Book Review: Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan

The shocking story of what really happened to the young woman called Sybil, who put multiple personality disorder on the map.

By Lori Gottlieb

As fascinating as the story of “Sybil”—a young woman named Shirley Mason who put multiple personality disorder on the map almost 40 years ago—is the shocking evidence that her accounts of dissociation and unspeakable abuse were a carefully crafted fabrication. In this dazzling exposé of a manipulative psychiatrist, an author who’d do anything for fame and a vulnerable girl caught in the middle, journalist Nathan reveals how these three women changed the psychiatric landscape by raising questions of identity that resonated with a generation. The result is a cautionary tale about the ways in which science, in the wrong hands, can capitalize on our collective fears. (


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First Published October 18, 2011

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bmore 10.19.2011

This book is a very one sided interpretation of the Sybil case. Wilbur and Mason are no longer alive to defend themselves. Wilbur did great work helping Sybil.
Mason may have denied her diagnosis at times during treatment, this occurs in many mental health diagnoses.
The reality is that Mason and Wilbur were offered money, television appearances and media interviews. They never accepted any of these offers and they preserved Shirley's anonymity.
If you read the book "Sybil" you will realize that Wilbur did NOT encourage Mason to take on different personas, but Mason brought this material into treatment by herself.
Several colleagues of Wilbur have verified the diagnosis that Mason had before Mason died.
The real point is that up until the day she died, Mason stated that every word in the book is true. MPD, now called DID, is a legitimate diagnosis, scientifically proven with many sufferers.

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