This is a review of Elaine Showalter’s book concerning the modern appearance of hysteria. We focused mainly on the Incest Recovery Movement and Multiple Personality Disorder, the new way for the hysteric to give shape to the impossible sexual relation. What can properly be defined as the forclusion of the subject and desire in modern trauma therapy, leaves only the option of the Real and its psychotic effects open to the patient.
One of the most striking phenomena of recent psychiatric history is the quasi-epidemic increase in diagnosed cases of Dissociative Identity Disorder (the former Multiple Personality Disorder). Several critics have argued that the disorder is created in therapy or is generated by media attention to the disease. This paper investigates the creation of DID from a psychoanalytical standpoint. The main focus of the paper is on the notion of identity and the way in which we acquire an identity (identification). It is argued that an identity is not a unified structure but a collection of different partial identifications. Furthermore we focus on the difference between symbolic and imaginary identification. This also provides a clue for understanding what happens in the therapy of DID patients. The appearance of alter-egos is considered to be the result of an uncontrolled increase in imaginary identifications. Lacan’s L-schema indicates which position the therapist should take in order to prevent this uncontrolled growth of the imaginary.