The Information War on Dissociation

In 2011 a book was published in the UK called Attachment, Trauma and Multiplicity: Working with Dissociative Identity DisorderIt contained chapters by people with different professional backgrounds who encounter those who suffer from dissociation. 

The response of the British Journal of Psychiatry was to publish a book review written by a psychiatrist who is also a member of the US false memory club.

This false memory psychiatrist used this review to express his concern that the mental health charity MIND publishes information for people suffering from dissociative disorders and to repeat the old false memory mantra that dissociative disorders are iactrogenic and caused by therapy.

Personally I am very glad that MIND publishes information for people suffering from dissociative disorders and I am also very glad that the British Journal of Psychiatry published the following letter  by Remy Aquarone which was critical of the review (  highlights mine )

I was saddened by Harold Merskey’s review of the second edition of Attachment, Trauma and Multiplicity: Working with Dissociative Identity Disorder (edited by Valerie Sinason).1

My sadness was not primarily caused by his critical assessment of some of the material presented, but by his inference that dissociative identity disorder and dissociative disorders in general do not exist

. Anyone unfamiliar with dissociative disorders reading his comments would be forgiven for being persuaded of this.

Dissociative disorders have been recognised in both DSM-IV and ICD-10 for some 25 years now.

Yet among psychiatrists in particular, they continue to be denied or misdiagnosed, causing serious re-traumatisation for a significant number of patients.

Merskey writes of the absence of ‘critical statement[s] by a professional society’, but fails to cite the acknowledged leaders in the field, the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD; www.isst-d.org) and the European Society for Trauma and Dissociation (ESTD; www.estd.org).

The ISSTD includes among its members a number of eminent psychiatrists and psychologists and it has produced extensive online guidelines on treatment

. The charity First Person Plural, in association with the ESTD and Cheshire & Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has produced a training and information DVD.2

Furthermore, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s guidelines accept the existence of dissociative disorders. It has not yet produced a treatment protocol for this condition and recommends that clinicians follow the guidelines of the best informed organisation (www.isst-d.org/education/treatmentguidelines-index.htm).

It should be noted that many psychiatric services and community mental health teams across the country are now implementing treatment protocols for dissociative identity disorder and dissociative disorders that are not only effecting significant changes for patients but are also bringing about cost savings for services.3

 I would like to add that I have watched the two training and information DVDs mentioned by Aquarone. They have both been very useful to me personally and can be purchased here.

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