A comprehensive review of the literature and case study of multiple personality disorder

John Vincent Taliercio, Pace University


Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) has been the focus of great controversy. Of keen interest in the early 1900's, its study soon after waned precipitously. So sharp was the decline that, until recently, the majority of clinicians gave it little credence. Currently, the literature has reported increasing numbers of such cases, along with varying degrees of success in its treatment. This doctoral project is an in-depth study of this disorder. It provides: (a) an historical overview of MPD, delineating its early association with hysteria and evolution to a free-standing diagnostic category among the dissociative disorders; (b) an extensive review of the literature which focuses on the areas of etiology, experimental investigations, diagnosis, and treatment; and (c) the case of a 54 year old male MPD patient who was treated in individual, psychodynamically oriented therapy for 67 sessions over a nine month period. The historical investigation of MPD found that its loss of credibility at the turn of the century was based in part on such factors as iatrogenesis, the diminished standing of hypnosis, and the increase in the diagnosis of schizophrenia. Its current resurgence is based in part on the number of cases presented by highly reputable clinicians. The review of the literature found that, although a great deal remains to be discovered, significant information exists regarding diagnosis, treatment, and etiology. For example, chronic childhood sexual and physical abuse are highly implicated in its etiology, and the use of hypnosis appears to be important in its treatment. The case analysis found that heterogeneous group therapy is counterindicated, and individual treatment was characterized by such complexities as the emergence of a violent alter and amnesiac barriers which could not be readily treated.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Taliercio, John Vincent, "A comprehensive review of the literature and case study of multiple personality disorder" (1991). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9114489.



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