The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness. Stout, M. Ph.D, 208 Pages — 2002, USA: Penguin Books.

The myth of sanity by Martha Stout is an engaging and interesting journey into the world of dissociation. It provides readers information relating to dissociation and dissociative disorders, doing so in a manner that engages the reader by avoiding the academic rhetoric that can so often pervade psychological texts. She writes in a relaxed mode reminiscent of a storyteller.

Stout explores a range of dissociative disorders we can ALL relate to, ranging from daydreaming and ‘getting’ lost in a book or movie to those more extreme examples such as fugue states and dissociative identity disorder (previously referred to as multiple personality disorder). The majority of the analysis examines the extremes and Stout presents her discussion through the use of composite case studies (created to preserve the identity of her clients).

As the studies draw from different cases, there are times when the information appears surreal however Stout is able to use her understanding as a therapist and a writer to clarify the mind’s uncompromising capacity to shield itself. The book provides uncompromising insight into what is often a misunderstood and misdiagnosed state. There are many texts that address the theoretical constructs of dissociation however few are able to truly enlighten the reader as to real experience.

The author brings clarity and heart to the experience of dissociation. The conversational approach to dialogue ensures that the reader never becomes disinterested in the information covered. Stout draws you in from the start and for anyone who is interested in learning more about dissociation then this is the text to reach for. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by: Anda Davis