Under hypnosis, Barnes said he has practiced "family therapy" with Ross and her other personalities. He said he does not reveal to her anything she cannot recall herself from the hypnosis.
Barnes calls Ross a "recovering multiple," much like a "recovering" alcoholic in that she may never be "cured." However, Barnes does not believe there are regressions once therapeutic progress begins. After two years in therapy, she can call on the others' particular strengths in stressful situations without losing control. She has not experienced "total splitting" (losing consciousness) for six months, he said.
At Barnes' suggestion, Ross sent the Nun on permanent retreat. Wolf has received permission to rip up old magazines and newspapers but nothing else. After Alice was told to stay in a closet for a while, she no longer speaks to Barnes, he said. "But Richard said she (Alice) would soon." When Alice seems violent, the others "gang up on her" and do not let her out, Barnes said.
Ross believes there is no constructive purpose in confronting any of her childhood tormentors. But last Christmas, she returned home for a family visit. "I had to go back to make sure I could," she said. "I needed to see my mother again." Her mother and stepfather are separated now. Both are "born-again" Christians.
However, when she saw the face that belonged to the familiar footsteps, street-wise Richard and a motherly personality, Catherine, came out to help, she said. When the family played Bible Trivia, it was Richard who joined in. "I can't handle religion," she said.
Therapy Has Been Painful
The difference now, she explained, is that she does not lose consciousness when the others "take the spotlight. It's as though I step aside and look over someone's shoulder," she explained.
Therapy has been painful, said Ross. Not only did detailed memories of childhood incest return, she remembered she was raped in her second marriage. "In the beginning I was always unsettled. My head was fuller for a few days. So full, I thought it would explode. There were times I never thought I'd make it one week to the next. Then this summer, all of a sudden, it clicked and I thought, hey, this is working."
While she believes wholeheartedly she is a multiple personality, she said she is unsure she has accepted it emotionally. She worries some personality will come out at work and jeopardize her job as when the Kid once misspelled words she was arranging on a marquee.
In one way, Ross is grateful for her inner family. "They lived my life for me when I wasn't able to do it," she said. "It was my defense mechanism and it helped me stay alive."
But her new life is a drastic improvement, she said.
"I never thought I could be happy," she said. "But I am."
To mark her passage from chaos to control, she gave herself a new name that mirrored what she wants to do: Prosper.
She describes Prosper as outgoing and a good friend. Ross smiled. "I'm getting to like her more."