to use in introducing the subject to clients, as well as to help family and friends of those with MPD to understand the disorder. It does not mention abuse, and is not frightening in any manner. It is also a heart-warming story of self-acceptance, hope and inner strength.
"The book was professionally published in 1993, but due to the publisher going out of business, I am now the distributor. I have more than 100 copies of the book, and they can be purchased by contacting me at az.curly.q @ hotmail . com. $14.95 includes S&H.
Quoting from Janus of the Gateway's review on Anita's Booklist:
"Presents an alternative approach to dealing with MP, emphasizing harmony
among inner selves rather than casting off or integrating them into a
single personality. Written by a person with MP, it gives suggestions on
how to help your inner people get along better with each other with less
friction and cross-purposes. Not a big book, easy to read (not filled with
psycho-babble). Maybe not for everyone, but might be very appropriate for
some? I liked it - it even made us smile sometimes! :)"
Title:Nobody Nowhere Author: Donna Williams Publisher: Harper 1994 ISBN: 0380722178
Donna Williams coped with the very different, often confusing sensory
input common to autism by relying on the fact that she was (and is)
also multiple. Autism and multiplicity may have similar neurological
Title: Autism: An Inside-Out Approach Author: Donna Williams Publisher: Jessica Kingsley 1996 ISBN: 1853023876
Williams takes this opportunity to criticize so-called therapies for autism based in stereotypes which limit the definition and abilities of autistics. She presents an exhaustive list of the different kinds of autism and therapies used to treat them, and also explains a bit more about her multiplicity.
"Exploring autism from the inside, it shows clearly how the behaviours associated with autism can have a range of different causes, and in many cases reflect the autistic person's attempt to gain control over their internal world. The sensory and perceptual problems that challenge a person with autism are described in depth, together with strategies for tackling them so as to enable that person to take more control of their lives."
Roguealleycat@amazon sez: "Some good descriptions. Debunks some myths, but sometimes replaces them with new ones. Treat with extreme caution, and ask an autie before applying the concepts to them or you could hurt them badly."
Title: Like Color to the Blind Author: Donna Williams Publisher: Times 1996 ISBN: 0385255950
Williams talks about her continuing activities related to her previous
books, and about living in the everyday world, including her brief
marriage to an autistic gentleman. If you want to understand more about the
Irlen filters she wears to prevent sensory overload,
read what she
says about Irlens here (scroll down a bit).
Title:Autism and Sensing: The Unlost Instinct Author: Donna Williams Publisher: Jessica Kingsley 1998 ISBN: 1853026123
"Expanding on themes of her previous book, Autism: An Inside-Out Approach, Donna Williams explains how the senses of a person with autism work, suggesting that they are 'stuck' at an early development stage common to everyone. She calls this the system of sensing, claiming that most people move on to the system of interpretation which enables them to make sense of the world. In doing so, as well as gaining the means of coping with the world, they lose various abilities which people with autism retain. She goes so far as to suggest that the constraints of space and time do not exist in the same way for autistic people, and that the emotional as well as the physical world is seen and therefore approached in a different way. The book provides a fascinating insight into the way that people with autism perceive the world, going into far more depth than Williams' previous books."
A current theory of autism is that while neurotypical children develop a huge amount of neurons which "retire" after the kid is about two, the neurons of autistic children don't retire and remain active. This could account for some of Ms Williams' ideas explained above.
Roguealleycat@amazon sez: "Theory on autistic developmental stages: sensing, interpretation, and significance. "Sensing" makes sense, the rest lose me. Take with a large metaphorical saltshaker rather than the usual grain."
"Exposure anxiety is increasingly understood as a crippling condition affecting a high proportion of people on the autism spectrum. To many it is an invisible cage, leaving the person suffering from it aware, but buried alive in their own involuntary responses and isolation.... Exposure Anxiety makes it hard to stand noticing you are noticing. It can make love a form of torture, repel you from the sound of your own voice, make you meaning deaf to your own words and those of others and compel you to avoid, divert from or retaliate against the very things that which most have the power to reach you."
Roguealleycat@amazon sez: "Useful stuff interspersed with bad. Contains irresponsible promotion of a drug (no warnings about serious dangers) and the author applying her own ideas about autism and Asperger's to the rest of us."
Title: Everyday Heaven: Journeys Beyond
the Stereotypes of Autism Author: Donna Williams Publisher: Jessica Kingsley 2004 ISBN: 1843102110
Donna's fourth autobiography, covering the nine years after her divorce and describing her everyday life, explorations of her sexuality and orientation, dealing with the death of loved ones, and so on.
Title: Not Just Anything Author: Donna Williams Publisher: Jessica Kingsley 2004 ISBN: 1843102285
This is Donna's journal. "A mosaic of logic, passion and philosophical musings by Donna Williams, sometimes jolting, sometimes moving, often illuminating. In it Donna takes you on a poetic adventure into places past, present and beyond. Often intertwined with the world of autistic experience, her writings divulge with immediacy, a person in the grip of overload and shutdowns, of extreme sensory and emotional highs and passions, of alienation from self, from body and fear of the intensity of emotion, of the struggle to know self, to communicate, to comprehend. At other times, her writing somehow transcends the often assumed limitations of autism, and she dissects so many of the concepts we take for granted, bringing us face to face with our own social constructions of 'reality' and so called 'normality' in a way only Donna can."
Title: The Jumbled Jigsaw:
An Insider's Approach to the Treatment
of Autistic "Fruit Salads" Author: Donna Williams Publisher: Jessica Kingsley 2005 ISBN: 1843102811
"The Jumbled Jigsaw exposes autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) not as single entities but as a combination of a whole range of often untreated, sometimes easily treatable, underlying conditions. Exploring everything from mood, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive and tic disorders to information processing and sensory perceptual difficulties, including dependency issues, identity problems and much more, Donna demonstrates how a number of such conditions can combine to form a 'cluster condition' and underpin the label 'autism spectrum disorder'."
Title: Aristoi Author: Walter J. Williams Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates; TOR SF, Sept. 1992 ISBN: 0812514092
A very intricate, involved science fiction novel about a very intricate, involved future of humanity. One of the major premises is the deliberate creation and maintenance of multiple personality systems, not by sinister government forces but by individuals who choose multiplicity as their preferred way of functioning in reality. In fact, given some of the stuff they have to do, they have to be multiple.
Title:All in the Mind? (also published as "Mind Out of Time?" Author: Ian Wilson Publisher: London: Gollancz, 1981 ISBN: 0575029684
We recommend this book for people who need a bit more critical thinking
when it comes to claims of reincarnation or other psychic phenomena, and even multiplicity itself. Wilson, author of Jesus: The Evidence and Murder at Golgotha, is not a debunker, but does try to explore the possibility that we should not necessarily believe everything we read. Likewise, don't take him without a few grains of salt; we suspect him, not of sloppy research, but selective research. We think he's ignored some data which might show flaws in his theory.
Reincarnation? The Phenomena Which Seem To Suggest It By Filippo Liverziani. This article sources a lot of All in the Mind?, and other works concerning investigations of reincarnation and multiple personalities, so you can see the kinds of things Wilson reports on.
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