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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:

CHEQUE MATE
More on Specsavers’ attempts to hush up the costly fallout from legal cases in which it was accused of bullying opticians out of their businesses.

FROM DUDLEY TO DAMMAM
Dudley College cuts courses and jobs in the West Midlands, but salaries offered at its Saudi Arabian branch suggest it is swimming in money.

ON THIN ICCE
Advertising watchdogs ban a fundamentalist Christian exam board from exaggerating the value of its International Certificate of Christian Education.

NUDGE-NUDGE, WONK-WONK
Policy wonks cash in as the Cabinet Office ‘Nudge Unit’ is mutualised and becomes Behavioural Insights Ltd – with a £5m Cabinet Office contract.

DONE OVER BY DUNBAR
Dunbar Bank, owned by a group that pays Tony Blair a reported £1m a year, makes 71 customers bankrupt after deciding to pull out of property loans.

SEEING RED
NHS England’s decision to delay the release of a life-saving drug is a further cruel blow to victims of the contaminated blood scandal with hepatitis C.

SIGN OF THE TIMES
Why Deaf people and sign language interpreters are on tenterhooks over a delayed announcement affecting public sector sign language provision.

CO-WORKERS UNITE!
Trade union Unite now joins the battle on behalf of disabled residents and co-workers in the unique Yorkshire village community of Botton.

SARK ATTACK
The mystery island visitor who turned out to be spying for those associated with the weirdo Barclay twins, owners of nearby Brecqhou.

private eye issue 1392
To read more from issue 1244 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here.
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