Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness” as Want to Read:
The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  564 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
"When we say a friend was 'like a different person,' we may be more right than we know."
-The Boston Globe

Why does a gifted psychiatrist suddenly begin to torment his own beloved wife?

How can a ninety-pound woman carry a massive air conditioner to the second floor of her home, install it in a window unassisted, and then not remember how it got there?

Why would a brilliant
ebook, 272 pages
Published February 1st 2002 by Penguin Books (first published 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Myth of Sanity, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Myth of Sanity

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 20, 2015 Caroline rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caroline by: Shaun Bevins
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It is by no means certain that our individual personality is the single inhabitant of these our corporeal frames...We all do things both awake and asleep which surprise us. Perhaps we have co-tenants in this house we live in. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

I really enjoyed Stout's well-written and engaging narrative describing her years treating dissociative disorders including DID, Dissociative Identity Disorder formerly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder.

The workings of the human brain are
Mar 28, 2009 Nomy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a new friend got this book for me after we had a couple conversations where i mentioned dissociation and parts. i feel really grateful. this is a good read, well-written and compassionate, from the perspective of a therapist who works with trauma survivors. i really appreciate her approach, she's not trying make these clear definitions, she's showing ways that dissociation affects all of our lives, and lots of different ways it can show up ranging from spacing out in the middle of a conversation ...more
Apr 06, 2009 Anita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book talks about the implications of trauma in childhood on the psychology of adults. The "myth" of sanity is that we all have moments where we "dissociate" based on childhood experiences that can be fear inducing to traumatic.

To the extreme... Dr. Stout, with as much as intellect and clarity as her explanation of sociopathology in the Sociopath Next Door, talks about Dissociative Identity Disorder (Mutliple Personality Disorder) and the symptoms, experiences, and approaches to healing.

Apr 17, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We are all capable of disassociating and often do without knowing it ... from daydreaming to being on "autopilot" to being totally absorbed in a book or project. This is a mild form. The premise of this book is that Disassociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder) is a protective mechanism of the human ego that occurs when one is faced with terror and abuse literally too great to bear. DID does not equal "crazy". DID does equal traumatized. This is a fascin ...more
Apr 05, 2009 Theodora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Theodora by: Nomy
Shelves: books09, self-care
This book was incredible to read. It has been one of the most accessible books I've read on trauma. it also talks about how disassociation affects everyone -- and also the little traumas people go through that cause disassociation. I read this at the right time.
Dayne Myers
Sep 09, 2011 Dayne Myers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Martha Stout's writings read amazingly well, she structures the concepts such that anyone should grasp them with ease.
Jo Ann Hall
Feb 04, 2009 Jo Ann Hall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dissociation is a common coping mechanism employed by all humans to evade the uncomfortable and the painful, even the boring. When the truth is too much to bear, the brain is able to offer sanctuary of some sort through a temporary disconnection from reality. Stout gives an example of dissociation that all can relate to when she describes a return home following a long day at work and the sudden realization by the driver that he or she can't remember anything from the route home. In severe traum ...more
Mar 23, 2013 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars, but I'm rounding up because it really clarified the process/existence/functioning of Dissociative Identity Disorder for me. I was originally annoyed that all of her case studies were amalgamations (and thus her own creations). However, she used these patchwork case studies well to describe and explain an occurrence that is controversial even in the question of it's very validity or existence, and is very often exoticized and dramatized in the accounts of it that do exist. After readin ...more
Miss Makaveli
Apr 27, 2016 Miss Makaveli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
I want to give this book 5 stars, but have to settle at 4... The reason I would give it 5 stars is because the book itself was full of brilliantly interesting case studies. However, that was to be expected, as anyone interested in psychology, neurology or simply the amazing coping mechanisms of the brain would also expect when picking up this book. The reason I am giving it 4, bordering on a 3, is because of all the unnecessary pieces she includes. Perhaps other people will find her random bouts ...more
Jul 24, 2009 Chad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology, ptsd
Do you dissociate? This book by a Harvard clinician explores the range of dissociative phenomena, from momentary spacing out to dissociated ego states to dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder). The bad news: you'll probably recognize somebody you know, if not yourself. The good news: with the right approach, they can all be treated.

Feb 16, 2009 Darice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-narrated account of her experience with dissociation, from the extreme dissociative identity disorder to the common driving-trance, Stout explains dissociation as an adaptive skill for survival in the face of trauma. Despite the seemingly clinical context, many of her insights into childhood and personality are applicable to everybody on some level or another.
Nov 27, 2011 Zoe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
I love the quote at the beginning of this book: "With our thoughts, we make the world."

11/27/11 - I really liked the first two thirds of this book because I found them so readable and informative. The last third, entitled "switchers," about people who switch back and forth between different personalities, didn't interest me as much, for some reason.
Matt Holmes
Mar 26, 2015 Matt Holmes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I forgot that Martha Stout was the reason I majored in Psychology. My first forays into that particular section of Barnes and Noble came in the form of a book called "Whispers" that zeroed in mostly on schizophrenia, and The Sociopath Next Door, which is definitely Stout's claim to fame. The writing was direct and engaging, and served as a springboard into the field as a whole. I tore through every abnormal psych book B&N had to offer, then, after a momentary stint in community college, I en ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Stout shares provocative and horrifying stories of the true "survivors" of our time. Step by step she walks you through the nuts and bolts of the intangible processes the brain uses to keep terror at bay and allow the human being to function despite adverse circumstances. Did you know how trauma affects the brain? Have you wondered about how memories could possibly be "repressed"? How can people possibly want to cut themselves, and not seem to feel it when they do? Why is it sweet caring peo ...more
May 27, 2008 Topolub rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned that we all play different roles in life, and depending on the growth of our psychological makeup those roles may come to struggle for power inside of us. It is a beautiful book and I would recommend it to everyone.
Ryan Johnson
Good read...

A bit annoyed with Pro-Feminist writing style but, well, the author is a women, LOL.

DID is real, and Dehabilitating, yet at the same time amazing in its presentation and protective manner.
Sep 13, 2014 Lynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for my book group, and I'm so glad I did. Very out of my reading comfort zone. The book was really fascinating, mostly about how trauma sometimes divides one's consciousness as a coping mechanism. The author, a therapist, writes with such a compassionate tone and explained a lot of things that I didn't at all understand before, like the therapeutic use of hypnotism, and dissociative reactions. I found her view of human beings in general to be very inspiring, as she described man ...more
Feb 27, 2012 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was great. Really easy to understand yet it didn't feel like it was dumbed-down. This lady really knows her stuff. This resonated a lot with what I knew and shed light on what I suspected.
Jul 10, 2007 Hawkin47 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have too many friends who really need to read this book. Anyone who's ever experienced a higher level of trauma really needs to read this book. It's amazing.
Muhamad Kurnia Rahmadian
surprising and enlightenin book indeed...
WillowAtSunset Bennehoff
Date I started this book: April 18, 2011
Sphinx Feathers
Sep 20, 2014 Sphinx Feathers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
Well-written and easy to understand.
May 23, 2016 loeilecoute rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the most readable, easily understandable description of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) that I have read. As a psychiatrist of thirty years practice, I always find it a novel experience to come upon a book that captures the complex heart and soul of a difficult diagnostic category. Dr Stout gives compelling case histories that give one the essence of what treatment could feel like if you were the therapist.

She helped clarify a question that I have had about the "authenticity"
May 05, 2010 Najeeb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Chris de Pavilly
Apr 13, 2015 Chris de Pavilly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative and compassionately narrated. The case-hopping detracted a little for me, as I would have liked to go case by case; however, I assume it was done to maintain the process narrative.
Jul 17, 2014 Geraldine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting subject matter and dealt with in a very sensible and helpful way. Some of the case studies were difficult reading but necessary and inevitable in what is a difficult topic.
Tess Julia
Jun 26, 2016 Tess Julia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just more confirmation that we are all just a little messed up. Readers are helped to understand just how devastating early trauma is to children. The after effects will be felt for a lifetime and they are not able to "just get over it". For those suffering from trauma it is the affirmation they need to understand that they are not alone, and the suffering they endure every day is a direct cause of the unspeakable horrors they were made to suffer when they were at their most vulnerable. It is no ...more
Heather Christensen
This is without a doubt some incredibly interesting food for thought into the human conditioning. It will change the way you observe people.
Mar 27, 2015 Katrina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you or someone you know has survived trauma, I strongly recommend this book. I found it both engaging and informative.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders
  • The Anatomy of Evil
  • The Stranger in the Mirror: Dissociation--the Hidden Epidemic
  • The Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain
  • The Mask of Sanity
  • The Measure of Madness: Inside the Disturbed and Disturbing Criminal Mind
  • Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters
  • In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People
  • The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in Their Struggle for Self
  • Almost a Psychopath: Do I (or Does Someone I Know) Have a Problem with Manipulation and Lack of Empathy?
  • The Other Brain: From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New Discoveries about the Brain Are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science
  • Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America
  • Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature
  • Crazy All the Time: On The Psych Ward of Bellevue Hospital
  • Into the Silent Land: Travels in Neuropsychology
  • Feeling Unreal: Depersonalization Disorder and the Loss of the Self
  • Agnes's Jacket: A Psychologist's Search for the Meanings of Madness
Author and Ph.D. in psychology.
More about Martha Stout...

Share This Book

“-If I somehow possessed a set of videotapes that contained all the most significant events of your childhood, in their entirety, would you want to see them?

-Absolutely. Right this very second.

-But why? Don't you think some of the tapes would be very sad?

-Most of them, yes. But if I could see them, then I could have them in my brain like regular memories-horrible memories, yes, but regular memories, not sinister little ghosts in my head that pop out of some part of me I don't even know, and take the rest of me away. Do you know what I mean?

-I think so, If you have to remeber, you'd rather do it in the front of your brain than in the back.”
“We are all a little crazy.” 10 likes
More quotes…