Creating Hysteria: Women and Multiple Personality Disorder / Edition 1by Joan Acocella, Acocella
Pub. Date: 08/27/1999
In 1989 Elizabeth Carlson, a Minneapolis housewife, went to a psychotherapist for help with depression. Before long the therapist suggested to her that perhaps her problem was actually multiple personality disorder (MPD), a condition that according to the "experts" was connected to childhood abuse. With coaching from the therapist-and under heavy medication-Carlson… See more details below
In 1989 Elizabeth Carlson, a Minneapolis housewife, went to a psychotherapist for help with depression. Before long the therapist suggested to her that perhaps her problem was actually multiple personality disorder (MPD), a condition that according to the "experts" was connected to childhood abuse. With coaching from the therapist-and under heavy medication-Carlson soon came up with more than twenty-five personalities, including Wild Child, Sister Mary Margaret, and Little Miss Fluff. Horrifying abuse memories invaded her consciousness. She had been molested, she said, by her parents, her grandparents, her great-grandparents. Her family was part of a satanic cult. They raped and killed. They aborted babies and ate the afterbirth. Or did they'In Creating Hysteria Joan Acocella tells how, over the past three decades, thousands of women seeking help for various psychological problems were told that they had multiple personality disorder and were sucked into this nightmarish therapy. In session after session, under their therapists' prompting, they produced "memories"-and screaming reenactments-of childhood victimization. Asked to search within themselves for hidden personalities, they came up with entire squadrons: children, harlots, angels, devils. Prior to the 1970s, multiple personality disorder was considered an exotically rare condition. But beginning in the 1980s, an estimated 40,000 people, most of them women, had been initiated into this newly popular disorder.This groundbreaking book describes how a group of reckless therapists used hypnosis, drugs, and sheer persuasion to mold their patients' symptoms into multiple personality disorder. While these practitioners were publishing books and running workshops on how to "spot" MPD, the patients were languishing in hospitalsin some cases for years. They sacrificed their marriages, their jobs. Some even lost their children.Creating Hysteria analyzes the forces that fed into the MPD epidemic: media se
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I chose to read this book thinking that it was about a genetic disorder (multiple personality that is) but I was pleasently surprised and taken back when I began reading and discovered I was misled. I assumed that MPD was a disorder associated with something wrong internally. Not so much a genrtic disorder as it was an epidemic which allowed therapists to create a disorder inside of their patients heads. This book is an extremely interesting take on the entire disorder from many different perspectives, including from women's standpoint, therapists, the history and intellectuals. I did feel that at certain times the author accused sufferers of the disorder and they were victimized and accused of faking and not suffering from anything at will which is hard for an observer and not the sufferer to say. The book entailed true accounts of patients and how their thereapists created this epidemic (hence the name creating hysteria). It also explained just what multiple personality disorder actually was, the background of it, famous people who allegedly suffered from the disorder, and the thrreapy and how it changed through the outbreak of MPD. I enjoyed how the author was so raw and didn't sugarcoat what was actually happening in these peoples lives. For example, when describing what actually occurred in therapy sessions treating MPD, Acocella talks about how hypnosis was used to recall abuse memories and patients would scream, cry, lash out or re-enact the scene in their heads. It was good insight to how a disorder was developed from possible childhood abuse and solely, from ill, sick therapists. The information was presented in a non biased form and was factual but enjoyable It was an easy read, aside from frequent side notations. I would not necessarily recommend this book, but after reading it I can say I am much more interested in MPD, recovered memory and psychological disorders.
While I strongly agree that there have and are and will be therapist out there that will do what this book has talked about. There are those genuine people out there that have been truly 'split' do to sever trauma. And there are those therapist out there that can and do handle this properly and effectively. If one was to truly study the origin of whence MPD/DID came, there is complete logical understanding of it's integrity as a DX. It is those that search for the MPD/DID patient that need questioning, not those that stumble upon it. In ending, I fear that this book may be informative, yet fuel the fire of 'Creating Hysteria'