An Ethnographic Study of Former Dissociative Identity Disorder Patients

Eli Somer, Orit Nave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three therapists interviewed five of their former DID patients in a semi-structured depth interview. Two respondents were Israeli, two were North American, and one was Dutch. Prior to therapy their sense of self had been vague at best and was described as an uncomfortable feeling of internal void. They all had at least rudimentary recollections of their childhood suffering. They were more likely to believe their memories of childhood abuse if they succeeded in experiencing the feelings connected with those images. Fantasy, spirituality, and religion played a role in helping them manage their existence. Their integration process was incremental, as they gradually embraced the disowned aspects and functions of the self. Dissociative and ego state processes were still present during the period of data collection. The results are discussed in terms of the convergence of borderline and dissociative symptomatology, the role of fantasy and spirituality in DID, therapeutic processes, and patterns of treatment outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-346
Number of pages32
JournalImagination, Cognition and Personality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2001

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2001 SAGE Publications.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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