Nov 23, 2008

Dear skeptical therapists: It doesn't matter!

I'm a psychotherapist who intimately knows the world of DID and has gained great insight into the world of abuse from whence I came. I was fortunate to find a qualified therapist once I overcame my fear of going to a therapist. However, there has been a battle raging in the psychotherapy and world of psychiatry for years about "ritual abuse" and "mind control" being real. It must be delusional because there is no proof. How long did the US go before believing the holocaust existed? How many more could have been saved if someone had gone to see about the reports instead of saying "this could never happen"?

It's not about who did what or how it was done, it's about the survivor's distress. As therapists, our job is "first do no harm" and provide the best care possible. It doesn't matter if you believe a person was made to worship Satan or whether babies were killed and Lord knows what else happened. Remember Capricorn One? The American people were led to believe that a space capsule had landed on Mars when it was all made up on a stage using props. It is known that children will believe what they are told is true. Abuse statistics (without any adjectives to the abuse) are known to be high. Abuse is scary to a child. Often it is terrifying. During a state of heightened fear, the believability factor becomes greater. Fact.

I have processed memories where I was convinced for several years that at least one baby was killed in front of me and an 11-year-old boy. Later processing proved that both were hoaxes because my younger sister and my then 11-year-old cousin are alive. Were an actual child and young boy murdered to fool me? I'll never know. I do know props that look real were used and all technology available to include virtual reality were employed. More invasive things such as drugs were used to distort realities as well. All create a memory steeped in trauma. The survivor needs to heal from the trauma. Where it came from is irrelevant.

If a survivor says "I was gang raped by six gorillas," it is not delusional unless the survivor shows delusional tendencies in other areas of their life too. In trauma, what a child remembers is locked in. Healing from processing the gorilla memory is proof of no delusion. But if a therapist declares the survivor delusional for having such a memory, IMO, the "first do no harm" rule is violated. We don't have to have had experienced something firsthand to help someone heal from it. I have worked with grief but have not experienced loss of someone I loved (consciously).

Is it a phenomenon that survivors worldwide disclose similar memories of unbelievable abuse? Or is it because it is THAT pervasive? As therapists, we have to step back and treat our clients with respect regardless of what comes up as a trauma memory. If we are unable to do so, it's time to refer to a therapist with a more open view of how trauma might be instilled in a young child so as to appear unbelievable when it surfaces.

As survivors, you have the right to withdraw from treatment by someone who invalidates your memories and find someone who will treat you respectfully and with the intent to help to include consultation with others in the field with more experience.

We, as a society, must stop looking at the circumstances of the abuse, and must begin to see survivors in need of help to heal. We are not delusional. The sick f*cks who did this to us are not a delusion either.


Secret Shadows said...

AWESOME!!!! You go, girl! That was a GREAT post! I think it was your best yet. I really do.

I am not a Ritual Abuse survivor, but I definitely believe it is true. I have friends who have been through Ritual Abuse, and over the past year I have learned a lot about it. I do know that they often do fake things like killings, etc. in front of children to assert their power and instill fear/keep the silence. I have even heard of times when people have gone their whole lives thinking THEY killed someone when in reality they did not. The cult had done various things to make the child/teen believe she had killed another living person, but in actuality it was all a big hoax. They did it for the fear factor and for the "keep the secret" factor. Now this child felt she was "in on it too." So if she rats on the cult, she rats on herself. It is really sick. And the truth of the matter is it doesn't matter what the reality is, it was experienced in it's totality as if she, herself, really killed another living being. IN FACT, I think that if I thought I had killed someone all this time it would be horrifically traumatizing to me, but to later find that it was a hoax would add yet ANOTHER layer of trauma to it. These things are VERY complicated.

You also make a really good point here when you say "If a survivor says "I was gang raped by six gorillas," it is not delusional unless the survivor shows delusional tendencies in other areas of their life too." In fact, my therapist and I were talking about alien abduction not too long ago, and we came to the same conclusion with that. Though both of us had a really hard time believing that aliens really come down and abduct humans like that, and yet, these people that tell the stories----well, you can't say they are delusional if this is their only delusion. Yeah.....people need to listen. And honestly, as therapists it is NOT their job to critique the validity of abuse memories. It is their job to treat the resulting trauma.

Vague said...

wow.... the gorillas statement really caught me...

... my main thought is, what if the perpetrators instilled several such 'delusions' into a persons memory? it would go far to discredit a person, and they would know that and use it to their advantage... the person could easily get misdiagnosed schizophrenic when all along it is actually multiple 'manufactured' memories (and associated dysfunction) that gives the impression of a 'global' tendency towards ...delusionating(?!)...

VICKI IN AZ said...