Multiple Personality.

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Consider how writers of the period explore ideas of dual or multiple personality.

As far back as the 1800s, multiple personality disorder has been discussed in many writings of this period. Multiple personality disorder has become known as a severe mental disorder. It has been defined in the Ghana medical journal (2004) as, ‘a condition in which the patient shows multiple identities as if he possesses two or more selves at different times in the same body.’ The distinct identities have its own characteristic moods, memories and behaviour (Spanos, 1994). Through famous case studies in this period such as Pierre Janet’s (1859 -1947) and most recent case studies such as Sybil (1973); it has been noted that each identity takes over the patient’s behaviour for a period of time. These particular identities typically take on a distinctive life style or history, name and even voice and in some bizarre cases different sexual orientation. Multiple personality disorder has always been the focal point for psychoanalysis researchers but became predominant during the 1880s and it still significant today. The idea of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) was looked at by Janet who popularized the concept of dissociation and he is deemed the godfather of the field of ‘dissociative disorders’ (Hacking, 1998). In this essay I will discuss two unique case studies and consider how these writers came to explore the idea of multiple personality. The first case study is ‘Achille’ by Janet and the second case study is the strange case of ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ by Stevenson

In 1889, the book ‘Psychological Automatism’ by Pierre Janet introduced his dissociation theory which was used to describe mental states in which a disruption of conscious awareness occurs. The dissociation period was characterised by two insights. The first is the awareness of dissociation which is a split in the mind leading to the formation of distinct identities. The second is the finding of the cause...
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