For many of the early pioneers of psychology and psychiatry, such as Pierre Janet, William James, and Morton Prince, Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), or as it is now known, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) was considered to be of great importance to developing an understanding of the human mind.
But this all changed, when Sigmund Freud decided that the reports of sexual abuse in childhood told to him by his patients were fantasies, rather than reports of real events. This led Freud to reject the notion of rational co-conscious and sub-conscious mental activity, so central to the ideas of Janet, James, and Prince, and to invent his irrational unconscious. This changed the course of thinking in psychology and psychiatry and DID ceased to be considered to be of central importance – rather it became something of a curiosity.
Today, many of us believe Freud was wrong, and that the reports of sexual abuse told to him by his patients were true. And if Freud was wrong, then the objection to DID as being central to an understanding of human psychology disappears. And this idea drove the development of Legion Theory.
We find the idea that our self is inherently composed of parallel systems operating in a cooperative manner to form what appears to be a unitary funding whole, to be far from alien. Modern conceptualisation of the cortical visual system in occipital, temporal, and parietal lobes, is founded upon such a notion. And the idea that problems in childhood could result in the development of unintegrated personality systems in an adult is precisely the sort of thing that can happen in the cortical visual system where two unintegrated visual systems can develop as a consequence of problems in childhood. Further, the human mind can be shown to develop separate consciousnesses as a result of physical trauma to the corpus callosum. Which, like DID, results in a functional individual which, under casual observation, may appear to be indistinguishable from a ‘normal’ person with an integrated consciousness.
The genesis of Legion Theory was the notion that if the human mind can break down into separate personalities, then that tells us something fundamental about the structure and processes of the normal mind. To develop Legion Theory we made a study of our own direct observations, many autobiographies of people with DID, and case studies written by practitioners and articles written in academic journals.
Legion Theory is not simply a theory of multiple personalities (although it is explained by it). Legion Theory is a meta-theory of psychology which aims to provide an over-arching framework of explanation for many normal and abnormal psychological phenomena.