Running header: Sybil: Shirley Mason's Sixteen personalities
Sybil: Shirley Mason's Sixteen Personalities
"Sybil" is the true story of a woman named Shirley Mason; whose life was documented in a movie and a book. Shirley was treated for Dissociative Identity Disorder, which was earlier named, Multiple Personality Disorder. Shirley is said to have had up to sixteen personalities two of whom were male, and is known for being the most famous psychiatric patient in history.
There have been reports that suggest the "Sybil" story is bogus and the whole multiple personality disorder was a disorder concocted by psychiatric doctor, Cornelia Wilbur. Shirley Mason is a woman that grew up in Minnesota as an only child. According to people who knew Mason's family in Dodge Center, Shirley's mother controlled her with strict discipline, abuse and bizarre behavior. Shirley's grandmother and father were known to be kind to her, but unable to do anything about her mother's abuse. During the 1920's and 30's nothing was done about abuse, everything was kept quiet (hear no evil, see no evil). The family was Seventh-day Adventist, a religion that was apparently regarded with some suspicion by Dodge Center residents because of the resemblance to Judaism. Shirley continued to be abused throughout her childhood years by her aggressive and domineering mother, in what is describe a sick and disgusting manner. As many years passed, Shirley began to suffer from depression, breakdowns and blackouts and began to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Wilbur. Dr. Wilbur was said to have discovered 16 different personalities existing inside of Shirley. Shirley spent 11 years in therapy under the hands of Dr. Wilbur, and during those 11 years he supposedly integrated these personalities into one person. Shirley's condition according to literature is an environmental dissociative disorder that was used by her to cope with the trauma she went through at the hands of her mother. Shirley...
References: American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders. (DSM-IV-TR). Washington, DC: APA.
Spanos, Nicholas P. Multiple Identities and False Memories: A Sociocognitive
Perspective Washington: American Psychological Association, 1996).
Wikipedia. (2007). Dissociative identity disorder. Retrieved September 12, 2007, from
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