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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:

THE DINNER MONITORS
Emails between McKinsey and Monitor reveal how close and convivial the relationship is between the pro-privatisation consultancy and NHS regulator.

NATWEST BRANCHES OUT
How the freeholds of 80 NatWest branches from Ilfracombe to Colwyn Bay ended up being owned in Gibraltar (and saving RBS stamp duty land tax.)

PESTER POWER
Schools are pressurising parents to buy or lease iPads for their children to use in class and after school… but what about those who can’t afford it?

LOST IN TRANSITION
The crisis in mental health care for vulnerable teenagers who transfer to adult units is starkly illustrated by the tragic death of Rebecca Overy.

SLEEPING PARTNERS
Staff from Capita subsidiary Tascor are caught snoozing on the job while supposedly escorting deportees back to Albania and Kosovo

TROUBLE BREWING
US brewer Molson Coors wins permission to build houses on a sports ground in Alton – and promptly announces closure of its local brewery too.

A VERY BRUM DO
Why Treasury-approved figures justifying a new £360m hospital PFI in Birmingham had to be fiddled to make them add up. Which they don’t.

BOTTOM OF THE BARREL
The pub tie is dead! Er, long live the pub tie! How Fleet Street hacks fell for pub company propaganda… and why publicans still face a bitter future.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY
Why a family worried about the safety of their 93-year-old father had to remove him from the troubled Princess of Wales hospital in Bridgend.

SHARIA SHIFT
After a campaign by the Eye, Asian women’s groups and secular lawyers, the Law Society drops its discriminatory advice to solicitors on sharia law.

private eye issue 1381
To read more from issue 1244 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here.
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- Osborne & Little: What the chancellor didn’t say in his Autumn Statement
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