Skip to main content

Pierre Janet and modern views of dissociation

Abstract

Pierre Janet's numerous important contributions to the understanding of dissociative disorders grew out of his background in philosophy, psychology, and medicine. A religious and even mystical man, he tempered his lifetime studies of psychopathology with precise observation and rigorous documentation. Janet was the first to articulate the clinical principles of the dissociative disorders and to systematically explore and treat the traumatic memories underlying dissociated behavior. He pioneered the use of abreaction and age-regression hypnotherapy techniques for exploring hidden trauma. Our clinical understanding of the dissociative disorders and their treatment stems in large measure from Pierre Janet's careful and thoughtful investigations a century ago..

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Abeles, M., and Schilder, P. (f1935). Psychogenic loss of personal identity.Arch. Neurol. Psychiat. 34: 587–604.

    Google Scholar 

  2. American Psychiatric Association (1987). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition Revised, American Psychiatric Association, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Barkin, R., Braun, B. G., and Kluft, R. P. (1986). The dilemma of drug therapy for multiple personality disorder. In Braun, B. G. (ed.),Treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder American Psychiatric Press, Washington, D.C., pp. 107–132.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Benson, D. F., Miller, B. L., and Signer, S. F. (1986). Dual personality associated with epilepsy.Arch. Neurol. 43: 417–474.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bernstein, E. M., and Putnam, F. W. (1986). Development, reliability, and validity of a dissociation scale.J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 174: 727–735.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Blank, A. S. (1985). The unconscious flashback to the war in Vietnam veterans: Clinical mystery, legal defense and community problem. Sonneberg, S. M., Blank, A. S. and Talbott, J. A. (eds.),The Trauma of War: Stress and Recovery in Vietnam Veterans American Psychiatric Press, Washington, pp. 293–309.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Bliss, E. L. (1980). Multiple personalities: A report of 14 cases with implications for schizophrenia and hysteria.Arch. Gen. Psychiat. 37: 1388–1397.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Bliss, E. L. (1983). Multiple personalities, related disorders and hypnosis.Am. J. Clin. Hypnos. 26: 114–123.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Bliss, E. L. (1984). Spontaneous self-hypnosis in multiple personality disorder.Psychiat. Clin. N. Am. 7: 135–148.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Bliss, E. L., and Jeppsen, E. A. (1985). Prevalence of multiple personality among inpatients and outpatients.Am. J. Psychiat. 142: 250–251.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Bowers, K. S., and Meichenbaum, D. (eds.) (1984).The Unconscious Reconsidered Wiley, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Braun, B. G. (1984). Hypnosis creates multiple personality: Myth or reality? Int. J. Clin. Exp. Hypn. 32: 191–197.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Braun, B. G. (1986).Treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder American Psychiatric Press, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Braun, B. G., and Sacks, R. G. (1985). The development of multiple personality disorder: Predisposing, precipitating, and perpetuating factors. In Kluft, R. P. (ed.),The Childhood Antecedents of Multiple Personality American Psychiatric Press, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Cattell, J. P. (1972). Depersonalization phenomena. In Arieti, S. (ed.),American Handbook of Psychiatry Basic Books, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Carlson, E. B., and Putnam, F. W. (1989). Integrating research on dissociation and hypnotizability: Are there two pathways to hypnotizability? Dissociation (in press).

  17. Carlson, E. T. (1986). The history of dissociation until 1880. In Quen, J. M. (ed.),Split Minds Split Brains New York University Press, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Charcot, J. M., and Marie, P. (1892). On hystereoepilepsy. In Tuke, H. (ed.),A Dictionary of Psychological Medicine Churchill, London.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Coons, P. M. (1988). Psychophysiologic aspects of multiple personality disorder: A review. Dissociation 1: 47–53.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Coons, P. M., Bowman, E. S., and Milstein, V. (1988). Multiple personality disorder: A clinical investigation of 50 cases.J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 176: 519–527.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Cooper, L. M., and London, P. (1976). Children's hypnotic susceptibility, personality and EEG patterns.Internatl J. Clin. Hypn. 24: 140–166.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Crabtree, A. (1986). Explanations of dissociation in the first half of the Twentieth Century. In Quen, J. M. (ed.),Split Minds Split Brains University Press, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Kluft, R. P. (1982). Varieties of hypnotic intervention in the treatment of multiple personality.Am. J. Clin. Hypn. 26: 73–83.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Kluft, R. P. (1985). Childhood multiple personality disorder: Predictors, clinical findings and treatment results. In Kluft, R. P. (ed.),Childhood Antecedents of Multiple Personality American Psychiatric Press, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Kluft, R. P. (1986). Treating children who have multiple personality disorder. In Braun, B. G. (ed.),Treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder Washington, D.C., American Psychiatric Press, pp. 79–106.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Kolb, L. C. (1985). The place of narcosynthesis in the treatment of chronic and delayed stress reactions of war. In Sonneberg, S. M., Blank, A. S., and Talbott, J. A. (ed.),The Trauma of War: Stress and Recovery in Vietnam Veterans American Psychiatric Press, Washington, pp. 211–226.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Kolb, L. C. (1987). A neuropsychological hypothesis explaining posttraumatic stress disorders.Am. J. Psychiatry. 144: 989–995.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Loewenstein, R. J., Hornstein, N., and Farber, B. (1988). Open trial of Clonazepam in the treatment of posttraumatic stress symptoms in multiple personality disorder.Dissociation. 3: 3–12.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Loewenstein, R. J., Putnam, F. W. (1989). A comparison study of dissociative symptoms in patients with complex partial seizures, multiple personality disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder.Dissociation. (in press).

  30. Ludwig, A. M. (1983). The psychobiological functions of dissociation.Am. J. Clin. Hypn. 26: 93–99.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Ludwig, A. M., Brandsma, J. M., Wilbur, C. B., Bendfeldt, F., and Jameson, H. (1972). The objective study of a multiple personality.Arch. Gen. Psychiat. 26: 298–310.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Markowtisch, H. J. (1988). Transient psychogenic amnesia.Ital. J. Neurol. Sci. (Suppl) 9: 49–51.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Mesulam, M. M. (1981). Dissociative states with abnormal temporal lobe EEG: Multiple personality and the illusion of possession.Arch. Neurol. 38: 176–181.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Nash, M. R., Lynn, S. J., and Givens, D. L. (1984). Adult hypnotic susceptibility, childhood punishment, and child abuse: A brief communication.Int. J. Clin. Exp. Hypn. 32: 6–11.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. Nemiah, J. C. (1981). Dissociative Disorders. In Freedman, A. M., and Kaplan, H. I. (ed.),Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry (third edition), Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, pp. 1544–1561.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Nissen, M. J., Ross, J. L., Willingham, D. B., MacKenzie, T. B., and Schacter, D. L. (1988). Memory and awareness in a patient with multiple personality disorder.Brain Cogn. 8: 117–134.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Nowlis, D. P. (1969). The child-rearing antecedents of hypnotic susceptibility and of naturally occurring hypnotic-like experiences.Int. J. Clin. Exp. Hypn. 25: 125–146.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Noyes, R., and Kletti, R. (1977). Depersonalization in response to life-threatening danger.Psychiatry. 18: 375–384.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Orne, M. T., Dinges, D. F., and Orne, E. C. (1984). On the differential diagnosis of multiple personality in the forensic context.Int. J. Clin. Exp. Hypn. 32: 118–169.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. Pettinati, H. M., Horne, R. L., and Staats, J. M. (1985). Hypnotizability in patients with anorexia nervosa and bulimia.Arch. Gen. Psychiat. 42: 1014–1016.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  41. Perry, C., and Laurence, J. R. (1984). Mental processing outside of awareness: The contributions of Freud and Janet. In Bowers, K. S., and Meichanbaum, D. (eds.),The Unconscious Reconsidered Wiley, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Pitman, R. K. (1987). Pierre Janet on obsessive-compulsive disorder (1903).Arch. Gen. Psychiatry. 44: 226–232.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Pope, H. G., Hudson, J. I., and Mialet, J. P. (1985). Bulimia in the late nineteenth century: The observations of Pierre Janet.Psychol. Med. 15: 739–743.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. Putnam, F. W. (1985). Dissociation as a response to extreme trauma.The Childhood Antecedents of Multiple Personality American Psychiatric Press, Washington, pp. 65–98.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Putnam, F. W. (1986). The treatment of multiple personality disorder: State of the art. In Braun, B. G. (ed.),Treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder Washington, D.C., American Psychiatric Press, pp. 175–198.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Putnam, F. W. (1988). The switch process in multiple personality disorder and other state-change disorders.Dissociation 1: 24–32.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Putnam, F. W. (1989).Diagnosis and Treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder Guilford, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Putnam, F. W., Guroff, J. G., Silberman, E. K., Barban, L., and Post, R. M. (1986). The clinical phenomenology of multiple personality disorder: Review of 100 recent cases.J. Clin. Psychiat. 47: 285–293.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Putnam, F. W. (1989). Conversion symptoms. In Joseph AB, Young R. (eds.),Disorders of Movement in Psychiatry and Neurology Blackwell, Cambridge, Mass. (in press).

    Google Scholar 

  50. Putnam, F. W., Zahn, T. P., and Post, R. M. (in press). Differential autonomic nervous system activity in multiple psersonality disorder.

  51. Rapaport, D. (1942).Emotions and Memory (Menninger Clinic Mongraph Series No. 2), Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Ribot, T. (1981).The Diseases of the Personality Open Court Publishing, Chicago.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Riley, R. L., and Mead, J. (1988). The development of symptoms of multiple personality disorder in a child of three.Dissociation 1: 41–46.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Ross, C. A., and Anderson, G. (1988). Phenomenological overlap of multiple personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.J. Nerv. Dis. 176: 295–299.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Ross, C. A., Heber, S., Anderson, G., Norton, G. R., Aderson, B., del Campo, M., and Pillay, N. (1989). Differentiating multiple personality disorder and complex partial seizures.Gen. Hosp. Psychiat. 11: 54–58.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Ross, C. A., Norton, G. R., and Anderson, G. (1988). The Dissociative Experiences Scale: A replication study.Dissociation 1: 21–22.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Sargent, W., and Slater, E. (1941). Amnesic syndromes in war.Proc. Roy. Soc. Med. 34: 757–764.

    Google Scholar 

  58. Shimizu, M., and Sakamoto, S. (1986). Depersonalization in adolescence.Japanese J. Psychiat. Neurol. 40: 603–608.

    Google Scholar 

  59. Sidtis, J. J. (1986). Can neurological disconnection account for psychiatric dissociation? In Quen, J. M. (ed.),Split Minds Split Brains University Press, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  60. Silberman, E. K., Putnam, F. W., Weingartener, H., Braun, B. G., and Post, R. M. (1985). Dissociative states in multiple personality disorder: A quantitative study.Psychiat. Res. 15: 253–260.

    Google Scholar 

  61. Spanos, N. P., Weekes, J. R., Menary, E., and Bertrand, L. D. (1986). Hypnotic interview and age regression procedures in the elicitation of multiple personality symptoms: A simulation study.Psychiatry 49: 298–311.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  62. Spiegel, D. (1984). Multiple personality as a post-traumatic stress disorder.Psychiat. clin. N. Am. 7: 101–110.

    Google Scholar 

  63. Spiegel, D. (1986). Dissociating damage.Am. J. Clin. Hypn. 29: 123–131.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  64. Spiegel, D., Hunt, T., and Dondershine, H. E. (1988). Dissociation and hypnotizability in post-traumatic stress disorder:Am. J. Psychiat. 145: 301–305.

    Google Scholar 

  65. Spiegel, H. (1963). The dissociation-association continuum.J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 136: 374–378.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  66. Torch, E. M. (1981). Depersonalization syndrome: An overview.Psychiatr. Quart. 53: 249–258.

    Google Scholar 

  67. Torch, E. M. (1987). The psychotherapeutic treatment of depersonalization disorder.Hillside J. Clin. Psychiatry 9: 133–151.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  68. Torem, M. S. (1986). Dissociative states presenting as an eating disorder.Am. J. Clin. Hypn. 29: 137–142.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  69. van der Hart, O., and Horst, R. (1989). The dissociation theory of Pierre Janet.J. Traum. Stress 2: 399–414.

    Google Scholar 

  70. Vanderlinden, J., and Vandereycken, W. (1988). The use of hypnotherapy in the treatment of eating disorders.Int. J. Eating Dis. 7: 381–387.

    Google Scholar 

  71. van der Kolk, B. (1987).Psychological Trauma American Psychiatric Press, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  72. van der Kolk, B., Blitz, R., Burr, W., Sherry, S., and Hartmann, E. (1984). Nightmares and Trauma: A comparison of nightmares after combat with lifelong nightmares in veterans.,Am. J. Psychiat. 141: 187–190.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  73. van der Kolk, B., and Kadish, W. (1987). Amnesia, dissociation, and the return of the repressed. In van der Kolk, B. (ed.).Psychological Trauma American Psychiatric Press, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  74. Vincent, M., and Pickering, M. R. (1988). Multiple personality disorder in childhood.Can. J. Psychiatry 33: 524–529.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  75. Weiss, M., Sutton, P. J., and Utecht, A. J. (1985). Multiple personality in a 10-year-old girl.J. Am. Acad. Child Psychiat. 24: 495–501.

    Google Scholar 

  76. White, R. W., and Shevach, B. J. (1942). Hypnosis and the concept of dissociation.J. Abnorm. Soc. Psychol. 37: 309–328.

    Google Scholar 

  77. Wolff, P. H. (1987).The Development of Behavioral States and the Expression of Emotions in Early Infancy University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

About this article

Cite this article

Putnam, F.W. Pierre Janet and modern views of dissociation. J Trauma Stress 2, 413–429 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00974599

Download citation

Key Words

  • Pierre Janet
  • dissociation
  • hypnosis
  • multiple personality disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder