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Dissociation & Complex Trauma in the Media

 This page is under revision.

A Selection of Links and Stories of Interest

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study in the news again.


APA disputes connection between violence and mental illness.
The American Psychiatric Association has issued a statement
disputing the connection between mental illness and outbursts of
violence such as school shootings.  Follow this link to the APA story.

Raising Adam Lanza--PBS and the Hartford Courant investigate this tragedy.  Story here.

Female Veterans Struggle with Life on the Street

Is Delhi So Different from Steubenville?

Sex Offender Treatment--Too Harsh or Too Lenient?

California Vietnamese struggle with 40 year old trauma.


For a time, the United States of Tara was a popular television program with a central character with DID.  ISSTD developed a set of commentaries on this program which are preserved below...


The United States of Tara

FAQs for the Public and Professionals
Media Links
Commentary on Each Weeks Episode of Tara
Q&A with Richard P. Kluft, M.D.
How you can help!

In January of 2009, Showtime Networks Inc., a CBS Company, launched a new television series - the United States of Tara. Toni Colette, an Oscar nominatee, plays Tara, a woman who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

The show portrays the ongoing encounter between Tara, a wife and mother with DID, and her caring family. As with other humorous portrayals of psychiatric illness in film (As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson playing a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Monk with Tony Shaloub also playing an individual with obsessive-compulsive disorder), we are aware that this show will produce varied reactions from the public, mental health professionals, and the DID community.
  United States of Tara on Showtime 

United States of Tara is the first television series ever produced with Dissociative Identity Disorder as its focus.  Given this, ISSTD is presented with a unique opportunity to provide education to the public about a misunderstood psychiatric illness.  Our mission as an organization is to provide education regarding the dissociative disorders and to promote the effective treatment of clients with these disorders.  In response to the United States of Tara, ISSTD will be providing answers to questions about DID, as well as a professional commentary regarding each episode of the show based on our research and clinical experience. 

In their development of the series, the producers and script writers of United States of Tara have consulted extensively with experts in the dissociative disorders field.   We hope that the show, along with our educational efforts, will ultimately facilitate understanding of DID and the struggles and challenges that individuals with DID face in their daily lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

For students and the public:
Frequently asked questions about DID can be found by clicking here.
More information about dissociation, dissociative disorders, and trauma can be found on the ISSTD FAQ pages.

For professionals:
ISSTD maintains an active website with resources for professional members and non-members. Take a look at our Education pages. Let us know what you hoped to find but didn't! Our aim is to provide the most cogent and reliable information on trauma and dissociation for both professionals and the public.

Q & A with Richard P. Kluft, M.D.

A video of Richard Kluft, M.D., past president of ISSTD, one of the worlds most prominent experts on DID, is featured on Showtimes website. In the video, produced by Showtime, and shown below, he explains DID (see the community section of Showtimes website).

You Can Help!

Dissociative Identity Disorder is a serious mental health condition which affects many people around the world. Since 1984, ISSTD has worked tirelessly to educate both professionals and the general public about DID. A non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, ISSTD promotes comprehensive, clinically-effective and empirically-based resources and responses to trauma and dissociation. Please make a donation to help ISSTD continue its efforts to educate therapists and help patients with DID.

Further Media Links & Information

  • A Wikipedia entry that describes some reactions to the pilot episode of the United States of Tara.

  • Connect here to find comments by laypersons in a movie portal (plus comments by a few DID patients pointing to the painful side of DID).

  • Reviews can be found at New York Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, on line.

For Comments

Comments from the public are accepted and posted on Showtimes United States of Tara website.

Thank You!

The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation is grateful to Showtime, Inc., Steven Spielberg, Kate Capshaw, screenwriter Diablo Cody, actress Toni Collette, and the supporting cast and producers of The United States of Tara for their portrayal of the complicated, confusing, and sometimes desperate life lived below the visible surface of an everyday person with dissociative identity disorder. As Richard P. Kluft, M.D. noted in the special educational video produced by Showtime on their website (and available on this website, above), only a small percentage of people with dissociative identity disorder have the classical presentation of obvious switching from one personality state to another. Most people with this disorder go to work, raise families, and struggle to live their lives while healing from the painful emotional wounds of their earlier years. Too often, public discussion of dissociation and dissociative disorders is sensationalized. This is a public Thank You to Showtime, and all involved, for increasing interest about an important psychological disorder. We hope this increased interest results in improved treatments, and better lives for our patients, their families, and our communities!

United States of Tara on Showtime   


The views of Showtime Inc. and the production team of the United States of Tara, are  their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of ISSTD or its members.  The ISSTD website provides accurate, current scientific information about Dissociative Identity Disorder. 

professional training:

See the list of courses

Complexities of Complex Trauma Part I Teleseminar
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Complexities of Complex Trauma Part I Teleseminar
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Child & Adolescent Online
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