The Three Faces of Eve

Multiple Personality Disorder.


The Three Faces of Eve (1957) is typical movie for students to understand for multiple personality disorder.  Based on a true study, this film reveals a famous case history of multiple personality disorder. In the case of “Eve White,” made famous in the book and movie The Three Faces of Eve, a woman had three subpersonalities - Eve White, Eve Black, and Jane (Thigpen & Cleckley as cited in Comer, 2010).   Chris Sizemore is “Eve” from the book and the movie The Three Faces of Eve, based on her psychiatrists’ account of her life and treatment for multiple personality disorder. Sizemore is now cured and is an advocate for the mentally ill.

Thigpen and Cleckley, two psychiatrists who treated the young woman, described Eve White as a young mother with a troubled marriage who sought psychotherapy for severe headaches, feelings of inertia, and “blackouts.” Eve White was seen for several therapy sessions and was hypnotized during this time as a treatment for her amnesia. Then, during what proved to be a remarkable session, Eve White became agitated and complained of hearing an imaginary voice.  As Thigpen and Cleckley wrote, “After a tense moment of silence, her hands dropped. There was a quick, reckless smile and, in a bright voice that sparkled, she said, ‘Hi there, Doc!’” (p. 137). Eve Black had emerged—a carefree and flirtatious personality who insisted upon being called “Miss” and who scorned Eve White, the wife and mother. Therapy with Eve White, Eve Black, and a third, more calm and mature personality, Jane, lasted over two and a half years. Thigpen used hypnosis to bring out the different personalities in an attempt to understand and reconcile them with one another. He eventually adopted the goal of fading out the two Eves and allowing Jane to take control. Therapy appeared to be successful. According to the psychiatrists’ account, treatment ended with one integrated personality in control. This personality was much like Jane, but she decided to call herself “Mrs. Evelyn White.” (Oltmanns & Emery, 2012, p. 180).

This film is also discussed in Comer (2010): Eve White, the primary personality, was quiet and serious; Eve Black was carefree and mischievous; and Jane was mature and intelligent. According to the book, these three subpersonalities eventually merged into Evelyn, a stable personality who was really an integration of the other three. The book was mistaken, however; this was not to be the end of Eve’s dissociation. In an autobiography 20 years later, she revealed that altogether 22 subpersonalities had come forth during her life, including 9 subpersonalities after Evelyn. Usually they appeared in groups of three, and so the authors of The Three Faces of Eve apparently never knew about her previous or subsequent subpersonalities. She has now overcome her disorder, achieving a single, stable identity, and has been known as Chris Sizemore for over 35 years (Ramsland & Kuter, 2011; Sizemore, 1991). (Comer, 2010, p. 208).

References

Comer, R. J. (2010). Abnormal psychology (8th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Oltmanns, T. F. & Emery, R. E. (2012). Abnormal psychology (7th ed.).  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

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