chapter  Three
22 Pages

Fairbairn’s thinking on dissociative identity disorder and the development of his mature theory

WithPaul Finnegan

In this chapter, the author shows that the development of Fairbairn's thinking about the structure of inner reality—from his MD thesis in 1929 through to his 1954 paper on hysterical states—is explicitly related to his thinking about multiple personality disorder (MPD). After an historical review of the development of Fairbairn's mature theory, and the importance of multiple personality to that process, the author outlines a Fairbairnian framework for the understanding and treatment of MPD. Fairbairn argues that a wide range of phenomena are based upon splitting, or on what he called the schizoid position, which is what became the basic endopsychic situation in the later papers. Fairbairn's theory of dreams argues that dreams are the dramatisation of situations in inner reality, where ego-structures and internal objects are personified and dreams represent the relationships between these endopsychic structures.