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"20/20" Vision Less than Acute: Media Perpetuate Myths About Child Mental Health PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jean Mercer   

childdevThe ABC program 20/20 did the public no service in its recent myopic support of pseudoscience. Aired in late November, 2008, the presentation "The Toughest Call" emphasized common "alternative" approaches to adoption issues, rather than citing excellent empirical research from investigators such as Sir Michael Rutter. "The Toughest Call" (Nov. 28, 2008, Parts 1-5; http://abcnews.go.com/2020) encouraged the public to accept myths about adoption, including the idea that adopted children have many unpredictable mental health risks. The program suggested that the children they discussed were cases of Reactive Attachment Disorder, a legitimate diagnosis-- but in fact the symptoms described were not those conventionally considered for diagnosis of this disorder, but another, more frightening set of behaviors advertised by the cult-like "Attachment Therapy" community.

Like "Attachment Therapists", "The Toughest Call" put forward the unsubstantiated claim that adopted children need to be treated with systematic harsh, humiliating, and potentially dangerous disciplinary practices, a view contrary to a report of a task force of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. Critics of "Attachment Therapy" have noted a wide range of professional ethical violations by proponents of these practices; in the case of "The Toughest Call", an egregious ethical error involved ABC's payment for transportation of children and their parents to a treatment facility which received valuable publicity through the program. In presenting "The Toughest Call", 20/20 did a serious disservice to adoptive families, and a valuable service to practitioners who base their treatments on pseudoscientific evidentiary claims. In addition, ABC staff responded to complaints by a weak attempt at rebuttal rather than by serious reconsideration.

It is by no means unusual for journalists to seek "pop" information on the Internet and to reinforce public misconceptions by repeating inaccurate statements. This seems to especially true with respect to adoption and children's mental health issues. For example, the reporter Mark Puente, writing in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about an abusive adoptive family, referred to Reactive Attachment Disorder as involving "defiant, rageful behavior", a description found among proponents of pseudoscientific mental health treatments, but not in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. Because print journalists work under time pressure and do not always have access to excellent sources, this is not surprising.

However, the 20/20 program was in development for many months and apparently involved discussion with a number of sources, suggesting that the producers should have been able to provide reliable information. Regrettably, as well as failing on this point, ABC staff replied defensively to post-program complaints from the non-profit group Advocates for Children in Therapy. Indeed, a critical thinking analysis of the ABC response suggests that most if not all of the "responses" are simply irrelevant to the complaints made, while others are clearly red herrings.

ABC's News Practices Director, Nicole Gallagher, replied at length to the ACT concerns, listing in a general way the sources used. For example, she referred to "numerous families with children who were adopted... [and] who provided similar stories of RAD... [which were] supported and diagnosed by trained licensed physicians." This information is of little use unless we are also told how many of these numerous families there were and, above all, how they were selected from among other families. Because there is no simple method for the diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder, it would have been useful to know what methods were used by the physicians and exactly what their training was.

Ms Gallagher stated that ABC had consulted with "dozens" of experts on Reactive Attachment Disorder, but she named only one such person, referring to "respected research on the subject from authorities such as Psychologist Gregory Keck at the Attachment and Bonding Center... of Ohio." This is an interesting claim, as Keck (whose doctorate is in criminology) has never done any systematic empirical research on RAD-related issues nor published any such work done with colleagues. It is difficult to imagine what research might have been found and respected under these circumstances; however, it is possible that Ms. Gallagher, like many people, conflates "research" with "published statements". Certainly, Ms. Gallagher seems to have missed the important point that Keck until very recently displayed on his web site material derived from a pseudoscientific-and potentially harmful-view of adoption and emotional attachment (quotations from Keck's Internet material can be seen at childrenintherapy.org/keck.html).

According to the ABC response, the "experts concluded that it was reasonable to consider that children separated from their primary parents, put into institutions and adopted, would be at risk for developing attachment issues." Setting aside the considerable and much-discussed differences between having Reactive Attachment Disorder and "being at risk... for attachment issues", it is notable that systematic empirical research, such as that of Sir Michael Rutter, indicates that the great majority of institution-adopted children do very well developmentally. If the word "would" were replaced by "might", the ABC comment would be more in line with the statistical reality.

One final point: Ms. Gallagher commented that the director of the "Ranch for Kids", highlighted in the 20/20 program, had "agreed to evaluate the... family pro bono this past summer... we are comfortable with our ethics as nothing was hidden or misrepresented." However, the general use of the term pro bono means that the service is performed without payment in kind or otherwise to the professional; surely, no one would argue that an hour's worth of free advertising is not payment of a valuable nature.

The necessary conclusion seems to be that ABC prepared "The Toughest Call" either carelessly or with deliberate bias. When attention was called to the program's problems, rather than attempting to correct the misinformation they had provided to the public, ABC staff circled the wagons and prepared a response that employed propagandistic arguments. It is regrettably that the 20/20 program, so highly esteemed among skeptics for the work of reporter John Stossel, was used by other staff to support unsubstantiated mental health approaches, especially those involving a potential for harm to a highly vulnerable child and adolescent population.

By Jean Mercer, Ph.D., author of "Understanding Attachment" and the soon-to-be-released book "Child Development:  Myths and Misunderstandings."
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written by dr pepper, January 24, 2009
Please tell me they don't do rebirthing ceremonies.
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written by ConTester, January 24, 2009
… adopted children need to be treated with systematic harsh, humiliating, and potentially dangerous disciplinary practices…
What, just because they’re adopted, i.e. not blood relatives? How downright misguided and self-righteous does one need to be to accept that as valid? Surely, an adopted child will respond to love and caring just as readily and positively as any other child, frustrating though that approach may often be!

This looks like a clear case of pseudoscience having a direct negative, even harmful effect on people, including, it should be noted, those who promote and those who dole out such treatment. I would hazard that the latter two need to harden themselves against their better instincts. There is no obvious reason why adopted children should be treated any different from one’s own. This “attachment therapy” seems to me, if anything, offensive and acutely counterproductive.

There’s a case to be made for the 20/20 producers failing to engage their brains, let alone doing adequate research, before proceeding with this ill-advised piece of sensationalism.
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written by Cuddy Joe, January 25, 2009
I am the father of nine children, six of which are adopted. There absolutely are reasons an adopted child might need to be treated differently than a child with his parents of biological origins, but those reasons are rarely solely due to the adoption status or process. The most prevalent scenario concerns the reason for the adoption in the first place - some kids are removed from the family of origin due to abuse, physical, emotional, and/or sexual, and just like kids with their bio-parents, such treatment while children often leads to later issues of mental illness andpathological behaviors such as depression, personality disorders, and substance abuse. For what it's worth, I'm a clinical psychologist, Ph.D., though I do not practice on my own kids, two of whom have required counseling.

Ms. Mercer is absolutely correct about 20/20's hack job and ensuing entrenched defense when outed on it. The ratings money is best when you can scare a lot of people, a lot of parents, and nothing works better than using kids to do this. It is media prostitution at its worst.
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written by mikemarsh, January 25, 2009
For those of us who don't do professional research on this topic and haven't seen the program in question, it would have been nice to see brief descriptions of what RAD is (scientifically), what the pseudo-RAD community says it is, and what the real and fake treatments are like (beyond what sounds like a generic description of child abuse for the latter).
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written by AMFCook, January 25, 2009
The only thing these hour longs news programs are concerned with is their ratings. The more drivel, and woo they can produce, the higher their ratings are.

The ones who suffer the most are the naive!
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written by bosshog, January 25, 2009
I'm not exactly an adopted parent but I came into my daughter's life when she was three years old, and eventually took her from her mother's abusive home. My daughter has been diagnosed with ADD, depression, poor self-esteem etc. All the usual suspects.
The fact is that her emotional problems stemmed from being raised in an extremely authoritarian home where slapping the face and screaming was commonplace. Both her brothers (by other fathers) suffer from similar problems.
When I took her in she was a very unhappy child and I have spent the past six years turning that around. My approach is to never forget that I am not raising a "good child" but preparing her to be a happy and successful adult, and that she is not my property but my sacred responsibility. The #1 error that parents of "problem" children commit, in my opinion, is in their insistance that the children OBEY, that the parents' authority is supreme and absolute and must be acknowledged by the child. The idea seems to be that if you can FORCE the child to do the "correct" thing he will learn by rote to be a "correct" person. The exact opposite occurs. A child is a fully formed (albeit green) person with a complete set of human emotions, desires and self images, and harsh parenting produces the same results that YOU would exhibit if your entire life were subject to someone else's dictatorial veto power: rebellion.
Sometimes of necessity the adult MUST impose his will on the child; the less often though, the better. This therapy doesn't heal child abuse, it IS child abuse.
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written by BillyJoe, January 25, 2009
Is there a wasy to subscribe to a topic without posting a comment?
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Answers to above questions
written by LindaRosaRN, January 25, 2009
Rebirthing?:

"Rebirthing," such as killed 10yo Candace Newmaker, is a style of Attachment Therapy. Others include Holding Therapy where the child is restrained in the therapist's lap, wrapping where the child is restrained in a blanket except for the head, and Compression Therapy where the therapist lies on top of the child.

What AT therapists do to children, and why they do it -- once children are in these various positions -- are similar, and include: frightening the child, taunting, bullying, knuckling, licking the face, threatening with abandonment, yelling, making the child struggle against the restraint, not listening to the child, making the child repeat hateful statements, make breathing difficult, and not allowing the child to go to the bathroom. Afterwards the children are "reparented," i.e. they are treating as an infant to be swaddled and bottle-fed (even the older children and teens). The whole idea is to make little Stepford children who are unquestioningly obedient.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD):

RAD, as defined in the DSM-IV is an "uncommon" condition characterized by either extreme withdrawal or being overly friendly with strangers. It is considered a result of living in an environment of severe abuse and deprivation. There is no specific, validated treatment for RAD.

The unofficial definition of RAD (or "Attachment Disorder" [AD]) is only used by Attachment Therapists and consists of a long, catch-all list of signs that are guaranteed to get any child diagnosed as AD (or "RAD" for insurance purposes). AD signs include aggression, violence, manipulation, learning lags, lying, stealing, speech and language problems, bossy, intense control battles, destructive, lack of conscience, inability to feel pain, eats strange things, incessant chatter, hyperactive, lack of impulse control, etc.

Many proponents of Attachment Therapy consider the major sign of AD to be "lack of eye contact": this is sure to label as AD many children who come from cultures where simply averting eyes from adult gaze is a considered a sign of respect.

Quacks often make up their own diagnosis for which they have the only cure, and Attachment Therapist are no different in this respect.
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See Attachment Therapy
written by LindaRosaRN, January 25, 2009
Attachment Therapy has to be seen to be believed:

From the most influential training tape:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8ArqRt7wBE&feature=related
(7:25 minutes)



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written by BillyJoe, January 25, 2009
You can make a click on link by clicking on the 5th icon above the comment box
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...e=related
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written by Cuddy Joe, January 25, 2009
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...re=related
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Another clip of Attachment Therapy
written by LindaRosaRN, January 25, 2009
Here's another clip demonstrating Attachment Therapy. These therapists are elbowing the boy's abdomen -- another technique to force the child to catharse his "repressed infantile anger."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...re=related
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written by mikemarsh, January 25, 2009
Thanks for the additional info Linda.
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written by BillyJoe, January 26, 2009
another technique to force the child to catharse

Yeah, damn nuisance, hey? There are only the two nouns: catharsis and cathartic; and the adjective: cathartic. But no damn verb. For a neologism I would prefer catharise but, of course, catharse may have been a typo.

smilies/smiley.gif

BillyJoe
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Need for Verb
written by LindaRosaRN, January 26, 2009
There is a definite need for a verb form for "catharsis," especially when talking about Attachment Therapy where the idea is to force a child to...well...catharse. Yes, I made it up. I often find other constructions using noun or adjective to be inelegant. Apparently people think it's a natural verb construction. You are the only one to call me on it.

Don't you think your "catharise" sounds more like putting a tube up someone's willy?

It's odd a verb form for "catharsis" hasn't come on the scene, because this old, discredited hypothesis of catharsis is still much accepted in our popular culture, with people often speaking of "blowing off steam." I have heard Jean Mercer, the author of the above piece, speak of this as the "Hydraulics Notion of Emotions." She pointed out that the idea of catharsis only applies to negative emotions. People, for instance, never say, "Be careful about expressing joy or you might lose all your happiness."

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written by Random, January 26, 2009
I know that anecdotal evidence is not always very useful, but to rebut a gross and dangerous generalisation any counter-case is sufficient.

My girlfriend was adopted. She was treated kindly in adoption, certainly no harsh discipline. She not only is a lovely, kind, decent and stable person but she has a well-respected, interesting, well-paid professional career (she is an air traffic control officer, has been since age 22) and she got there by her own efforts, through some difficulties. She is not just a normal, balanced person but actually particularly noteworthy (OK, I would say that!), and has had more life success than any of her birth family or her adopted siblings, her parents' natural children. She is even in the same career as her adopted father followed. She loves her adopted family as her own, and they love her as there own.

She was not adopted as a baby, but aged 8 after 3 years of foster care, not all successful. With a runaway mother and an alcoholic father whom she loved but who could not cope, she would not have been seen as an easy case. The unsuccessful foster family was the one that treated her rather like that video of attachment therapy. The most successful foster family that ended by adopting her treated her exactly as they treated their own, and came to think of her as their own.

I really do dread to think what would have happened if the earlier foster family had adopted her, or had the abuse shown on those videos been used to discipline her when she was, naturally, struggling with the adoption.
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written by BillyJoe, January 26, 2009
Linda,

There is a definite need for a verb form for "catharsis," especially when talking about Attachment Therapy where the idea is to force a child to...well...catharse. Yes, I made it up. I often find other constructions using noun or adjective to be inelegant. Apparently people think it's a natural verb construction. You are the only one to call me on it.

You must say it with such AUTHORITY! smilies/smiley.gif

Don't you think your "catharise" sounds more like putting a tube up someone's willy?

Yes, I see what you mean. It does sound a little like "catheterise". Well, okay, because you are the originator and because you intellingently responded to my post instead of just marking me down (like someone else has done) I will do my best to popularise it. smilies/smiley.gif

regards,
BJ
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Response
written by LindaRosaRN, January 26, 2009
BJ: Thank you. Very gracious of you.

Random: Thanks for the story. Yes, statistically adoptions work out better than birth families, probably because the child is always wanted. I would be interested in hearing more about your friend's unfortunate experiences with the one foster family. (She could contact me through my website: http://www.childrenintherapy.org). Unfortunately, much of this abusive therapy/parenting is actually ordered by child welfare departments and even made a condition of adoption.

There is also a website for survivors of Attachment Therapy:
http://childtorture.wordpress.com
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written by mikemarsh, January 26, 2009
As an extra bonus, "catharse" contains the word "arse," which seems particularly apt for this so-called therapy.
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written by Random, January 26, 2009
I will pass on the link, Linda.
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written by AnthonyK, January 27, 2009
As someone who works with difficult, damaged kids in a special school, I find this fascinating. "Attachment Theory" is something that I have only recently become acquainted with, but I understand it as meaning that life experiences, eg abusive/incompetent parents and neglect in the first two years of a child's life may significatnly impair a child's social and emotional development, almost irrespective of their later parenting.
Now, I am someone who tends to dismiss psychological theories which act as a catchall to explain social misfunction in children, but based on individual cases I have seen this may have some merit - I can think of one particular case where a child of a heroin addicted prostitute (his own description!) but who was apparently looked after adequately from two years old, became extremely violent and aggressive and had problems throughout his childhood. Despite my own (in particular) considerable input, I won't be in the least surprised if he becomes a drug addict - already half way there - and is imprisoned. Pre-speech experiences would seem to me to "explain" his subsequent development.
So, I'm fascinated to know more about the evidence behind it. I would certainly echo your concern about the methods used to "treat" this as featured in the programme - looks all too like more abuse to me. While I think that firmly holding a child who is having a tantrum is often the best way forward, there's certianly no merit in trying to counsel or argue with them while doing so. I've often been involves in restraints to stop the child hurting themselves or others; effectively you just have to treat them as gently as possible and wait for the rage to pass. You progressively release them as soon as possible and then reiterate your care and concern during and fterwards - but bcertainly no blame or reproach is appropriate. As for speaking loudly or giving instructions or trying to reason with them - useless, and possibly abusive, they're not at a verbal/reasoning stage and can't take these on board.
I would like to know more about the research on attachment disorders, but I'm certain there's no quick fix for it. Any experts out there care to comment?
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written by BillyJoe, January 27, 2009
I'm no expert, but it seems to me that what they are trying to do is to treat Attachment Disorder by physically "attaching" themselves to the child shouting abuse and applying physical pain. I just wonder how they expect linking physical "attachment" to physical pain and negative emotion is giong to cure attachment disorder. It doesn't even make sense as an hypothesis worthy of investigation.
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Response
written by LindaRosaRN, January 28, 2009
There has been no valid research on "Attachment Therapy" or its parenting methods in the 40 some years it's been around. No human subjects review board would authorize testing such abusive practices.

While Attachment Therapists claim their beliefs and practices are based on *Attachment Theory* (Bowlby) -- a legitimate area of research -- they are actually antithetical to it.

I recommend Jean Mercer's book: "Understanding Attachment." It's easy to understand and very informative.

Most experts suggest only staying quietly by a child in a tantrum. Restraining a child in that state is not to help him calm down.

Federal guidelines for institutions receiving federal funds are that physical restraint be used only to protect a person from harming himself, others or property, and it is to be stopped as soon as the person no longer poses a danger. There are a number of institutions today that are pledged to be restraint-free.

Now compare these fed guidelines to Attachment Therapy where restraint is used *as therapy*, for hours on end, and with the intent of distressing a child to the point he loses control "to get the angries out."

Re catharsis: Research has shown that acting out one's anger only makes someone better at being angry, more of the time. It doesn't make for a calmer person.

Historical note: High school football was first promoted as a way for young men to rid themselves of unwanted emotions. This bogus notion comes down to us from the ancient Greeks who thought theater could serve the same purpose.

"Arse"... Ha! that will be useful.
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It's "always" the child's fault...
written by Trish, January 29, 2009
Attachment Therapy reminds me of Tough Love and those horrible camps where kids are injured/killed by things like lack of water & beatings. Not to mention Cahtolic school.

Why doesn't anyone ask the question, "If this kid isn't attaching to these adults, could there be a reason?" [Like maybe the parents just want someone to control, or the kid doesn't like to be hit, belittled or treated harshly?]
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written by AnthonyK, January 29, 2009
When I say "restrain" a child, I really mean, "hold gently" while speaking softly. It never really seems to me a good idea to let a child thrash around or trash the room - I've seen too many kids punch walls (or siblings) or smash windows to be happy with allowing them to do it. You certainly shouldn't hurt them in any way, but neither should you let them hurt themselves. If they're outside you can let them go, but once again dangers abound. There's no reason why holding a child like this should be abusive, or seen to be by the child. In any case, it's all about the child's recollections of the incident afterwards, when they can once again see reason. However, as mentioned above, restraint can be used in "abusive" way, and has been many many times.
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Response
written by LindaRosaRN, January 30, 2009
To AnthonyK:

Your view that it is appropriate to restrain a child who is threatening to destroy property or inflict injury on self or others is in line with the federal guideline regarding restraint. No quarrel there.

The ideal that professional organizations are working toward, however, is to make environments where physical restraint is not needed, recognizing that restraint is never therapeutic. Quite the opposite.



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written by BillyJoe, January 30, 2009
The ideal that professional organizations are working toward, however, is to make environments where physical restraint is not needed

But then, of course, you have environmental restraints - the walls of a room, the doors of a house, the fence around the yard.
I guess what we mean is that there must be a balance between the emotional harm caused by having physical restaints and the potential physical harm of having no physical restraints.

BJ
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Get a real doctor please!
written by B_Shevchenko, April 14, 2009
Hello,

We're quite involved in the adoptions from Ukraine. We know Dr. Jean Mercer and while she is a holder of the degree, she's never treated a patient. We're pretty sure that's also the case for Larry Sarner, who, by coincidence is either the step- or foster- father of Linda Rosa.

All along, we can't say enough good about the work of Dr. Ronald Federici. He's helped many Ukrainian children and has even taken the step to learn conversational Russian, quite rare for a foreigner.

So we think it is needed to take a measured view of the situation. We're also great admirers of Mr. Randi and sure his cold objective eye would be well applied to this topic of children who cannot help themselves.

Regards and Happy Pascha

Borys Shevchenko
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Federici & Spamsters
written by LindaRosaRN, January 29, 2010
Advocates for Children in Therapy, Jean Mercer, Monica Pignotti, Larry Sarner, myself and others who oppose Attachment Therapy have long been harassed and cyberstalked by people like "Borys Shevchenko." Federici and fellow Attachment Therapists have issued numerous bogus DMCA complaints against the ACT website and even harassed ACT's web server Project DoD. (I can't say enough good about Project DoD -- very good on defending First Amendment.)

In my opinion, Ronald Federici's Attachment Therapy style is among the most dangerous. He promotes a highly risky form of prone restraint to enforce his extremely authoritarian parenting methods.

For more information:
http://www.childrenintherapy.org/proponents/federici.html
http://www.charlydmiller.com/LIB13/2009FebFedericiPage.html

Dr. Mercer has been a researcher and professor, not a clinician. I don't know where Larry Sarner entered the discussion (left-over cookie-cutter cyberstalking material?), but Larry is my husband, not my father.

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Vision Less Than Acute: Qualifications of Some Commentators Called Into Question
written by IvanVanko, March 13, 2010
Just to be clear.

Larry Sarner, it is known, holds bachelor's degrees in political science and mathematics. His major accomplishment using these degrees seems to have been the invention of non-working voting machines. Unable to come to terms with investors and lenders, he found himself in bankruptcy court. He is not qualified as a mental health professional. It is also a matter of record that respected skeptics such as Bela Scheiber and Jim Lippard have little use for him.

Linda Rosa, RN is his wife, she followed him into bankrupcy court as a result of the voting machine debacle.

Charly Miller only has a high school diploma, and she has not been licensed as a paramedic for many years. She was dismissed from positions as a paramedic due to allegations of violating patient confidentiality and drinking on the job.

Jean Mercer, as noted is a Ph.D. psychologist, but she failed to obtain a clinical license. She has used her blog on Psychology Today to attack therapists such as Federici without even meeting them! That is hardly objective, and it is to be noted she's using this forum, as her blog, to advertise her less-than-authoritative books.

Monica Pignotti is another Ph.D., but her career in academia is quite recent. She is a former high ranking Scientologist. After leaving Scientology, she was a practitioner of both Thought Field Therapy and Voice Technology, developed by Roger Callahan. After leaving Callahan, she has begun an unimpressive academic career.

Project DoD is hardly a paragon. They have frequent web outages. One might even think they are the hosting company of last resort. They certainly do not do well in court, their "landmark" DMCA case was dismissed as the attorneys were not even able to select the proper court, a very basic notion.

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Ad hominem
written by MonicaPignotti, March 17, 2010
The above comment is a classic example of what Linda Rosa was referring to. Instead of addressing the substance of the criticism, an all out smear campaign has been launched against the individuals named filled with half truths and outright libelous assertions. For example, the lie has been spread all over cyberspace that I was "fired" from FSU when, in fact, I graduated in good standing with my PhD. The information was also left out that I left Scientology 34 years ago in 1976 and have been a critic of it ever since and I am also known as the foremost debunker of Thought Field Therapy, which I fully repudiated over 6 years ago. As for my being a PhD recent graduate, yes, this is true. So what? What how does this refute our criticisms of attachment therapy? It does not. What does dredging up ancient history about Larry Sarner have to do with the topic at hand? Nothing whatsoever. As for Dr. Jean Mercer, she did not "fail to obtain" a clinical license. She is a developmental, not a clinical psychologist and there is no such thing as licensure for the profession of developmental psychology. So please, let us look at the substance of the arguments being put forth. Are they correct or not? If not, why not? Personal attacks on the critics and arguments from authority do not address the issue at hand. This might fly on your own blogs, but rest assured, you will not get away with this here without being called out on it.

So back to the issue, the issue, as I see it, is where is the evidence to support the claims being made by Dr. Federici about the intervention he proposes for adopted children in his self-published book, Help for the Hopeless Child? I have yet to find any randomized clinical trials published in peer reviewed journals to support his claims. He has the burden of proof. Either the evidence is there or it is not, and my being a new PhD, a 34-year-ago Ex-Scientologist really has nothing to do with it.
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Clarification
written by MonicaPignotti, March 18, 2010
Just to clarify my comment on Larry Sarner's "ancient history" lest it be misinterpreted, this too is a half-truth where a long-ago legal case has been presented in a highly misleading way. He has been repeatedly accused by AT supporters as defrauding investors, being a con artist, etc. when this was a civil, not a criminal case and fraud was never even an issue. I don't know all the details myself of this particular case, but the fact of the matter is that when people invest in an invention, they know, going in, that there are risks and no guarantees and some inventions fail, through no particular fault of the inventor. A scientific failure is not the same thing as pseudoscience.

That said, once again, this is completely irrelevant to the issue at hand, which is whether the claims made by AT therapists are valid and whether they are helping or harming children. If one watches the videos that actually show some of the work of these therapists, it doesn't take a licensed therapist to see why we are very concerned.

I have to add that unfortunately, many licensed therapists have had nothing more than very basic research courses that they struggled to get through and thus are ill-equipped to evaluate the state of evidence of a particular therapy. This is changing in at least some programs, although the PsyD degree is known for being less rigorous when it comes to research (a recent study showed over 60% of PsyD programs did not teach and include at least one empirically supported therapy in their practicum), as compared to the PhD. Note that I'm referring to actual knowledge here and qualifications to evaluate research, rather than authority.

The implication of our detractors seems to be that only licensed mental health professionals have any right or legitimacy to criticize other licensed mental health professionals when nothing could be further from the truth. This is a dangerous notion which can lead to situations where the fox guards the chicken coop. All too often, state licensing boards have failed to discipline therapists and allowed dangerous therapists to retain their licenses for years, overlooking dangerous practices. Unfortunately, as Scott Lilienfeld and others have demonstrated, while there are good, responsible licensed mental heath professionals who do use interventions demonstrated through research to be effective, the profession is riddled with pseudoscience and quackery and licensed mental health professionals have failed to deal with the problem from within. Since they haven't, then it is imperative that others step in and make their views known. The fact that ACT is doing so is what has these people so up in arms and I believe that their defamation of us all over the internet is designed to hold us up as examples of what happens to people who dare to challenge the harm that is being done in the name of so-called "therapy".
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The voting machines worked
written by MonicaPignotti, March 18, 2010
Oh, and by the way, for the record, as I understand it, Larry Sarner's voting machines did work, although whether they did or not is not relevant to the topic at hand, but since it was raised and is defamatory of Larry, I just wanted to clarify.
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If the voting machines worked, how about some proof?
written by IvanVanko, May 31, 2010
Monica Pignotti, who may not even have known Larry Sarner at the time he was working on the voting machines, says she thinks they worked. This would be so easy to prove.

So, where is the proof? A working voting machine, an independent analysis of the design, something like that?

I do believe it is relevant to the topic at hand. Mr. Sarner has no medical/healthcare qualifications (bachelor's degrees in political science and mathematics), and, if the voting machines did NOT work, then he has not even been able to succeed in professions he is described as having: inventor, mathematician, cryptographer.


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Does not compute
written by MonicaPignotti, June 03, 2010
Your rather convoluted line of reasoning does not compute, to put it mildly. The topic of this thread is not voting machines. Whether someone invented a working voting machine is completely irrelevant to the topic of hand and has absolutely nothing to do with the ability to evaluate whether an intervention for children has good evidence to support its safety and efficacy. The bottom line is that Federici's intervention has no such evidence and serious concerns have been raised about it. The issue is, are these concerns valid, is the evidence valid. Attempting to discredit anyone who raises these concerns is nothing more than the invocation of logical fallacy. I urge people to read the facts and evidence I have presented in my own blog and evaluate for themselves whether the evidence is valid, rather than resurrect and distort the distant past of the people who report it. See:
http://phtherapies.wordpress.c...federici/
http://phtherapies.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/more-questions-for-dr-ronald-federici/
http://phtherapies.wordpress.com/2010/05/08/correct-use-of-restraints-does-not-necessarily-prevent-death/
Have a look inside Federici's book at the prone restraint method he recommends parents use at home, that even hospitals are concerned about, to see why we are concerned:

http://www.amazon.com/Help-Hopeless-Child-Discussion-Post-Institutionalized/dp/0966710118/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1258578762&sr=8-2

Click on “Look Inside” and search in the book for “SEQUENCE ONE HOLDING” and go to where this phrase appears on page 111.

If you want to have a discussion, discuss the issues I raised here rather than attack the critics. Please do not attempt to divert discussion of issues by attacking me or other critics. Doing show only exposes your own impotence to respond to the issues at hand although I predict that I will be next in line to be attacked and have my distance past dredged up.
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Links
written by MonicaPignotti, June 03, 2010
Sorry, those links did not come up in my previous posting because I did not format them correctly. Here they are again:

Federici's recommended prone restraint procedure which I and others have expressed concerns about:

http://www.amazon.com/Help-Hop...62&sr=8-2

Click on “Look Inside” and search in the book for “SEQUENCE ONE HOLDING” and go to where this phrase appears on page 111.

What the evidence shows and questions for Dr. Federici:

http://phtherapies.wordpress.c...-federici/

http://phtherapies.wordpress.c...-responds/

http://phtherapies.wordpress.c...-federici/

http://phtherapies.wordpress.c...ent-death/

Let's discuss the issues at hand.
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