SYLVIA THE WOOD NYMPH
Robyn Hussa Farrell and Tim Farrell co-Direct this feature documentary — the true story of a woman who struggled with Multiple Personality Disorder (now called Dissociative Identity Disorder), which she experienced as a result of considerable childhood trauma.
The film takes an intimate and personal look at Sylvia's journey toward healing through the eyes of a compassionate psychiatrist and her close family and friends.
Fiscal Sponsor: The Film Collaborative
AbOUT THE FILM
Sylvia The Wood Nymph is the story of a child born into a poor family in rural Georgia. From the time she was an infant Sylvia suffered severe sexual abuse and neglect from her father, brother, uncle and mother. She was not allowed in the family home. She was left to fend for herself in the woods, naked and living off scraps of food left in a dog bowl on the family’s front porch.
This long pattern of assault and neglect left Sylvia with a fractured and incomplete identity. Over time, she developed six distinct personalities to help her cope with her past and dissociate from her memories. Despite the many obstacles she faced, Sylvia was able to function in the world, unaware of the many layers that formed the cracked mirror of her identity.
Then in the late 80’s, a profound meeting took place in the offices of psychiatrist Timothy Brewerton of MUSC, where the complex web of Sylvia’s mental state was revealed. At first meeting, Sylvia was merely looking for some respite from a long struggle with physical issues, but soon, both she and Dr. Brewerton would learn much more about the battle her unconscious mind had been fighting to keep the painful memories in check. Through several years of therapy, Dr. Brewerton was able to help Sylvia discover all of the collective parts of her identity and integrate them back together as one, resulting in a full recovery.
Finally, Sylvia was able to fall in love, find friendship, connectivity and lead a full life.
Sylvia also offered an amazing gift for all who suffered from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). She allowed Dr. Brewerton to film all of their sessions in order to ensure that others would see that DID is real and ensure that help would finally be offered to those who have been ignored or misdiagnosed for centuries.
These remarkable video interviews, filmed between July 1988 and April 1991, show -- for the first time in medical history -- a patient switching personalities in real time. They also reveal in stark detail the complex emotional journey an individual must follow from DID towards full integration. These tapes are a lasting legacy of Sylvia The Wood Nymph and her wish that anyone struggling can learn that healing and recovery is possible.
We are grateful to The Film Collaborative for their Fiscal Sponsorship of Sylvia the Wood Nymph. To make a tax-deductible donation or to learn more, click here.
Donations are tax-deductible through
The Film Collaborative
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CAST & CREW
ROBYN HUSSA FARRELL and TIM FARREL
WHITE ELEPHANT ENTERPRISES
ROBYN HUSSA FARRELL
BETHANY BRAND, PH.D.
TIMOTHY D. BREWERTON, M.D.
ROBERT M. POST, M.D.
FRANK W. PUTNAM, M.D.
RICHARD J. LOEWENSTEIN, M.D.
“LAURA” – INDIVIDUAL IN RECOVERY
SYLVIA’S HUSBAND, DON
SYLVIA’S CLOSEST FRIEND
We are looking to partner to raise awareness and support for this project.
Producers / Sponsors
Individuals with lived experience
Family members with lived experience
Community members who are trauma-informed