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From the Eye archives
20 Years Of Satanic Panic
Issue 1244, 1st September 2009

The believers are fighting back But there is now a growing and dangerous fight back in the form of books and conferences featuring speakers defiantly and proudly proclaiming the existence of “ritual abuse” and how to treat “survivors”. The believers are mainly therapists and survivors who have apparently belatedly recovered memories while in therapy (many of whom have become therapists). They are promoting a whole new field of “trauma” therapy in how to treat survivors of ritual abuse, who are diagnosed as suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. Victims are said to develop a number of “alters” or other personalities, to whom they switch to help them bury the memories (see Eyes passim).

The latest fashionable theory in this psychobabble psychotherapy is that these survivors are victims of “mind control” exerted by the perpetrators using the “alters” to control the victim to make them suppress or disbelieve the memories of the abuse.

The treatments, which often involve counselling all these alters, necessarily involve many years of very expensive therapy. In a new book, published in the US, Ritual Abuse in the Twenty First Century, one survivor wrote of their 17-year journey in therapy. At what cost?

‘Denial, disbelief and misdiagnosis’ In the UK this year there have already been a string of conferences, seminars and training sessions; and more are planned, with delegates paying between £200 and £700 a time. Topics range around theories of trauma, dissociative disorders, attachment (which means lack of attachment to parents due to childhood abuse), ritual abuse and mind control - all related to previously forgotten extreme childhood sexual abuse.

In May about 200 people (paying up to £285 each) attended a conference in Derbyshire organised by TAG, the Trauma and Abuse Group, and RAINS, Ritual Abuse Information Network and Support (led by veteran ritual abuse campaigner and psychiatrist Joan Coleman - see Eyes passim). The conference was on the subjects of early life trauma, childhood sexual abuse and ritual abuse, and entitled Attachment, Trauma and Dissociation. It was important, the programme said, because “many survivors encounter misunderstanding, denial, disbelief and misdiagnosis”.

Speakers included Dr Alison Miller, a psychologist in private practice in British Columbia, Canada, who spoke on how to treat victims of ritual abuse and mind control. In her chapter in the book Ritual Abuse in the Twenty First Century, which is being heavily promoted in the UK, she wrote about how victims of ritual abuse and mind control survivors develop numerous “alters”. In a “typical group”, she explained, “by the age of six months the child has at minimum 18 to 20 alters”.

More top stories in the latest issue:

OFFSHORE OWNERSHIP
Revealing the true ownership of British land and property, to which the PM says he aspires, will discomfit some well-connected and generous names.

OPEN JUSTICE, CLOSED MINDS
Why former undercover agent Martin McGartland, shot by the IRA, will have to have his claim against the government heard in secret.

EXPERT WITNESSES
The expert witness police found on Google and who gave ‘shocking and unscientific’ evidence that led to a man’s conviction for manslaughter.

CASH LANDINGS
Shetland islanders whose runway was washed away by storms could be even more out of pocket as different arms of government row over the repair bill.

HOSPITAL DEATH
MP Margaret Hodge joins the battle to help two sisters discover the truth about their mother’s death on an understaffed Essex hospital ward.

E-GIVING AND TAKING
The National Funding Scheme, launched by the coalition in 2012, posts feeble results and is the worst possible way to donate to the arts, say critics.

DIRTY CACHE
The government backs Silent Secret, a confessional app for troubled teens, which is potentially a lot less anonymous than its name suggests.

private eye issue 1397
To read more from issue 1244 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here.
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