The Case Of Shirley Mason: Dissociative Identity Disorder

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Dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder, is a severe, persisting pathological mental condition characterized by the presence of two or more unique personalities (http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/pdf/10.1176/ajp.2006.163.4.630). Being tenuously studied, this condition is surrounded by much mystery and controversy arousing a subtle discordance in the psychological community. Attached to this enigmatic ailment are myriads of definitions, theories, and treatments. It is quite a daunting mission to derive a basic understanding of this disorder out of an ocean of reputable yet conflicting information. However, it is apparent that a precarious accordance can be detected in the confusion of this intellectual tumult allowing …show more content…
Before meandering about with this speculation it is important to consider the case of Shirley Ardell Mason. Although not the first documented case of dissociative identity disorder, the story of Shirley Mason is irrefutably one of the most influential. Born in Dodge Center, Minnesota in 1923, Shirley Mason was an American commercial artist best known for having her life documented in the 1973 best-selling book, “Sybil.” In her childhood, Mason was subject to continual sexual abuse. She had many confirmed psychological illnesses and it is noteworthy to state that her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. After experiencing multiple blackouts as well as emotional instability in her later life, Mason sought out psychiatric attention from Cornelia B. Wilbur, a psychoanalyst who misleadingly influenced Mason into believing that she had alternate identities and subsequently exploited Mason’s story for profit

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