June 4, 2021 Comments Off on Focus on ISSTD History -An Interview with Alison Miller
Focus on ISSTD History
An Interview with Alison Miller
….These first DID clients were all members of the local Satanic cult.
KATE: I guess some mental health professionals, hearing stories of extreme abuse, may be tempted to think it is all made up or delusional, but you didn’t get a chance to disbelieve, as your situation was a little unique. ALISON: Yes. I had these four clients, all abused by the same cult. They unknowingly corroborated each other – they had information about events and abuse… and it was still going on, these were current events … I was followed by these abusers…. I had all kinds of corroboration and evidence. I tried to work with the police, but it didn’t work out the way it should have.
….At that point ISSTD was talking about ritual abuse. There were professional presentations on the topic.KATE: What was that like? What did it feel like to be at a conference where other people were treating the same issues you had encountered in therapy? ALISON: It was really exciting … I figured finally there are other people dealing with this. I can learn from them. People talked in the corridors… KATE: And then something happened for the field. Not so long after that the FMS started and people began talking about ritual abuse, even DID itself, was something that crazy therapists made up.
ALISON: Yes, it was very strange. Two years later everything changed. There were no presentations on organized abuse. Bennet Braun had been sued and Judith Peterson, who I had done training with, had criminal charges brought against her. Everyone was frightened about this. What we were being taught at ISSTD now was don’t talk about these things and don’t ever suggest anything to your client. Well, I already knew that you never do suggestive therapy! I had already been taught that. That was just basic! But this went beyond that. It was about shutting it down, and ‘you don’t know if you can believe a client and you need to make it clear to them that you are not taking sides’. It just felt like everything was being discredited and you couldn’t talk about it. But my clients were making really good progress, even those still being harassed, they were still making great progress. And what I was hearing at ISSTD was you know … back track, be careful, cover your arse. That’s what it was all about, but they didn’t use those words. Yet when someone has been through an horrendous experience they need to know that you care. They need you to care about what they have experienced, even if their memories are not 100% accurate, because memories are never 100% accurate. They don’t need you to sit behind your desk and act like these memories don’t matter and they’ve made it all up.
KATE: We have launched ourselves straight into the present as that debate around trauma and memory is one which is still alive today. I note that JTD is having a special edition on the issue of false memories. We still write on it and talk about it. Frontiers had a series of articles which you contributed to, where we talked about this issue. And it’s a very, very complex issue as we talk about to what extent we remain therapeutically neutral. I guess the core of the issue is that people feel differently about what therapeutic neutrality means and about believing or disbelieving memories. It is still a hot debate today.
ALISON: Yes, it is, and I did contribute it to it most recently. I think the debate reduced for a while when the FMS people managed to shut us down, but it has re-awakened. It’s all still there. Essentially, it is the survivor who needs to figure out what is real and not real in their memories. It is not my job. It was my job to listen to the client, to be compassionate, and to help them open up and talk about what’s important for them to talk about. And that is all. I think as long as I remember the limits to my job, then that’s okay. It was not my job to sit there and say ‘this is all true’ and then suggest more. But (equally) it was not my job to sit back and say, ‘I neither believe you or disbelieve you… and I think your attachment to your father is more important than what you are saying your father did.’ Or some such thing….
KATE: Yes, indeed. One of the other things I did want to talk to about is your books. I think pretty much all of us working in organized abuse have them on our bookshelves. There are so few books written in the field and you have been a pioneer, writing to my knowledge, some of the very few books in the field.
ALISON: I think they are still the only books devoted to this issue in such detail. And I published Healing the Unimaginable in 2012. There are a few good articles and the British put out some great compilations, but I think my books are still the only books that talk about what it is in the mind of the victim, how the abuse works, how the abusers set up the personality systems….
ALISON: I think it’s really important that therapists understand that this is organized crime. It is psychologically sophisticated organized crime. There is a set up that as soon as the survivor begins to disclose, there will be parts inside that go and tell the group that they have made disclosures. Perpetrator groups will be prepared to shut people down and we have to learn how to handle that. We need to understand the clinical issues, as well as how these groups work… back in the 1930’s people had to learn how the mafia worked before they could deal with it. The same with this situation….
I was thinking about what you said about needing to learn about these groups. One thing that seems helpful for our field is that we are beginning to learn more about organized abuse in general. There is research into the production of child sex abuse materials, into trafficking of children and young people across borders and between groups. We’ve had various enquiries into organizational abuse, including the Australian Royal Commission. Through this enquiry, for the first time the average Australian person realised that that big organized and semi organized groups can abuse children for many decades, cover it up, get away with it, pass children from perpetrator to perpetrator, and protect perpetrators. We saw that uncovered here and I am sure other countries have seen this too. I think that all these things have given validity to our field.
ALISON: Yes, very much so. And the fact that these groups actually put stuff on the internet and then get caught, you can see it is happening, and now, on some occasions, police have actually rescued children. KATE: And those who think that children must have been making it up, that these atrocities could not happen, because humans could not do that to each other, must now face the fact that police officers are literally looking at online material and studying it as evidence. The police know these things did happen to children as they see photos and videos of it.
ALISON: I think the production of materials is an important issue. Pretty much all my clients have been involved with that. There was a studio in Toronto (3000 miles away) which three of my clients had been involved with, one of them as a photographer … and this was a long time before all these things came out in the media, in the public. It is a horrible thing, but it is good that it is being discovered and the world is becoming aware that it does exist….
Kavanaugh accuser ‘faces death threats’, The truth about false assault accusations by women – false accusations are rare, Grace Road
September 19, 2018 § Leave a comment
– Christine Blasey Ford: Kavanaugh accuser ‘faces death threats’
– The truth about false assault accusations by women
– ‘I lost my entire family to a cult’: How one woman escaped Grace Road
– False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) “a pseudoscientific syndrome that was developed to defend against claims of child abuse.”
– False allegations of child sexual abuse by children are rare
– Recovered Memory Data
– Memory disturbances and dissociative amnesia in Holocaust survivors
– False memory syndrome proponents tactics
Christine Blasey Ford: Kavanaugh accuser ‘faces death threats’
The woman who accuses US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her will not testify to the Senate next week, says her lawyer.
Christine Blasey Ford’s attorney told CNN her client has been “deflecting death threats and harassment”.
Lawyer Lisa Banks said before her client goes to Congress, she wants an FBI investigation into Judge Kavanaugh.
The nominee, who denies the claim, has met officials at the White House for a second day….
Prof Ford, a psychology lecturer in California, has accused Judge Kavanaugh of drunkenly trying to remove her clothing in 1982 when they were both teenagers in a Washington DC suburb.
Judge Kavanaugh, 53, has called the allegation “completely false.”…
Prof Ford’s legal team say they have written to Senate Judiciary Committee declining its offer to testify.
Her lawyer told CNN on Tuesday night: “It’s premature to talk about a hearing on Monday because she [Prof Ford] has been dealing with the threats, the harassment and the safety of her family and that’s what she’s been focused on for the last couple of days.”….
She said that since going public with her allegation in the Washington Post on Sunday, Prof Ford has been trying to work out where her family are going to sleep at night.
The legal team’s letter says that Prof Ford’s family has been forced to move out of their home, her email has been hacked and she has been impersonated online….
The correspondence says “a full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions”.
The development comes a day after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley announced plans for the hearing….
The truth about false assault accusations by women
Katty Kay Presenter, BBC World News
18 September 2018
According to various academic studies over the past 20 years, only 2-10% of rape accusations are fake (Prof Ford’s lawyer says she believes this was attempted rape).
Two to 10% is too many, but it is not a big proportion of the total. Fake rape accusations get a lot of attention….
False rape accusations very rarely lead to convictions or wrongful jail time.
A useful article in Quartz by Sandra Newman points to research from the British Home Office showing that in the early 2000s, of the 216 cases that were classified as false allegations, only six led to an arrest.
Of those, only two had charges brought against them and those two were found to be false. …
The idea that lots of men are going to prison because they’ve been falsely accused of rape isn’t supported by the facts.
Moreover, official figures suggest the number of rapes and sexual assaults which are never reported or prosecuted far outweighs the number of men convicted of rape because of fake accusations. Indeed it far outweighs the number of fake accusations, period.
Figures from the US Bureau of Justice Statistics suggest only 35% of all sexual assaults are even reported to the police….
What kind of person makes false rape accusations?
By Sandra Newman May 11, 2017
Innocent men rarely face rape charges
….Let’s start with the idea that false rape accusations ruin lives, and are therefore a universal risk to men. Generally, feminists dismiss this idea by arguing that false accusations are rare—only between 2% and 10% of all reports are estimated to be false. What’s equally important to know, however, is that false rape accusations almost never have serious consequences.
This may be hard to believe, especially considering that rape is a felony, punishable with years of prison. However—to start with this worst-case scenario—it’s exceedingly rare for a false rape allegation to end in prison time. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, since records began in 1989, in the US there are only 52 cases where men convicted of sexual assault were exonerated because it turned out they were falsely accused. By way of comparison, in the same period, there are 790 cases in which people were exonerated for murder.
Furthermore, in the most detailed study ever conducted of sexual assault reports to police, undertaken for the British Home Office in the early 2000s, out of 216 complaints that were classified as false, only 126 had even gotten to the stage where the accuser lodged a formal complaint. Only 39 complainants named a suspect. Only six cases led to an arrest, and only two led to charges being brought before they were ultimately deemed false. (Here, as elsewhere, it has to be assumed that some unknown percentage of the cases classified as false actually involved real rapes; what they don’t involve is countless innocent men’s lives being ruined.)
So the evidence suggests that even in the rare case where a man is the subject of a false rape complaint, chances are that the charges will be dropped without him ever learning about the allegations. This raises an obvious question: Why would false accusers go through the trouble of making a report to police, only to instantly withdraw it?…
‘I lost my entire family to a cult’: How one woman escaped Grace Road
A South Korean church which believes global famine is imminent has set up base in Fiji, where it’s gained considerable influence but faced growing allegations of abuse. One woman who fled what she believes is a cult told the BBC’s Yvette Tan she lost her family in the process – but has no regrets.
Seoyeon Lee had one chance to escape and she took it, running down the road in Fiji in her pyjamas and flip-flops.
“I was crying and I looked hysterical,” she told the BBC.
The then 21-year-old was being pursued by members of Grace Road – including her own mother – who she says had tricked her into going to the Pacific island nation.
“I would have killed myself if they’d made me stay,” she says.
‘I think it’s a cult’
A year earlier, in 2013, Seoyeon had come home to South Korea from the US, where she was studying, for the summer. Her mum was suffering from uterine cancer but had refused treatment.
She told Seoyeon she would only seek treatment if she went with her to Grace Road Church.
“It was very bizarre,” said Seoyeon. “There were people screaming, crying, speaking in tongues and the sermon was about how the end times were coming.
“I told my mum, I think it’s a cult but she didn’t believe me.”….
South Korea has a significant Christian population, and in recent decades many small, fringe churches have sprung up, some of them developing cult-like characteristics.
Grace Road, which insists it is not a cult, started out small in 2002, but now numbers about 1,000 followers, according to Prof Tark Ji-il of Busan Presbyterian University, who has closely studied Korean cults….
“When my dad died, we were left a certain sum of money. I’m pretty sure my mum took all that and gave it to the church,” she said. “They make you sell your property, quit your job, cut off your friends.”
The group has built up a sizeable business empire, from construction to restaurants to agriculture.
“Farming is our original mission because we need to prepare for the famine, we need to be self-sufficient,” Daniel Kim, president of GR Group and Ms Shin’s son told the BBC….
‘No choice but to stay’
But over the past year, a bleak picture has emerged of life inside Grace Road.
Five church members who had returned to South Korea accused Ms Shin of confiscating their passports and holding them against their will. They alleged the church used forced labour and issued ritual beatings so harsh that they led to the death of one follower….
In July, Ms Shin was arrested while back in South Korea on charges of assault and confinement. She was alleged to have abandoned the church members, confiscated their passports, and overseen a brutal regime.
Then in August, Fijian and South Korean authorities conducted a joint raid on the church in Fiji, arresting Mr Kim and several other senior members as part of a slavery investigation.
They were released without charge, but according to Fiji’s police commissioner, investigations are “ongoing”.
A documentary by South Korean broadcaster SBS last month included footage of Ms Shin beating her followers.
Chief Chun Jae-hong of the Korean National Police Agency told SBS that many had “donated their entire fortune to the church, so even if they go back they are penniless… so they have no choice [but to stay]”….
False Memory Syndrome
The term False Memory Syndrome was created in 1992 by the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF). It has been called “a pseudoscientific syndrome that was developed to defend against claims of child abuse.” The FMSF was created by parents who claimed to be falsely accused of child sexual abuse. The False Memory Syndrome was described as “a widespread social phenomenon where misguided therapists cause patients to invent memories of sexual abuse.” Research has shown that most delayed memories of childhood abuse are true. In general, it has been shown that false allegations of childhood sexual abuse are rare, with some studies showing rates as low as one percent and some studies showing slightly higher rates. It has been found that children tend to understate rather than overstate the extent of any abuse experienced. It has been stated that misinformation on the topic of child sexual abuse is widespread and that the media have contributed to this problem by reporting favorably on unproven and controversial claims like the False Memory Syndrome. https://childabusewiki.org/index.php?title=False_Memory_Syndrome
False allegations of child sexual abuse by children are rare
“allegations made by child victims match closely with confessions of pedophiles”
“The evidence indicates that very few (children) lied originally.”
“children tend to minimize and deny abuse, not exaggerate or over-report such incidents”
How often do children’s reports of abuse turn out to be false? Research has consistently shown that false allegations of child sexual abuse by children are rare. Jones and McGraw examined 576 consecutive referrals of child sexual abuse to the Denver Department of Social Services, and categorized the reports as either reliable or fictitious. In only 1% of the total cases were children judged to have advanced a fictitious allegation. https://ritualabuse.us/research/false-allegations-of-child-sexual-abuse-by-children-are-rare/
Memory disturbances and dissociative amnesia in Holocaust survivors http://blogs.brown.edu/recoveredmemory/scholarly-resources/holocaust/
The following articles provide compelling scientific evidence in support of the phenomena of dissociation and recovered memory in Holocaust survivors. In addition to supporting the phenomenon in general, these articles also counter the argument that recovered memory is (a) no more than a recent cultural “fad” and (b) specific to false accusers of sexual abuse.
Recovered Memory Data with information on recovered memory corroboration, theories on recovered memory, legal information, physiological evidence for memory suppression, replies to skeptics and books and articles on memory http://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/recovered-memory-data/
Recovered memory corroboration rates – There are many studies that show fairly high corroboration rates for recovered memories. http://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/recovered-memory-corroboration-rates/
False memory syndrome proponents tactics
False memory syndrome proponents have done the following to try and ensure that only their point of view is in the public view.
1) Harassing debate opponents
2) Misrepresenting the data in the field
3) Controlling the media
November 6, 2014 Comments Off on False Memory Syndrome: A False Construct
False Memory Syndrome: A False Construct
The term False Memory Syndrome was created in 1992. Research has shown that most delayed memories of childhood abuse are true. In general, it has been shown that false allegations of childhood sexual abuse are rare, with some studies showing rates as low as one percent and some studies showing slightly higher rates. It has been found that children tend to understate rather than overstate the extent of any abuse experienced. http://childabusewiki.org/index.php?title=False_Memory_Syndrome
Dallam, S. J. (2002). Crisis or Creation: A systematic examination of false memory claims. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse,9 (3/4), 9-36. “A review of the relevant literature demonstrates that the existence of such a syndrome lacks general acceptance in the mental health field, and that the construct is based on a series of faulty assumptions, many of which have been scientifically disproven. There is a similar lack of empirical validation for claims of a “false memory” epidemic.” http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/res/dallam/6.html
Memory, Abuse, and Science: Questioning Claims about the False Memory Syndrome Epidemic
Kenneth S. Pope http://www.kspope.com/memory/memory.php
False Memory Syndrome Facts Website http://fmsf.com/media.html
Memory & FMS https://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/
Recovered Memory Data https://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/recovered-memory-data/
Hall, J., Kondora, L. (2005) “True” and “False” Child Sexual Abuse Memories and Casey’s Phenomenological View of Remembering American Behavioral Scientist, 48, 10 p. 1339-1359 DOI: 10.1177/0002764205277012 “The notion of false accusation is often raised in cases where physical evidence is not available and a period of time has passed or when there has been a delay in recall of the events by a survivor of child sexual abuse. This is not to imply that false memories are not possible. This article outlines how rare they must be, however, based on historical factors and a phenomenological analysis of memory itself….Most scientists investigating traumatic memory doubt that memories of abuse could be planted.”
“The hypothesis that false memories can easily be implanted in psychotherapy…seriously overstates the available data. Since no studies have been conducted on suggested effects in psychotherapy per se, the idea of iatrogenic suggestion of false memories remains an untested hypothesis. Brown, Scheflin and Hammond (1998).” Memory, Trauma Treatment, And the Law” (W. W. Norton) ISBN 0-393-70254-5
False Memory Syndrome : A False Construct by Juliette Cutler Page “The concept of “recovered memory”, that is, memory of a traumatic event that had been forgotten for some period of time, has been variously explained by such mechanisms as repression, amnesia, and dissociation. However, there are over 100 years of reports and descriptions of recovered memory in the literature, including instances from times of war, torture, bereavement, natural disasters, and concentration camp imprisonment. (HOROWITZ) Many corroborated cases have been documented in instances of recovered memory of sexual abuse…”
Ground Lost: The False Memory/Recovered Memory Therapy Debate, by Alan Scheflin, Psychiatric Times 11/99, Vol. XVI Issue 11, “The appearance in the DSM-IV indicates that the concept of repressed memory is generally accepted in the relevant scientific community. This satisfies courts following the Frye v United States, 293 F.1013 (1923) or Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceutical, 113 S. Ct. 2786 (1993) rules regarding the admissibility of scientific testimony into evidence in court.” And “Although the science is limited on this issue, the only three relevant studies conclude that repressed memories are no more and no less accurate than continuous memories (Dalenberg, 1996; Widom and Morris, 1997; Williams, 1995). Thus, courts and therapists should consider repressed memories no differently than they consider ordinary memories.” At http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/p991137.html
The “False Memory” Defense: Using Disinformation and Junk Science in and out of Court
Charles L. Whitfield, M.D., F.A.S.A.M. “This article describes a seemingly sophisticated, but mostly contrived and often erroneous “false memory” defense, and compares it in a brief review to what the science says about the effect of trauma on memory. Child sexual abuse is widespread and dissociative/traumatic amnesia for it is common.” http://web.archive.org/web/20070914163211/http://childabuse.georgiacenter.uga.edu/both/whitfield/whitfield1.phtml
Commonwealth vs. Paul Shanley.
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, decided Jan. 15, 2010
The Leadership Council submitted an amicus brief in to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court advising the court on scientific knowledge regarding dissociative memory loss. On February 7, 2005, Paul Shanley was convicted of sexually abusing a child. The abuse occurred between 1983 and 1989 when the victim was attending classes at the church where the defendant served as a Catholic priest. Shanley appealed his conviction saying that it was based on recovered memory. His defense team contended that “…’repressed memory’ is a pernicious, unreliable, junk science notion without scientific verification.”
The LC submitted a brief explaining why this position regarding scientific acceptance of dissociative memory loss is inaccurate, and why the Court’s determination that testimony on dissociative memory loss and recovery is admissible was correct. The Court affirmed the conviction and held that ” the judge’s finding that the lack of scientific testing did not make unreliable the theory that an individual may experience dissociative amnesia was supported in the record, not only by expert testimony but by a wide collection of clinical observations and a survey of academic literature.”
Silencing the Victim: The Politics of Discrediting Child Abuse Survivors
As a victim of child abuse who proved my claims in a landmark civil suit, there have been many attempts to silence and discredit me. This article provides an overview of my court case and its effects.
DOI: 10.1207/s15327019eb0802_3 Jennifer Hoult pages 125-140
Ralph Underwager….Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Anna Salter, Et Al., Defendants-Appellees., 22 F.3d 730 (7th Cir. 1994) http://vlex.com/vid/36092881
Media and Information
Originally published in Moving Forward, Volume 3, No. 3, pp 1, 12-21, 1995. The Highly Misleading Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health Practices Act: The “False Memory” Movement’s Remedy for a Nonexistent Problem by Judith M. Simon “Over the past few years, the “false memory” movement has manifested primarily as a media presence that discounts sexual abuse survivors as first-hand witnesses to their own experiences.” http://web.archive.org/web/20050906011329/http://members.aol.com/conch8/antiTRMP1.html
False memory syndrome proponents tactics – False memory syndrome proponents have done the following to try and ensure that only their point of view is in the public view. Harassing debate opponents, misrepresenting the data in the field and controlling the media.
U-Turn on Memory Lane by Mike Stanton – Columbia Journalism Review – July/August 1997
“Rarely has such a strange and little-understood organization had such a profound effect on media coverage of such a controversial matter.” http://web.archive.org/web/20071216011151/http://backissues.cjrarchives.org/year/97/4/memory.asp
Confessions of a Whistle-Blower: Lessons Learned Author: Anna C. Salter DOI: 10.1207/s15327019eb0802_2 Ethics & Behavior, Volume 8, Issue 2 June 1998 , pages 115 – 124
Calof, D.L. (1998). Notes from a practice under siege: Harassment, defamation, and intimidation in the name of science, Ethics and Behavior, 8(2) pp. 161-187. http://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/notes-from-a-practice-under-siege/
Disinformation and DID: the Politics of Memory Brian Moss, MA, MFT