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Multiple Personality Disorder Essay.

Multiple Personality Disorder Essay.


Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) is one of the most talked about and publicized disorders known and is the center of much debate and criticism. The past two decades have shown an increase in the number of cases of MPD but there are many professionals that are skeptical about whether it even exists. MPD and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) are related with some variations the two. Multiple personalities are rare, but “Evidence of multiple personality is not a new development of the twentieth century.Multiple Personality Disorder Essay.

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In fact, evidence of multiple personality is said to exist in the images of shamans changed into animal forms or embodying spirits in Paleolithic cave paintings” (Putnam, 1989). Treatment for MPD or DID has raised much controversy over if the disorder actually exists or if it is caused by the therapist in the way they use hypnosis to find out the cause. Exploring the movie Sybil, both versions the 1974 and the 2007, gave insight to the disorder and the treatment.


The movie Sybil is based on a true story of a college student that after multiple blackouts and a cut hand she found herself in the hospital being treated by a doctor that recommended a psych evaluation. Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, a psychiatrist was assigned to her case and found Sybil talking in a baby voice. At first glance, Dr. Wilbur did not see anything that was abnormal, until she starts treating Sybil in her office and finds that she was not making any sense with the conversation that they were having.Multiple Personality Disorder Essay.

She goes between facts that her mother was good and she was not very close to she got to know her when she was sick. The 2007 movie of Sybil went into more detail than the original mini-series made for TV version of Sybil. Between both of the movies they both agreed that Sybil was seriously messed up. She had suffered abuse that was so severe as a child that in order to protect herself, she created 16 different personalities to cope. All the personalities did not come at the same time, but over the years as the abuse change, she needed additional coping methods.Multiple Personality Disorder Essay.

Dr. Wilbur was able to assist Sybil and being able to dig deep within her to find the personalities that she held within herself. She was not aware of the 16 personalities that she has, she was only aware that she would blackout, find paintings that she had not painted, but they were in her apartment. A few of the people that Dr. Wilbur was able to meet and that were talked about in both movies were Peggy, the little nine year old girl that was angry and could only draw in black and white, because she was not as good of a painter as Sybil. When Dr. Wilbur was able to further investigate what trauma had happened, she was able to find out about her many childhood tortures: a daily routine administered by her mother that involved sharp objects and an enema bag. The treatment of Dr. Wilbur continued for over 11 years and they remained friends after the treatment had ended. The difficultly with the case was at the time, there was little known about the disorder and it was learn as you go, along with the controversy about the disorder, that is still here today with many professionals in the field.

Sybil living with her mother and having to endure daily trauma came out when they travelled to Sybil’s hometown and was able to talk with her father. Her mother played the piano and was very nervous that the family needed to add flannel between the plates in the china cabinet so the plates would not rattle. Dr. Wilbur found, after talking with Sybil’s fathers that her mother suffered from schizophrenia. Dr. Wilbur asked why he had let her mother raise Sybil; he responded that it is the job of a mother to raise the children. She told him that her mother had devised sadistic “games” that his daughter had to endure.Multiple Personality Disorder Essay.

This was in the day that mothers stayed home to care for the children and fathers worked away from the home. Sybil’s mother also suffered from depression, the movies did not go into much detail as to how the other babies died, all that it touched on was that there had been many babies that did not make it. When Sybil was very young, her grandmother lived with them, and she found much comfort with her. She made reference to that she could sit on her lap and draw with her until she passed away. When her grandmother passed away it was so difficult for Sybil that another one of her personalities came out for a two year stretch.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) people may have up to 100 different personalities but that number is closer to 15, with this disorder the different personalities may have whole personalities with a different voice, clothing and characteristics that are very distinct for that personality. The DMS-VI-TR criteria include dissociative amnesia and dissociative fugue. Defining the “feature of this disorder is that certain aspects of the person’s identity are dissociated, accounting for the change in the name of this disorder in DSM-IV from multiple personality disorder to DID”(Barlow, 2010).Multiple Personality Disorder Essay.

There is controversy regarding this disorder with the fact that can it be faked or implied by the therapist treating for this disorder. The knowledge of Multiple Personality Disorder is caused by severe childhood trauma that creates a mental split or dissociation as a defense against the trauma. These different parts are developed separately as seen in Sybil, all the personalities did not come at the same time. It was not until she was in college that it became apparent that she had suffered a great deal of stress and trauma as a child. With each of the identities that she had they had their own moods, memories, behaviors and experiences.

The one that stands out from the movie is Vicki, she was French and she knew about all the different personalities and she had much of the control. She enjoyed buying items and dressing up, doing her hair and going out. She was able to draw pictures of all the other personalities for Dr. Wilbur and show how they were all different. “Unlike Multiple Personality Disorder, which is more like a disease, where a person has it or does not have it, most professionals feel that dissociation ranges from a “normal” state, daydreaming, to more pathological forms” (Waller, 1996).Multiple Personality Disorder Essay.

With Sybil she was very confused about the other personalities and would not believe Dr. Wilbur when she confronted Sybil with the audio tapes of some of her other identities. She did not want to believe her until she finally agreed that the identities needed to grow to the same age and get introduced to Sybil, in order to live side by side and that could eliminate the black outs that Sybil was experiencing (Sargent, 2007). Dr. Wilbur went to her supervisor many times in regards to Sybil and he would not hear of what she was telling him about the disorder.

He wanted nothing to do with her thinking that she had found someone with the disorder, he would blow it off that she was just nervous because she was a woman. The criticism with MPD and DID is that many feel that it is a tactic, of the client to manipulate others into feeling sorry for them. Some also believe that therapist can help mold the patient with hypnosis to create memories that would mimic MPD. There are others in the professional field that believes the disorder could really borderline personality disorder or schizophrenia.

The causes of MPD and DID are that they have experienced trauma so severe that there are lapses in memory and experiencing blackouts in time, resulting in finding themselves in places that they do not recall how they travelled, frequently being accused of lying when someone does not believe that the person does not remember or recall the situation. As in Sybil from the 2007 movie, she found herself in Philly, she had been there for a week and she did not recall how she got there are why she was there. The biological contributions that also come into play with this disorder is that they are biologically vulnerable.Multiple Personality Disorder Essay.

With a mother that suffered from schizophrenia and tormented Sybil when she was young, there is no evidence that attribute to heredity; all the cases that have been documented believe that it is environmental. The characteristics of MPD and DID are that it affects persons that have suffered from trauma and abuse. They create new identities or alters that will coexist simultaneously with the person. They could have an average of 15 alters. In most all cases it has a childhood onset, and it affects more women and men.

Patients often suffer from other psychological disorders simultaneously and this is very rare outside of the Western cultures. The treatment is long-term psychotherapy that may reintegrate separate personalities in 25% of the patients. Treatment of associated trauma to posttraumatic stress disorder, it is a lifelong condition without treatment. In Sybil’s case the doctor treated Sybil for 11 years, and they remained friends until death. Here doctor introduced all identities to Sybil in the 1976 version in a park one afternoon (Petrie, 1976). In reality it took much longer than one afternoon.Multiple Personality Disorder Essay.

In exploring Sybil with DID, has given me new insight to the disorder and the treatment, and the abnormal behavior that is associated with this disorder. With many professionals criticizing and that are skeptical about whether it even exists. Since MPD and DID are rare and it needs further assessments on individuals that suffer from the disorder, but it has shown me that it does and can be treated, with very poor results and with long term treatment. The patients that suffer from this disorder also suffer from others that may be able to be treated better than DID.

Sybil suffered severe trauma and physical abuse from the hand of her mother, and without the protection of her father. She created 16 different personalities that ranged in ages from 3 to 18. They were both male and female and had many different stronger characteristics than Sybil. She had created them as protection when she was unable to cope with the daily trauma from her mother. With the assistance of Dr. Wilbur she was able to carry on a fairly normal life after all identities met and were the same age. They could co-exist together as one.Multiple Personality Disorder Essay.

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