Q&A With Karen: Question 1

admin on Jun 14th 2008

How do you explain the success of the therapeutic relationship you shared with Dr. Baer?

Dr. Baer allowed me to build trust. I couldn’t trust anyone, nor did I have the strength to allow another person into my inner world, to know the extent of what I suffered. The only one I ever chose to share my secrets with was Dr. Baer. My “alters” and I survived on blind faith and put all our trust into Dr. Baer and our work together. Somewhere within me was the determination to survive, but I couldn’t do it alone.

Do you have a question for Karen? Leave it in the comments below and she will answer it right here on the Switching Time blog.

Filed in Questions for Karen | 232 responses so far

232 Responses to “Q&A With Karen: Question 1”

  1. Sister Mary Beatriceon 03 Feb 2009 at 5:45 am

    Dear Karen,

    It’s so nice to read your answers here. I admire you for your strength and ability to share, you are truly one of God’s chosen. Dr. Richard Baer must’ve done a great job helping you help yourself get to this point. Sharing. Caring. Being thoughtful and respectful to all including the naysayers who do not deserve your attention or response. I have to ask? Are you being forced to share and answer questions or do you wish to share? I don’t mean any disrespect towards your agents or Dr. Baer; I am just concerned about you. I am thrilled that you are able to help without shame. God bless you!

    Sister Mary Beatrice
    West Virginia

  2. Lorrie and Danon 07 Feb 2009 at 2:06 pm

    My God Karen?

    You are full of fascinating stories! I read your answer about the hand accident and how you got you driver’s license. I barely got my license just being me. What a way to go? I bet Holdon took the whole class. How do you think you passed the test? Do you recall any part of the drivers ed class? I think its great how you just did it, took the test and all. Did you by a dress that day for the wedding you were going to? Was it Holdon who picked out your dress or did he just drive you to the mall? If I knew you I would kiss the ground you walk on. Sweet Jesus you are awesome! Don’t get insulted but you really had me and my husband laughing.

    Lorrie and Dan

  3. Jillianon 09 Feb 2009 at 3:18 am


    What type of things trigger you? In the show USOTARA I didn’t notice anything major when her alters change. In your book you said there were triggers. Do the same triggers have the same affect now? Can you name a few triggers?


  4. Drew Marieon 09 Feb 2009 at 3:22 am

    Dear Karen,

    Just need to know what happens to you when you are confronted with a problem now that you don’t have others? If someone hurts you who helps you?

    Drew Marie

  5. Inezon 09 Feb 2009 at 4:02 am

    Dear Karen,

    I was really afraid for you when I read your story. I am happy you survived. I have this nagging question, I was abused in sort of similiar ways that you were. I finished therapy seven years ago. I did well for about four years and have recently slipped back. I feel suicidal all the time and hate the idea of calling my old therapist. Would you’ve called your old doctor if he was still alive? I heard in a news report that Richard Baer died last year. I am sorry for you. I would like to talk to him but don’t know if he’ll remember me. I had D.I.D. and was in thereapy for six years. I didn’t have alters like you.I dissociated myself.


  6. Babyon 09 Feb 2009 at 4:10 am

    Hi Karen,

    A lot of answers here! I had questions and all were answered!
    Well still wanted to wish you and Richard the best in life.
    Thank you for contributing this case study to science.
    Your book was well written! Well received.
    You made an amazing team, author and co-author.
    What an life worthy experience.

    Baby, my nickname

  7. Paulon 09 Feb 2009 at 6:14 pm


    In the show USofT there isn’t any way a did patient would act in such a dramatic sexual manner. Agree? I am married to a did patient and let me tell you, it’s bullshit. Not one of my wife alters would act in the way Tara’s alters do. My wife was sexually abused and no way was she like Tara. My wife never even walked around the house in her underwear. My wife felt ashamed of her body. Her alters were very skittish to. Where do you think this story line came from? What are alters supposed to do? and how are alters supposed to act? What about medication, do you agree there is a need for medication?


  8. Justinon 15 Feb 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Karen,

    What happened to the new web site?


  9. Mary Beth Ton 15 Feb 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Dear Karen,

    How are things going in the book world? Why hasn’t Oprah called you? What is wrong with her? I admired Oprah once but no more. It appears that many of her shows have to do with what she wants rather than what the people in the world want. Like this Edgar Sawtelle book. I read it because it was on her show. Did not rate it high. I guess if Oprah said it’s great everyone believes her. Now your book is meaningful and true. I feel sad that you lost your chance at the book succeeding. I will continue to be a fan of yours and Richard Baer. Just because Oprah doesn’t care doesn’t mean your book failed. No one needs Oprah to sell a book. Our book club use to read every book she recommended, we stopped at Edgar Sawtelle. I don’t think Oprah reads the books she promotes in full. If she did I’d be shocked. It would to great if she told your story so that people would learn from it. The new show United States of Tara makes your book look bad. How can fiction over interest nonfiction? I swear if Oprah puts the cast of Tara on her show without you that would be a disgrace to the medical world. Chin Up!

    Mary Beth T

  10. Barthon 16 Feb 2009 at 4:17 am

    Hey, Karen!

    Are you a therapist? Your answers make so much sense! You are such a great asset to the viewers of USoT. I swear I learned more of the illness through you. I know, I know, you constantly state you are not a therapist and post only from your own personal experiences but hell! That’s what us people need! A real tru life healed multiple. Why aren’t you writing for the show? Tell your agent to hook you up! If I had Steven number I’d call him> What does Richard Baer think of this shit?


  11. Kevinon 16 Feb 2009 at 4:19 am


    I say peanut butter. USOT is contaminated peanut butter, will need to close and reopen with safe measures in place. I bet you make better peanut butter that is not contaminated. So make peanut butter please.


  12. Marc & Deniseon 17 Feb 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Hi Karen,

    Drugs? Alcohol? Addictions of any sort? Are people like you likely to have addiction problems? The way I figure it it would be to difficult for a multiple (I like that your call your self this one choice word) to engage is such behavior. What’s your opinion on the above?

    Thank you for being honest about your selves, past and present.

    Marc & Denise
    Toledo, Ohio

  13. Marvinon 22 Feb 2009 at 2:46 am

    Hi Karen,

    What do the pictures of the upside down hand tree and the stars falling from the sky to Jesus mean to you? Do you remember what Jensen was thinking when he drew them? What about the picture of the devil in bike clothes?


  14. Keithon 22 Feb 2009 at 2:50 am


    If a alter inside you committed suicide in your mind how would you live? It’s a crazy question but I have alters that threatened to kill themselves inside, not on the outside. So if there’s a death internally what will happen? I think you are the first person who understands how people with multiple personalities work. I know you can answer this easily. Thank you very, very much. I like and admire you.


  15. Pheobeon 25 Feb 2009 at 4:43 am

    Dear Karen,

    If someone would hurt you now would your old alters come back or would you create new ones? I have a brother who integrated five of five personalities and swear one returned. He was hit by a car and has been recovering from a back injury. A alter he had was mean. Do you think he came back? What’s your suggestion? I have never read a more optimistic book than Switching Time. Tell Richard Baer thank you for making you well so that you can help others like me. I am worried about my brother. He lives with me and frightens me.


  16. Justine Laurenon 01 Mar 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Dear Karen,

    I am shocked by your story. Never read anything quite so horrific. I am questioning something I find hard to believe. Don’t take offense, please. I would like to know more about the priest who witnessed your being abused.. Did he participate in the act or was he a bystander? What Catholic Church priest would allow such things to happen? How does a group of men find each other have a morbid common idea of abusing children in a church basement? Where was this church? Did you report the priest’s action to the Archbishop or Pope? What was their response? Who do you blame? Did Richard Baer defend you claim?

    Justine Lauren

  17. Sophie McCannon 01 Mar 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Hi Karen,

    Amazing Read! Your life challenge must’ve been difficult? I am inspired by you and have read every answer to your every question on this site. Did you know you answered over five hundred questions and the marker only reads 261???? Who set the counter, they should fix it? When I pressed the print button to take a few pages with me to read, over six hundred pages printed. I had to add the q and a’s to be sure. Un-freakin-believable!

    Good luck to you and Richard Baer. Thank you for bringing truth to multiple personality disorder. Tell Richard Baer I didn’t like him at first but had grown fond of him at the end. Those readers who talk shit against him probably never read the book!

    Sophie McCann

  18. Sally, Utahon 13 Mar 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Karen, Response to Measlam.

    I don’t believe you. Your answer to Measlam was incorrect. I read the book. There is no possible way Baer was the author without you the co-author. Most co-author write less than what you contributed and have equal billing. Why isn’t your name on the front of the book? Why would Baer take ownership when it’s not his to take? I see you answered mechanically to protect Baer. Stand up. Don’t allow another man to control you. Can’t you see he belittled you?

    God help you Karen, for you continue to be abused.


  19. Rosemarieon 13 Mar 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Dear Karen,

    I admire you for helping people understand multiplicity on the message board of United States of Tara. I have learned so much from you. I am personally thankful you are not a therapist and someone who has gone through a life of hell only to come back and help others. I don’t know how you do it. I hope in helping others you are taking care of yourself. Are you receiving support from your old therapist?


  20. Mikeon 14 Mar 2009 at 5:48 pm


    If one alter of a multiple personality chose to kill someone, would another alter prevent it? What if you were injured, unable to defend yourself as you lay in a street somewhere dying? How would your alters protect you at that point? Would you have an out of body experience in an altered state or as yourself?


  21. Tony from LAon 14 Mar 2009 at 5:50 pm


    Multiple questions. When your alters were active were you more depressed or less depressed? As an integrated recovering multiple do you feel more depressed or less depressed than before integration? Would you integrate again if you had the choice? Was integration worth it?

    Thank you.
    Tony from LA

  22. Dollyon 14 Mar 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Hi Karen,

    I can see that you answered a million questions and how wonderful you are to. What kind of questions to you prefer people ask you? Are all questions answered? I have a few questions. Has your dream been fulfilled? Do you have a secret wish? What hurts you? last one…. Have you accomplished all that you wished to?


  23. Walteron 15 Mar 2009 at 2:38 am


    If you could choose one word to define yourself what would it be?


  24. Baileyon 16 Mar 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Hi Karen Overhill, The answer you gave RO was interesting. In Chicago the old neighborhoods had very distinguished hiding places. Hidden underground, dark walkways. You mentioned a church stairwell. How did you get there? Did anyone ever get in your way? Can you write a visual?

  25. Kimberly, a neighboron 16 Mar 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Dear Karen,

    How are you? I read your story in one day and can’t stop thinking of you and what you went through. If I knew a child was abused I never tell anyone because fear I would be accused. Right? I’m confused after reading your story. I changed my mind and want to tell but feel bad and can’t report this girls abuser. Should I talk to the ten year old and tell her I know about her and the guy that’s abusing her? Or should I report what I know to the police without telling her? I hear her scream every night through our adjoining walls. I can’t sleep without being startled awake by her screams.. I think she screams for only ten minutes and goes back to sleep. I don’t really know. I’m guessing. The girl screams at the same time of night at least four times a week.

    Kimberly, a neighbor

  26. Tomon 19 Mar 2009 at 3:20 am

    Do you have any addictions? Do multiple personalities usually have addiction problems?

  27. KCon 21 Mar 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Karen Overhill,
    Thank you for being so kind to the idiots of this world. Patience is a virtue. A jerk is a jerk and will always be a jerk. I see that you still acknowledge the jerks who ask you accusatory questions . I don’t know how you do it but there needs to be more people like you. Richard Baer did a great job with you. Are you like this because of his help or this is how you always are?

    Antlanta, GA

  28. Matton 25 Mar 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Karen or Richard,

    Can’t buy the book from amazon? Was told all HC sold out, will there be a second edition? I hate trade paperback? If a second edition prints have them add the reader group question to the end. I bought six books as gifts to share with my colleagues. Don’t want to buy second editions, want first.. Great work you two!


  29. Roseon 25 Mar 2009 at 1:25 pm


    What a beautiful quote from Audrey Hepburn you left on facebook. Beautiful Woman. Do you believe all woman who have the traits stated are beautiful? What kind of woman are ugly? why do men always pick the stupid pretty girls. Not saying your ugly. I’m trying to figure out if men are more likely to abuse ugly women? You are a beautiful woman.


  30. Wilhelmon 26 Mar 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Hello Karen.

    I am student from Germany. When is book coming to our land? In America now until June. Would like to share book with friends at home. I have heard what it is about and are interested to read my self. Thank you.


  31. Dollyon 26 Mar 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Okay Karen,

    Richard Baer is great. I can tell by your answers how much he has done for you. I can tell he means a lot to you. I would like to know how you, someone who was so abused found a non abusive doctor? If you are a real multiple personality you would choose an abusive doctor to treat you not one you grow to trust and respect. Doesn’t being abused attrack more abuse? I want to know what you consider non abusive behavior. I want to know if your definition of abuse is different than mine. I thought multiple personalities look for the same character in their doctor that was like their abusers. If you liked your doctor from the start then he is abusive because you didn’t know non-abusive behavior. Don’t you think you chose him to work for you because you sensed he was a abuser?


  32. DKon 30 Mar 2009 at 2:04 am

    Thank you for responding to my earlier comment. I have learned lots from your responses to others about DID/MPD that helps me better understand the many behaviors, issues, experiences I’ve been having.

    I’m wondering if you had experiences of lost time that resulted in loss of details about things you’ve agreed to do or things you’ve put someplace and then suddenly find they’re gone. For example, the other day I thought I had put a lot of change in my coat pocket. I hung my coat at work and when I went to grab the change it was gone. I checked all the places I might usually put money but it was gone. It wasn’t a lot of money but it’s the ‘not knowing’ if I put it someplace, spent it, found a new place to put it and don’t know or if it was stolen that bothers me. My husband suggested reporting the loss to our security people but I can’t because I can’t be sure the money was even there. I won’t argue with people when they say I said I would do something because my memory of events and details is not reliable at this time. Prior to a major break down several years ago that resulted in a breakdown in coping strategies within my system, I would have known if I put the money in my pocket or agreed to something. (Maybe that’s because prior to system failure I was operating with primarily one or two parts rather than parts that number into the teens) I feel like I can’t trust myself as a result and find this to be very frustrating. We’ve tried in therapy to find ways to improve more cohesive communication but there’s a few parts inside that are quite resistant to this and seem to be able to interfere with awareness.

    Does this improve with integration and are there any particular strategies you used to deal with ensuring information was maintained system wide?

    I can’t tell you how important it has been to me, at this time, to know there’s at least one other person who has worked their way through what feels at times like a hopeless mess! Many of the other books/stories just do not fit with my experiences. I can be greatful for a wonderful therapist, supportive husband, child and work colleagues who don’t know about my DID but take me whatever way I am, appreciating my skills and letting my idiosyncracies slide.


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