By Judy Byington, Author, Twenty-Two Faces- Dr. Phil: Mentally Ill Moms - January 11, 2013
As a retired Supervisor of Alberta Mental Health, CEO of Provo Family Counseling Center and therapist for 23 years, I have known and worked with many Dissociate Identity Disorder (DID or multipule personality) sufferers who claimed being ritually abused. Twenty years ago Jenny asked that I write her biography. Since then I have served as a friend, biographer and counselor, though have never done, nor been paid for doing therapy with her.
We intended Twenty-Two Faces as a voice for the ritually abused, explaining DID, exposing the rampant practice of ritual abuse and hopefully saving children from the trauma Jenny endured. We applied to be on the Dr. Phil show in anticipation viewers would gain a better understanding of DID and its tie-in to childhood trauma, specifically ritualized abuse.
We were optimistic, that with Dr. Philâ€™s help, we might secure Jenny an evaluation at the Colin A Ross Institute. For the last 29 years since she was diagnosed DID at the Utah State Psychiatric Hospital, Jenny has not received therapy for her multiplicity. She is seen by a clinician at Wasatch Mental Health who “maintains” her, but does no treatment for multiplicity. She also sees a psychiatrist twice a year for medication adjustment. For many years she has suffered from DID-related symptoms including Depression.
The Dr. Phil show was taped in 4 sessions. On September 10 just as we left to tape before the live audience, I was informed by staff:
1. Dr. Phil had not read Twenty-Two Faces.
2. Jenny would not be offered treatment.
3. The show producers did not believe Jennyâ€™s story.
As I watched the version that viewers saw on January 11th, I was shocked at what they had done. Jennyâ€™s actual life was apparently not what Dr. Phil intended to portray. His staff had cut and pasted the individual interviews and the taping done before a live audience which resulted in changing the story from a woman who has been without therapy for her multiplicity into describing a mentally ill woman who appears to have been taken advantage of by her therapist. Again, I have never acted as Jennyâ€™s therapist.
Below are some examples of what was left out of â€œMentally Ill Moms.â€
Producers Revised Jenny’s Story
(1) During my individual taping sessions I was asked to corroborate what is in Jenny’s biography 22 Faces. In the version that aired, none of my answers from the individual tapings were included.
(2) Dr. Phil claimed that major segments of the mental health community believed that DID was a very controversial diagnosis; that some professionals felt it was â€œnear on to impossible to have alter personalitiesâ€ and in his 30 years of “doing this” he had never met a multiple personality.
Yet, a woman with multiple personalities was on his show last April. Viewers were not told that DID had been an accepted diagnosis included in the APA diagnostic manual, the DSM, since 1994.
(3) On the show Jenny stated that she hadn’t read 22 Faces. She clarifies in a notarized â€œOpen Letter to Dr. Philâ€ on the 22 faces website ( www.22faces.com ) that the book is difficult for her to read because doing so â€œbrings out bad memoriesâ€ for her. However, she is aware of the contents portraying her life because she lived it and helped write her own biography.
(4) It was not until the very week the show aired in January that I realized they were portraying me as her therapist. I immediately emailed the producer and asked that he change my title to retired therapist. He emailed back that he changed my title on the CBS website, but could not change anything on the actual show.
(5) In August, 2013 producers asked for a video of Jenny changing personalities. We videotaped her changing into Alter J.J. and Homicidal Alter Jenese. It was not a therapy session as labeled on the show, but done with Jenny’s consent and at their request.
(6) I did not sue Robert as Dr. Phil announced. During the break Robert reminded him that it was not a lawsuit, but a Cease and Desist letter from my lawyer. Dr. Phil did not correct that fact that it was not a lawsuit and gave me no opportunity to correct it.
(7) In the taping before a live audience Dr. Phil appeared very surprised when I told him that multiple personalities could only be caused by childhood trauma. His eyes widened, he sat back, and immediately changed the subject. This also did not appear in the final version.
(8) Story rights and book proceeds
Dr. Phil asked, “What happens to the money? Does it go to you?”
I answered, â€œItâ€™s placed in the 22 Faces account.”
Dr. Phil, “Then why did you make her sign over her rights to the story? You get the money, right?”
I was given no opportunity to answer as the audience was directed to applaud Dr. Phil’s question. After the applause I tried to explain more, but was cut off. My attempt to explain was not included in the final version.
The applause was later pasted in after Robert’s question to me. Again, I was given no time to respond to Robert.
The answer that I would have said if given the opportunity: I signed a legal contract with my literary agent, Paul McCarthy, so he could represent film, electronic and manuscript rights to Jenny’s story. He wanted to make sure that we had a contract with Jenny showing I had the rights to her story. If we were to spend time and money publishing the biography assurance was needed that we had copyright to the story. Thus, Jenny agreed to sign over her story rights. Jenny understood this legality as shown in her notarized â€œOpen Letter to Dr. Philâ€ on the website ( www.22faces.com )
Also in that notarized “Open Letter to Dr. Phil” Jenny states, “I am fully capable of making my own decisions and if I wanted to set up a bank account for monies received from sale of my book I could and would do so. It has been my decision not to set up an account at this time.”
In my individual interviews it was related that the Hill family was upset that I was recieving money for 22 Faces while Jenny wouldn’t benefit from book proceeds. I replied that thus far I had recieved two royalty checks for $4.00 and $20.00, invested over $20,000.00 of my own money to edit, publish and publicize the biograpy, plus spent 20 years of my life writing it. It would be quite a while before the book made a profit, if ever. I explained that Hillâ€™s story had never been about money for either Jenny nor myself. It was our purpose to publish Twenty-Two Faces so it could be a voice for the ritually abused and help make the public aware of children who are being traumatized through satanic worship. This answer from me was not in the final version of the show. What was portrayed to viewers was a â€œtherapistâ€ who was taking advantage of her mentally ill client.
I’ve been asked if I regret appearing on Dr. Phil. In part, yes.
Within a couple of days after the program aired 33 one-star negative reviews had been placed on the Amazon Twenty-Two Faces sale site. The majority didnâ€™t refer to the book, but how I was portrayed on the Dr. Phil show. These also included personal attacks on my character. There are hundreds of negative comments under the reviews, while new negative one-star reviews and more personal attacks appear there daily.
On the other hand, the book has been highly publicized. And, many who experienced abuse similar to Jennyâ€™s and their therapists have placed comments refuting these demeaning attacks. Most have thanked us for speaking out through Twenty-Two Faces and appearing on Dr. Phil.
My hope for Jenny is that we can find treatment for her multiplicity. The APA psychiatric manuel DSM states that Dissociation affects a large section of the population. Thus, I am also in hope that Dr. Phil will revist DID or multiplicity and it’s relationship to childhood trauma with the purpose of educating his viewers on this growing problem.