Dissociation : Vol. 6, No. 1, p. 066-073 : Multiple personality before “Eve”
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The history of the diagnosis and treatment of multiple personality during the 160-year period preceding The Three Faces of Eve falls into two periods: the magnetic sleep period and the dissociation period. Using magnetic sleep techniques, early investigators learned to control switching and trust the patient for guidance in the treatment. Recognition of dissociation as a means of dealing with traumatic material by forming multiple psychic centers led to an effective psychotherapy for multiple personality disorder. The etiological role of child abuse was not acknowledged until modern times, but statistical evidence of sexual crimes against children in late nineteenth-century France may provide a fruitful area of future research. A scrutiny of historical cases raises questions about the univocalness of the concept of multiple personality. It also reveals data that have not yet been fully acknowledged by modern clinicians.