Dissociation : Vol. 7, No. 3, p. 167-172 : Backstage in psychiatry: the multiple personality disorder controversy
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Helping professions like psychiatry have traditionally granted their members a wide latitude in diagnosing clients. However, the diagnostic system may be the occasion for professional conflict. Arguments about the existence of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) are examples of such a professional dispute. Some mental health professionals report unprofessional conduct both toward professionals making this diagnosis and their patients. Skepticism is manifested in literary as well as behavioral forms. The most widely cited recent skeptical paper is Harold Merskey's (1992) "The Manufacture of Personalities: The Production of Multiple Personality Disorder." Merskey utilizes arguments that are sociological in nature but with little attention to empirical evidence. Merskey's skepticism about MPD differs from skepticism in natural science. Proponents' research is ignored rather than being subjected to critical examination and disproof through attempted replication. His skepticism appears largely based on challenges to the integrity of MPD patients and questions about the competence of therapist.