Essay by bmw2006University, Bachelor'sA+, July 2006

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Sybil Isabel Dorsett is perhaps the most famous case of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Dissociative Identity Disorder is the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states. Each identities has its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self (Smith, 1999). This case appears in a book by Flora R. Schreiber and was later made into a film (Sybil). Sybil seems to have experienced 16 separate personalities, two of whom were male. These personalities were created because of the horrific child abuse her psychotic mother inflicted upon her, along with the failure of her father to rescue her from it. Each personality embodied feelings and emotions that the real Sybil could not cope with. The waking Sybil was deprived of all these emotions, and was therefore a rather drab figure. She was unaware of her other personas and while they were in control of her body, she suffered blackouts and did not remember the episodes.

The intervention of Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, a psychoanalyst, helped her to become aware of these personalities. As stated above, Sybil developed a Dissociative Identity Disorder. However, many of her personalities were created during therapy. After watching the movie and analyzing her developmental history, I can say that she was able to face her fears and better her life because of therapy. In this paper, I will talk about Sybil's developmental history, her different personalities, and how Carl Jung's theory (the personal unconscious) fit into her situation.

In her situation, the young Sybil suffered physical and psychological distress from the abuse of her beloved mother. From birth, Sybil did not experience the bonds that exist between a mother and a child. Her mother made her believe that she was the most horrible child. This misconception was...