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Mental Health

The Movies Get "Split Personalities" All Wrong

Amy Elyse
Creative Commons

The movie "Split," by director M. Night Shyamalan, is the latest in a long line of movies that portray people with "split personalities" as either violent psychopaths or comic foils who exhibit dramatic changes in identity that don't reflect the subtle transitions that usually take between six and twelve years to properly diagnose.

These wildly inaccurate depictions of Dissociative Identity Disorder, the proper name for "multiple personalities," can re-traumatize people suffering from a disorder that is almost always brought on by childhood abuse or trauma. 

Today, we talk to someone with DID and a practitioner who specializes in this complicated disorder. You might be surprised at what they tell you. At the very least, you'll never watch a movie about "split personalities" with the same set of eyes. 

For those who want to learn more about DID or are concerned they may have it,  the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation and Teach Trauma can help you. 


  • “Lee Waters” - Healthcare worker for 25 years, parent, and aspiring writer working on an autobiography about DID, Real: Trauma, Truth, and Triumph. Lee Waters is her pseudonym.
  • Bethany Brand - Professor of Psychology at Towson University and a practicing clinical psychologist specializing in trauma and dissociative disorders.  

You can join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. 

Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show. 

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