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Multiple Personality Disorder: Another Psychoheresy

Article Index
Multiple Personality Disorder: Another Psychoheresy
101 Personalities?
Advantage of MPD
Erroneous Assumptions about MPD
MPD PsychoHeresy
What does the Bible say about MPD?

"Christian" psychology has once again joined hands with the world.  Christians areactively involved with alleged multiple personalities, both as therapists and as patients.  Besides following the world in diagnosis and treatment, they may add exorcism and/or a new kind of evangelism that seeks to save each and every alternate personality — just o be sure the entire person will go to heaven.

Since Christians are diagnosing and treating other Christians as if they have "multiple personality disorder" (MPD), we must ask two questions: (1) Is MPD a scientifically established diagnosis or is it the latest fad in the mysterious world of psychology and psychiatry?; and (2) Can one remain true to biblical orthodoxy while combining it with secular MPD diagnosis and treatment?

MPD is one of the most fascinating and seemingly mind-boggling psychiatric phenomena today.  It is also one of the fastest growing segments of psychiatric consumerism.  Its growth parallels the booming business of recovering (or constructing) memories of abuse and satanic ritual abuse (SRA).  They go together.

Consider the case of Lucy Abney, who entered treatment for depression and ended up with 100 alternate personalities after two years of therapy.  Besides developing so-called MPD, Abney "relived" such horrendous "memories" as sacrificing three of her children and drinking blood.  Although Abney admits that "the memories were very real, very vivid," she has concluded they were not based on reality.  They were fantasy.1

Abney is just one of many abuse victims.  However, the abuse appears to have occurred in therapy.  Such psychiatric abuse is costly to patients in terms of time spent in psychiatric units, unjust accusations of parents, the personal emotional trauma of experiencing such horrible fantasies, and just plain dollars (in her case over $300,000).2

There is quite a bit of disagreement in the field concerning the diagnosis, treatment, and even existence of MPD.  However, most recognize its close connection to hypnosis and some researchers say that paranormal experiences are often associated with those with alleged MPD.  Much of the writing depends upon what we call "anecdotal psychology" rather than research psychology.  In other words, the authors rely on subjective views of individual cases rather than solid research. 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-III-R) describes MPD as:

"The existence within the person of two or more distinct personalities or personality states [each having] a relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and one's self.  At least two of the personalities, at some time and recurrently, take full control of the person's behavior."3

This description sounds authoritative.  However, neither the description nor diagnosis has been established by objective scientific standards

The usefulness of MPD being listed and defined in the DSM-III-R is financial.  In fact, one might look at the DSM-III-R as the guide to financial gain through psychiatric diagnosis.  If a therapist can attach a DSM-III-R label to an individual, he can be paid by insurance companies. 

Beyond that, the DSM-III-R has numerous problems, with most of the "diseases" not being true diseases at all, but rather problems of living.

Such medical jargon makes MPD sound as if it is beyond the reach of biblical analysis.  If a condition is described as psychopathological, people assume it is outside the realm of Scripture.  However, personality itself is an aspect of the soul, and the Bible is the only accurate, authoritative source for understanding the soul.  Nevertheless, before we discuss MPD from a biblical perspective, let's look at how various people in psychiatry and psychology view and treat MPD.