Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Creating the disease and the cure.

ABC TV's Australian Story has often been criticised for taking a soft approach – rarely if ever asking the tough questions.
Monday's program See how she runs lived up to this reputation. It featured Anne Garton, an athlete said to be suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder.
According to Dr. Warwick Middleton, a psychiatrist interviewed on the program:
Typically, patients with Dissociative Identity Disorder have had ongoing trauma from an early age. So, in order to survive the child finds a way of splitting into identity states, if you like, in which certain memories and certain feelings are kept and separated. It's a condition that allows them to not know of things that would otherwise overwhelm them.
What Dr. Middleton – and the program – failed to mention is that the nature of this disorder is highly controversial.
Some people say it doesn't exist – or if it does, is extremely rare. According to the Skeptic's Dictionary review of Multiple Identities and False Memories – A Sociocognitive Persective by psychologist Nicholas P. Spanos:
...Spanos argues that some of the most fundamental concepts and treatable disorders in psychology, as well as some fundamental techniques for the treatment of those disorders, have been created by psychologists with the cooperation of their patients and the rest of society.
Thus, many psychologists and therapists are little more than modern day witchhunters, creating their "witches" by questionable assumptions and procedures, misleading the rest of us into believing in "demonic possession" (i.e., repression of memories of childhood abuse and dissociation) and that only the experts know the correct procedures for ridding the world of these evils.
The experts create both the disease and the cure...
The transcript of See how she runs and a forum page is available at:
See also:

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