The Flock

The Flock: The Autobiography of a Multiple Personality
 Recently I found by way back to my favorite type of literature... always intrigued by psychology-psychiatry based literature, I picked up The Flock by Joan Frances Casey & Lynn Wilson.  The Flock is an autobiography of a multiple personality.  If you have ever read Sybil or Switching Time, you're probably thinking this is just another memoir about MPD and it is the same old story.  While those with MPD always have common threads (early trauma, switching persona's, losing time, central personality, unaware of their disorder, etc.), the psychoanalysts that treat patients approach it very differently.
In The Flock, Lynn Wilson is Joan's social worker.  Joan has no idea she has MPD and Lynn has no idea how to treat her.  Lynn looks for guidance from her colleagues (who don't believe her), research journals (the few), her husband and from Sybil.  Eventually Lynn begins to forge her own path to treatment with Joan.  Her style evolves throughout the many years the women work together.  In the end, Joan looks to Lynn and her husband as parents and they see Joan as their daughter.  A form of re-parenting helped Joan overcome her disorder and take control back.
Lynn's style of treatment is very different from what I've read and researched.  While re-parenting is nothing new, it was still new to treatment of MPD.  Many of Lynn's colleagues were skeptical of the therapy- assuming that it was becoming too co-dependent.  Lynn also seeks out Sybil's psychotherapist.. one of the few who commend her on the progress she is making with Joan and encourages her to stay on the track she currently is on.  In the end, Lynn did the best she knew how- which for Joan was exactly what she needed to do.
Throughout the book, we visit the regular components of every autobiography about MPD- the trauma and the struggles, as well as meeting and merging the personalities.  Although this book is typical in that respect, the trauma and struggles are all her own.  Different and intriguing, we learn about Joan's childhood and her personality development.  Another aspect of this book that I found interesting was the development of relationships.  Joan has many relationships, some of which are positive and some negative (as with all human relationships).  However, the development of the relationship between patient-therapist is beyond interesting.  Watching the re-parenting unfold and the bond these two women share (which at times does border on co-dependent) is encouraging, insightful, puzzling and natural.  For a relationship between two woman to unfold in such a manner is almost completely natural and expected.  It is reminiscent of relationships women have, especially when there is an old-soul/young-soul component.
Overall, I found The Flock  to be interesting, not only because it is about a topic I really enjoy, but also because it is different.  It is not typical beyond MPD commonalities.  Not to mention the shocking ending.  I definitely recommend this book.  If Sybil seems too long and daunting (it can be) and Switching Time seems too short and brushes the surface, The Flock is the perfect middle ground.  A great book to start an interesting relationship with Multiple Personality Disorder.
write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

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