The book and TV movie called Sybil told the extraordinary story of a woman who manifested sixteen different personalities, allegedly triggered by the horrific abuse she had suffered as a child. In the 1970s and 80s, the case was a cultural phenomenon, and became the flash point in a psychiatric debate that to some extent is still raging today. Is multiple personality disorder (now called dissociative identity disorder) a real illness or simply a misdiagnosed aspect of something else? Did Sybil (whose real name was Shirley Ardell Mason) really have sixteen personalities, or was she coaxed into displaying these symptoms by her ambitious therapist and the author of the best-selling book? Was Sybil truly a victim of her mother’s extreme cruelty, or were these memories implanted under hypnosis? Tom and Jenny discuss the fascinating aspects of this troubling case and try to sort out the fact from the fiction.
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