The aim of this case study was to provide an account of the treatment of a 25-year-old woman who was referred to Thigpen and Cleckley because of 'severe and blinding headaches'.
The psychiatrists used a case study method. This consisted of interviews with the patient and her family, hypnosis, observation, EEG tests and a number of psychometric and projective tests including, memory tests, ink blot tests and intelligence tests.
The patient (referred to as Eve White in the study) had been referred for therapy to one of the authors because of ‘severe and blinding headaches’. At the first interview she also complained of ‘‘blackouts’’ following her headaches.
However they were …show more content…
The therapist noted that this new person ‘had a childish daredevil air, an erotically mischievous glance, a face marvellously free from the habitual signs of care, seriousness and underlying distress’. The voice and language structure were also very different, and to the therapist it appeared to be an entirely different woman.
Over the next 14 months, during a series of interviews totalling approximately 100 hours, extensive material was obtained about the behaviour and experience of Eve White and Eve Black.
The therapists believed that Eve Black had enjoyed an independent life since Eve’s early childhood and when she was ‘out’ Eve White was not aware of what was happening. In contrast, when Eve Black was not out she was aware of what was happening.
According to the therapists, Eve Black’s behaviour was ‘characterised by irresponsibility and a shallowly hedonistic desire for excitement and pleasure’. She succeeded in concealing her identity not only from Eve White, but also from her parents and husband. Eve Black denied marriage to the man, who she despised, and denied any relationship to Eve White’s daughter except that of an unconcerned bystander. To her husband, daughter and parents her unpleasant behaviour, harshness and occasional acts of violence were explained in terms of ‘unaccountable fits of temper in a woman who was habitually gentle and considerate’.