Who Done It, Actually? Dissociative Identity Disorder for the Criminologist

  • The Bowlby Centre, London UK Clinic for Dissociative Studies, UK
     United Kingdom


Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) (American Psychiatric Association 2013) is examined in this paper from the perspective of its relevance to the criminologist. As this psychiatric condition is linked to severe and prolonged childhood abuse, accounts of DID patients inevitably involve reports of serious crimes, in which the person was the victim, perpetrator or witness. These reports can thus contain crucial information for criminal investigations by the police or for court proceedings. However, due to the person’s dissociation, such reports are often very confusing, hard to follow, hard to believe and difficult to obtain. They also frequently state that the person had ‘no choice’, a thorny notion for the criminologist (as well as for the clinician). Through the analysis of clinical examples, the paper explores how decisions are made by a person with DID, the notions of choice and ‘competent reasoning’, and the practical and ethical ways for interviewing a person with DID.
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Published: 2015-07-01
Pages:65 to 76
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Author Biography

The Bowlby Centre, London UK Clinic for Dissociative Studies, UK
 United Kingdom
Forensic consultant psychotherapist for the Clinic for Dissociative Studies, visiting faculty at the Bowlby Centre and the Centre for Child Mental Health, Director, International Society for Study of Trauma and Dissociation.