Saturday, March 10, 2007

Dr. Ralph Allison - History and Experience

During a 33 year professional practice as a Board Certified Psychiatrist, I became an expert on diagnosing and treating patients with “other selves,” commonly called “multiples.” The original label was Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) but that has officially been changed to Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). I did not agree with that change and refuse to go along with it, preferring to use MPD for one group of patients who made their first alter-personality before age six. I use DID for those whose first “alter” was created from age six onward. I developed a treatment plan for multiples, which I wrote in my first book, “Minds In Many Pieces,” published in 1980. I added a chapter and published a second edition in1999. This covers my early career in treating multiples in Santa Cruz, California.

After 14 years there, I moved to Davis, CA in 1978, where I met more multiples while working for the Yolo County Mental Health Service. I wrote a long manuscript about the care of Marie, my most exotic multiple whom I treated to integration in my three years there. That story is called “Memories of an Essence.”

In 1981, I moved to Los Osos, CA, and worked in a state prison, California Men’s Colony, in San Luis Obispo, until my retirement in1995. During my retirement, I recently wrote my last manuscript, called “Michael, My Essence.”

I have had this website up for about a decade now and have responded by e-mail to many requests for information, including quite a few from multiples themselves. While those conversations should remain private, I am now adding this blog to allow others who want to discuss what I have learned on this subject to better interact with me and help educate those who read what is written here. I have been through plenty of controversy in this field, which is as controversial as any in psychology or psychiatry. There are some therapists who believe there are no such patients as multiples, while others consider them liars and prevaricators. Most such patients have a high degree of talent with imagination, it is true, so such critics may have good reason for their skepticism. This is due, in part at least, to the tendency of other therapists to believe that every “other self” is an alter, and therefore diagnostic of MPD/DID. That is not true, in my opinion, and I hope correspondents will bear with me while I try to explain how other “intelligent entities” can borrow such a patient’s body and talk to us “singletons.” Such realities make this a complicated field of study, but I think I have a fairly good handle on it, after this much time and experience. I also had some very good teachers, my patients and the “other selves” who borrowed their bodies to chat with me about their version of reality.


FalconSpirit said...

Hello Dr Allison. We have had limited conversation for several years. I found my answer tucked into the back of your book Minds in Many Pieces.

I Split at Birth.

annsie said...

Dear Dr Allison
According to your definitions, MPD is different from DID such that in MDP the first dissociation occurs before the age of 7 and that the emotional self is sent away for safe keeping while the intelligent self spins out appropriate alters to deal with different difficult situations. While in DID, the first dissociation occurs after the age 7 and therefore the host remains in control of the body most of the time. Does this mean that MPD will not be able to have any memory of the childhood prior to the first splitting experience, while DID do ? And does this mean when MPD intergrate, they will always find themselves to be of the age where the first split occured ?
Thank you very much

Ralph B. Allison, M.D. said...

You ask "will MPD patient be unable to remember before the splitting event, prior to age 7?" My answer is included in my paper on "Essence Memory, A Preliminary Hypothesis." There I explain that life experiences are stored in the Akashic Records. What each alter experiences each alter can remember. But after integration, it is all available to the integrated personality, if the ISH is willing to have the person remember those details. The integrated person may have access to the Akashic Record files of any of the alters, as well as the original personality when it was operating the first six years of life.
As to the question about an original personality finding itself at the age it was when first traumatized and dissociated, after integration, that is what I have seen. In Henry Hawksworth's case (The Five of Me), he dissociated at age four (4), and became integrated at age 44. But the Henry who appeared to me just after integration was clearly age four (4) and had to grow up mighty fast as he needed to support his family by selling TVs. Growth after that varies, depending on the different factors in each case. The main thing is that the person has to be mature enough to operate in society.
In the case of one woman, she dissociated at age six (6) months. When she integrated, her original personality was six months old. She went into the hospital right away, as she could do nothing for herself. Overnight, the ISH integrated into her all the alters who were younger than age 13, so that by the next morning, she felt she was 13 years old, and could then drive, cook and clean house. She then matured one year for each calendar year.
Ralph Allison, MD

annsie said...

Thank you very much Dr Allison.

I have one more question please, what do you think of partial integration where the hostile alters get integrated but the helpful/useful ones are left to assist a false front alter to continue taking charge of the body for the rest of the patient's life, if the patient so chooses. Would you anticipate problems with such partial integration ?

Ralph B. Allison, M.D. said...

It is not a question of choice of a false front alter wanting to take over indefinitely. It is a question of whether or not the Original Personality is able to resume control of the adult body. In several cases of mine, the dissociation of the Essence from the Original Personality happened so early in life, before the age of six months, that the Original Personality was not mature enough to come back, integrate with the alters, and resume management of the body. In those cases, the body was run by a committee of alters, maybe six total, who worked cooperatively for the social functioning of the "person." There was no room for hostility then, and all were helper alters doing what they were best able to do. In such cases, they functioned well in very complex social situations.

Wolfgang said...

For me a most interesting book by Dr. Carl Wickland even if I would not endorse this very method of treatment but the reported cases of dissociation are very enlighting. Read completely online:


incognito said...

I trusted myself until I discovered I had an alter-personality. It scares me to have an alter because I can't control when the alter appears and what the alter does or will say. For example, I was in court giving testimony when my alter was coming out so I quickly left the courtroom and I wrote an apology letter to the judge because I couldn't remember what I said. Dr. Allison are my feelings typical of the patients you have treated with MPD/DID? Can your patients control their alters?

terra said...

I have a stepson who has either MPD or DID his mother also has it. He was sexually abused by his mother. He is seeing a phychiatrist and a therapist but arent experienced in this. Can you recommend anyone to help in the Orange county California area? Laguna beach, Irvine e.t.c.


fallendarkangel82 said...

Hello, Dr.Allison, I am at my wits end. I have a mother who is very sick with MPD, and PTSD. We have run into quite a problem with the "professionals" around here telling my mother they cannot help her. I have been despirately trying to find a doctor who can FINALLY give my mother some hope of a normal life. It's been a long and difficult road, can explain more in private email, but I was hoping you might be able to recommend someone in our area who could give my mother the treatment that she really needs. Please, it's basically our last hope. We are in St.Thomas,Ontario,Canada. Please let me know if you can recommend something or someone. My email address is you so much for your time, Sincerly, loving daughter who seeks help for mother....

PamelaS said...

I have MPD and I am wondering if alters can have flashbacks?

fallendarkangel82 said...

I recently sent a message to the doctor but have not received anything back, nor do I see my post on this page either. Please...someone get back to me...thank you Crystal

SNOWFOX said...

I have had some courious thoughts regarding mpd for a very long time now. You see I only rmemeber bits and peices of my life, saddly most of it not so good until I met my husband 5 years ago. Most of my memmoreis that are contiuous are from the last 5 years frame. The memeories I have the few good, normal and bad, are all very vivid. Yet I have no memory of so much before. As A child I had no real illnesses according to my mom, out side of chicken pox... and yes I remember those.I know that my father and step brother were very abusive to me and my real brother who latter became abusive as well. Any ways I dirgress, So I don't remember most of my life, I have been ill most of the time frames I have memories for hypo glycimia as a child although i did not know what it ment whe I started feeling funny and shaking, to diabetes, asthma, thyroid disease, and arthrites starting in my teens.
I was adopted by my aunt and uncle when I was 15, at age 23 when I introduced my husband to my mom, she told him that if anyone want to know how people are feeling all they have to do is put me into a room. I start taking on the personality traits of the people around me.
over time I have learned to see when my personality starts to change,OK once in a while, but I can not control it. I have tried. The only thing that any doctor has ever said that I have is an emotional disorder. I am fine when left alone, I will listen to books on my computer, I have developed a desire to further my education which is how I found this site doing an assignment. I am nothing like the person I use to be, yet from time to time I see that person come out again, It is like watiching myself and knowing what I am doing, I still have thoughts and feelings, but little to no control over it, Once I am back to myself as I know I am now, I feel bad that I behavied the way I did . Sometimes as a spoiled child would if they do not get their way, other times no remores but wish I could stay with a personality longer as I fell bubbly and happy, like someone gave me a happy pill.
I can not take drugs that mess with the mind, any type of anti depressant, or anxiety medication sends me either goofy through the roof or sucidal, no happy medium.
So any Ideas on what is really wrong? How do I control it? And how do I get my memories back?
thank you for any advice