Thigpen & Cleckley's Study

HideShow resource information


To document and gather information on the psychotherapeutic treatment of treatment of a 25-year-old woman named Eve White.

Research Method

Case Study


Eve White, a 25-year old married woman who was referred to therapy because of "severe and blinding headaches" and "often blackouts". The study used an opportunity sample.

Eve White attended regular therapeutic sessions over a 14-month period. She was also interviewed for a total of approx. 100 hours. Both qual. and quant. data was gathered from the interviews with her and her family, as well as hypnosis, observation, EEG tests, projective tests and psychometric tests. 


The beginnings of the evidence of MPD:

During early interviews Eve White discussed her emotional difficulties and personal conflicts. The psychiatrists believed that her problems were occurring because of her marital conflicts and personal frustrations. However psychiatrists were puzzled that Eve White had no memory of a recent trip. The therapists used hypnosis and the amnesia was cleared.

However, an event occurred in which the therapists received a letter from EW which appeared to have been finished off by someone else, the writing was described as a 'child-like hand'. On her next visit EW denied sending the letter, although she recalled having begun one which she never finished.

Appearance of Eve Black, the first personality

Eve White reported that she had on several occasions over the last few months briefly heard a voice addressing her. During this conversation EW, as if in pain suddenly put both hands to her head. After a moment of silence her hands dropped, and the therapist observed a 'quick, reckless smile' and in a bright voice she said: 'Hi there, Doc!'

When asked her name she immediately replied that she was Eve Black. T & C believed that this might be a case of MPD.

The therapist noted that this new person 'had a childish daredevil air, an erotically mischievous glance, a face marvellously free from the usual signs of care, seriousness and underlying distress' demonstrated by EW. The voice and language structure were also very different.

The therapists found, through interviews totalling approx. 100 hours, that although EB could sometimes 'pop out' unexpectedly, she could only be 'called out' by the therapists when EW was under hypnosis. After more sessions they found that hypnosis was no longer needed for the change of personalities, which complicated EW's life considerably as EB found herself more able to 'take over' than before.

Eve Black's life history

The therapists believed that Eve Black had enjoyed an independent life since Eve's early childhood and when she was 'out' Eve White wasn't aware of what was happening. In contrast, when EB wasn't out she was aware of what was happening in EW's life.

EB told the therapists about her childhood and the fact that she engaged in acts of mischief or disobedience, which EW was then punished for.

EB denied marriage to EW's husband, whom she despised, and also denied any relationship to EW's daughter, except that of an unconcerned


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Core studies resources »