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A Theological Engagement with Current Theories of Dissociative Identity Disorder Using the Mimetic Theory of René Girard.

BEAUMONT, CATHERINE (2014) A Theological Engagement with Current Theories of Dissociative Identity Disorder Using the Mimetic Theory of René Girard. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, is described in DSM-IV as ‘The presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states’. The diagnosis is controversial and some mental health professionals were against its inclusion in DSM-V, which was published in May 2013. The concept of DID has its roots in beliefs about possession, hypnosis and hysteria, and it is these three different theoretical origins which shape current theories of DID and which underlie the fierce debates which surround it. Parts of the Church still adhere to the pre scientific view that multiple personalities indicate demonic activity, and mental health professionals can be divided into those who see DID as a product of hypnosis, and so are likely to view it as an iatrogenic condition, and those who view it as a dissociative disorder and believe it to be caused by severe abuse in childhood. Failure to reach agreement about the nature and cause of DID has led to misdiagnosis and mistreatment. Through an application of the Mimetic Theory of René Girard, this paper will propose a theory of multiple personalities which could be utilised by all disciplines. Mimetic Theory is often studied in three parts: psychological, sociological and theological. Maintaining that tripartite structure, principles of interdividual psychology will be used to explain the creation of new identities, the Scapegoat Mechanism will explain why those who have been abused continue to be victimised, and a theological engagement will produce a model of care which is safe, effective and appropriate for both church and clinical settings.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:"Dissociative Identity Disorder" "Multiple Personalities" "Rene Girard"
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 May 2014 09:28

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