Thursday, December 9, 2010

DSM 5: Dissent In the Land of DID

DSM-5 - Gender Incongruity: Repressed Memories, Social Epidemics & Diagnosis Creep

Case studies:                                                     

1. James Carlson:

In 1994 James Carlson stood trial for rape in an Arizona court. Carlson claimed to possess multiple personalities. According to Carlson 8 of these were aware of the alleged crimes.

"...Carlson, claimed to have 11 personalities, eight of which knew something about the crimes in question...the defence called each one as a witness, including [a] lesbian prostitute in the powder-pink sweater."

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[n] attempt to convince the jury that he had MPD. The defence team was convinced. The two psychiatrists that gave expert testimony to that effect, were convinced. Most importantly, he failed to convince the jury and Carlson was convicted. A few days later Carlson admitted he had 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 therapists 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.
See: Mythic MPD Cases.

2. Ruth Finley:
In late 1978 middle class suburban house-wife, Ruth Finley and her husband contacted the Wichita police and complained she was being stalked by an unknown individual she had privately dubbed 'The Poet'.

"...their visit to the police was the beginning of one of the more bizarre cases in Wichita history. It took the police three years and $370,000 to determine the identity of Ruth's persecutor... And it was 6½ years before the citizens of Wichita were given a full explanation of Ruth Finley's strange ordeal."

Finley's malign 'stalker', was herself - a supposed second persona (or alter) whose existence she claimed to be unaware of. Sometime later, during therapy, undertaken in exchange for not being prosecuted, Finley went on to 'uncover' repressed memories of childhood sex abuse.,,20099840,00.html

Ruth Finley
An uncritical and highly supportive account of Finley's experience was told by Gene Stone in a book titled 'Little Girl Fly Away.'

3. Thomas Dee Huskey
"On Oct. 20, 1992, a man hunting in the woods just outside Cahaba, Tennessee, came upon the body of Patricia Rose Anderson, 32. Within the week searchers discovered three more bodies, all female - all naked and strangled".

Drawn to Huskey by series of withdrawn rape charges alleged to have occurred in the same area, police searched the home of his parents and turned up rope, porn and jewelry that detectives believed had been taken from the dead women. But KCSO investigators relied on a search warrant issued by a city judicial commissioner - who an appellate court later ruled had no authority to issue the warrant.

Thomas Dee Huskey
"Thomas Huskey confessed on tape to all four murders, but while he was talking, his voice and ... demeanor changed ... to one of anger and aggression. He indicated he was now "Kyle," another personality, and that he had committed the murders. Then came another voice, with a cultured British accent and unusual vocabulary, calling himself "Philip Daxx." [who]claimed his function was to protect Tom from Kyle."

Huskey's defence was that one 'alter', Kyle had committed the murders and made the confession. He, Thomas, could not possibly be held to account for crimes committed by someone else. This argument was supposedly corroborated by the third 'alter', Daxx.

Like Finley, Huskey went on to make largely un-corroborated claims of child abuse - an experience considered a necessary adjunct of Dissociative Identity Disorder. His original confession was barred from evidence due to procedural failures and, despite being found guilty of several rape charges in the interim, when the murder charges were eventually heard in 1999. The jury split 5-4 (three undecided) on the issue of sanity. He was not retried.

Huskey is currently being held in the Tennessee State Penitentiary on the rape convictions. Despite having confessed (on Tape) and despite the weight of evidence against him, he has never been held to account for the murders. He is due for release in 2012.

Perhaps not surprisingly the acronym 'DID' has earned a second meaning: Devil In Disguise! Like dissociation and repression, the notion of multiple personality is rooted in Freudian concepts of buried subconscious psychological trauma. As such it owns no substantive properties beyond the ideas and constructs that gave it birth. There are no objective tests, no certain proofs. Like memory repression, its existence is to be accepted or rejected solely as an act of faith.

[Multiple Personality Disorder was] ...a rare medical curiosity until the mid 1950's. Dr. Bennett Braun reports that a 1944 "review of the literature by Taylor and Martin found only 76 documented cases of MPD" worldwide prior to that 1979 study found "only two hundred cases of MPD in all recorded medical history."

"By 1984 the number of reported cases had jumped to a thousand, and by 1989 to four thousand." During the 1990s, "some psychiatrists and psychologists specializing in the treatment of MPD ...estimated that twenty to thirty thousand people" suffered from the disorder."

The next part of this series will examine the so-called dissociative disorders as a social epidemic. Finally it will discuss the 'counter discourse' that developed within the mental health professions, why it developed, and how it influenced a decline in MPD/DID as a diagnosis.


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