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Friday, October 12, 2012

Excerpts from "A New Model of Dissociative Identity Disorder," by Paul F. Dell, PhD

The subjective/phenomenological model of pathological dissociation Is actually a generalized formulation of the eight Schneiderian passive-influence experiences. According to the subjective/phenomenological model of pathological dissociation, the phenomena of pathological dissociation are recurrent, jarring intrusions into executive functioning and sense of self by self-states or alter personalities. Such dissociative phenomena are startling, alien invasions of one’s mind, functioning, and experience. These intrusions are always confusing [65–67] and often frightening. They frequently cause persons who are dissociative to fear for their sanity. The subjective/phenomenological model of pathological dissociation has four corollaries.

Pathological dissociation can affect every aspect of human experience No aspect of human experience is immune to invasion by dissociative symptoms. Dissociative intrusions can affect one’s conscious awareness and one’s experience of one’s body, world, self, mind, agency, intentionality, thinking, believing, knowing, recognizing, remembering, feeling, wanting, speaking, acting, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching.

Most phenomena of pathological dissociation are subjective and invisible. The overwhelming majority of dissociative phenomena are subjective and invisible, rather than objective and visible [4]. Relatively few objective signs of dissociation exist, and the few objective signs that do exist are unreliably discerned, even by well-trained observers [68].

There are two major kinds of pathological dissociation: intrusions and amnesias

Two major kinds of pathological dissociation exist: dissociative symptoms that are partially dissociated from consciousness (intrusions), and strictly speaking, identity confusion is not a dissociative intrusion. Rather, identity confusion is the result of undergoing recurrent dissociative intrusions. 

Testing the subjective/phenomenological model of dissociative identity disorder because no instrument comprehensively measured the hypothesized dissociative symptom-domain of DID, it was necessary to develop the Multidimensional Inventory of Dissociation (MID) [65]. The MID has 23 dissociation scales that assess the subjective/phenomenological domain of pathological dissociation and the hypothesized dissociative symptom-domain of DID (see Box 1).

DELLTable 2

Incidence of 23 dissociative symptoms in 220 persons who have dissociative identity disorder
General dissociative symptoms:

Memory problems (5/12) 100 94 93 98
Depersonalization (4/12) 95 95 94 98
Derealization (4/12) 93 92 89 98
Posttraumatic flashbacks (5/12) 93 92 90 96
Somatoform symptoms (4/12) 83 83 81 88
Trance (5/12) 88 87 84 96

Partially-dissociated intrusions

Child voices (1/3) 95 95 94 95
Internal struggle (3/9) 100 96 95 98
Persecutory voices (2/5) 88 90 87 96
Speech insertion (2/3) 85 83 81 86
Thought insertion/withdrawal (3/5) 93 91 90 95
‘‘Made’’/intrusive emotions (4/7) 95 91 90 96
‘‘Made’’/intrusive impulses (2/3) 85 89 87 93
‘‘Made’’/intrusive actions (4/9) 98 95 93 98
Temp loss of knowledge (2/5) 90 82 80 91
Self-alteration (4/12) 98 95 94 98
Self-puzzlement (3/8) 98 95 93 98

Fully-dissociated intrusions (ie, amnesia)

Time Loss (2/4) 88 88 87 89
‘‘Coming to’’ (2/4) 78 79 75 88
Fugues (2/5) 83 75 71 86
Being told of actions (2/4) 85 86 85 88
Finding objects (2/4) 61 74 72 77
Evidence of actions (2/5) 71 77 76 81

Abbreviations: MID ¼ multidimensional inventory of dissociation; SCID-D, Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders-Revised; Temp loss of knowledge, temporary loss of well-rehearsed knowledge or skills; Self-alteration, experiences of self-alteration; Being told of actions, being told of disremembered actions; Finding objects, finding objects among one’s possessions; Evidence of actions, finding evidence of ones recent actions. The first numeral is the number of items that must receive a clinically-significant rating by the test-taker for that symptom to be considered present; the second numeral is the number of items on that scale.



  1. I so wish I understood Zach better, his disassociation actually showed up on his brain scans. Yet, at times it seems so contrived.

  2. How did it show up Christina? Very interested ... I've only gotten as far as their being less grey matter, but am so interested in how the brain is affected - even sometimes damaged because of the previous abuse. It would seem the more one knew the more one could learn to compensate those particular losses.

    I just read that a great amount of the response as a multiple is subjective rather than objective. That would lead maybe to your thoughts on it being contrived. It seems that a lot of multiplicity is adapting and like you start dealing with one personality and get a handle on it, but then the parts switch to other parts that need to learn similar lessons in that area, so then you might be losing that feeling that you covered this ground and should be moving on. Love to hear more discussion on this kind of stuff. Proud of the "mom-work" you are doing!

    THANKS for posting!