Busy Inside

Karen, a therapist, helps people who suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder—the condition she has herself, juggling seventeen alter egos of her own.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
70 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


In this poetic exploration of the much-misunderstood condition, “Busy Inside” follows Karen and her patient Marshay on their complicated quests for self.

55min version and discussion guide included.
Group screenings with Q&A can be booked directly through the filmmakers.

Featured review

In a remarkable narrative twist, a social worker who specializes in treating patients with multiple personalities (known as dissociative identity disorder) has 17 personalities of her own.
-CBS News
-CBS News


"BUSY INSIDE" tells the true story of Karen and Marshay, two idiosyncratic women with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Karen Marshall is a respected therapist who treats patients with DID -- the condition of having multiple personalities often resulting from child abuse. Among her patients is Marshay, a biracial musician, who sometimes struggles to believe that she really has DID. Marshay works with Karen to overcome her painful childhood memories, embrace her multiple selves, and find peace. But, Karen is still haunted by her own past, juggling seventeen of her own alter egos.

This access to is remarkable given that most with DID are reluctant to reveal their condition. Nevertheless, Karen and Marshay feel their participation will help others. Karen and Marshay’s brave choice to share their stories will enable audiences to understand that DID is a more nuanced and more arduous version of the various selves we present.


The new film shows the challenges involved in learning to live with the disorder.
-The New York Times
-The New York Times
An intimate look into the daily lives of people experiencing this disorder.
-Psychology Today
-Psychology Today
This is a story of a complex journey towards healing and acceptance. Destigmatizing DID, Busy Inside highlights the different ways one experiences co-consciousness.
-PBS's World Channel
-PBS's World Channel
The viewing experience of the film is profound. It humanizes those with DID as we're able to share in their everyday trials and triumphs. The intimate nature of the film prompts us to question how our own brains and inner worlds are constructed.
-The Trauma and Mental Health Report
-The Trauma and Mental Health Report
I've watched the film twice since downloading and wow, it brought up a lot of emotions for me. I feel like it's a beautiful way to show people what it's like to have multiple parts inside. I've suggested it to my client to watch and will be letting some colleagues that work with trauma and parts know to watch it too. Thank you!
-Kylie Maree
psychologist, Australia
I have DID through childhood trauma so it really was beautifully and articulately put across. It's brilliant that the explanation of where it comes from was portrayed in that as lots of people darent go there even now with the taboos surrounding it. I am so pleased it's out there.
United Kingdom
I'm a film student making a documentary about community care treatment of severe mental illness; I was in the audience at your last showing of Busy Inside in NYC and it brought me to tears. I thought your approach with the patients was honest, intimate, compassionate, and totally unbiased.
NY, United States
I admire this film's sharpness, bravery and the director's ability to see and share the inner worlds of the people.
-Olga Movchan
psychotherapist, United Kingdom
I thought that you really caught the "parts" of the participants. I think therapists should see it, with discussion on how to heal those parts.
-Robin Shapiro
psychotherapist, clinical consultant, United States
I urge anyone dubious of DID to watch Busy Inside ... Its a poignant document of the lived-experience of individuals, family members, partners, and mental health professionals making inspiring progress in healing survivors of extreme maltreatment during their most vulnerable years.
-A Hermanstan
viewer from NYC
As a male survivor who integrated multiples in my early life, I'm grateful for Busy Inside, your appreciated documentary. If I may. I hope it helps inspires survivors to survive. Because we owe it to ourselves.
United States

Awards and Screenings

Director Commentary

From the film director Olga Lvoff:

The desire to make a difference by telling the stories of trauma survivors and fascination with the incredible capacities of human mind to withstand negative experience is the reason why I became a filmmaker. We want to return dignity to those with DID and have society empathize with them. We believe that film is a perfect medium for achieving this goal because it is best at giving people with DID a voice. It is through a personal and intimate documentary that we want to share Karen and Marshay’s living experience with the viewer.

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • Resources for Educators

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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