Dissociative Identity Disorder - Causes - Therapist Induced

Therapist Induced

The prevailing posttraumatic model of dissociation and dissociative disorders is contested. It has been hypothesized that symptoms of DID may be created by therapists using techniques to "recover" memories (such as the use of hypnosis to "access" alter identities, facilitate age regression or retrieve memories) on suggestible individuals. Referred to as the "sociocognitive model" (SCM), it proposes that DID is due to a person consciously or unconsciously behaving in certain ways promoted by cultural stereotypes, with unwitting therapists providing cues through improper therapeutic techniques. This is enhanced by media portrayals of DID.

Proponents of the SCM note that the bizarre dissociative symptoms are rarely present before intensive therapy by specialists in the treatment of DID who, through the process of eliciting, conversing and identifying alters, shape, or possibly create the diagnosis. While proponents note that DID is accompanied by genuine suffering and the distressing symptoms, and can be diagnosed reliably using the DSM criteria, they are skeptical of the traumatic etiology suggested by proponents. The characteristics of people diagnosed with DID (hypnotizability, suggestibility, frequent fantasization and mental absorption) contributed to these concerns and those regarding the validity of recovered memories of trauma. Skeptics note that a small subset of doctors are responsible for diagnosing the majority of individuals with DID. Psychologist Nicholas Spanos and others have suggested that in addition to iatrogenesis, DID may be the result of role-playing rather than alternative identities, though others disagree, pointing to a lack of incentive to manufacture or maintain separate identities and point to the claimed histories of abuse. Other arguments for the iatrogenic position, include the lack of children diagnosed with DID, the sudden spike in incidence after 1980 (although DID was not a diagnosis until DSM-IV, published in 1994), the absence of evidence of increased rates of child abuse, the appearance of the disorder almost exclusively in individuals undergoing psychotherapy, particularly involving hypnosis, the presences of bizarre alternate identities (such as those claiming to be animals or mythological creatures) and an increase in the number of alternate identities over time (as well as an initial increase in their number as psychotherapy begins in DID-oriented therapy.) These various cultural and therapeutic causes occur within a context of pre-existing psychopathology, notably borderline personality disorder, which is commonly co-morbid with DID. In addition, presentations can vary across cultures, such as Indian patients who only switch alters after a period of sleep — which is commonly how DID is presented by the media within that country.

The iatrogenic position is strongly linked to the false memory syndrome, coined by the False Memory Syndrome Foundation in reaction to memories recovered by a range of controversial therapies whose effectiveness is unproven. Such a memory could be used to make a false allegation of child sexual abuse. There is little consensus between the iatrogenic and traumagenic positions regarding DID. Proponents of the iatrogenic position suggest a small number of clinicians diagnosing a disproportionate number of cases would provide evidence for their position though it has also been claimed that higher rates of diagnosis in specific countries like the United States, may be due to greater awareness of DID. Lower rates in other countries may be due to an artificially low recognition of the diagnosis.

Read more about this topic:  Dissociative Identity Disorder, Causes

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