Creating Hysteria: Women and Multiple Personality Disorder

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Wiley, Aug 27, 1999 - Psychology - 224 pages
From 1985 to 1995 an estimated 40,000 Americans, most of them women, were told they suffered from multiple personality disorder. Feminists, fundamentalists, and a substantial portion of the mental health community Andorsed this "Sybil-ing" of America. Sensation-seeking television talk shows took up the MPD rallying cry. In Creating Hysteria, Joan Acocella tells a riveting tale of therapists betraying their patients, of a psychotherapy profession at war within its own ranks, and finally of expatients rising up and putting an And to the MPD scandal.

"Creating Hysteria exposes one of the most frightening mental rollercoaster rides taken by thousands of people in modern times. Joan Acocella brilliantly illuminates how the mental health profession spearheaded, perhaps inadvertently, a fin-de-siecle hysteria, the fallout from which will take us into the next millennium. Anyone who has ever been interested in mental health should read this book."--Elizabeth Loftus, president, American Psychological Society

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Creating hysteria: women and multiple personality disorder

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Based on the premise that mental disorders go in and out of vogue, this book traces the development of the Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD)/Recovered Memory movement from its beginnings (as the ... Read full review

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Brief book written with the verve and pace that shows the author's roots as a journalist. Despite its protestations of lacking an overview of the recovered memory panic, it does an excellent job of tracing out the issues and history of this confusing time. An updated volume would be greatly appreciated, though perhaps unnecessary given how the topic has essentially died off with the cessation of the improper therapeutic techniques. 


One Womans Story
The History
The Epidemic

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About the author (1999)

JOAN ACOCELLA coauthored the textbook Abnormal Psychology: Current Perspectives, now in its eighth edition. A staff writer for The New Yorker, she is the author of Mark Morris (1993) and the editor of The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky (1999).

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