FMSF NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE - April/May 1999 - Vol. 8, No. 3, HTML version

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F M S   F O U N D A T I O N   N E W S L E T T E R     (e-mail edition)
April/May 1999  Vol. 8  No. 3
ISSN #1069-0484.           Copyright (c) 1998  by  the  FMS Foundation
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        Legal Corner
            First Person Plural
                From Our Readers
                   Bulletin Board
Dear Friends,

    Multiple personality disorder exploded in the media this March.
Cameron West's book, First Person Plural quickly went to number 10 on
the New York Times Best Seller list, (although it had dropped off the
list by the end of the month). West and his wife Rikki (also known as
Cru and Roberta Gordon) made another national television appearance
following his February Oprah debut, this time on the March 18th Today
show. That program began with Katie Couric repeating the unsupported
claim: "A child who has to cope with the trauma of sexual abuse
sometimes reacts by developing dissociative identity disorder, or
multiple personalities, as an adult."
    On March 11, four people who "suffer from multiple personality
disorder" were featured on "The Unexplained: Multiple Personalities"
produced by Towers Productions and shown on the Arts & Entertainment
cable channel. The closest anyone got to skepticism on that program
was mention that there are people who think Sybil's MPD was a product
of her therapy.
    Viewers who watched the Montel Williams program about MPD on March
15 would not likely have come away questioning the diagnosis.
    But it was not until a member pointed out that her local paper
carried a story on special projects being done by gifted high school
students that we decided to devote the April/May newsletter to
MPD. The article said that one talented young student:

     "is analyzing whether multiple personality disorder is the most
      dangerous disorder resulting from child abuse."
                           The Press, March 22, 1999
                           "Gifted students shouldn't be overlooked,"
                            by Diane D. Amico

    Of course it is easy to see why an academically talented young
woman would make the assumption that MPD is caused by child abuse.
Just see Katie Couric's statement at the beginning of the Today show
mentioned above.
    How can it be that a diagnosis that is so controversial, whose
roots have been thoroughly discredited, that most clinicians do not
support,[1] and that is diminishing in frequency (as evidenced by the
closing of dissociative units) continues to be so popular in the
media? Consider what two major editors of the American Psychiatric
Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV say about MPD:

    "A good rule of thumb is that any condition that has become a
     favorite with Hollywood, Oprah, and checkout-counter newspapers
     and magazines stands a great chance of being wildly
     overdiagnosed" (p. 288 ).
       Frances and First
       Your Mental Health:
       A Layman's Guide to the Psychiatrist's Bible
       Scribner, 1998

    What is it about the multiple personality story that so captures
the popular imagination and belief at this time in our history? No
doubt literary analysts and sociologists will someday explain this
phenomenon. Frances and First note that:

    "Many therapists feel that the popularity of Dissociative Identity
     Disorder represents a kind of social contagion. It is not so much
     that there are suddenly lots of people with lots of personalities
     as there are lots of people and lots of therapists who are very
     suggestible and willing to climb onto the bandwagon of this new
     fad diagnosis" p. 286.

    Robin Dawes, Ph.D. has noted that people rely on authorities and
social consensus in the development of their beliefs.[2] We know that
television molds social consensus and therapists are authorities. The
public sees the story of multiple personality repeated and repeated
and hears "doctors" and "patients" who present themselves as
authorities. Why should they be skeptical?
    It is disappointing that the skepticism expressed by Frances and
First was not included in the DSM-IV. One cannot help but wonder if
professional organizations finally took a strong stand, how it might
affect the presentation of MPD in the media. Might it help to
breakthrough the destructive loop in which our culture is caught?
    This issue of the newsletter presents a remarkable number of
arguments for skepticism about MPD. August Piper, Jr., M.D. has two
important columns that raise many questions while the Legal Corner
demonstrates what an expensive and confusing quagmire MPD has created
in our legal system. How odd that a legal system that generally does
not find hypnotically enhanced evidence reliable, at the same time
accepts the evidence from alters who emerge through the use of
    To understand how alters emerge in suggestive therapy settings, it
is instructive to examine the transcripts of actual sessions. Such
information is now readily available on the FMSF web site.
( One legacy of the now defunct criminal fraud
prosecution against Peterson et al (for knowingly misdiagnosing MPD in
order to keep patients in the hospital) is that transcripts of actual
therapy sessions entered the public domain. These are revealing -- if
not damning -- evidence of the type of therapy that has caused such
misery to so many thousands of people and that brought about the
formation of the FMS Foundation.
    What can we do to weaken the "media-authority" loop? Continue in
our efforts to educate professionals, the public and (especially) the
media about the scientific facts of recovered memories and to urge
professionals and professional organizations to take strong stands. As
the loop is weakened, it will become harder for our own "lost"
children to maintain false beliefs.
    Your valuable help in distributing the "Recovered Memories: Are
They Reliable?" pamphlets is making a difference. These pamphlets [3]
are powerful tools for educating others about the consensus within the
professional community about recovered memories. By working together
we help others and also ourselves and our children.

[1] Pope, H. G., Oliva, P.S., Hudson, J.I.,Bodkin, J.A. and
    Gruber,A.J. (1999). "Attitudes toward DSM-IV Dissociative
    Disorders Diagnoses among Board-Certified American Psychiatrists."
    American Journal of Psychiatry, 156:2, Feb. 1999. 321-323.
[2] Dawes, R.M. "Why Believe That for Which There Is No Good
    Evidence," Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, 4:4, 214-218.
    (Available on
[3] Thanks to Eliott and Eleanor Goldstein of SIRS Publishing.

    A HAPPY POSTSCRIPT: As this newsletter was about to go to the
printer, we received a copy of a letter from the teacher of the
academically talented young woman whose report inspired the focus of
this issue. The teacher noted that the student "is an exceptional
researcher and to date has found her hypothesis to be invalid and will
present her findings in a May Exposition. I passed on the information
you sent to her which will further support her own conclusions." The
teacher noted that the student likes to "use as many primary sources
as she can in her studies."
    If ever there was a demonstration of the importance of ensuring
that honest credible information is widely available, this anecdote
is. It also shows the need for a changed Foundation focus: moving from
a primary effort of responding to affected families, toward working
for prevention of new cases. And it shows the need for better
information for high school age students.
    We take this opportunity for us to say "thank you" for your
ongoing support to the Foundation. Your funding is what has made it
possible to for us to come this far. Membership dues are vital in
fighting problems that might lead to new cases.

          |             HAVE YOU WRITTEN YET?              |
          |                                                |
          |        American Psychiatric Association        |
          |     Steven Mirin, M.D., Executive Director     |
          |   1400 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005       |
          |                                                |
          |       American Psychological Association       |
          | Raymond Fowler, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer |
          |    750 1st St. NE, Washington, DC 20002        |
      |                     SPECIAL THANKS                     |
      |                                                        |
      |     We extend a very special `Thank you' to all of     |
      |    the people who help prepare the FMSF Newsletter.    |  
      |                                                        |
      |  EDITORIAL SUPPORT: Toby Feld, Allen Feld, Janet       |
      |   Fetkewicz, Howard Fishman, Peter Freyd, August Piper |
      |  RESEARCH: Michele Gregg, Anita Lipton                 |
      |  NOTICES and PRODUCTION: Ric Powell                    |
      |  COLUMNISTS: August Piper, Jr. and                     |
      |      members of the FMSF Scientific Advisory Board     |
      |  LETTERS and INFORMATION: Our Readers                  |

                  U.S.Supreme Court Expands Daubert
                    Kumho Tire Co., v. Carmichael
      1999 U.S. LEXIS 2189, No. 97-1709, decided March 23, 1999.

Rules for judging the reliability of scientific expert testimony in
court also apply to non-scientific expert, said the United States
Supreme Court in a unanimous decision.

    "We conclude that (the 1993 ruling's) general holding . . .
     applies not only to testimony based on 'scientific' knowledge,
     but also to testimony based on 'technical' and 'other
     specialized' knowledge."

In Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. the Federal Rules of
Evidence impose special obligations on trial judges to ensure that
scientific testimony is relevant and reliable. The four factors judges
should consider when evaluating testimony: testing, peer review, error
rates and how widely accepted the method is in the relevant scientific
community. The Court now says that judges can use those factors when
evaluating other kinds of expert testimony as well.

                    New Zealand FMS Group Disbands

The national New Zealand group COSA will disband as a national
organization because "COSA has largely served its purpose" according
to Dr. Felicity Goodyear-Smith who has served as its leader. Dr. Smith
wrote in the most recent COSA newsletter:

    "I believe that COSA national has largely achieved its first two
     objectives: to disseminate sound and reliable scientific
     knowledge about sexual abuse; and to promote changes to minimize
     the creation of wrongful accusations in the future. The third
     objective, to help those affected, will be served by local

Editor's comment: We look forward to the time when there is no longer
a need for any FMS groups.

             BC Prosecutors Get Repressed Memory Warning
                            Vancouver Sun

A bulletin from the provincial criminal justice branch issued to the
prosecutors of BC warned that they should be careful about bringing
charges of sexual abuse in cases relying on uncorroborated evidence
based on memories recovered in therapy.
    Prosecutors were also advised that they should be satisfied that
any recovered memories arose in circumstances that were neither
suggestive nor leading.
    The directive was issued after a review of the three-times-tried
Kliman case. Kliman was acquitted after being accused of abuse in the
1970s by two former students, neither of whom had memories of abuse
before being interviewed.

          Defendant in Peterson et al Trial Sues Government

Sylvia Davis, a defendant in the federal criminal trial against
Peterson et al is suing the federal government for $359,820 according
to the Houston Chronicle (3/24/99). She is suing under a 1997 law that
allows criminal defendants who prevail in federal court to collect
fees if the prosecution is deemed "vexatious, frivolous or in bad
faith." David Gerger, Davis' lawyer, said, "We're going on vexatious,
which means unsupported by law and unsupported by fact."
    A mistrial was declared because of a loss of jurors in the five-
month-long criminal trial for insurance fraud by knowingly
misdiagnosing patients with MPD in order to keep them in the hospital.
The prosecution then presented a motion to with draw the charges,
saying that it would not only be too expensive but also unfair to ask
plaintiffs to testify again. The motion was accepted and there will be
no retrial.

  Compensation for 'false memory syndrome' costly for B.C. taxpayers
                 Rick Ouston, Vancouver Sun, 3/12/99

The Criminal Injuries Compensation program in British Columbia
(equivalent to the Victim's Compensation program in the U.S.) has come
under scrutiny for its policies on recovered memories. While a
representative of the B.C. Criminal Injuries Compensation program
says that no money is paid without corroboration that a crime truly
occurred, the Vancouver Sun learned that corroboration "can be -- and
has been -- nothing more than a statement from the very therapists who
benefit financially from the compensation program."
    Currently anyone can call him or herself a therapist in B.C. and
the government neither monitors the practices of these therapists nor
ensures that they are trained.

              Dual Recognition for FMSF Advisor Dr. Beck

Dr. Aaron T. Beck, University Professor of Psychiatry, was inducted
into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
with a citation that he "has almost single-handedly restored the
relevance of psychotherapy. His cognitive therapy is the fastest
growing form of psychotherapy and has influenced the treatment of
psychiatric disorders throughout the world."
    Dr. Beck also received the 1998 "Lifetime Achievement Award" of
the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy, for "an
unparalleled career" in the field. Considered the father of cognitive
psychotherapy, Dr. Beck has achieved worldwide acclaim for his
pioneering therapeutic methods in the treatment of depression,
anxiety, panic, substance abuse and personality disorders.

/                                                                    \
|  A note on suicidal deterioration with recovered memory treatment  |
|          Janet Fetkewicz, Verinder Sharma, Harold Merskey          |
|             To appear:  Journal of Affective Disorders             |
|                                                                    |
| Abstract: Many patients who have been told they have Multiple      |
| Personality/Dissociative Identity Disorder (MPD/DID) seem to have  |
| deteriorated clinically after being diagnosed. We report here the  |
| results of a survey of suicide attempts in patients diagnosed as   |
| having MPD and a comparison group hospitalized with a mood         |
| disorder. Methods: Twenty individuals who had been diagnosed as    |
| having MPD, and developed false memories, and had relinquished     |
| them, were surveyed with respect to suicide attempts before and    |
| after the diagnosis. Twelve of those approached agreed to provide  |
| data and were compared with 12 patients from an in-patient mood    |
| disorders unit, matched for age and sex. Results: In the MPD group |
| more patients attempted suicide after being diagnosed than before  |
| and they made more separate attempts at suicide than before. The   |
| reverse was true in the comparison group with patients and suicide |
| attempts before and after hospitalization. Comparing the numbers   |
| of attempts in the groups before diagnosis/hospitalization and     |
| afterward Chi2 = 10.177, DF=1, p<0.001.                            |
|                                                                    |
| Limitations and Conclusions: Both samples were highly selected,    |
| and the comparison group does not provide an exact control.        |
| Nevertheless, the results support a trend in the literature that   |
| finds the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder and the use   |
| of recovered memory treatment are harmful.                         |


                    A DISSENTER LONGS FOR A STAKE
                       August Piper, Jr., M.D.

    Archibald MacLeish once noted that the dissenter in every person’s
life appears at that moment when he or she resigns from the herd.
   To us dissenters, nothing can be sweeter than seeing that the herd
is now finally lumbering along in our direction. Consider the
following, for example: "No doubt about it: Dissociative Identity
Disorder (or Multiple Personality Disorder, as it was formerly called)
is a fascinating condition. Perhaps too much so. The idea that people
can have distinct, autonomous, and rapidly alternating personalities
has captured the imagination of the general public, of some
therapists, and of hordes of patients. . . Much of the excitement
followed the appearance of books and movies (like Sybil and The Three
Faces of Eve) and the exploitation of the diagnosis by enthusiastic TV
talk show hosts and their guests."
    These comments, which appeared on p. 286 of a book [1] published
just this January, echo concerns I voiced in my own little book [2]
some two years before. At that time, my grave reservations about
MPD/DID were considered by some to be nothing more than the bleatings
of a dissenter who, separated from the herd, had staggered off and
gotten hopelessly lost in the wilderness.
    Now, however, unmistakable tracks on the ground show that some
others are following. One example is that of Philip Coons, M.D., of
Indiana University School of Medicine, who has written much in support
of MPD/DID. He has testified in several trials where this condition
was an issue (including one in which he told a jury that a woman who
had embezzled over half a million dollars suffered from MPD, that her
alters had taken the money, and that the host personality [that is,
the embezzler] was completely amnesic for the activities of all her
alter personalities. The jury didn't buy any of this. The woman later
admitted to the judge that she had totally fabricated her "MPD").
Dr. Coons has begun to move to distance himself from some of the
harmful behaviors of some MPD-focused clinicians. Here he is, writing
in 1994 to The American Journal of Psychiatry (151:948):

    Ethically, I am concerned by those clinicians who treat [MPD]
    primarily through the abreaction of traumatic memories. Such work
    frequently makes the patient worse. [Also, if the patient's
    memories do not reflect real events] then much of the patient's
    time and money is wasted.

    Dr. Coons' position is clearly identical to that of the FMSF. The
comments quoted in the second paragraph above represent the very
latest signs that people are moving to disavow certain extreme
practices involving MPD/DID. Who wrote these comments? Why, none other
than two psychiatrists with absolutely impeccable blue-chip and
completely mainstream credentials: Allen Frances, M.D., and Michael
First, M.D. Few of this newsletter's readers are likely to be familiar
with these two names. However, these commentators' remarks deserve our
highest attention -- because Dr. Frances was overall head of the
committees that wrote the American Psychiatric Association's latest
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, and Dr. First was the editor of
that Manual.
    After making the comments above, Frances and First continue: Many
[observers believe] that the popularity of [DID] represents a kind of
social contagion. It is not so much that there are suddenly lots of
people with lots of personalities as there are lots of people and lots
of therapists who are very suggestible and willing to climb on the
bandwagon of this new fad diagnosis. As the idea of multiple
personality pervades our popular culture, suggestible people. . . .
express discomfort and avoid responsibility by uncovering "hidden
personalities" and giving each of them a voice. This is especially
likely when [these patients are being treated by] a zealous therapist
who finds multiple personality a fascinating topic of discussion and
exploration (pp. 286-7).
    These writers agree with two other positions taken in Hoax and
Reality. First, they do not altogether deny the existence of DID.
Second, they imply that the condition is exceedingly rare: they have
seen what they believe to be a grand total of just three cases in 45
person years of psychiatric practice.
    But Frances and First have yet more to say. As many readers of
this newsletter know only too well, the usual treatment of MPD/DID
involves allowing the patient "to reexperience the horrible memories
and to bring out the different alters in [a] safe environment. . . The
alters come to know about each other's existence, become reacquainted,
[and] talk to one another" (p. 289). And as many readers also know
only too well, "the problem with this form of treatment is that it may
make some people get worse rather than better. If the therapist works
hard at bringing out additional alters, the suggestible patient is
likely to accommodate" (p. 289).
    Frances and First further note that "the current overdiagnosis of
multiple personality is an illusory fad that leads to misdiagnosis and
mistreatment, and does a disservice to the vast majority of patients
who fall under its sway" (p. 287).
    And these writers echo the warnings in Hoax and Reality by stating
the obvious: "Any condition that has become a favorite with Hollywood,
Oprah, and check-out counter newspapers . . . stands a great chance of
being wildly overdiagnosed" (p. 288).
    There is, however, one place where these two commentators part
company with me. Frances and First fail to note the greatest problem
with the whole MPD/DID concept: the utter vagueness and imprecision of
the idea of "personality." Instead, they write about patients having
"really distinct personalities" who "assume control" and possess "such
independent lives that at least some of what occurs in the experience
of the different alters is outside the person's consciousness and lost
to [his or her] memories" (p. 289). A mere moment's reflection reveals
the weaknesses of these statements. How does one know when a
"personality" has assumed "control"? Or how a "really distinct
personality" differs from just a "personality"? Or when an experience
is truly outside someone's consciousness?
    With this one exception, Frances and First use giants' boots to
stride toward a laudable but elusive goal: rational thinking about
    But alas! Instead of heeding the warnings about this condition
that commentators have voiced over the past few years, some of the
popular media have recently shown signs of resolutely closing their
eyes to such rationality. One example is the foofaraw over Cameron
West's book, First Person Plural: My Life as a Multiple. The book has
netted him a credulous and uncritical interview with Oprah Winfrey,
red-hot sales through an on-line bookseller -- and movie rights, no
    Is it socially responsible for Ms. Winfrey to uncritically accept
a one-sided, distorted perspective of this exceedingly controversial
psychiatric disorder? To disseminate such a perspective throughout
society, even though doing so may well harm the public, by encouraging
vulnerable patients to believe nonsense? Or is it just good business:
getting the ratings up?
    All of us are harmed when the media uncritically disseminate ideas
about crackpot therapies and theories throughout society -- as, for
example, when everyone must pay increased insurance rates because of
these therapies' costs and adverse outcomes.
    But one of the most worrisome consequences of spreading such
theories is the effect on the judiciary. The United States is
presently witnessing a surge of cases in which people attempt to
employ MPD/DID to avoid criminal responsibility. Although courts
traditionally view such arguments with deep suspicion or outright
disdain, several theorists are nevertheless attempting to surmount
this skepticism. Foremost among them, perhaps, is Elyn Saks, a
professor of Law, Psychiatry, and Behavioral Sciences at the
University of Southern California.
    Saks has written a book [3] in which she discusses -- exhaustively
-- her ideas. The book occupies 225 pages of text and notes; because
of its length, critiquing anything more than its main points is
impossible here. A more extensive analysis and criticism of her
arguments can be found in an earlier publication [4].
    Saks' central thesis is that most multiples will be found
criminally non-responsible. "Only in those unusual circumstances," she
says, "in which the alters either participate or acquiesce in the
crime will we deem the multiple guilty" (p. 193).
    This thesis finds no support from either common sense or the
relevant psychiatric literature. It addition, it would be atrocious
public policy.
    Saks believes that "only people experiencing dissociation at the
time of the relevant acts should be entitled to the defense that
significant parts of themselves were not available to the process of
decision-making" (p. 103). But she provides not the slightest hint of
how one would reliably assess dissociation at the time of the offense
-- which, of course, may be weeks, months, or even years prior to the
evaluation. There is no standardized instrument for such a purpose.
    According to Saks, "the evaluation for responsibility will be
straightforward in the majority of cases. Most multiples will have at
least one personlike alter who did not know about the crime, and
therefore cannot be said to have acquiesced in it. Even for those few
multiples who have no alters amnestic for the crime, the majority will
have at least one personlike alter who did not acquiesce" (p. 113).
    Saks nowhere provides evidence for her claim that most multiples
have at least one unaware alter. And the published writings of those
who consider themselves authorities on MPD disagree with her statement
about the ease of evaluating responsbility.
    Why? According to these writers, alter personalities behave in
ways that make it absolutely impossible to determine, at any given
time, which one is "out." The MPD literature contains reports of both
live and stuffed animal alters (really!); these, of course, cannot
speak and thus can identify themselves only with difficulty. Other
alters, it is claimed, become mute from time to time, or enter "inner
hibernation," or die. Others multiply and reproduce. Several may
undergo fusion, creating a kind of "superalter." Or they may undergo
fission, creating a shower of new personalities.
    Alter personalities, it is said, may age more rapidly than the
host. Or more slowly. Or enter suspended animation, thus ceasing to
age at all. Personalities are said to frequently impersonate or
imitate each other; criminal and sociopathic personalities
deliberately mislead interviewers.2
    Such claims render laughable Saks' suggestion that "alters can
identify themselves when they appear at trial so that the jury can
keep them separate" (p. 151). For all the reasons above, neither Saks
nor anyone else can speak with any confidence about the activities of
these invisible entities.
    Many of Saks' suggestions demonstrate her surprising confidence in
evaluators' abilities to assess the unseen alters. Thus, on page 116,
Saks discusses determining whether "an alter is acting within the
scope of her authority," and on page 126, she urges experts to
"testify as to which alter was in control [at the time of the crime],
and then go on to assess that alter for insanity (or, if the experts
disagree as to which was in control, assess all the alters over whom
there is disagreement)." Later, she announces that "the multiple is
insane only if the alter who was in control during the crime was
insane" (p. 127). On page 133, she argues that "the multiple should be
nonresponsible if any full-blown personality is not complicit in the
crime" (she says nothing about what a "full-blown personality" is).
And she recommends making "a global determination of innocence or
guilt based on the guilt of the least guilty alter" (p. 134). All
this inevitably reminds one of assessing leprechauns or pixies, or
angels on a pinhead.
    Saks recommends that "the majority of alters [be] allowed to make
the decision [about how to plead], unless they wish to keep working
toward agreement and can be expected to reach an accord within a
reasonable period of time" (p. 153). Does Saks expect that the alters
will caucus? And again: how can one count the members of an invisible
and ever-changing legion?
    The analysis in Sak's book rests on the assumption that multiples
cannot control their alters. But I have shown [2] that this assumption
is unwarranted. Even Saks herself acknowledges (p. 12) that "alters
may take over on cue" or when the host asks for help; she further
notes that some multiples may be able to keep unwanted alters from
taking control (p. 116).
    Some of those who claim to be experts on dissociative disorders
have written that successfully treating MPD patients can take years to
over a decade. Thus, one can only wonder what these authorities would
make of Saks' assertions that "interalter agreement can usually
[readily] be achieved through a brief therapy" (p. 154), and that
"individuals suffering from MPD are eminently treatable" (p. 162).
    But even if Saks successfully addressed all the above
difficulties, she would still have to face the most serious risk of
her argument -- that as in the notorious "Hillside Strangler" case,
someone would deliberately fake MPD to avoid criminal responsibility.
Suppose an accused knew that having "at least one personlike alter who
did not know about the crime" would lead to exoneration. Does it
require much imagination to predict that he or she might conveniently
develop exactly such an alter?
    Saks claims such malingering is difficult to sustain over long
periods of time because "one needs to be able to act several parts at
once, keeping clear the differences between them" (p. 119). But
research has skewered this claim. Role-playing MPD is easy. All you
need to do is behave as if two (or more) separate parts inhabit your
body; as if the parts were at most only dimly aware of each other; and
as if part A had one set of characteristics, B the opposite. What if
you slip up and fail to keep clear the differences between the parts?
Child's play: just say that a previously undiscovered personality has
    Research also establishes three facts about the MPD/DID

* The procedures commonly used to diagnose the condition provide all
the information necessary to allow even naive subjects to role play
the condition.

* Proponents endorse an extraordinarily large and diverse number of
psychiatric signs or symptoms that supposedly indicate the presence of
MPD. In fact, the MPD-focused therapist can claim that any patient's
problems are the handiwork of yet-to-be discovered "alters." Thus,
there are no criteria that disapprove a presumptive diagnosis of MPD.

* A leading expert acknowledged in a paper that not even he could
distinguish malingered from genuine MPD.
                            *      *     *
    MPD as a widespread affliction. MPD as a legal defense. MPD as a
media celebrity. No matter how many people point out the flaws and
illogicalities of the notions, the fads-- like vampires -- do not lie
still in their coffins.
    It's enough to make a dissenter long for a wooden stake.

[1] Frances & First. Your Mental Health: A Layman's Guide to the
    Psychiatrist's Bible (New York: Scribner's).
[2] Piper. Hoax and Reality: The Bizarre World of Multiple Personality
    Disorder (Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson).
[3] Saks. Jekyll on Trial: Multiple Personality Disorder and Criminal
    Law (New York: New York University Press, 1997).
[4] August Piper Jr.,Multiple personality disorder and criminal
    responsibility: Critique of a paper by Elyn Saks. Journal of
    Psychiatry & Law 22:7-49, 1994.

  August Piper Jr., M.D., is the author of Hoax and Reality: The
  Bizarre World of Multiple Personality Disorder. He is in private
  practice in Seattle and is a member of the FMSF Scientific Advisory

/                                                                    \
| "[W]e are worried that the current overdiagnosis of multiple       |
| personality is an illusory fad that leads to misdiagnosis and      |
| mistreatment and does a disservice to the vast majority of         |
| patients who fall under its sway" p. 287.                          |
|                                                                    |
| "If you are wondering whether you qualify for this diagnosis it is |
| a very good bet that you almost surely do not" p. 289.             |
|                                                                    |
| "For any of you who suspect that you have Dissociative Identity    |
| Disorder, or are now in treatment for it, our suggestion is to     |
| focus your energies on the here-and-now problems in your everyday  |
| life. We would recommend avoiding any treatment that seeks to      |
| discover new personalities or to uncover past traumas" p. 290.     |
|                                                                    |
|  Frances and First                                                 |
|  Your Mental Health: A Layman's Guide to the Psychiatrist's Bible  |
|  Scribner, 1998                                                    |

                       L E G A L   C O R N E R
                              FMSF Staff

                  M P D   I N   T H E   C O U R T S

The diagnosis of multiple personality disorder (MPD) [1] has been
transformed in less than two decades from an extremely rare diagnosis
to a virtual epidemic in America. During the past decade tens of
thousands of people -- almost exclusively women, and almost all of
them in the United States -- have been declared sufferers of MPD.
Some have asserted that MPD is not really a rare psychiatric disorder
but that therapists have just become better at recognizing the
symptoms.  Critics, on the other hand, see evidence that MPD is a
condition primarily created through hypnosis or suggestion and
reinforced so that it is played out in a stereotyped, script-like way.
    Courts faced with the contradictory nature of the MPD field have
tried to eke out a sound judicial policy despite the slippery terrain
of medical opinion on MPD. This edition of the FMSF Legal Corner will
review some of the issues and cases that define the area.

[1] MPD has been renamed dissociative identity disorder (DID) in the
                           Mythic MPD Cases
MPD has led to some bizarre legal conflicts. Murderers, rapists,
kidnappers, robbers, and embezzlers, among others, say they
discovered, only after being charged with the crime, that they may
have had MPD and that one of their "alter personalities" committed the
crime. Since, they say, they were unaware of, or unable to control
that "alter's" actions, they should be found not guilty. Some unlikely
MPD claims have been repeated so often that they begin to sound like
urban legends. These are just 6 of the more than 300 MPD cases we
reviewed for this newsletter. They are true.
    One of the first and most famous cases was that of Billy Milligan,
an Ohio man said to have MPD, who was found not guilty by reason of
insanity in 1978 of the kidnapping, rape and robbery of 3 women in the
Ohio State University area. When the case went to trial, the
prosecutor did not challenge the psychiatric testimony describing his
personalities over which he said he had no control. Given the
uncontradicted testimony, the judge (in a trial without jury) said he
had no alternative but to rule that Milligan could not tell right from
wrong or control his behavior. In 1988, Milligan was released from a
state mental hospital after experts concluded that his 24
personalities had fused into one. In the meantime, his book, The Minds
of Billy Milligan, earned him nearly $1 million. The state then sued
him for repayment of part of the $550,000 cost of his 11-year stay in
state mental hospitals.
    More often the MPD argument fails.2 In 1994 James Carlson, who
claimed to have 11 personalities, stood trial for rape in an Arizona
court. He claimed that only 8 of his 11 personalities knew something
about the crimes in question. In the morning he took the witness
stand as a man and in the afternoon as a woman in a powder-pink
sweater, high heels and press-on nails in a futile attempt to convince
the jury that he had MPD. A few days after his conviction, Carlson
admitted he made the whole thing up.
    "I'm a manipulator and a liar and I guess I'm good at it," he
said. Carlson said he studied multiple personality disorder so he
could fool the jury, his lawyer, and the therapist who testified in
his defense. "I thought I could get into a mental hospital," he
said. Instead he was sentenced to 83 years in prison.
    Another more recent trial involved Cathleen Byers, who claimed she
was not responsible for embezzling $630,000 over a 6-year period from
the Oregon credit union she managed. Byers claimed that the thefts and
coverups were done by alternate personalities that she could not
control and whose actions she had no memory of.
    In 1997, prosecution experts testified that an individual can
easily learn to mimic the symptoms of the disorder and the diagnosis
is hard to disprove because the diagnosis is almost completely
dependent on the patient's own account of the symptoms. The
prosecution also noted that in this case, the complexity of the thefts
and their coverup would require an intricate scheduling of takeovers
by Byers' "alters." If Byers' claim of MPD is to be accepted, one
would expect her "host" personality (the competent manager) to
discover the altered books and to notice when extraordinary sums of
cash and new possessions mysteriously turned up. If she had
investigated these things while not in the "alter" state, she would
have found the history of her taking the money. She gave no
explanation for this discrepancy, however. Byers simply stated she had
no recollection of any flow of money into her personal
accounts. Ms. Byers was found guilty.
    Another problem for the courts has arisen when people claiming
more than one personality are called as witnesses in court. It can be
extremely difficult to cross-examine such a witness.[3] Does each of
the alters have to be sworn in before he or she can testify? Can one
alter testify as to what another alter knows, or should that be
considered inadmissible hearsay? Does the competency of a child alter
need to be determined prior to hearing its testimony? Should each
alter be afforded separate legal representation? Must all
personalities indicate that they have given their consent to a
contract or procedure? [4]
    In a 1990 case, Mark A. Peterson was charged with rape because a
woman said that all her personalities did not consent to have sex.
Peterson had consensual sex with "Jennifer," one of a young woman's 18
personalities. The woman, Sarah, 26, said she learned of the incident
after one of her other personalities, six-year-old Emily, not only saw
what was going on, but told Sarah, who called the police. At the
ensuing rape trial, several of Sarah's personalities testified, each
being sworn in separately. (At one point, the prosecutor and the judge
recall, the woman even switched briefly into the personality of a
dog.) The Wisconsin court convicted Peterson of second degree assault
(though the conviction was struck down a month after the trial by a
judge who said the defense psychiatrist had been improperly prevented
from examining the woman). Sarah was so traumatized by the experience
that she developed 28 entirely new personalities between the time of
the incident and the trial.
    Individuals have also claimed lack of responsibility due to MPD in
civil matters. A South Carolina husband sought a divorce from his
wife, claiming she committed adultery and therefore should be denied
alimony.[5] The wife ultimately did admit to an affair, but said that
she was not responsible for her actions because she was under the
control of an alter personality at the time. (Adultery is against the
law in South Carolina and is grounds for barring alimony payments.)
The trial court agreed and awarded her support. An appellate court
reversed and held that the wife had committed adultery, but had not
proved she could not control the alters at the time. The case finally
made its way to the South Carolina Supreme Court which agreed that she
had committed adultery, but said it was perplexed about how to deal
with her reason. It ordered a new trial to determine whether she could
claim she did not commit adultery because of diminished mental
    A number of MPD claimants have stated that their MPD symptoms were
exacerbated by certain stresses from their work environment or from
routine surgery and have sought damages or compensation for the
special injury to their existing multiple personality condition. In
1993, a Michigan woman, 55, sued the medical doctor and hospital she
says performed a colonoscopy in such a way that 3 of her alter
personalities allegedly experienced the procedure as a flashback to
childhood sexual abuse.6 The woman says she herself was anesthetized
and has no memory of feeling the procedure as it was done. (The woman
had several similar procedures without incident prior to her diagnosis
and treatment for MPD.) In 1998, an arbitrator awarded the woman
$195,000 and that decision has been appealed.

[2] McDonald-Owens, S. (1997) "Article: the Multiple Personality (MPD)
    Defense," Md. J. Contemp. L Issues, 8:2:237-270.
[3] A series of articles by professor of law and psychiatry Ralph
    Slovenko outlines several challenges posed by multiple personality
[4] The contract Chris Sizemore signed with 20th Century Fox had
    spaces for her 5 personalities. Fox used her story as the basis
    for its movie "The Three Faces of Eve."
[5] Rutherford v. Rutherford, 414 S.E.2d 157 (S.C. 1992). After the
    initial trial court ruling, several other similar claims were made
    by other women including, Tenner v. Tenner, 906 S.W.2d 322 (KY,
[6] Johnson v. Henry Ford Hospital, Mich. Ct. of Appeals, No. 181296,
    unpublished, Sept. 20, 1996.
                   The MPD Defense in Felony Cases
Because of the presumed effect of MPD on cognition and control, many
felony cases focus on the problems of assessing competency to stand
trial and determination of the defendant's criminal responsibility
given their claims to have been suffering from MPD. Several approaches
to these problems have been proposed: The "host personality" approach:
Under this approach, the defendant is entirely freed from
responsibility if the "host personality" was not in "control" when the
crime was committed. This makes sense only if the "host personality"
and the "alter who was in control" are viewed as two completely
distinct entities rather than as two aspects of the same person. The
defendant is only held responsible for actions of his "host."
Following this approach is saying, in effect, that a person need only
say he is acting the role of any other "alter" to avoid criminal
    The "specific alter" approach: Under this approach, only the
"alter's" mental state at the time of the crime is taken into account.
This approach also assumes the "host" and the "alter in control" are
two distinct entities. Generally, defendants seeking to apply this
approach argue that a "child" alter committed the crime. (Of course,
in reading the facts of many of these cases, it is difficult to
reconcile the depraved acts with anything remotely child-like.)
According to one commentator, most courts are using this approach,
though no court using it has determined the MPD defendant to be not
guilty but insane.[7]
    Both the "host" personality and the "specific alter" approaches
assume that there exists a reliable scientific method to identify the
relevant alters, or to determine whether or not these "alters" were
"in control" at the time the crime was committed (and if so, what
their mental states were), and whether the "host" had any knowledge of
what they were doing (and if so, was able to exert any control over
the "alter's" actions). Most felony appellate decisions summarize a
covey of defense expert opinion on these questions. Of course, each
opinion about what was "in control" or what its state of mind was
relies on the defendant's statements about what part of him or her
remembers the crime. A defendant in a capital offense, it hardly
bears mentioning, is well-motivated to construct just such a defense
and prosecution experts often conclude that the defendant is simply
malingering. Because of the widespread controversy over the diagnosis
of MPD itself, the ease with which MPD symptoms can be faked, the role
of suggestive hypnosis interviews in developing MPD-like symptoms, the
lack of specificity of diagnostic criteria, and the lack of any
reliable scientific method to make valid decisions about purported
"alters" (especially to some past action), courts often see a battle
of experts.
    The issue of the defendant's sanity is often brought before the
jury with experts on both sides debating the defendant's MPD diagnosis
and its effect on his/her mental state. Costs of expert testimony have
grown astronomically. One recent three-week long murder trial in
Tennessee presented numerous experts. In that case, Thomas Huskey,
charged with murdering 4 women in 1992, claimed that he was insane at
the time of the crimes and that an alter personality, "Kyle" was in
control of his actions. One expert testified that Huskey had
described elaborate stories of sexual and ritual abuse during his
childhood which accounted for the development of MPD which was only
discovered after he was arrested. Although the cost of expert fees
remains sealed, the state's accounting offices showed that taxpayers
have paid $213,660 so far in the Huskey case. Because the first trial
ended in a hung jury, prosecutors and defense lawyers will have to
pick another jury and stage another trial.
    In several developing cases, the prosecution has challenged the
admission of expert testimony regarding the MPD diagnosis under Frye
[8] on the grounds that the diagnosis is not generally accepted and
that there is no generally accepted basis for drawing conclusions
about criminal responsibility or competency based on the underlying
theory. Our review of recent felony cases has found many examples of
the kinds of contradictory thinking about MPD that has led to growing
criticism of the MPD phenomenon.[9] These issues are discussed in
detail elsewhere. Another basis for a Frye challenge to MPD testimony
is the role of hypnotic induction in multiple personality.

[7] McDonald-Owens, S. (1997), Id.
[8] Frye v. United States, 293 F.1013 (D.C.Cir. 1923).
[9] See, e.g., Piper, A. (1994) "Multiple Personality Disorder and
    criminal responsibility: Critique of a paper by Elyn Saks, Journal
    of Psychiatry and Law,"7-49.
    The Role of Hypnosis in the Induction of Multiple Personality
Evidence that MPD-like symptoms and ideas regarding multiplicity can
be planted in the minds of patients by clinicians using hypnosis,
sodium amytal or some other means of suggestion has come from various

* Malpractice claims by former patients who say they were misdiagnosed
with MPD and led to falsely believe they had an abuse history. Court
records from at least two-thirds of these cases describe the hypnotic
techniques used in the diagnosis and treatment of the supposed MPD.
Some of these cases are discussed below.

* Experimental induction. One early report of the use of hypnotic
suggestion to induce several behaviors similar to those related to
multiple personality was published in 1942.[10]

* Clinical and forensic assessments noting the problem of
distinguishing between an "authentic" case of MPD and a fraudulent one
arises in part because of the way hypnosis is used to "discover" the
"alters." Dr. Martin Orne has suggested that a genuine case of MPD
should meet at least these criteria: signs of the syndrome should
antedate contact with the diagnosing clinician and the various
personalities should be consistent over time and not readily altered
by social cues.[11]

    The issue of hypnotic induction of MPD has not received the
attention it perhaps deserves by the courts, given the all too
frequent use of hypnosis in the diagnosis of MPD in felony
defendants.[12] The cases below outline some of the issues that have
been raised to date:

* In the mid-1980s, a Colorado defendant with newly diagnosed MPD, was
committed to the state hospital until he was found competent to stand
trial.[13] Ross Michael Carlson refused the treatment offered by the
state hospital and moved that the state pay an outside therapist to
provide hypnotic treatment for MPD. Carlson argued that because the
state hospital staff had expressed doubts that he suffered from MPD,
there could be no rapport between them. Under those conditions Carlson
said he could not be restored to competency. The state's appellate
court agreed with defense expert testimony that MPD treatment requires
not only hypnosis but also belief or conviction in the diagnosis:

    "If treatment of [MPD]..requires a one-to-one therapist/patient
     relationship; requires hypnosis by a treating therapist in whom
     the patient has confidence; requires trust on the part of the
     patient; requires conviction of the part of the physician
     concerning the disorder being treated; requires belief in the
     diagnosis of MPD; then the hospital has no one on its staff who
     can adequately and appropriately treat the Defendant..."

In 1986, the Colorado Supreme Court recognized Carlson's right to
treatment, but said that decisions relating to the day-to-day
treatment of committed defendants should be left to those responsible
for the treatment. Carlson would be treated at the state hospital.

* After a woman, charged in New Jersey with the 1988 murder of her
father and aunt and the attempted murder of her brother, was given a
series of psychiatric evaluations, she contended that she had MPD and
one of her other personalities was acting when the alleged offenses
occurred.[14] One of the State's experts, Dr. Martin Orne, stated that
the defense expert, Dr. Dorothy Lewis, had informed him that the
multiples began to assert themselves only after Lewis had "relaxed"
the defendant who then went into a dissociative trance-like state.
Dr. Orne, an internationally recognized expert in the field of
hypnosis, concluded that this described a form of hypnosis. Dr. Orne
stated that "it is therefore especially important to obtain the
details of how the patient was treated during the actual evaluations,
particularly the antecedent events which led to the manifestation of
    A New Jersey appellate court directed that any session in which
hypnosis is used should be videotaped and that pre-admission standards
should be established. A defendant's right to testify regarding his or
her own hypnotically enhanced testimony was affirmed by the U.S.
Supreme Court;[15] however, the New Jersey court held, this right does
not permit her to use a tape of the hypnotic session as a substitute
for live testimony.

* Between 1979, when Rodrigo Rodrigues was charged with the rape and
sodomy of 3 young girls, and 1982 when he was finally found able to
assist in his defense, he was interviewed by 5 psychiatrists.[16] One
of the psychiatrists, Dr. Newton, stated that while under hypnosis
Rodrigues showed different personalities and that one of those
personalities had committed the crimes. (Dr. Newton further testified
that although that personality could appreciate the wrongfulness of
his acts, that personality could not conform his behavior to the
requirements of the law.) Three of the other psychiatrists also
diagnosed Rodrigues as suffering from MPD-although they did so only
after speaking to Dr. Newton or viewing the taped hypnotic sessions.
The role of the hypnotic interview techniques was not addressed by the
court. The Supreme Court of Hawaii ruled that a defense of MPD does
not per se require a finding of acquittal. Even without procedural
guidelines for admission of hypnotically derived testimony, the court
concluded that there was enough evidence to submit the issue of the
defendant's mental status to the jury.

* A Louisiana man charged with the murder of a deputy by shooting him
at point blank range was diagnosed with MPD after a clinical
psychologist, using hypnosis, said he was able to confirm that the
defendant had MPD.[17] The psychologist further testified that another
personality had, at the time of the killing, taken over the conscious
personality. He further testified that the conscious personality would
have no control over or memory of what happened during a period when
he was taken over by the other "evil" personality.

* Thomas Lee Bonney, charged with the 1988 brutal murder of his
daughter, was evaluated by a clinical psychologist who testified at
trial that he had identified ten separate personalities in the
defendant by the use of hypnosis.[18] According to the psychologist,
the defendant was suffering from MPD and was incapable of
distinguishing right from wrong at the time of the shooting. He
further testified that when the defendant repeatedly shot his
daughter, the personality in control believed it was shooting the
defendant's father who had abused him in childhood. On rebuttal, the
prosecution presented testimony of a clinical psychiatrist who
criticized the defense expert's methods and concluded that the
symptoms of MPD could be created by the hypnosis intervention. He
testified that 13 hours of videotaped interviews showed that the
psychologist asked leading questions and improperly suggested to the
defendant that he might have other personalities, while he was under
hypnosis. Nor was a proper interview conducted before the hypnosis was
used. Bonney was convicted and sentenced to death. The North Carolina
Supreme Court reversed his sentence and ordered a new sentencing
hearing. In 1994, Bonney escaped (and was rearrested) from a maximum
security prison where he was being held until he is found competent to
complete the new sentencing hearing.

* In 1985, Sharon Comitz was charged with the murder of her infant
son.[19] She agreed to plead guilty but mentally ill and was examined
by a forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Sadoff. Dr. Sadoff placed her
under hypnosis and, while hypnotized, she acknowledged that she had
killed her son. Dr. Sadoff testified that he believed the hypnosis
confirmed that defendant "dissociated" at the time of the murder and
that the level of this dissociation neared a multiple personality. An
expert for the prosecution reviewed a videotape of the hypnotic
session but found the session to be flawed and concluded that the tape
contained no evidence that defendant was a multiple personality or
that she had experienced a dissociative reaction. Comitz is serving
an 8-20 year prison sentence.

* Following the 1980 shooting of his wife, for which the defendant
claimed to have no memory, the defendant was evaluated by a forensic
psychiatrist who employed hypnosis in an attempt to explore
defendant's amnesia as well as the existence of multiple
personalities.[20] Defendant's own version of the circumstances
surrounding the shooting came as a result of about 15 sessions of
hypnosis "during which the psychiatrist helped defendant regain his
memory." According to the defense expert, defendant became convinced
that he had shot a "creature" and that he had to shoot the creature in
order to save his wife. State's experts testified that neither the
claimed amnesia nor the MPD could be confirmed.

* In 1985, after being charged with a brutal rape and murder, Sedley
Alley was examined by a defense psychiatrist at least 8 times while
under the influence of sodium amytal or hypnosis in order to see what
other personalities might have taken over at the time of the murder.21
The expert testified that at least one and possibly 2 other
personalities asserted themselves during the sessions, but he could
not say that either of the alternate personalities was in control at
the time of the offense. The expert testified (out of the presence of
the jury) that in the area of MPD, hypnosis is a method of choice in
arriving at a diagnosis and that the hypnosis was performed upon the
defendant in accord with well-recognized principles in that field, and
that in his opinion viewing the videotaped session would be helpful to
the jury because he could not explain the nature of a multiple
personality disorder "as well as could be obtained by anyone seeing it
in the flesh, so to speak."
    Four other experts reviewed the hypnotic interviews of the
defendant and testified that they saw no evidence of MPD or any
condition that would support an insanity defense. The trial judge
concluded that the videotaped hypnotic and sodium amytal interviews
should be excluded from the jury's consideration because he found them
to be "sensational, the defendant to be untruthful and the tapes
unreliable." The judge also precluded the experts who viewed the tapes
from testifying respecting "the words and action of the defendant
during the course of these interviews."

    We include one final situation which merits consideration in light
of the role of suggestive interviewing under hypnosis in eliciting
behaviors which may be incorrectly ascribed to MPD:

* An Indiana mother's nightmare began in September 1982 when an
intruder entered her home, knocked her unconscious, shot and wounded
her two sons while they slept, and scrawled a threatening message on
her mirror.22 Although Kathy Burns repeatedly denied any involvement
in the crime against her sons, passed a polygraph examination and a
voice stress test, and provided exculpatory handwriting examples,
investigating officers viewed her as the prime suspect.
    Two weeks after the shooting, speculating that Burns had multiple
personalities, one of which was responsible for the shootings, the
officers decided to interview her under hypnosis. A prosecuting
attorney gave permission to conduct the hypnotic interview. While
under hypnosis, Burns referred to the assailant as "Katie" and also
referred to herself by that name. The officers interpreted that
reference as supporting their multiple-personality theory. Burns was
arrested for attempted murder and detained in a psychiatric ward for 4
months until experts concluded that she did not suffer from
MPD. During that time, she was fired from her job, and the State
obtained temporary custody of her sons.
    The case did not go to trial, however. The trial court granted the
mother's motion to quash the statements made under hypnosis and the
prosecutor's office dismissed all charges against her. The mother then
sued several of the people involved with her false arrest and hypnosis
interviews. Three defendants settled for $250,001. The charges against
the prosecutor who authorized the hypnosis session were dismissed
after a long legal road, which at one point went before the
U.S. Supreme Court.

[10] Harriman, P.L. (1942) "The experimental induction of a multiple
    personality," Psychiatry, 5:179-186. ("In the exploration of a
    multiple personality, therefore, the investigator must take the
    utmost precautions to avoid suggesting a role and to refrain from
    making unwarranted interpretations of mental processes which may
    be present in a vast number of normal persons.") See also, Spanos,
    N.P. (1994) "Multiple identity enactments and multiple personality
    disorder: a sociocognitive perspective," Psychological Bulletin,
[11] Orne, M.T., Dinges, D.G., and Orne, E.C. (1984) "On the
    differential diagnosis of multiple personality in the forensic
    context," International Journal of Clinical and Experimental
    Hypnosis, 32:118-169. See also, Piper, A. (1997) Hoax and Reality:
    The Bizarre World of Multiple Personality Disorder, New Jersey:
    Jason Aronson, pp. 83-87.
[12] An early decision by a Georgia Supreme Court, Dorsey v. State,
    426 S.E.2d 224 (Ga.App. 1992), affirmed a trial court's decision
    to allow the victim to testify in a dissociative state as to what
    her alter personality knew of the sexual abuse. The court
    considered expert testimony on the similarity between the
    dissociative state and a hypnotic trance, and concluded that the
    victim's statements in the dissociative state "could be tested for
    reliability." Our research could find no other source which
    supported the distinction the court believed made hypnotic
    testimony unreliable, but dissociative testimony admissible:
    "hypnosis is a process a person voluntarily chooses to engage in
    yet which is externally imposed, while a dissociative state is
    involuntary and, although triggered by external stimuli comes
    solely from within." Another case of interest is Wall v. Fairview
    Hosp., 568 N.W.2d 194 (Minn. App. 1997).
[13] Kort v. Carlson, 723 P.2d 143 (Colo 1986).
[14] State v. L.K., 582 A.2d 297 (N.J. Super. 1990).
[15] Rock v. Arkansas, 483 U.S.44 (1987).
[16] State v. Rodrigues, 679 P.2d 615 (Haw. 1984).
[17] State v. Bancroft, 620 So.2d 482 (La.App. 1993).
[18] State v. Bonney, 405 S.E.2d 145 (N.C. 1991) (affirmed the guilty
    verdict but remanded the case for a new sentencing proceeding).
[19] Commonwealth v. Comitz, 530 A.2d 473 (Pa. Super. 1987) (found
    that given that there was evidence that the defendant was aware at
    the time that her conduct would cause serious harm and given the
    experts' disagreement on the defendant's dissociation, the
    appellant's mental condition did not constitute substantial
    grounds tending to excuse her conduct.)
[20] State v. Adcock, 310 S.E.2d 587 (N.C. 1984) (affirmed the
    conviction and sentence.)
[21] State v. Alley, 776 S.W.2d 506 (Tenn. 1989); 882 S.W.2d 810
    (Tenn. App. 1994); 776 S.W.2d 506 (Tenn. App. 1997) After Alley's
    conviction was upheld and affirmed by the Tennessee and
    U.S. Supreme Courts, he initiated a new series of appeals in 1994.
[22] Burns v. Reed, 44 F.3d 524 (7th Cir, 1995).  Burns v. Reed, 111
    S.Ct. 1934 (U.S. 1991).
                      Repressed Memories and MPD
As readers of this newsletter are aware, since the late 1980's,
hundreds of suits have been filed by individuals claiming they
recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse. Most of those
individuals were in therapy at the time they claim to have recovered
the memories, and of those in therapy approximately 18% (103/579) were
diagnosed as having MPD. FMSF records show that only a small
percentage of those cases went to trial (14/103); most were dropped,
dismissed, or settled out of court. Many of these plaintiffs claimed
that in addition to sexual abuse, they also suffered ritualized abuse,
though in most cases the later charge was not a central part of the
trial. (The trial outcomes of this group are mixed: 2 for plaintiff; 3
for defendant; 1 mixed verdict; 4 acquitted of criminal charges; 2
convicted; 2 entered pleas). The majority of these suits were
dismissed by courts which found that a diagnosis of MPD did not per se
toll the statute of limitations as a statutory disability.[23] One
court noted that a therapist could do no more than speculate about the
plaintiff's earlier mental condition.
    A suit brought in Washington state by a 33-year-old woman who
claimed she recovered memories of child sexual abuse by her brother
went to trial in 1993.[24] The woman claimed she began to recall the
abuse and her parents role in failing to prevent it after she was
diagnosed with MPD. The jury found unanimously for the defendants and
the court granted sanctions against the plaintiff's attorneys.

[23] See, e.g., Johnson v. Johnson, 701 F.Supp. 1363 (N.D. Ill. 1988),
    766 F.Supp. 662 (N.D. Ill. 1991); Lovelace v. Keohane, 831 P.2d
    625 (Okla 1992); Seto v. Willits 638 A.2d 258 (Pa. Super. 1994).
    See also, Nuccio v. Nuccio, 673 A.2d 1331 (Me.1996); Marshall v.
    First Baptist Church, 949 S.W.2d 504 (Tex.App. 1997).
[24] Jamerson v. Vandiver, 934 P.2d 1199 (Wash. App., 1997).
     Malpractice Suits Claiming Injury Due to Misdiagnosis of MPD
Insight into the link between certain therapy practices and the
development of MPD symptoms comes from malpractice suits and state
licensure actions against therapists who specialize in the
identification and treatment of patients for MPD. These cases
demonstrate the ease with which an individual can be led to exhibit
MPD-like symptoms-- especially when hypnosis, sodium amytal, strong
medications, or readings involving traumatic imagery magnify the
effect of therapist suggestions or expectations. These cases also
show that once the symptoms associated with MPD become established,
the standard treatment modality often leads to a deterioration of the
mental and emotional well being of the patient.
    Classic MPD therapy, described by Dr. Frank Putnam, requires two
to three extended (hour and a half) sessions per week for one to five
years. Few studies, however, examining the effectiveness of MPD
treatments have appeared in peer-reviewed journals. Those that have
been published indicate that, despite years of therapy, only
approximately one-fourth eventually reintegrated all their
personalities and got on with their lives. At least one group of
psychiatrists successfully treated MPD patients by isolating them from
their former therapists, refusing to deal with "alters," but paying
careful attention to underlying character pathology and urging the
patients to address their present difficulties.[25]
    Over eighty-four individuals treated for MPD as a result of
supposed sexual or ritual abuse have sued their therapists for
malpractice -- and in many cases -- for fraud.[26] Many of these same
therapists were subsequently subject to state sanctions including the
loss of license to practice or fines. A review of the MPD cases in
this survey shows that most plaintiffs had no psychiatric history
prior to their diagnosis as having MPD. Most had entered therapy for
help with postpartum depression, marital problems or other issues but
were told that their reaction to these difficulties indicated a
deeper, more serious problem. Eventually they were told that MPD is
almost always associated with childhood sexual abuse and that
repression of memories of childhood trauma is a sign of MPD. Although
some MPD proponents, including Dr. Richard Kluft, have described MPD
as "primarily a disorder of sexually abused women," this has never
been reliably demonstrated.[27]
    Hypnosis and hypnosis-like techniques were used in at least
two-thirds of these cases. The MPD patients were often given strong
medications, particularly benzodiazepines, such as Valium, Halcion,
and Xanax. Most stated they were told to read highly disturbing books
including Sybil and The Courage to Heal.
    Despite long years in treatment (often lasting 3 to 7 years),
records show that the patients' condition continued to deteriorate.
Nearly half (36/84) indicated that they had either attempted suicide
or had cut or mutilated their bodies because of their horror at the
emerging images of abuse. Many were hospitalized in psychiatric wards,
some for as long as two years at a time. Some were even encouraged to
hospitalize their young children. They were made to fear that their
children were at risk from a ritualistic cult or that the youngsters
might show signs of developing MPD.
    Court documents from many of these cases are available in the FMSF
Brief Bank and summaries of malpractice suits have appeared in this
newsletter and elsewhere (See FMSF Publication #833). The following is
a partial listing of malpractice cases from which this report was

Abney v. Spring Shadows Glen, et al, District Court, Harris Co., 11th
Jud Dist., Texas, No. 93-054106; Avis v. Laughlin, et al, Superior
Court, King Co., Washington, No. 9509-02260; Bartha v. Hicks, et al,
Ct of Common Pleas, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, No. 1179; Bean v.
Peterson, Superior Ct., Cheshire Co. New Hampshire, No. 95-E-0038;
Burgus v. Braun, Rush Presbyterian, et al, Circuit Ct., Cook Co.,
Ill., No. 91L08493/93L14050; Burnside v. Ault et al, Ontario Ct.
(General Division) Canada, No. C10,046/93; Carl v. Keraga, Spring
Shadows Glen Hospital, U.S. Federal Ct., Southern Dist., Tex., Case
No. H-95-661; Carlson v. Humenansky, Dist. Ct., 2nd Jud. Dist., Ramsey
Co., Minnesota, No. CX-93-7260; Cool v. Olson, Circuit Ct., Outagamie
Co., Wisc. No. 94CV707; Fultz v. Carr and Walker, Circuit Ct.,
Multnomah Co., Oregon, No. 9506-04080; Halbrooks v. Moore, Dist. Ct.,
Dallas Co., Tex., No. 92-11849; Hamanne v. Humenansky, U.S. Dist.
Ct., 2nd Dist., Minn., No. C4-94-203; Lebreton, et al v. Ault et al,
Ontario Ct of Justice (General Div.) Canada, No. 93-CQ-40015; Mark v.
Zulli, et. al., Superior Ct., San Luis Obispo Co., Cal., No. CV075386;
Marietti v. Kluft, et al, Ct of Common Pleas, Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, No. 2260; Shanley v. Braun, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20024;
Shanley v. Peterson, et al, U.S. Dist. Ct., Southern Dist. of Texas,
No. H94-4162; S. v. House of Hope, Inc., et al, Superior Ct.,
Maricopa Co., Arizona, No. CV-94-17678; Tyo v. Ross, et al, Dist. Ct.,
Dallas Co., Texas, No. DV98-3843; Wallace v. Agape Youth and Family
Ministries, Inc. et al, Circuit Ct., Multnomah Co., Oregon,
No. 9703-02470.

[25] Ganaway;G.K (1989) "Historical versus narrative truth: Clarifying
    the role of exogenous trauma in the etiology of MPD and its
    variants," Dissociation, II:4:205-220, and subsequent responses;
    McHugh, P.R. (1995) "Insights: Multiple Personality Disorder," The
    Harvard Mental Health Letter, 10:3.
[26] The FMSF Legal Survey contains reports from 112 individuals
    claiming they were injured after they were treated for a
    misdiagnosed MPD.
[27] See e.g., Spanos, N. (1996) notes that "Child sexual abuse was
    not a prominent feature of MPD cases reported before 1970. However
    cases reported after 1975 have almost always involved descriptions
    of childhood sexual abuse, and the kinds of abuse purportedly
    experienced by these patients have grown progressively more lurid
    and more extensive." See also, Beitchman, J.H. et al, (1992) "A
    review of the long-term effects of child sexual abuse," Child
    Abuse and Neglect, 16:101-118; Ganaway, G.K. (1995) "Theories of
    Dissociative Identity Disorder: Toward an integrative theory,"
    International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis,

/                                                                    \
|                   Multiple personality disorder;                   |
|          presenting to the English courts: a  case-study           |
|                    David James and Mark Schramm                    |
|                 The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry                 |
|                  Vol 9 No 3 December 1998, 613-628                 |
|                                                                    |
| The phenomenon of MPD is not one to exercise forensic              |
| psychiatrists on the European side of the Atlantic, as it remains  |
| largely restricted to North America. To avoid any possibility of   |
| the US experience being repeated in the UK, authors make a number  |
| of suggestions and forensic guidelines. For example:               |
|                                                                    |
| 1. The fact that a set of symptoms may satisfy a given set of      |
| diagnostic criteria, such as DSM-IV or ICD-10 (World Health        |
| Organization, 1992), does not mean that the disorder in question   |
| is necessarily present or that it is not occurring as part of some |
| other primary disorder.                                            |
|                                                                    |
| 2. Where the MPD phenomenon is found to be present, it should be   |
| assumed to be part of another (primary) disorder, and that primary |
| disorder should be sought and treated appropriately.               |

                   Overview of First Person Plural:
                        My Life as A Multiple
                         Cameron West, Ph.D.
                           1999 FMSF Staff

First Person Plural: My Life as a Multiple is an autobiography of
several years in the life Cameron West, a man in his mid-30s. The book
chronicles his diagnosis of multiple personality disorder (MPD, now
called dissociative identity disorder, DID) and his coming to terms
with his 24 personalities.
    West is a pseudonym, as are all names mentioned in the book except
Colin Ross, M.D. West says he disguised the names because he wanted to
protect his family. But that seems contradicted by his appearances on
several national television shows. These appearances prompted one
reviewer to write, "There's something vaguely trashy in using a
pseudonym to write an autobiography about dissociative identity
disorder, and then appearing on Oprah to promote the book."[1]
    West's story begins soon after his father dies and he moves to
Massachusetts to help his brother run the family business. West and
his brother "co-owned a company that sold custom advertising specialty
products" (p. 17). He is married to Rikki and has a young son, Kyle.
We learn that for years West suffered from sinus infections and has
undergone many operations twithout relief of his problem. He decides
to try another approach: holistic medicine. After a strict elimination
diet, many vitamin supplements and avoiding the 100 foods to which he
learned he was allergic, he looks and feels better.
    But all was not well. West complains to his wife that it "feels
like the inside of my head is very loud." His wife suggests that he
see a therapist.  The next day he selects Arly Morelli, Ph.D. because
she had a "large ad [yellow pages] that made her appear very
experienced and professional" p. 33.
    A few months after beginning therapy with Arly Morelli, an alter
emerges: through this alter, West recovers memories of abuse by his
grandmother. Soon, other alters, with memories of abuse by other
people, appear. West refers to his 24 alters as "my guys," reminiscent
of Truddi Chase's "troops" (Rabbit Howls) and Jane Phillips' "kids"
(Magic Daughter).
    Although West does not provide detailed descriptions of his
therapy sessions in First Person Plural, he does say enough to raise
concerns that his memories and alters may be artifacts of suggestive
    "She [Arly] said I was experiencing dissociation" (p 47).
    "Arly said, 'Davy is part of you, Cam. It looks to me like your
grandmother might have sexually abused you, if what Davy said is
accurate.'" (p. 64).
    "I don't remember being sexually abused ever. . . by anybody."
"Well, Arly said. 'Davy does. . . Davy is a dissociated part of
you. . .when you were probably around four years old. . . [you]
experienced some trauma at the hands of this woman'" (p. 65)
    West's wife had seen no signs of his MPD before he started
    "I've known him for fifteen years, we've been married for thirteen
. . .  And the whole time he always seemed so stable. . .so together"
(p. 111).
    "He had no memory at all of having been abused. Then all of a
sudden, these personalities just started coming out, and they relived
the abuse-like flashbacks -- right in front of me"(p. 113).
    These observations raise grave doubts about the truth of West's
claim that he experienced severe childhood maltreatment. The reason,
as Daniel Schacter has observed, is that "patients who recover
previously forgotten memories involving years of horrific abuse"
should "also have a documented history of severe pathology" showing
that a dissociative disorder -- of long standing, not suddenly
appearing in life's third decade -- existed.[2]
    The psychologist gives Rikki a copy of Colin Ross's book on MPD
and instructs her on things she should do to help her husband -- such
as buying him a teddy bear. Rikki is supportive, but she insists that
West's alters not emerge when Kyle is around. Cam agrees.
   Rikki decides that she cannot allow Kyle to see his grandmother.
She confronts Mrs. West, who denies abusing Cam. Not long after, Kyle,
Rikki and Cameron move to California.
    West finds a new therapist in California by using the list of
members of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation
(ISSD). He joins a support group and is briefly hospitalized. (His
insurance will not allow a long stay.) Because he wants to learn more
about MPD he enrolls in a Ph.D. program where he can work
independently and at his own pace. West's dissertation [3] is on the
topic of switching and "co-consciousness" and includes his own MPD
    Although West is later hospitalized at the Ross Institute in
Dallas, Texas. he continues to have multiple personalities. In fact,
West seems content -- even delighted -- with his 24 alters. That is
reminescent of Chris Sizemore (Three Faces of Eve) who is reputed to
have said that the magic went out of her life when her alters went
away. West seems to find magic in his alters.
    Book jacket endorsements: Ellen Bass (author, The Courage to
Heal); Colin A. Ross, M.D. (Dir. Trauma Prog, Timberlawn, Dallas);
Marlene E. Hunter, M.D. (Pres, ISSD).

[1] Ascher-Walsh, Rebecca, "Books of the Week" Entertainment Weekly,
    March 12, 1999.
[2] Daniel Schacter, Searching for Memory NY: Basic Books, 1996 page
[3] "The Experience of Co-Consciousness and Switching in Dissociative
    Identity Disorder: A Multiple Case Study." David Lukoff, Ph.D.,
    Chair, Ruth Richards, M.D., Ph.D., Tom Greening, Ph.D.

        Comments on First Person Plural: My Life as a Multiple
                        August Piper Jr., M.D.
As I was reading First Person Plural, it was difficult to avoid
wondering: is West serious? Or is this book actually just an elaborate
    The question arises because of the overblown style in passages
such as the following:

* West says (p. 11) his wife had "long shapely legs that went all the
way up to the buns of Navarone" [As far as I could tell, his wife's
name was not Navarone].

* On p. 78, he writes, "My sphincter felt like a bolt cutter."

* On p. 118: "A warm fire crackled in the stone fireplace." [What
other kinds of fires exist?]

* A girl's hair "looked like it hadn't been washed more than twice
since George Bush puked on that Japanese guy" (p. 26).

* During intercourse (p. 197), he "[fills] her with glistening hot

* West is infatuated by product names. Thus, he mixes pasta in "our
Moulinex La Machine II food processor," and rolls it into sheets on
"our squeaky Marcato Ampia Tipo Lusso Model 150 hand-cranking pasta
roller" (p. 250). Elsewhere, the reader is informed that West has a
"silver-blue Mercedes 450SLC" (p. 17). This name-dropping was
initially mildly distracting. Later, however, it became a real
irritation, like watching someone indulging in a vulgar display of his
    But many chapters (notably 15, 16, 17, 34, 42, and 45) should
cause the reader to ask another question involving the truth of what
West recounts. He would have the reader believe that the events in
First Person Plural -- which is written from West's vantage point
(that is, the first person singular) -- took place exactly as he
recounts them. For example, in chapter 17, he relates an encounter
between his wife and his mother at his wife's office; in chapter 34,
at a party in a restaurant, his wife and another man involve
themselves in some not-so-innocent flirting.
    West recounts, in his usual detail, both episodes: "Eleanor posed
in the doorway, wearing an elegant cobalt blue suit, Gucci floral
print scarf, coral suede pumps with matching purse, pearl stud
earrings, and a Patek Philippe watch" (p. 125); "He had straight black
hair with a little gray showing at the temples, cornflower blue eyes
and a rough-hewn face with crow's feet and deep smile lines that made
him look like he built log homes for a living" (p. 219).
    But such description causes a serious problem: how could West
possibly describe what occurred during the encounters, given that he
was not present at either one? How much of his narration of these
events is fiction? And from these two questions, a larger one: how
much of the rest of the book is fiction?
                              *   *   *
    First Person Plural fairly bristles with illogical ideas. For
example, West claims he was successfully able to attend graduate
school -- at a time when, because of his MPD, he was frequently unable
to make change at a video store, cook meals, take his son to the
movies, or even recall where he had parked his car. Often, he says, he
knew neither the day nor the month, and he found that he couldn't help
his son with his second-grade math.
    One inconsistency: on p. 29, West claims to be "allergic to more
than a hundred different substances, including wheat." Yet, 94 pages
later, he is slicing bread, presumably to eat with the spaghetti his
wife is preparing. And he says (p. 251) that spaghetti is one of his
"favorite meals." What happened to the wheat allergy?
    Another gross inconsistency involves West's putative
"co-consciousness." He wants it both ways: on the one hand he recalls
-- and repeatedly reports in his typical detail -- the events that
transpire while one or another of his "guys" are "out." Presumably
co-consciousness explains this counterintuitive ability. But then, on
the other hand, it is most difficult to understand how he cannot
remember what happened when the alters were out just a few minutes
before -- yet can remember this material when it comes time to write
his book..
    A few examples:

* On p. 123, he asks his wife if he ate a muffin while he was

* After an alter ("Mozart") appears for the first time, West is
unaware of the alter's appearance. He demands of his therapist,
"What's going on?" "Why don't you just tell me what the hell is going
on?" (p. 216). One page later, he looks at the therapist quizzically,
saying, "I have an alter named Mozart?"

* In chapter 35, West provides a four-page account of a police traffic
stop -- including details of the two officers' dialogue. Then: "What's
going on, Rik?" I said, confused.
   "You got pulled over for speeding,"she said.
   "Got pulled over," I repeated, struggling to comprehend.

* floridly illogical notion sits at the center of this book. It
insults common sense to believe that West, a successful thirty-plus
businessman, could have been a hornet's nest of alter personalities
without his psychologist wife (who has known him for 15 years)
noticing that anything was amiss with him.

The guest personalities inhabiting West's body seem, all in all, quite
a tractable and considerate bunch. He makes "arrangements" with his
guests to remain discreetly "in the Comfort Room" so they won't emerge
when he is being intimate with Rikki (p. 232). And a simple phone call
from his wife sends them scurrying meekly into the shadows. For
example, some of West's alters don't know how to drive. But they
somehow know how to use a cell phone -- "press memory," West
writes. This signals Rikki, who will then "call for Cam." Hearing her
voice is all it takes to cause "shudder, switch, back. Drive home
safely. No worries, mate" (p. 103).
    It is apparently child's play to control West's alters -- even a
second grader can do so. Thus, the reader learns, "Cam's alters go
back inside [every time] his son Kyle gets scared and calls for Cam to
come back" (p. 303). And Rikki (p. 195) tells West's son: "If Daddy
gets like that again [i.e., lets an alter out], all you have to do is
call for him. Just say 'Dad' or 'Cam' and he'll come right back."
    And his therapists somehow have the power to get the personalities
to cooperate: "Arly [Morelli] gave [Bart] a new job" (p. 103). This
power is not limited to therapists, however: "Rikki made a verbal
agreement with us [West and "the guys"] that I was the only one
allowed to drive" (p. 103).
    But the alters are controlled not only by the telephone voice of
West's wife, or by the commands of his frightened second-grader, or by
the dictates of his psychotherapists. No. West demonstrates --
countless times -- that he himself controls his alters. Several
notable examples come to mind. On p. 259, he says all the
personalities wanted to emerge to meet his son. "But they weren't
allowed to. In my mind, I saw Rikki [forbidding this]." Elsewhere one

    It was time to talk, and I was counting on Per [an alter] to help
    me like he said he would. I put down the spoon, shuddered once and
    stepped back into my mind, letting Per come out (p. 251).

    Further, when West was studying for his Ph.D. (p. 205), he "forced
[his] guys into the background while Kyle was at school, not giving
them any 'body time' at all." His therapist recognizes that he can
control his guest personalities: she tells West, on p. 247, to "let
them out for a while during the day -- every day -- an hour every
morning maybe." And recall that West prevented the "guys" from
emerging during intercourse.
    Here one cannot help but ask two obvious questions. First, how
debilitating can a disorder be if the patient "suffering" from it not
only controls its manifestations, but also derives benefits (such as
having an alter talk to the patient's wife) from it? Second, given
that West can control his alters, why is he so much at their mercy
that one of them can force him to walk, robot-like, into his son's toy
closet to draw pictures (p. 50)? Or cause West to involve himself
sexually with strangers (p. 104)? Or to smash his hand with a
sledgehammer? (pp. 234-5)
                              *   *   *
    Many scholarly articles, as well as several professional
organizations, have roundly criticized the beliefs held by, and the
practices employed by, West's therapists. A large number of
psychotherapists have suffered significant legal sanctions because
they have endorsed, and acted on, exactly these notions and practices.
    Here are some of these discredited beliefs and harmful

* Prematurely concluding that West's abuse actually occurred.
According to West, Dr. Morelli was the therapist who initially
diagnosed him as having DID. She concluded that West's grandmother had
sexually mistreated him when he was a child. The therapist decided
this because of a dream West had (ch. 7), because of some ambiguous
drawings he made, and because of a dramatic episode in her office in
which West behaved like a young child.
    If Dr. Morelli had been informed about the scientific literature,
she would have known several facts alerting her to the improbability
of her conclusion. Scientific research shows: o Significant trauma is
remembered by the overwhelming majority of people who are beyond
earliest childhood when they are traumatized. In other words, despite
widespread popular belief that memories can be mentally "blocked out,"
no evidence exists to support this belief. Therefore, the fact that
West repeatedly says he has no recall of any abuse (pp. 65, 66, 92,
and 104) strongly suggests that he did not, in fact, experience any.

* No symptom cluster reliably identifies individuals who have
"repressed" memories of abuse.

* There is no evidence that dreams serve as a "royal road" to
historical accuracy. Dreams are generally agreed to contain a residue
of the day's events. It is thus likely that if the day is spent
thinking about sexual abuse, one's dreams will reflect that

* The intensity of emotion with which a person "recovers" a "memory"
provides no guarantee of the historical accuracy of the recollection.
Thus, Rikki West is simply misinformed when she says (p. 71) "In
[Dr. Morelli's] office . . .Davey . . .the hand reaching up . . .the
screams. Cam, there's no way that. . . wasn't real." Dr. Morelli
reveals herself to be equally misinformed: she is impressed by West's
"graphic" abreaction, acted with "full feeling" (p. 87).

* Females almost never sexually mistreat young children. The
exceedingly rare instances of such abuse involve women with severe
emotional disturbances, usually of psychotic proportions. Such a level
of disturbance in West's mother should have been obvious when Dr.
Morelli took a history from her patient. Contrariwise, the absence of
such information would have been highly significant.

    In summary, study after study has shown that external
corroboration is required to determine the factual truth or falsity of
any memory. Dr. Morelli made no effort to confirm or disconfirm her
hypothesis that West had suffered sexual mistreatment.
    Labeling doubt as "denial" Several professional organizations have
advised therapists to maintain a neutral stance about the accuracy of
reports of childhood sexual mistreatment surfacing for the first time
in therapy. Such advice would have prohibited Dr. Morelli from
forcefully arguing West -- "with a bat," he says (p. 144) -- into her
position. Similarly, a responsible and informed therapist would have
cautioned Rikki West about saying that fabricating the abuse history
was "impossible" (p. 124).
    Recommending "stream-of-consciousness" journaling Dr. Morelli: "Go
out and get [a journal] . . . Write in it every day and just let
whatever happens happen" (p. 66). This recommendation represents
substandard practice, because abundant evidence exists that repeatedly
thinking about a fictitious event can cause a person to believe he or
she actually experienced the event.

              Overestimating the harm of "sexual abuse"

    Many studies have concluded that childhood sexual maltreatment can
certainly have long-term adverse effects on those who experience
it. Those same studies, however, have also concluded that many if not
most abused children go on to function normally as adults and, at
least as assessed by currently-available tools, show no significant
harm from the experience. Also, adult psychopathology is
statistically linked to relatively extreme childhood maltreatment, not
to episodes of infrequent or minor abuse. Though the childhood sexual
experiences allegedly suffered by West are certainly repugnant, they
hardly seem severe enough to cause all the horrors he experiences..
    Talking with, and otherwise interacting with, "alters" Common
sense predicts the outcome of this discredited intervention: as
Frances and First note, "alters" proliferate when attention is paid to
them. And similarly, dredging up "memories" of sexual mistreatment
causes proliferation of those memories -- and typically makes patients
    Confronting relatives with unfounded child abuse accusations
Again, the scientific literature reflects common sense. This type of
behavior may alienate relatives and cause a breakdown of family
support. Psychotherapists should protect the best interests of their
patients' supportive relationships.
    Ignoring other explanations for West's behavior The most egregious
problem with West's treatment is that none of his therapists ever
entertains the possibility that West might be role playing, or that
the "alters" result from the therapist's suggestions.
    First Person Plural falls woefully short of the goal West desires:
providing "practicing and future clinicians [a] certain insight into
DID" (p. 318). Rather, it provides a handy how-to-do-it guide for any
clinician seeking a malpractice lawsuit.

/                                                                    \
| "More than a disorder, M.P.D. is a memory -- a memory of women,    |
| invoked by men. (Apart from Cornelia Wilbur, who died six years    |
| ago, all the major M.P.D. theorists have been male.) On the cover  |
| of "Michelle Remembers" is a little blue-eyed girl, hugging her    |
| doll, and smack in the middle is a shot of the child's little      |
| crotch. The artist is looking up the dress of a five-year-old. For |
| a very long time, the most advantageous thing a woman could be in  |
| our society was childlike and sexual at the same time, and that is |
| the state to which multiple-personality disorder restores her. The |
| M.P.D. diagnosis is a tradeoff. The patient forfeits the           |
| privileges of being an adult-self-knowledge, moral agency. In      |
| return she is given back the sex-child dream, the cotton panties   |
| of yesteryear" (p. 79).                                            |
|                         Joan Acocella                              |
|                         The New Yorker                             |
|                         The Politics of Hysteria, April 6, 1998    |

                   F R O M   O U R   R E A D E R S
                              MPD Kills
                            Jaye D. Bartha
    "Jaye, Betty Ann is dead!" she screamed into my ear through the
    "What!" I answered in horror.
    "Yeah. She took an overdose." Kathy frantically gave me blow by
blow details as if she were an excited sports commentator. Gasping,
she continued, "They saved her but when she returned to the hospital
she ran from her wheelchair, sprinted down the hall, collapsed and
died right there on the spot. She's dead! Betty Ann is dead! She was
my best friend. What am I going to do?"
    Betty Ann was 26. Her death was the second I dealt with while a
patient of repressed memory therapy. I buried two more friends, before
realizing Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) was a bogus diagnosis,
and one more after that. Five friends dead. Each death occurred during
treatment for (MPD), now referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder
    It seems to me that patients in treatment for MPD/DID often live
in a chronic state of suicidal thinking and that acting out suicidal
impulses is a by-product of treatment. While the intense search for
memories of abuse is in progress, I observed doctors and hospital
staff making provisions for suicidal behavior. They hospitalized
patients, increased medication, instituted suicide watches, and in
extreme cases implemented physical and/or chemical restraints.
    In my experience, suicide is a pervasive problem of treatment for
MPD/DID and should be yanked out of the dark corner of treatment
closets. This diagnosis is a serious threat to human life and ought to
be addressed as such. The medical community supporting the MPD/DID
diagnosis often views suicide as the patient's inability to cope with
the horrors of an abusive past when, in fact, it is the treatment
itself that is likely the culprit.
                               A Start
You may be interested in knowing that my daughter contacted me last
fall (1998) and asked for a meeting between her, me and a mediator. I
was very leery and skeptical as I knew my daughter was not about to
retract, and I was not about to sit there and be lambasted by more
false accusations.
    I did go through with the meeting; I cried during a good part of
it as I had not seen her in nine years. Parts of the session were good
and I could see that she was trying to reach out for some family
connection. Other parts were not so good in that she is still a very
angry young lady, believing I abused her terribly but must have
dissociated myself from remembering it. One statementthat she made
was: "[A]ll those years of therapy and flashbacks couldn't have been
for nothing!"
    It is so tragic that our children have so much invested in their
false beliefs that to retract is to admit a waste of their lives since
they started therapy. I could see a real split in her personality --
from wanting to remember the good things in her childhood to having a
tremendous distrust and terror of me.
    I'm not sure the session accomplished much, but she did give me
her mailing address. I am approaching future contacts with her very
cautiously and not with high hopes. The support of the group members
of our state was fantastic in giving me the courage to "walk into the
lion's den." I also greatly appreciated Beth Rutherford's comments in
the FMSF newsletter on what worked for her when she first had contact
with her mother and father. It gave me insight on what to say and what
not to say.
    The mediator did a good job of not letting the session become a
battleground, and it was wonderful to see my daughter again, even
under such duress. I pray that someday I will have more encouraging
news to report to you. This terrible tragedy is not over until all
families are once again reunited.
                                                                 A Mom
We have had contact with our daughter for almost five years now, after
we had not seen her for the previous five years. She had not really
recanted in that time. It was only this last weekend that she told us
she was sorry for the grief our family has suffered because of her. We
are grateful.
                                                         A Mom and Dad
After nine years from her withdrawal and six from the "confrontation"
letter, our daughter has started responding to our letters and gifts.
It may be a long journey from her therapy-acquired delusions to
reality, but we will wait and continue to pray for reconciliation. May
God continue to work through the FMSF to stamp out this public health
                                                         A hopeful Mom
I would like to know what people are doing in regard to a will. I know
it is a touchy subject. At a local meeting, I was having lunch with a
couple when the man said he had just changed his will, leaving out the
two accusing daughters. He said he didn't want his money to go to any
of their therapists. "If they reconsider, then I will reconsider," he
    Then I met another couple whose three daughters have treated them
most abominably and the mother was astonished when I told her some
people made changes in their wills.
                                                         A curious Mom

*                           N O T I C E S                            *
*                                                                    *
*                                FREE                                *
*             "Recovered Memories: Are They Reliable?"               *
*     Call or write the FMS Foundation for pamphlets. Be sure to     *
*     include your address and the number of pamphlets you need.     *
*                                                                    *
*                   RECOVERED  MEMORY  CONTROVERSY                   *
*                  April 30, 1999 - $35.00 includes                  *
*                   Lunch 12:30 Program 1:30-4:30                    *
*                       877 Yonge St. TORONTO                        *
*                            Presenters:                             *
*                      Dr. PAUL SIMPSON, author                      *
*      Second Thoughts: Understanding the False Memory Crisis;       *
*                        Dr. EMANUEL PERSAD,                         *
*            Chair Dept Psychiatry, U of Western Ontario;            *
*                      DIANNE MARSHALL, M.Ed.,                       *
*             Clinical Dir. Institute of Family Living.              *
*                                                                    *
* Send check to: Dr. Ed Fish, 2 Klaimen Court, Aurora, ON  L4G  6M1. *
*                                                                    *
*                           Annual Meeting                           *
*                         ONTARIO and QUEBEC                         *
* The annual meeting of Ontario and Quebec families and friends will *
* be held on Saturday, May 1, 1999 in TORONTO. Guest speakers:       *
*                             ALAN GOLD                              *
*                         Dr. HAROLD MERSKEY                         *
*                         Dr. CAMPBELL PERRY                         *
*                          Dr. PAUL SIMPSON                          *
*              For information call Pat at 416-445-1995              *
*                                                                    *
*                          ESTATE PLANNING                           *
*                 If you have questions about how to                 *
*             include the FMSF in your estate planning,              *
*               contact Charles Caviness 800-289-9060.               *
*            (Available 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time.)            *
                F M S    B U L L E T I N    B O A R D
     Key: (MO)-monthly; (bi-MO)-bi-monthly; (*)-see Notices above

Contacts & Meetings:

  Kathleen (907) 337-7821
  Barbara (602) 924-0975; 854-0404(fax)
  Little Rock
        Al & Lela (870) 363-4368
        Joanne & Gerald (916) 933-3655
        Rudy (916) 443-4041
  San Francisco & North Bay - (bi-MO)
        Gideon (415) 389-0254 or
        Charles 984-6626(am); 435-9618(pm)
  East Bay Area - (bi-MO)
        Judy (925) 376-8221
  South Bay Area - Last Sat. (bi-MO)
        Jack & Pat (408) 425-1430
        3rd Sat. (bi-MO) @10am
  Central Coast
        Carole (805) 967-8058
  Central Orange County - 1st Fri. (MO) @ 7pm
        Chris & Alan (714) 733-2925
  Covina Area - 1st Mon. (MO) @7:30pm
        Floyd & Libby (626) 330-2321
  San Diego Area 
        Dee (619) 941-4816
  Colorado Springs
        Doris (719) 488-9738
  S. New England  - (bi-MO) Sept-May
        Earl (203) 329-8365 or
        Paul (203) 458-9173
        Madeline (954) 966-4FMS
  Boca/Delray  - 2nd & 4th Thurs (MO) @1pm
        Helen (407) 498-8684
  Central Florida - Please call for mtg. time
        John & Nancy (352) 750-5446
  Tampa Bay Area
        Bob & Janet (813) 856-7091
        Wallie & Jill (770) 971-8917
  Carolyn (808) 261-5716
  Chicago & Suburbs - 1st Sun. (MO)
        Eileen (847) 985-7693
        Liz & Roger (847) 827-1056
        Bryant & Lynn (309) 674-2767
        David Hunter (217) 359-2190V
XC  Indiana Assn. for Responsible Mental Health Practices
        Nickie (317) 471-0922; fax (317) 334-9839
        Pat (219) 482-2847
  Des Moines - 2nd Sat. (MO) @11:30 am Lunch
        Betty & Gayle (515) 270-6976
  Kansas City - 2nd Sun. (MO)
        Pat (785) 738-4840
  Louisville- Last Sun. (MO) @ 2pm
        Bob (502) 367-1838
        Francine (318) 457-2022
        Irvine & Arlene (207) 942-8473
  Freeport -  4th Sun. (MO)
        Carolyn  (207) 364-8891
   Ellicot City Area
        Margie (410) 750-8694
   Andover - 2nd Sun. (MO) @ 1pm
        Frank (978) 263-9795
  Grand Rapids Area-Jenison - 1st Mon. (MO)
        Bill & Marge (616) 383-0382
  Greater Detroit Area - 3rd Sun. (MO)
        Nancy (248) 642-8077
  Ann Arbor
        Martha (734) 439-8119
        Terry & Collette (507) 642-3630
        Dan & Joan (651) 631-2247
  Kansas City  -  2nd Sun. (MO)
        Pat 738-4840
        Jan (816) 931-1340
  St. Louis Area  -  3rd Sun. (MO)
        Karen (314) 432-8789
        Mae (314) 837-1976
  Springfield - 4th Sat. (MO) @12:30pm
        Tom (417) 883-8617
        Roxie (417) 781-2058
  Lee & Avone (406) 443-3189
  See Wayne, PA
  Albuquerque  -2nd Sat. (MO) @1 pm
  Southwest Room - Presbyterian Hospital
        Maggie (505) 662-7521 (after 6:30 pm)
        Sy (505) 758-0726
  Westchester, Rockland, etc. - (bi-MO)
        Barbara (914) 761-3627
  Upstate/Albany Area  - (bi-MO)
        Elaine (518) 399-5749
  Susan (704) 538-7202
        Bob (513) 541-0816 or (513) 541-5272
        Bob & Carole (440) 888-7963
  Oklahoma City
        Dee (405) 942-0531
        HJ (405) 755-3816
        Paul & Betty (717) 691-7660
        Rick & Renee (412) 563-5616
        John (717) 278-2040
  Wayne (includes S. NJ) - 2nd Sat. (MO)
        Jim & Jo (610) 783-0396
  Wed. (MO) @1pm
        Kate (615) 665-1160
        Jo or Beverly (713) 464-8970
   El Paso
        Mary Lou (915) 591-0271
        Keith (801) 467-0669
        Judith (802) 229-5154
        Sue (703) 273-2343
        Pat (304) 291-6448
        Katie & Leo (414) 476-0285
        Susanne & John (608) 427-3686

  Vancouver & Mainland 
        Ruth (604) 925-1539
  Victoria & Vancouver Island - 3rd Tues. (MO) @7:30pm
        John (250) 721-3219
        Joan (204) 284-0118
  London -2nd Sun (bi-MO)
        Adriaan (519) 471-6338
        Eileen (613) 836-3294
  Toronto /N. York
        Pat (416) 444-9078
        Ethel (705) 924-2546
        Ken & Marina (905) 637-6030
        Paula (705) 692-0600
        Alain (514) 335-0863
  St. Andre Est.
        Mavis (450) 537-8187
        Mike 0754-842-348 
         fax 0754-841-051 
  FMS ASSOCIATION fax-(972) 2-625-9282 
  Task Force FMS of Werkgroep Fictieve 
        Anna (31) 20-693-5692
        Colleen (09) 416-7443
        Ake Moller FAX (48) 431-217-90
  The British False Memory Society
        Roger Scotford (44) 1225 868-682

              Deadline for the June Newsletter is May 15
                  Meeting notices MUST be in writing 
    and should be sent no later than TWO MONTHS PRIOR TO MEETING.

|          Do you have access to e-mail?  Send a message to          |
|                                         |
| if  you wish to receive electronic versions of this newsletter and |
| notices of radio and television  broadcasts  about  FMS.  All  the |
| message need say is "add to the FMS-News". It would be useful, but |
| not necessary,  if you add your full name (all addresses and names |
| will remain strictly confidential).                                |
  The False Memory Syndrome Foundation is a qualified 501(c)3 corpora-
tion  with  its  principal offices in Philadelphia and governed by its 
Board of Directors.  While it encourages participation by its  members
in  its  activities,  it must be understood that the Foundation has no 
affiliates and that no other organization or person is  authorized  to
speak for the Foundation without the prior written approval of the Ex-
ecutive Director. All membership dues and contributions to the Founda-
tion must be forwarded to the Foundation for its disposition.

Pamela Freyd, Ph.D.,  Executive Director

FMSF Scientific and Professional  Advisory Board,        April 1, 1999

AARON T. BECK, M.D., D.M.S., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia,
PA;  TERENCE W. CAMPBELL, Ph.D.,  Clinical  and  Forensic  Psychology,
Sterling Heights, MI;  ROSALIND CARTWRIGHT, Ph.D.,  Rush  Presbyterian
St. Lukes Medical Center, Chicago, IL; JEAN CHAPMAN, Ph.D., University
of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; LOREN CHAPMAN, Ph.D., University of Wiscon-
sin, Madison, WI; FREDERICK C. CREWS, Ph.D., University of California,
Berkeley,  CA;  ROBYN M. DAWES,  Ph.D.,  Carnegie  Mellon  University,
Pittsburgh,  PA;  DAVID F. DINGES, Ph.D.,  University of Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia, PA; HENRY C. ELLIS, Ph.D.,  University  of  New  Mexico,
Albuquerque, NM; FRED H. FRANKEL, MBChB, DPM, Harvard University Medi-
cal School,  Boston MA;  GEORGE K. GANAWAY, M.D.,  Emory University of
Medicine,  Atlanta,  GA;  MARTIN GARDNER,  Author,  Hendersonville, NC
ROCHEL GELMAN, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, CA; HENRY
GLEITMAN, Ph.D.,  University of Pennsylvania,  Philadelphia, PA;  LILA
GLEITMAN, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; RICHARD
GREEN, M.D., J.D., Charing Cross Hospital, London;  DAVID A. HALPERIN,
M.D.,  Mount Sinai School of Medicine,  New York, NY;  ERNEST HILGARD,
Ph.D.,  Stanford University,  Palo Alto, CA;  JOHN HOCHMAN, M.D., UCLA
Medical School, Los Angeles, CA; DAVID S. HOLMES, Ph.D., University of
Kansas,  Lawrence, KS;  PHILIP S. HOLZMAN, Ph.D.,  Harvard University,
Cambridge,  MA;   ROBERT A. KARLIN,  Ph.D.,  Rutgers  University,  New 
Brunswick, NJ;  HAROLD LIEF, M.D.,  University of Pennsylvania, Phila-
delphia,  PA;  ELIZABETH LOFTUS, Ph.D., University of Washington, Sea-
tle, WA; SUSAN L. McELROY, M.D., University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati,
OH; PAUL McHUGH, M.D., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; HAROLD
MERSKEY, D.M., University of Western Ontario, London, Canada;  SPENCER
HARRIS  MORFIT,  Author,  Westford, MA;  ULRIC NEISSER, Ph.D., Cornell
University, Ithaca, N.Y.; RICHARD OFSHE, Ph.D., University of Califor-
nia, Berkeley, CA;  EMILY CAROTA ORNE, B.A., University of Pennsylvan-
ia, Philadelphia, PA; MARTIN ORNE, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsyl-
vania, Philadelphia, PA; LOREN PANKRATZ, Ph.D., Oregon Health Sciences
University, Portland, OR; CAMPBELL PERRY, Ph.D., Concordia University,
Montreal, Canada;  MICHAEL A. PERSINGER, Ph.D., Laurentian University,
Ontario,  Canada; AUGUST T. PIPER, Jr.,  M.D.,  Seattle, WA;  HARRISON
POPE, Jr.,  M.D.,  Harvard Medical School,  Boston,  MA;  JAMES RANDI,
Author  and  Magician, Plantation, FL;  HENRY L. ROEDIGER, III, Ph.D.,
Washington  University,  St. Louis, MO;  CAROLYN SAARI, Ph.D.,  Loyola
University,  Chicago, IL;  THEODORE SARBIN, Ph.D., University of Cali-
fornia,  Santa Cruz, CA;  THOMAS A. SEBEOK, Ph.D., Indiana University,
Bloomington,  IN;  MICHAEL  A.  SIMPSON,  M.R.C.S.,  L.R.C.P.,  M.R.C, 
D.O.M.,  Center for Psychosocial & Traumatic Stress,  Pretoria,  South
Africa;  MARGARET SINGER, Ph.D.,  University of California,  Berkeley,
CA;  RALPH SLOVENKO, J.D., Ph.D.,  Wayne State  University Law School,
Detroit, MI; DONALD SPENCE, Ph.D., Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center,
Piscataway,  NJ;  JEFFREY VICTOR, Ph.D.,  Jamestown Community College,
Jamestown,  NY;  HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD,  M.A.,  Institute of Psychological
Therapies, Northfield, MN;  CHARLES A. WEAVER, III, Ph.D.  Baylor Uni-
versity, Waco, TX.

   Y E A R L Y   FMSF   M E M B E R S H I P   I N F O R M A T I O N
Professional - Includes Newsletter       $125_______

Family - Includes Newsletter             $100_______

                       Additional Contribution:_____________


___VISA:  Card: #________-________-________-________ exp. date ___/___

___MASTER CARD: #________-________-________-________ exp. date ___/___

___Check or Money Order: Payable to FMS FOUNDATION IN U.S. DOLLARS.



Street Address or P.O.Box

City                                 State         Zip+4

Telephone                           FAX

*  MAIL the completed form with payment to: 
FMS Foundation, 3401 Market ST, Suite 130, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3315

This address and the phone numbers have changed as of July 15, 2000

*  FAX your order to (215) 287-1917. Fax orders cannot be processed 
without credit card information.

              V I D E O   T A P E   O R D E R   F O R M
               ``W H E N   M E M O R I E S   L I E...
              T H E   R U T H E R F O R D   F A M I L Y
                S P E A K S   T O   F A M I L I E S''

Mail Order To:
  FMSF Video
  Rt. 1 Box 510
  Burkeville, TX 75932

                                   DATE:   /   /

Ordered By:                        Ship to:

Please type or print information:
| QUANT- |  #  |            DESCRIPTION             | UNIT  | AMOUNT |
|  ITY   |     |                                    | PRICE |        |
|        | 444 | The Rutherford Family              | 10.00 |        |
|        |     |               Speaks to Families   |       |        |
                                                   SUBTOTAL |        |
                                                            |        |
                                    ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTION |        |
                                                            |        |
                                                  TOTAL DUE |        |
                                                            |        |

U.S. Shipping & packaging charges are included in the 
price of the video.

  Canada                $4.00 per tape
  All other countries  $10.00 per tape.

Allow two to three weeks for delivery. Made all checks payable to FMS
Foundation. If you have any questions concerning this order, call
Benton, 409-565-4480.

The tax deductible portion of your contribution is the excess of goods
and services provided.

                     THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST