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Brenneis, C.B. (1996). Multiple Personality: Fantasy Proneness, Demand Characteristics, and Indirect Communication. Psychoanal. Psychol., 13(3):367-387.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 13(3):367-387

Multiple Personality: Fantasy Proneness, Demand Characteristics, and Indirect Communication

C. Brooks Brenneis, Ph.D.

An etiology is proposed for multiple personality disorder (MPD) without recourse to dissociated early trauma. MPD may be generated by the interaction of specific cognitive abilities associated with extreme hypnotic susceptibility and fantasy proneness with therapist demand characteristics associated with a belief in the early traurnatic origins of MPD. The patient's capacity for segmented, absorbed consciousness; highly uncritical vivid fantasy; and relative secretiveness about fantasy experience matches the therapist's expectations of a mistrustful patient concealing shameful early trauma in colorful dissociated reenactments. The necessity to earn trust pulls for credulity; the expectation of concealment pulls for probing suggestive therapeutic techniques. Dramatic representation of apparent early abuse is conceptualized as an indirect commentary on the patient's current therapeutic experience.

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