Phenomenological Psychology

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Questions about Multiple Personality Disorder – Dissociative Identity Disorder

July 12th, 2009 by David Kronemyer · 4 Comments

1. Are there separate personalities, or is it different aspects of one personality? The main item of curiosity about MPD is that they all inhabit one physical corporeal body. Are there any studies with monozygotic twins where one has it and the other doesn’t?

2. Are there any conditions of brain abnormality that give rise to MPD?

3. Does each separate personality have a distinct neurophysiological presentation?

4. What is the nature of the psycho-social stressors that give rise to MPD, e.g. childhood abuse, trauma, neglect. MPD is not an intellectual exercise, but rather a visceral response; a fugue in response to trauma; a way of coping; an alternate person to be. “I’m not the person who suffered/endured (x)” (where x = traumatic event).

5. Does it make sense to think in terms of the “original” personality – the one you started with? Is that personality always the one you come back to after an episode/incident where another personality has appeared?

6. Which personality is dominant and why – what is it for a personality to dominate – is it the “original” personality.

7. What is the extent of inter-personality knowledge or communication? Is there amnesia for a personality after an episode/incident where it has appeared? But in such a case who is amnesiac of what? In The Three Faces of Eve, Jane knew about Eve White and Eve Black; neither Eve White nor Eve Black knew about Jane; Eve Black knew about Eve White; but Eve White did not know about Eve Black.

8. Is there a different internal world for each personality? How are they different and why? Are there inter-world phenomenological similarities or connections?  If a new personality “emerges,” how does that personality furbish their “new” world?

9. How is it possible to discern the total population of personalities? Do new ones join the scene – where do they come from? Do old ones leave – do they die off?

10. What are the circumstances of transition from one personality to another? Are they summoned like a ghost at a séance? Or are there psycho-social stressors or triggers, e.g. anxiety.

11. Can more than one personality be present at once?

12. Do the personalities ever conduct an internal dialogue, like a salon where they sit around discussing various topics (or each other)? Is there a concept of “teamwork” among personalities to facilitate the accomplishment of a mutually-desired result?

13. Do the different personalities get along (cohabitate successfully) or fight – why. What happens when some of the personalities conflict – is there a “system supervisor” or mediator?

14. What if one personality says to kill yourself (engage in violent behavior, self-destructive behavior). This presents jeopardy to the organism, which would result in the discontinuance of all of the other personalities. How can this be avoided?

15. What would count as a cure: integration of all multiple personalities into one; expulsion or abolishment of certain personalities (which ones and why); or control/facilitation of switching between personalities but they remain like one happy family.

16. Is there ever a complete transition from one personality to the other, i.e. patient starts off as one personality but then over time that personality is discarded and a new personality takes over completely?

17. Are their dreams alike?

18. What if one personality was taking psychotropic medication; would it affect the other personalities?  They have the same physiology so it stands to reason that it should.