In this excerpt from one of his essays, he lambasts the mental health industry
and tells you exactly what their intentions were when they "DID" us over.
Please, if you can, boycott this term. Don't use it on your page or refer to
yourself or your multiple household as DID or as having DID, unless it is your official
When I diagnosed my first case of MPD in 1972 (Janette in "Minds In
Many Pieces"), I had had no professional training on the subject. I
went to the Stanford Medical Library to look up articles on the
subject since no computerized databases existed then. The book called
"Index Medicus" was the only place one could start searching for
published articles. There I found the listing of "Dual Personality."
In the 1970s, when I started meeting with other therapists of
"multiples" (the term we all came to use for patients with MPD), we
informally agreed to call the disorder "Multiple Personality Disorder"
or MPD for short. I wrote to the editors of the Index Medicus to ask
them to add Multiple Personality Disorder to the subject headings, and
they did that.
At that time, a small group of us therapists were struggling with
these patients, and we created our own networking methods. I published
a newsletter, "Memos On Multiplicity," for one year as my way of
trying to let such therapists know where fellow adventurers in this
Eventually, the interest moved from the solo practitioner's office to
the academic halls of learning. Some practitioners had teaching
appointments in graduate schools where their opinions about MPD were
not always greeted with acceptance. After all, the accepted dictums
stated that people only were allowed one personality per body. Anyone
claiming to have patients with two or more personalities had a
difficult task convincing those in academia that such was possible.
This conflict of views between those therapists dealing daily with
dissociated patients (some exhibiting dozens of alter-personalities,
or "alters") and academic teachers who spent more of their days
teaching and doing research than actually treating severely ill
patients, came to a boil with the need to revise DSM III.
DSM I (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Version I)
was created after WWI to provide a framework for labeling post-war
psychiatric causalities. DSM II was written after WWII for the same
purpose. Remember, these were written in the USA by American
psychiatrists. However the same terms were accepted by the editors of
the International Code of Diseases (ICD) through its present 9th
When I met my first multiple, DSM II was in use. MPD was then a minor
label under "Hysterical Dissociative Disorder." It did not even have
its own code number.
DSM III was created while I was in the middle of my practice years. It
recognized MPD as existing, gave it a code number, and defined its
characteristics. We who treated these patients finally had found a
degree of acceptance in officialdom. "If it is listed in here, it must
Then the backlash began. There had always been doubters that such a
disease really existed, and my struggles with critics are chronicled
in "Minds In Many Pieces." Personally, I had withdrawn from public
debates on the matter to deal with private matters, so I only know
indirectly about the political battles behind the scene during the
formulation of DSM IV, the current edition.
The field of "Dissociative Disorders" now had its own section. A
committee of experts was appointed to decide what disorders should be
listed in DSM IV. It was hoped that DSM IV would also be the
psychiatric section of the new ICD-10, then in progress.
The committee was composed of two groups, psychiatrists whose primary
role was as therapists and those whose primary roles were teaching and
research. The therapists wanted to keep MPD much as it was in DSM III.
The teachers wanted to eliminate MPD altogether, and replace it with
"Dissociative Identity Disorder" or DID. I heard one of these teachers
say in public, "Everybody is born with only one personality.
Therefore, there can be no such thing as a Multiple Personality
With this belief system, the teachers could not agree that MPD could
be an accurate label for anyone. The treaters on the committee did not
know how to explain that, in practice if not in theory, their patients
acted as if they had other personalities. The teachers decided that
the patients had the major mental problem of believing that they had
more than one personality. The goal of therapy should not be
integrating the various personalities, but getting the patients over
their false belief (delusion) that they had other personalities at
all. (Since I was not present for the deliberation, these ideas are
only reasonable conclusions from what I heard from others who were
there and position statements published about the debate.)
So the patients still had a problem, but it was redefined as a
different problem than the one their therapists were treating them
for. Instead of therapists trying to integrate "alters" into an
original personality, they should now focus their attention on the
patients "delusion" that they did not have a single identity. Now the
teachers expected the treaters to treat the patients' "identity
disorder," as no one could really have multiple personalities.
When the decision was reported out of committee, the teachers had won,
and MPD suddenly ceased to exist. Now all our multiples had
Dissociative Identity Disorder or DID.
However, the editors of the ICD did not accept DSM IV as their section
on Mental Disorders. In the newest printing of ICD-9, they did add
"Dissociative Identity Disorder" below MPD as a synonym. So, in the
world outside the USA, MPD still exists. Only in the USA have all
multiples been told they have a false belief that they have alters
running their bodies.