Psychotherapy and love conquer dissociative identity disorder

Back in 1976, dissociative identity disorder (known at the time as multiple personality disorder), first came onto the scene with the Sally Field movie about Sybil Dorsett and her 13 personalities.  Fast forward 37 years and filmgoers at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival will meet Hilary Stanton and her 35 personalities in When the Devil Knocks.

When The Devil KnocksUntil her mid-40s, Stanton lived with big gaps in her memory that she thought were normal.  After suffering a breakdown, she underwent psychotherapy which gradually revealed her 35 “alters” were taking over from her during these memory gaps.

After allowing access to filmmakers unlimited access to more than 40 hours of videotapes of those psychotherpay sessions, the tapes revealed those “alters”, who are credited with keeping her alive by taking over from her during times of crisis.

Over the course of her sessions with psychotherapist Cheryl Malmo, each of the alters merged back with Stanton after Malmo convinced them that the memories of the horrific child abuse they were protecting her from was in the past and it was safe to give up their memories to her.

But more than just the story of her therapy, When The Devil Knocks is also the story of the love between Stanton and her partner Debbie who, according to Caroline Butler of Bountiful Films, helped Stanton to survive.

When The Devil Knocks
Part of the 2010 Vancouver International Film Festival

Told through home video, interviews with family and friends, and extensive footage from therapy sessions, we meet Hilary’s most dominant alters and discover why they came to be. A journey so personal that it is, at times, difficult to watch, it is the perseverance of Hilary and the dedication of her doctor and her partner that make this story so profound.

Wed, Oct 13th 6pm Empire Granville 7 Th 5
Thu, Oct 14th 11:00am Vancity Theatre

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