Multiple Personality is
NOT Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Please read.

Excerpted from

Dr. Ralph Allison is a well-intentioned singlet minister/ therapist. He's studied multiplicity for a number of years (most recently, from a transpersonal perspective) and believes he has a handle on why at least some people are multiple.

Read Dr. Allison's book: Minds In Many Pieces: Revealing the Spiritual Side of Multiple Personality Disorder

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, unless you and your group really feel it applies to your situation, or it is your official diagnosis.

Dual Personality, Multiple Personality,
Dissociative Identity Disorder - What's in a Name?

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 field were.

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 edition.

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 exist."

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[1] say in public, "Everybody is born with only one personality. Therefore, there can be no such thing as a Multiple Personality Disorder."

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.


[1] Probably Dr. David Spiegel, according to Ian Hacking in Rewriting the Soul. He discusses the debate and decision at some length.

We found this on a public discussion page dated July 25, 2004:

"I worked for the American Psychiatric Association during the time the task forces and working groups were debating the nomenclature from DSM-IIIR to DSM-IV. It was felt that "Personality" was being confused with true "Personality Disorders", i.e., Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Anti-Social Personality Disorder, etc. Therefore, in field studies and research, Multiples were not "disorders of the personality" but rather a disorder of Identity or self that hinged on the critical element of dissociation and the whole process of the susceptibility to dissociate under traumatic circumstances before the age of 5. This is not seen in Personality Disorders otherwise identified in the DSM-IV or DSM-IV-TR. As a medical librarian I helped archive the original working group and task force papers on these DSMs. So as far as a Dr. Allison (?) he was never a player in any of the groups of psychiatrists who were experts in this area who were responsible for the change in nomenclature in an attempt to clarify what dissociative disorders are and are not."

Here's what a so-called 'sufferer' has to say about MPD vs. DID

If this article interests you, you might want to look at the ISSD Adult Treatment Guidelines. This is what doctors who treat multiples today are recommended and expected to believe and practice.

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