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Reading this acerbic and witty debunking of the Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) diagnosis is like staying long enough in a courtroom to listen to a brilliant prosecuting attorney and then walking out before the defense. Acocella, the coauthor of a psychology textbook, Abnormal Psychology, builds a highly convincing case against mental health professionals whom she portrays as exploiters who prompted the mass hysteria and witch-hunts that have resulted from recovered memory syndrome and the MPD diagnosis. (This book requires a mastery of numerous acronyms.) However, she proceeds to undercut her own argument by destroying all in her path: the child-protection movement, the credibility of women who say they were abused as children, the self-help (AA) movement, the feminist movement, insight-based psychotherapy, "New-Age spirituality" and postmodern theory are just a few of the victims of her sweep. Like all good prosecutors, Acocella has no qualms about using one set of beliefs, events or institutions as evidence and then discrediting the same set when the next stage of her argument requires it. She presents the media, for example, as having disregarded the truth in its pursuit of ratings when it embraced MPD and its offshoots, but the same media evolves into a champion of justice in her appraisal of its support of the False Memory Syndrome (FMS) Foundation. "Managed care" is villainous when it supports FMS but heroic when it balks at financing long-term treatment of MPD or indeed any prolonged therapy. One of the many ideologies she savages (while alternately using it to prove her points) is social constructivism. In fact, a broader sense of truth as a shifting and culturally located construct would have made her argument far more convincing. Agent, Robert Comfield. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Based on the premise that mental disorders go in and out of vogue, this book traces the development of the Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD)/Recovered Memory movement from its beginnings (as the story of Sybil) to its heyday (in the 1980s). New Yorker writer Acocella (Abnormal Psychology) uses case studies, research, and original analysis to show that the movement is itself a form of social hysteria. Although it serves the needs of troubled women and the "therapy establishment," concern about this disorder deflects attention from what Acocella considers to be more serious social ills. This book, which reads like a well-written, expanded journal article, competently covers recent psychological history, including the Satanic cult scares of the 1970s. However, while criticizing the science of MPD, Acocella posits thinly substantiated claims against feminism, intellectuals, and the psychiatric establishment for encouraging the diagnosis. Recommended for comprehensive women's studies and psychology collections.AAntoinette Brinkman, Southwest Indiana Mental Health Ctr. Lib., Evansville
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
I wish I could give this zero stars. This book is crap. The author of “Creating Hysteria” argues that DID aka Multiple personality disorder was a fad epidemic that emerged in the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Diana Lieb
Having lived through that era I have to say that much in this book rings true to me. This may sound trivial but I believe the movie Sybil had a tremendous impact on this whole... Read morePublished 10 months ago by T. Dreiling
This book took me out of my Comfort zone and illuminated a dark period of psychology. Mentioning names I had already a knowledge about such as Harry Harlow, and a case by case... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Heather Oliver
This history of the multiple personality disorder fad of the last century is both readable and understandable. I found it both interesting and well organized. Read morePublished 12 months ago by invisible
I read this book approximately a year after I'd learned (to my horror) that I had iatrogenic or therapy-induced DID and false memories of every hideous abuse imaginable. Read morePublished on January 31, 2013 by Sheri J. Storm
Ms. Accocella's "Creating Hysteria" would rank with some of Evelyn Waugh's most black-hearted comedies were it a book of fiction. Read morePublished on March 14, 2011 by rbs
I would have liked to have reviewed a copy of this book, however since I actually have dissociative identities and I know that I do exist, then it must be the author and the book... Read morePublished on April 10, 2004 by Coral Hull
I have mixed feelings about this book. Three of my seven alters found it persuasive, intelligent and informative. "Dr. Read morePublished on April 12, 2002 by v-disc
Don't waste your time or money on this sensationalized pseudoscience. This author has no credentials in the mental health field and therefore she has little credibility writing... Read morePublished on May 8, 2001