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Gottlieb, R.M. (1997). Does The Mind Fall Apart In Multiple Personality Disorder? Some Proposals Based On A Psychoanalytic Case. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 45:907-932.

(1997). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45:907-932

Does The Mind Fall Apart In Multiple Personality Disorder? Some Proposals Based On A Psychoanalytic Case

Richard M. Gottlieb

A psychoanalytic study of some of the phenomena of multiple personality disorder (MPD), this paper takes issue with the view that a falling apart, fragmentation, or disaggregation of the mind is at the bottom of MPD's characteristic symptoms. Since first proposed by Janet in 1889, the view that ordinarily integrated parts of the mind separate from the center, accounting for the appearance of separate “selves,” has prevailed among workers in this field. The close psychoanalytic study of a case of MPD suggests that, to the contrary, the appearance of multiplicity may derive from an essentially unitary but nonetheless powerful set of organizing fantasies centering on the idea that one's body and mind can be taken over and controlled by persons other than oneself. The data of the case under study suggest, further, that certain of the details of these patients' histories of childhood sexual and physical abuse may be of great importance in explaining the extraordinary organizing power of their fantasies of being occupied and controlled. In this connection, special attention is directed to the very commonly reported experiences of forced violation and the involuntary filling and emptying of their bodies during childhood.

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