Dissociative Identity Disorder is a personality disorder characterized by a fragmentation of self, in which the individual develops a number of distinct identities and personalities, each with it’s own pattern of behavior and interaction with the environment. This book is written as a bridge between the client, the therapist, family and friends, and is an attempt to demystify the disorder. Haddock looks into the lives of people with DID, to illustrate the struggles that they face and the social myths about the disorder that need to be overcome. (Many still refer to it as Multiple Personality Disorder).
The book begins with an overview of the diagnostic criteria (which are stricter than I thought), before moving on to examine the importance of childhood experiences and memories. Drawing on the theories of childhood developmental experts such as Piaget and Bowlby, Haddock analyses ways in which key deficits at crucial ages could lead to the onset of the disorder. Specific “symptoms” include a chaotic lifestyle, anxiety and depression, mood swings and amnesia. The author also investigates similarities with schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorder, especially instances of hearing voices or the client’s belief that their thoughts can be controlled by others.
The latter chapters focus more on treatment techniques, and offer insights to patients and their families as well as therapists and clinicians. The range of theories and therapeutic techniques discussed is very impressive, and gives patients and families a wealth of information to draw from. I cannot underestimate the importance of a client having a practical and working knowledge of where the therapist is coming from, and what his or her own theoretical background is.
Overall, this book is probably the best and most thorough resource available for a much-maligned and misunderstood disorder.