According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) "is a dissociative disorder involving a disturbance of identity in which two or more separate and distinct personality states (or identities) control the individual's behavior at different times. When under the control of one identity, the person is usually unable to remember some of the events that occurred while other personalities were in control. The different identities, referred to as alters, may exhibit differences in speech, mannerisms, attitudes, thoughts, and gender orientation. The alters may even differ in 'physical' properties such as allergies, right-or-left handedness, or the need for eyeglass prescriptions. These differences between alters are often quite striking."
In the case of Kim Noble (the name of the body who is host to her many personalities), 14 of her alters have been drawn to art therapy specifically painting as a way of coping with DID. Amazingly, each of them has his/her own distinct and unique artistic style. They each use completely different techniques, mediums, and subject materials as well.
According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy "uses the creative process of art-making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight." It creates a tangible and externalized way of expressing difficult emotions that might otherwise be threatening.
All of Me includes 14 images, all accompanied by thoughtful explanations in the back of the book. For example, the author explains:
Though Kim Noble never had any formal art training, within five years, her personalities have had seventeen successful solo exhibitions, they have participated in numerous group exhibitions, and she was the first Artist in Residence at Springfield University Hospital in Tooting, South West London.
To see more images, visit Kim Noble's virtual gallery.
To learn more about DID, check out the Beyond the Book feature for A Fractured Mind by Robert B. Oxnam.
This article is from the November 14, 2012 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.
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