Sybil and Psychological Disorders

Sybil and Psychological Disorders

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It was the horrific child abuse Sybil's psychotic mother inflicted on her, along with the failure of her father to rescue her from it that caused these personalities. Each one embodied feelings and emotions the 'real' Sybil could not cope with. The waking Sybil was deprived of all these emotions, of anger and aggressiveness just to name a few. And was therefore a rather dreary figure. She was unaware of her other personas; while they were in 'control' of the body, Sybil suffered blackouts and did not remember the episodes. It was only the intervention of Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, a psychoanalyst, which alerted Sybil to them. The case of Sybil is the one most often credited with reintroducing the public and the mental health professions to the syndrome of multiple personality. Multiple personality disorder (MPD) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by having at least one "alter" personality that controls behavior. The "alters" are said to occur spontaneously and involuntarily, and function more or less independently of each other. In 1994, the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-IV replaced the designation of MPD with DID: Dissociative Disorders are characterized by a disruption in the normal functioning of consciousness, identity, memory, or the world around her / him. Dissociative Disorders can be acute or chronic. All of the dissociative disorders are thought to stem from trauma experienced by the individual with this disorder. The dissociative aspect is thought to be a coping mechanism -- the person literally dissociates himself from a situation or experience too traumatic to integrate with his conscious self. Symptoms of these disorders, or even one or more of the disorders themselves, are also seen in a number of other mental illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Sybil Dorsett was a woman with sixteen separate personalities. At first none of them knew or remembered any of the others. For instance, one personality named Victoria Antoinette Scharleau was a self-assured, sophisticated, attractive blond, and another named Mike Dorsett thought she was male, a builder and carpenter. This kind of multiple personality disorder is often caused by extreme negative events as a child. In Sybil's case, she was tortured and sexually abused as a young girl. This caused her to break up, literally, because she could not bear the extreme abuse she was subjected to.

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Dissociative Amnesia.- This disorder is characterized by a blocking out of critical personal information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature. Dissociative amnesia, unlike other types of amnesia, does not result from other medical trauma
Depersonalization Disorder- is marked by a feeling of detachment or distance from one's own experience, body, or self. These feelings of depersonalization are recurrent. Of the dissociative disorders, depersonalization is the one most easily identified with by the general public; one can easily relate to feeling as they in a dream, or being spaced out. Feeling out of control of one's actions and movements is something that people describe when intoxicated. An individual with depersonalization disorder has this experience so frequently and so severely that it interrupts his or her functioning and experience. A person's experience with depersonalization can be so severe that he or she believes the external world is unreal or distorted.
Dissociative Fugue.- is a rare disorder. An individual with dissociative fugue suddenly and unexpectedly takes physical leave of his or her surroundings and sets off on a journey of some kind. These journeys can last hours, or even several days or months. Individuals experiencing a dissociative fugue have traveled over thousands of miles. An individual in a fugue state is unaware of or confused about his identity, and in some cases will assume a new identity
Dissociative Identity Disorder- which has been known as multiple personality disorder, is the most famous of the dissociative disorders. An individual suffering from DID has more than one distinct identity or personality state that surfaces in the individual on a recurring basis. This disorder is also marked by differences in memory which vary with the individual's alters, or other personalities.
An angry personality appears to be one of the most common in MPD patients. Peggy was created by one of Sybil's earliest dissociations in order to cope with the anger which Sybil felt towards her mother but was never able to express. Later splitting into Peggy Lou (angry)and Peggy Ann (afraid), the importance of Peggy to Sybil can be seen in the fact that she took over for two years of her life when things were too much to cope with (remember that Peggy Lou was the one who kept her arithmetic skills to herself so that Sybil struggled back at school as her waking self). A personality formed to deal with sex appears to be fairly common. From the data above it is clear that the personality can have many different characteristics. Within its function, the personality may portray different attitudes towards sex. Many of Sybil's alter egos are very prim and proper about sex due to her/their religious beliefs. It seems that there has to be someone' to be in control and know what is going on, if the waking self is no longer aware of all his/ her movements. Vicky is a very good example of this. Until Sybil enters therapy she is not at all conscious of what she does during her "blank moments", only that they happen. Vicky is able to bring the whole story together as she has witnessed Sybil's life from an early age. Vicky's poise and confidence even brings the therapist to wonder whether it is not Vicky with whom all the other personalities should be integrated rather than Sybil.
In this case many treatments would be necessary
Adlerian Therapy
Adlerian Therapy is a growth model. It stresses a positive view of human nature and that we are in control of our own fate and not a victim to it. We start at an early age in creating our own unique style of life and that style stays relatively constant through the remained of our life. That we are motivated by our setting of goals, how we deal with the tasks we face in life, and our social interest. The therapist will gather as much family history as they can. They will use this data to help set goals for the client and to get an idea of the clients' past performance. This will help make certain the goal is not to low or high, and that the client has the means to reach it. The goal of Adlerian Therapy is to challenge and encourage the clients' premises and goals. To encourage goals that are useful socially and to help them feel equal. These goals maybe from any component of life including, parenting skills, marital skills, ending substance-abuse, and most anything else. The therapist will focus on and examine the clients' lifestyle and the therapist will try to form a mutual respect and trust for each other. They will then mutually set goals and the therapist will provided encouragement to the client in reaching their goals. The therapist may also assign homework, setup contracts between them and the client, and make suggestions on how the client can reach their goals.
Behavior Therapy
Behavior therapy is always undergoing refinement and uses learning to overcome specific behavioral problems. In this type of therapy it is believed that behaviors are learned, that we are a product of our environment. Focus will be on present and overt behavior. In this type of therapy it is believed that reinforcement and imitation teaches normal behavior and that abnormal behavior is a direct result of defective learning. Therapy will be based on learning theory. The therapy will include a treatment plan, the goals of the treatment will be laid out up front, and the outcome expected from the therapy will be set right up front too. To eliminate unwanted behaviors you need to learn new behaviors. This may include assertion, behavioral rehearsal, coaching, cognitive restructuring, desensitization, modeling, reinforcement, relaxation methods, self-management, or new social skills. Both client and therapist need to take an active role in learning the more desired behavior. Behavior therapy is well suited to deal with depression, disorders in children's behavior, phobias, sexual disorders of any type, and stuttering.
Existential Therapy
Focuses on freedom of choice in shaping one's own life. Teaches one is responsible to shape his / her own life and a need for self-determination and self-awareness. The uniqueness of each individual forms his / her own unique personality, starting from infancy. Existential therapy focuses on the present and on the future. The therapist try's to help the client see they are free and to see the possibilities for their future. They will challenge the client to recognize that he / she themselves were responsible for the events in their life. This type of therapy is well suited in helping the client to make good choices or in dealing with life.
Gestalt Therapy
Gestalt therapy integrates the body and mind factors, by stressing awareness and integration. Integration of behaving, feelings, and thinking is the main goal in Gestalt therapy. Client's are viewed as having the ability to recognize how earlier life influences may have changed their life's. The client is is made aware of personal responsibility, how to avoid problems, to finish unfinished matters, to experience thing in a positive light, and in the awareness of now. It is up to the therapist to help lead the client to awareness of moment by moment experiencing of life. Then to challenge the client to accept the responsibility of taking care of themselves rather then excepting others to do it. The therapist may use confrontation, dream analysis, dialogue with polarities, or role playing to reach their goals. This may include treatment of crisis intervention, marital / family therapy, problem in children's behavior, psychosomatic disorders, or the training of mental health professionals.

Person-centered Therapy
Person-centered therapy gives more responsibility to the client in their own treatment and views humans in a positive manner. Founded by Carl Rogers in the 1940's. Rogers had great faith that we could and would work out our own problems. The therapist will move the client towards self awareness, helping the client to experience previously denied feelings. They will teach the client to trust in themselves and to use this trust to find their direction in life. The person-centered therapist makes the client aware of their problems and then guilds them to a means of resolve them. The therapist and client must have faith that the client can and will find self-direction. The therapist focus on the here and how. They motivate the client in experiencing and expressing feelings. The person-centered therapist believes that good mental health is a balance between the ideal self and real self. This is where the problem lies, the result of difference between what we are and what we wish to be causes maladjusted behavior
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