OBJECTIVE: Reported cases of multiple personality disorder have increased dramatically in the last decade. Few data are available on the treatment of multiple personality disorder. Current recommendations are based on the experience of individual clinicians rather than on systematic research. METHOD: A questionnaire study of 305 clinicians representing a spectrum of mental health professionals was conducted to survey the types and relative efficacy of treatment modalities currently used with cases of multiple personality disorder.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), a chronic childhood onset posttraumatic stress disorder, is currently recognized as a treatable condition. It is considered the paradigmatic dissociative condition and carries with it extreme posttraumatic symptomatology. Therapists skilled in the treatment of DID are typically fluent in the uses of hypnosis for stabilization, affect management, building a safe place and grounding to name of few. EMDR, which has come to the forefront of clinical awareness in the last ten years, seems aptly suited for the treatment of trauma, but can be destabilizing.
The literature regarding the use of hypnosis in the therapy of multiple personality is reviewed. Cautions of other authors are noted which intend to protect the patient from further "splitting" of the personalities involved. A case of a 25-year-old woman is described in which, several months after leaving therapy abruptly, a second personality appeared and prompted her re-entry into treatment. Hypnosis was employed several weeks after restarting therapy on four separate occasions. Therapeutic outcome was favorable with coalescence of the personality into a new whole.
Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Revue Canadienne De Psychiatrie
This paper presents a single case study of multiple personality that developed from traumatic experiences in early childhood and adolescence. The paper discusses how the therapist's attention can reinforce the development of new personalities. Hypnosis, psychotherapy and advancing age all have an effect on the resolution of multiple personality. In this case, there was only partial success in resolving all the personalities, because of earlier reinforcement.
The syndrome of multiple (dissociated) personality fell into disrepute around 1910. This has been attributed to loss of interest in hypnosis; psychiatrists believed the syndrome resulted from hypnosis and that they were duped. However, around 1910 an important event occurred in psychiatry: Bleuler introduced the term "schizophrenia' to replace "dementia praecox.' This factor also played a role in the decline of recognition of the multiple personality syndrome, and many of these cases were diagnosed as schizophrenia.
Evidence exists to support the concept of pathology or diseases of hypnosis. Multiple personalities is such a syndrome, as are many or perhaps all cases of hysteria (Briquet's syndrome). The crux of multiple personalities is the subject's unrecognized abuse of self-hypnosis, by which she creates personalities, beginning at age 4 to 6 years. The process of self-hypnosis allows the delegation of an experience or a function to an alter ago, henceforth relegated to unconsciousness by the amnesia of hypnosis.