You peer into the mirror and have trouble recognizing yourself.
You can't remember if you actually did something or only thought you did.
You feel as if you're going through the motions of life.
These are all symptoms of dissociation--a fragmented state of consciousness involving feelings of disconnection and amnesia that affects 30 million individuals in North America alone. The surprising truth revealed in The Stranger in the Mirror, a groundbreaking book based on eighteen years of pioneering research, is that millions of people have dissociative symptoms that have gone undetected or untreated. This hidden epidemic has occurred simply because people have been unable to identify their problem, or were not asked the right questions about their symptoms. Since dissociation can be a person 's standard response to trauma, its symptoms are a common reaction to such life--threatening events as a car accident or such intense, lasting traumas as rape. There is a strong possibility that you or someone you know suffers from some dissociative condition. Because dissociative experiences are often illusive and hard to describe, they are rarely reported to therapists.
The Stranger in the Mirror offers the general public unique guidelines for identifying dissociative symptoms, as well as for treatment and recovery. It not only debunks many myths surrounding dissociation but also offers some startling revelations. For example, normal people experience dissociative symptoms in everyday life, and dissociation is as widespread as anxiety and depression and may explain such intriguing phenomena as past lives and near-death or out-of-body experiences.
Based on rigorous scientific testing, Dr. Marlene Steinberg has developed a breakthrough diagnostic tool for dissociation, one embraced by the mental health community as the "gold standard." The book's questionnaires, based on this test, will help you identify your own dissociative symptoms and will alert you to possible underlying dissociative causes of such pervasive conditions as anxiety, depression, manic-depression, attention-deficit hyper-activity disorder (ADRD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or even schizophrenia. If you have concerns about your own or a loved one's psychological health, this is a must-read book.
Filled with gripping and moving case histories of people with multiple personality or other dissociative conditions, The Stranger in the Mirror will take you behind the closed doors of the psychiatrist's office on a fascinating journey through the therapeutic process, providing enlightening insights into how all of us respond to trauma and overcome it. The innovative method of treatment described in this important book--the "Four C's," comfort, communication, cooperation, and connection--can benefit anyone in search of a healthier sense of self and a heightened capacity for joy.
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Marlene Steinberg, M.D., is a practicing psychiatrist and world renowned researcher in dissociation. Dr. Steinberg conducted her pioneering research at Yale University School of Medicine. She practices in Connecticut and western Massachusetts.
What do the Columbine killings, "getting lost in a good book" and your midlife crisis have in common? According to psychiatrist Steinberg, they are all events that can be placed on a broad continuum of behaviors related to dissociative identity disorder, popularly known as multiple personality. Steinberg, whose research was supported with grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, argues with conviction that mild dissociative behaviorAtemporary episodes of disconnection or memory lossAcan be a useful mechanism for coping with such mundane but stressful events as giving public presentations as well as major traumas like an operation or an assault. In more extreme forms, it is a debilitating disorderAsimilar, she argues, to attention deficit disorderAthat is in need of psychiatric recognition and intervention. Arguing that DID often results from early childhood abuse, Steinberg passionately calls for removing the stigma from its related behaviors, noting that the popular conception of the disorder is gleaned from overblown films such as Sybil and The Three Faces of Eve. Readers can gauge their own dissociative tendencies with the book's abridged version of the Steinberg clinical interview for DSM-IV dissociative disorders. Readers interested in clinical depression and ADD will gravitate to this book, although Steinberg's throwaway comments that suggest that seeing "alternative" lifestyles depicted on TV can cause psychic confusion and that stepparents have a greater tendency to violate the incest prohibition may cost her some otherwise sympathetic readers. While DID doesn't have as much cultural currency as ADD, Steinberg's research has much to add to the contentious debates surrounding childhood trauma, diagnostic categories and the changing relationship between incurable disease and manageable disorder. Agent, Mary Tahan. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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