Alan Scheflin - Risk Management in Dissociative Disorder and Trauma Therapy

Wayne Morris:

Good morning, you are listening to CKLN 88.1 and this is show #32 on the radio series on Mind Control. Today we are going to hear a presentation by Professor Alan Scheflin given at the recent International Society for the Study of Dissociation (ISSD) and International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) conferences at a joint session in Montreal given this last Sunday, on November 9, 1997. This talk is entitled Risk Management in Dissociative Disorder and Trauma Therapy and is very timely in the wake of some disturbing legal developments against psychotherapy recently. There was a $10.6 million lawsuit settled out of court in Chicago for a therapist who treated DID or MPD, also more recently, the U.S. government has brought criminal charges against Judith Peterson, a Texas psychologist who treats dissociative clients. The charges allege that Dr. Peterson intentionally created and diagnosed DID and intentionally implanted false memories in her patients in order to keep them in hospital longer, thereby providing fraudulent therapy for traumas that did not occur. Also Dr. Peterson is being charged with mail fraud as she had mailed some of her bills to her clients for this allegedly fraudulent therapy. The federal government has only interviewed her patients who retracted and their attornies, and have not interviewed Dr. Peterson and other positive witnesses. The alleged victims of fraud filed multiple complaints to the Texas Board of Psychology which has dismissed eleven of the complaints against Dr. Peterson. In addition numerous complaints against her have been filed with the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, and the Texas Department of Health, and through their investigation she was found to be without fault in each complaint.

With these government indictments, Dr. Peterson will be forced to mount an expensive legal defence against these criminal charges. This is a precedent setting move for the U.S. government. Allegations of this type have in the past been dealt with in civil courts as malpractice or negligence complaints. If the U.S. government is successful in its prosecution, this will in effect criminalize psychotherapy.

So for today's show, we are going to hear this very timely talk by Alan Scheflin who is a Professor of Law at Santa Clara University in California, and was one of the original writers and researchers of CIA and US army mind control experimentation in his book, "The Mind Manipulators". He has recently co-written an encyclopedic reference called, "Memory, Trauma Treatment and the Law", just published in the past month. This book provides guidelines for therapists dealing with MPD, DID, and trauma survivors in this atmosphere of lawsuits against them which is encouraged and aided by such groups as the FMSF.

And now, Professor Alan Scheflin, with an introduction by Dr. Marlene Steinberg, of Yale University (Conference Chair) at the recent ISSD conference:

Dr. Marlene Steinberg:

Today's joint sessions focus on recent advances in both treatment and research of trauma survivors. While research on PTSD and the dissociative disorders has progressed considerably over the last decade, we have worked relatively independently of one another. We here also celebrate the ISSD's conference theme, "The Brink of a New Era" which also applies to today's joint sessions. Since we all treat trauma survivors, be they veterans or adult victims of abuse, it is crucial that we work together to foster clinical advances. On behalf of ISSD and ISTSS, I hope that these sessions will both help you in the treatment of trauma survivors, and lead to collaborative projects among members of the two societies. So I welcome you.

Now I would like to introduce a keynote speaker, Professor Alan Scheflin. This is indeed an honour, because I can think of nobody whose work integrates such crucial areas in mental health as Alan Scheflin. Alan is Professor of Law at Santa Clara University Law School. His expertise covers clinical and experimental research on hypnosis, memory and trauma treatment, as well as their import in the law. He is the forensic editor of the Journal of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and has co-authored numerous books, including "The Mind Manipulators", "Trance on Trial", "Clinical Hypnosis and Memory". His professional awards are numerous and include the American Psychiatric Association's Manfred Goodmacher Award in 1991. In addition, Professor Scheflin has been recognized in federal court as an expert on mind and behaviour control and in state court as an expert on suggestibility, memory and hypnosis. Professor Scheflin's most recent book, co-authored with Drs. Brown and Hammond, "Memory, Trauma Treatment and the Law" has just been published by Norton last month, and Professor Scheflin will be available at 4.45 for a book signing.

Given the recent controversy about traumatic memory, this book is essential reading for all of us involved in treating trauma survivors. We are fortunate to have Alan here today, and to share with us his thoughts on risk management in dissociative disorder and trauma therapy. Please help me welcome Professor Alan Scheflin:

Alan Scheflin:

Thank you Marlene and good afternoon. It is indeed an honour to be here, and talk with both of your important organizations on a topic of grave concern to all of us. I feel especially privileged because I am very much aware of the great humanitarian work you do with people whose lives have been shattered by the worst of human atrocities and natural disasters. You spend your days healing, and helping and caring and curing, and the attacks on you are unwarranted and unfair, but in need of defence. I vow to you that I will continue to assist and advise and to help and protect you in any way that I can. In that spirit, let me talk to you about risk management and what it means in the current climate.

What a difference a decade makes. In the second of a three part series in the Wall Street Journal in October, 1986 the Journal reported a study conducted by three researchers who had analyzed 475 studies and concluded "the results show unequivocally that psychotherapy is effective". One month later, the American Psychological Association Monitor reported on how "litigaphobia" which was defined as the unreasonable fear of being sued was having a direct negative impact on patient care, disrupting not only therapists' lives, but the lives of patients and families as well. In a related article in that same issue, the statistics demonstrated that psychologists were rarely sued, especially concerning "talking cures". Indeed, Cohen in the most comprehensive review of malpractice at that time wrote, "mental health professionals have remained relatively unscathed by claims of malpractice. Suits brought against psychologists, psychiatrists and others have been relatively few in number, and relatively low dollar amounts have been paid in damages. It has been observed that the average American psychiatrist is sued once for every 50-100 years of practice, where as the average neurosurgeon can expect to be sued for every 2 years of practice."

Thus, a decade ago, the message was "be happy, don't fear lawsuits, and rest assured that what you are doing was going to be effective." To a professional working today in the mental health field with trauma and dissociative patients, it must seem as if the world has gone mad. First, managed care has invaded the privacy and the autonomy of the therapist-patient relationship. As law professor Walter Wadlington has observed, "the byzantine system through which health care is delivered in the United States has seen major changes over the last two decades." A scheme in which physicians exercise principal control over decisions about the use of facilities, choice of treatment and determining what information should be disseminated to patients, has given way to a system in which competition and cost containment have become dividing forces, driving forces. Insurers and other large business entities exert great impact over treatment choices and hospitalization as well as selection of providers.

Second, right in the middle of that golden decade in 1986, on October 30th in fact, the Washington Supreme Court in a case called "Tyson vs. Tyson" decided at the appellate level, the first repressed memory case. In its opinion, the court rejected the notion of repressed memory and refused to extend the statue of limitations to victims of childhood sexual abuse whose memories had been recovered later in their lives. Although that ruling was overthrown by legislation, and now the law is quite different in the State of Washington, it began a cascade of cases through the legal system, and an avalanche of bills through the halls of legislators, and of course the recovered memory has been the most divisive debate in therapy certainly for this half of the century.

It is I supposed good timing, but an unfortunate thing to report, you must have all seen the story about the $10.6 million settlement in Chicago. Other cases are now pending. Indeed in the newspaper today there were more anti-therapy, anti-repressed memory stories. Also, third, we have the shocking announcement from Texas that the government has now decided to bring criminal charges against therapists working the MPD and dissociative fields. These are grand jury charges, but they will require rather expensive, indeed a hugely expensive defence, and it is my hope that the entire profession will rise to the occasion and resist these agregious charges that are brought against individual therapists, but which really try to indict the entire field of psychotherapy itself.

Fourth, a development that is less well known, but even more dangerous - the courts are now flirting with the idea of allowing third party liability suits to be brought against therapists. That means if you believe your patients, their families will sue you, and if you don't believe your patients, your patients will sue you. So you are caught in a trap for which there is no escape, and the notion of conflict of interest which all professions must obey, is simply thrown out the window. I will talk more about that later.

In this climate, what can conscientious therapists do? Let me quote to you from an article by Ray London in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis January 1997, "... the best risk management program is found when a responsible clinician uses sound professional judgment, establishes a positive therapeutic alliance, obtains necessary positive consultations, and documents what is done on a regular basis." That's good advice, but the rest of what he has to say in that paragraph, which I will quote, is no longer applicable. He said, "...we should not become so fearful of our legal vulnerabilities that we cease to use our sound judgment and training, nor should we allow the other professions, or the uninformed to determine the standard of care." Unfortunately other professions and the uninformed have now stepped in to determine the standard of care. The standard of care being a legal standard is informed by good medical practice, but by being a legal standard, it can be manipulated by lawyers and propagandists and other people, and that is what has happened.

Therefore it is necessary for the mental health profession to wrest back control of the standard of care from the avaricious lawyers that are in the process of changing it. With this in mind, I present to you as probably the most important kind of risk management, a rather grisly image that I would like you to keep in your minds as you treat patients. I want you to see with double vision that every patient before you has sitting next to him or her a lawyer with a yellow pad scribbling furiously at every thing that you say. Although you might not actually see the lawyer, that lawyer is there, and therefore good risk management keeps at least one eye on the legal consequences of what it is you are doing. I don't like to be the bearer of bad news, and I don't think that this development is a fortunate one for either therapist or patient. But I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't warn you that as far as lawyers are concerned, they will be in that room with you. If they are not present at that moment, they will have to access to your records, and to your notes, and to your thoughts, and it is better to think of them as being there and be cautious than to have to deal with them later in real life.

All of this has nothing to do with science. In fact the science is on the side of the therapist. In the midst of these horrible stories that we have seen in the paper today in Montreal, in the New York Times, in the London Times about the Texas and Chicago cases, and so on ... nobody has paid attention to an article in the London Times reporting on the thirty-seventh study demonstrating the validity of repressed memories. That thirty-seventh study which the media buries in the back pages, and indeed most newspapers don't cover at all, should be put into context. Because on the one side, there are thirty-seven studies showing repressed memory as a real phenomenon. On the other side, there are no studies showing repressed memory does not exist. And the argument that is sweeping across the country, through the media and through courts, that repressed memory does not exist, is scientifically unsound. It is the phrenology of the twentieth century.

In courts of law, it is persuasion and not proof that prevails, and therefore it is not going to be enough to have the science on your side right now. Ultimately that may be true, but right now it is not. So let's review some of the arguments that are used in the false memory cases and recovered memory cases, and then let's talk about how to deal with them preventively, and how to deal with them when the cases actually arise.

The essence of the false memory argument, the root of all the cases, is the idea that the therapy relationship is a relatiionship of undue influence. And that the patient has been talked into a set of beliefs that are untrue. In this regard, the image of the therapy room is identical to the image of the police interrogation room, or to indoctrination into a highly structured religious cult - that the same kind of brainwashing procedures that filter into police interrogation tactics are in use by therapists, and therefore what people report in therapy is what they have been programmed to say by therapists, some of whom who are just naive, but most of whom are malevolent and are trying to make extra money by filling beds or filling their schedules with insurance money. This is the essence of the false memory argument.

In particular, it is built upon a couple of sub-arguments. First, that repressed memories do not exist, and therefore any memory that comes out first in therapy must be a memory that has been implanted in therapy. So we have now a 100% litmus test for historical accuracy. If a memory comes out in therapy, it is automatically false. The people who say this also say and write that memory is malleable, and that memory can never be trusted, and that no memory carries with it an ___ of its truth or falsity. However, in the same breath they also argue that if a memory comes out in therapy for the first time, that memory must necessarily be false.

In response there are, as I said, thirty-seven studies against no studies showing that repressed memory, or what is more appropriately called "traumatic amnesia" does exist. Most of the good lawyers on the false memory side have recognized that they can't win the argument any longer, that repressed memories do not exist, and they have backed away from that position. The studies are too overwhelming, and the false memory arguments in support of the absence of repressed memory are now too fallacious. So now they have moved to another series of arguments. The most predominant one is that MPD or now DID is always iatrogenic, that this is not a natural condition to be found in nature, it is only found in the therapy room, and that therapists create MPD in order to treat MPD. And they treat MPD in order to get money to treat MPD, and so again, the economic argument is at the base.

To buttress the position that MPD is always iatrogenic, the argument then goes that the DSM-IV which acknowledges the existence of DID and acts as the standard of care for therapists is in fact a social convention created by a bunch of goodfellows who flip-flop on major issues such as anti-social personality, sociopaths and homosexuality, and the history of the DSM shows, according to the argument, that this is simply an agreed-upon, self-energizing, self-interested document that generally bears no correlation to what we find in nature.

Well, there is of course some truth to the idea that the DSM IV is a social convention, but I want to remind you of another social convention. It's called "law". You can no longer decide to not obey the speeding laws than you can to not obey the MPD or DID section of the DSM IV because surely anybody who says "I am going to go through the DSM IV and pick and choose what I like and not diagnose any of the conditions that I don't like" is violating the applicable standard of care. Since you can't, in the legal system, which is a social convention, decide which laws you choose to obey, and which laws you choose not to obey, then as long as the DSM is in force, it is the law, and it must be obeyed.

For those people who want to argue against MPD, they have every right to do so and they should marshall every argument they can but right now they have lost, and in the DSM V or the DSM XII or the DSM C maybe they will win, but until they win, it is malpractice for them to tell people to ignore any part of the DSM IV and it is malpractice for you, of course, to ignore it as well.

In addition, and I don't want to turn it into a scientific talk, because there isn't time to do that, I wanted to focus more on risk management and the arguments that are applicable, the idea that all MPD is iatrogenic is false as demonstrated in the literature. I think the most cogent and simple argument is the one in the British Journal of Psychiatry November 1988 by Thomas Fahey, who, after a review of the literature, shows that while you can get people to simulate being MPD you cannot get people to simulate the disorder. In the same way I can get people to act as if they are drunk, but I can't get them to measure intoxication on a meter, and therefore, over a long period time, it will be very difficult for somebody to simulate being grossly intoxicated. In the same way it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to simulate over a long period of time, having the actual MPD disorder. Consequently there are arguments that can handle the notion that MPD is always iatrogenic.

More significantly and with more difficulty, is the argument that it is easy to implant false memories. Well, of course, it must be true - read any newspaper now about the science in this area. It is easy to implant false beliefs such as the idea that repressed memory does not exist. But the science does not show what the lawyers claim in court. The science shows it is very difficult to implant "false memories" about emotional events for which there is no prior basis in fact, and again, I won't go through the literature. I have done that in "Memory, Trauma Treatment and the Law" book where you have all the literature brought together in one place. It is easy of course to talk people into some things, but it is very difficult to talk them into horrendous things and have them believe it. It is also untrue that these things are memories. These things, at worst, are beliefs, but they are not memories.

While we are on that point, I have always been amused at the idea of recovered memories. What memory is not recovered? By definition, a memory means that you have recovered it, and so the whole notion of recovered memories is another way of fooling the public into a set of false beliefs.

The more serious problem thought with this area, is that people are willing to believe that there are specialized techniques, in particular, hypnosis, that can facilitate altering the way people think and act. And the Hollywood version of hypnosis is always fresh in their minds, because that's the only version that people generally have in their minds. So there has been an attack on hypnosis, but realistically the attack on repressed memories was an attack on hypnosis, and the failure of the mental health and medical communities to respond to that attack is what has led to the current repressed memory controversy. If we go back in history, we find that the first case in the United States to allow hypnotically refreshed recollection was 1968. From 1968 until 1978, every court in the United States recognized the right of people who had been hypnotized to testify.

Beginning in 1978, a court said "... well, maybe there are some dangers in hypnosis," and in 1980 the supreme court in Minnesota vs. Mack ruled that hypnosis is always dangerous, always contaminates, always causes confabulation, results in undue suggestion, makes the hypnotized subject more self confident, and indeed so self confident that he or she becomes entirely resistant to cross examination. Therefore anybody who has been hypnotized is automatically disqualified from testifying. The exception was made for people who had previously recorded a statement of their factual memory, and so if a person was a witness, or a victim to a crime, and gave a statement to police before hypnosis, that person was permitted to get on the stand and tell the story that was told before the hypnosis. Anything remembered during or after the hypnosis, or any identification after the hypnosis of a possible suspect, was inadmissible.

Many of us argued that these rules were unfair, they misunderstood the nature of hypnosis, and they disenfranchised patients who had the right to get mental help, and also exercise their legal rights, and we urged the medical and mental health communities to file briefs in court to resist these agregious rulings. But our voice was unheard. It then became clear there was a secondary threat, and the secondary threat was for therapists who use hypnosis competently and wisely, to have thereby disenfranchised your patients from testifying in a court of law, could be considered malpractice, and therefore the patient could turn on you, and say, yes, I know you used hypnosis therapeutically for me, but now I can't sue the person whom I can now show was the person who abused me.

I will give you a case that makes this point clear. It is a true case from New York. A therapist called me and asked if the District Attorney could talk with me, and I said yes. The District Attorney called me and said, "...we have a nine year old girl. When she was about five, she went to her mother and said in five year old language 'daddy is molesting me'. The mother had a psychotic breakdown and was institutionalized and remained institutionalized. Who do you think got custody of the child?

It's now four or five years later. The child absolutely refuses to talk about it. The child learns what happens when you talk about these things. There is medical evidence of abuse, so this is not something that cannot be corroborated, but of course the medical testimony will tell you there is abuse. It doesn't tell you who is doing the abuse. A therapist working with the child for over a year using non-suggestive techniques was unable to get any information from the child. Hypnosis was used, the child was relaxed, the child told the whole story, and the story is again confirmed by the medical evidence.

Because the hypnosis was used, the child is now forever disqualified. Her testimony is inadmissible in court, and if she seeks to sue her father, she would be disqualified as a witness in that case also. I don't think that rule is fair, and I have argued against it, and written against. But then I wrote "Trance on Trial" to alert you to the fact that that child could then sue her therapist for using hypnosis and if you have not given the patient an informed consent form that explains that under the law, if we use hypnosis and you discover any information that can be corroborated, that could lead you to have a legitimate lawsuit against the third party, you will be disqualified from doing so because hypnosis was used.

If you are using hypnosis, or indeed working with memory at all, you also need another informed consent form and it is now good clinical practice to let the patient know what the literature does in fact demonstrate about memory. Memory is malleable and it is not historically accurate necessarily. Nobody has ever asked the false memory people how they remember their names, of course, or how they remember which home to go to at the end of the day. So a certain part of memory must work but there is no guarantee that any particular memory is accurate, no matter how much emotion is invested in a memory, no matter how much detail is in a memory, no matter how much impact the recovery of that memory has on an individual, it may still be inaccurate. That's true out of hypnosis, and it's true in hypnosis, and patient ought to know it.

There are two major kinds of false memory legal case. One is where the patient sues the therapist saying, 'you essentially talked me into believing that I was a certain kind of person ... mpd with satanic abuse and mind control programming ... and so forth ... and I was really none of those.' The other kind of case is where the patient goes out into the world, confronts the family, has a break with the family, accuses the family of incest or sexual abuse, and the family is now disrupted. It is the second kind of case I am talking about, where there is an outside the therapy-room encounter. Good risk management suggests that you keep the therapy in the therapy room, and that any activity that the patients wants to take in the outside world is the patient's decision, not yours. You should not urge confrontation without outside people, you should make it clear that no charges or any actions should be brought against a third party without independent corroboration and probably without the advice of a lawyer.

The therapist works with material in the therapy room whether it is historically accurate or not. Once that material goes outside of the therapy room, it should not be your responsibility, but it is your responsibility to let the patient know, first that it isn't your responsibility what the patient does outside, and secondly, that the patient, before doing anything outside, should be aware of the fallability of memory, and should not act hastily on the fact that a memory has been recovered.

Let's talk about satanic cults, and then mind control programming. The American public is not interested in hearing about the existence of satanic cults and mind control programming. Do satanic cults exist? Of course. There is no doubt about that except in the minds of some people, but those people do not include the FBI because if one reads Ken Lanning's report, which is not an FBI report, but a personal report, the FBI certainly recognizes the existence of satanic cults. There are many books reporting on satanism, and satanic cults. The American Family Foundation which is the foremost organization monitoring cult activity, has issued at least two reports on the existence of satanism and found a variety of different kinds of satanic practices that occur. The newspapers are filled with stories about satanic rituals and satanic cults and so forth.

The fact of the reality of satanic cults does not mean the juries are necessarily going to want to hear it. It's not that they disbelieve it, it's that they choose not to hear it. And so in working with people who report satanic abuse, you have to be very careful, and here is where good note-taking is extremely important. There are two schools of thought about note-taking. One is the less I say the less they can pin on me. That is not the preferential view. Taking notes you have been taught is a way of doing good therapy. I tell you now it serves another purpose. It serves as a legal defence. For you to accurately report, in full detail, what happens in therapy sessions may be the best defence you have because of the ideas of satanism come from the patient, and not from you, your notes should reflect that, and your notes should reflect that the patient kept going back to the issue of satanism and kept insisting that the issue be talked about, and your notes should demonstrate that this is not something you have created in the mind of the patient, but rather something that has been generated by the patient, and the patient's demeanour has indicated that he or she is not likely to get better, or to hear other kinds of discussion unless the subject is covered. There is nothing that prohibits you from talking about these things, but make sure you document that this is not something you are implanting. The kinds of things the patient is reporting should be recorded in your notes as "the patient said this, the patient said that..." I responded, "is there anything else you want to say? is there anything else you want to tell me?" or other non-suggestives forms of open-ended questions so that you cannot be accused of leading or using undue suggestion.

Another comment about satanism. The FBI report and Gail Goodman's independent research have demonstrated that there is no empirical proof of multi-generational, international conspiracies of satanic organizations, and we have to assume that that is a fact. But that fact doesn't mean that there isn't international networks of trafficking in children for pedophiles, and indeed in another one of those little stories hidden on a back page, there was just an enormous arrest in Italy of a pedophile ring that was buying Chinese children and shipping them around the world. Those stories are of course ignored by the media, but what we are now learning is the kind of things we have heard of as ritual abuse in a satanic context, may actually be a form of international ritual abuse in a pedophile context, and the FBI has acknowledged the existence of international rings in trafficking in children. We are only starting to learn about these things. It is not your job to be a detective, but it is your job to be a good chronicler of the stories your patient tells you, and to have your notes reflect the fact that you are not creating and implanting suggestions, or influencing these stories.

With mind control programming the issue becomes even more difficult. Is there mind contro programming? Of course. Indeed many of the false memory people wrote some of the best works on mind control programming, and did it in the context of religious cults. I myself wrote the definitive edition of the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Army's mind control programs that were secret programs that extended over a period of twenty-five to thirty years. I read somewhere between 12,000 and 20,000 pages of previously classified secret, top-secret and Eyes Only documents to put that book together. The book is The Mind Manipulators, currently out of print. We can document that 1000's and 1000's of people including mental patients, juveniles and others were unwitting victims in CIA mind control efforts. But these programs are largely unknown to the public. The idea of mind control programming has such an aura of science fiction about it, that people do not like to hear it and therefore in your note-taking, you must again be very careful to make sure that you don't indicate any influence by you on the patient by you in the reporting of these kinds of events.

Also, with satanic cult, with memories, with mind control programming, it is easy to lose sight of the ball. The ball is stabilizing the patient, making the patient able to function in the outside world. All of these other things are distractions at worst, or things that need to be discussed at best, to be overcome in order to get to the real business at hand. A lot of the problems that have generated the lawsuits are that these areas have been found to be so intriguing that the actual treatment goals have been lost sight of and instead, the idea of investigating multinational trafficking in mind control programming and so forth have become the centrepiece of the therapy. As seductive as these things are, be careful that you don't lose sight of the treatment goal, and your notes are the best place for that information to be transcribed and to be available later.

While we are talking about information and knowledge, there is no substitute for knowing the literature, and I think what has happened to therapists, and I have said this for many years, but I will continue to say it, is that you were blindsided by a literature you never heard of and which you are now expected to master, and your failure to know about that literature has been the basis of many, if not all, of these lawsuits. I personally have yet to see a lawsuit in this area, and I have seen a lot of them, where the literature on brainwashing, mind control, undue influence, police interrogation practices, and social influence, suggestibility ... have not been thrown at therapists.

Generally the only aspect of those literatures that you are exposed to are interviewing techniques and the difference between closed and open questioning, but there is a rich and incredibly fascinating literature that you now must be aware of, not only on memory and the available ways in which memory may or may not be influenced, but on suggestion and suggestibility. On police interrogation practices, and on mind control and brainwashing. There was a case in New England where a therapist was being sued and the deposition was a month away. The therapist called in desperation, asking for help and I said, "here's what you need to do," and gave a reading list to the therapist and names of people in her area who could train her in these literatures. The deposition occurred, and about an hour or two into the deposition, the lawyers took a break and went into the men's room, and in the men's room they said, "we're not going to get anywhere, she knows too much, she is too familiar with the literature." Her husband was in the men's room and the lawyers didn't know it, and her husband was able to report this back to her. We had trained her in that month to be available to the literature, and they could not touch her on deposition.

You now have to know that literature as well, and just as I wrote "Trance on Trial" to protect you from the lawsuits by the patients claiming malpractice, Dan Brown, Cory Hammond and I wrote "Memory, Trauma Treatment and the Law" to bring together in one place all of the available literature on memory, brainwashing, police interrogation, and so forth, so you can at least see what that literature looks like. And the more familiar you become with it, the more you will be doing your own risk management without realizing it, because mistakes you would otherwise have made you will no longer make. For example, many of the people who deal in the area of mind control programming, were in the early days lured into it with the notion that there are certain kinds of programs that exist, certain kinds of programming, certain people who are doing the programming, and so forth. Those of us who work in the area of mind control and brainwashing, know that almost everything we hear is wrong. The amount of disinformation is so overwhelming that we believe nothing until we can independently corroborate it.

Therapists have the opposite kind of training. While you may not believe everything your patient says, it is good therapeutic practice to give the patient the encouragement that you do believe and a good deal of what patients report has some basis in fact, although it may be highly exaggerated. In the area of mind control, people jumped in, believed everything they heard immediately, and paid no attention to the specialists who could have warned them that most of what people disseminate as brainwashing theories and ideas, simply are not true. And unless programs, policies, techniques, government programs, have been corroborated as actually having occurred, there is no reason to believe them. So, for example, MKULTRA was a program of the CIA which had 149 sub-projects on every avenue of mind and behaviour control. We know that was a real project, and we know what the sub-projects under it are, but there are many names that have been circulated of other projects and they cannot be verified, and if they cannot be verified, and you can't prove them, your belief in them will hurt you in a court of law and also in doing good therapy.

Be aware that you will be called into question about the literatures on mind control, brainwashing and particularly, police interrogation because the way police talk people into false confession is the way these lawsuits are framed that you talked patients into false memories, and there is a direct correlation between the literature on police interrogation and the allegations against therapists in this area.

Let's talk about informed consent. The notion of informed consent is relatively new in law, although there were informed consent ideas earlier. It was the Nuremburg Trials that finally generated the essential notion of informed consent. The law has always felt that an individual is autonomous and entitled to be the sole owner, possessor, and dealer of his or her mind and body. And anybody who seeks to tamper either with the mind or the body, must get informed consent. Informed consent should now be used not only as a way of getting permission from patients, but also as a way of giving information to them. The risk disclosure cases that are mostly in the medical malpractice area, have held doctors liable for failing to deliver information about risks have only a 2% likelihood of occurring. So the notion of informed consent is that the patient is entitled to know everything that she or he needs to know in order to make an informed choice.

In the informed consent area, the modern false memory argument or attack on therapists argument, is that all of psychotherapy, at least on the analytical side, is experimental, and therefore everything you are doing, has not been validated by science. Part of what gives this argument its power is a 1993 decision by the United States Supreme Court Dalbert vs. Merrill-Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. You may have heard about it. The facts of the case have no relevance to us at this point, but what the supreme court said is that if expert testimony is going to be admitted into court, there are four criteria that must be met:

  1. Whether the theory or technique has been tested or can be tested (this is the principle of verifibility)
  2. Whether the theory or technique has been subjected to peer review and/or publication
  3. Whether the theory or technique has a known or potential error rate
  4. Whether the theory or technique is generally accepted within the relevant scientific community

It is my belief that you can meet all of those criteria but in order to do so, it is necessary to do longitudinal studies on the effectiveness of various forms of psychotherapy, and it is necessary to show that the methods and techniques that you use are indeed curative and have low potential error rates. The more scientific studies you have on your side, the less vulnerable to legal action you will be, and therefore what is needed at this time is for the profession itself to stand up and convert art into science, and make sure that the kind of studies that the Supreme Court is going to insist on are available and delivered, and those studies then have to be disseminated across the profession itself.

While we are talking about the profession itself, it is my view and I am sad to say it, but I don't feel that it is inaccurate, that the major professional organizations have let you down, and their insurance carriers have let you down. In this moment of your greatest need, they have issued the greatest silence. If the literature shows that repressed memory in 37 studies is a concept that can be validated, where are the professional organizations making that point? Where are they in the court cases? If the APA's and the AMA's are not going to speak, or even worse, are going to speak with a wishy-washy voice, then the public is only going to hear one side. This is like the story in law of the guy who was called to grand jury duty, and he didn't want to do it. The grand jury is a body of citizens that is convened to hear the prosecution's case and if the prosecutor has enough evidence, the grand jury will indict. It's only the prosecutor's case that they hear and only for the decision of whether there is enough evidence to indict.So this man went to the judge and said I don't want to sit as a grand juror, and the judge said, why? The man said I only can hear out of one ear, and the judge said well you are only going to hear one side of the case.

The public has only heard one side of the case, and for organizations such as your own that are most directly threatened, you should have a media campaign. All of you can go home and write letters to your local newspapers. You are vast in your numbers, and in the regions that you serve, and writing a letter about the true science of these issues and countering the media barrage from the other side is essential in this day and age. Not only is it necessary for organizations most directly threatened to take affirmative action in the outside world presenting your viewpoints, but you should work inside the bigger organizations to galvanize them to action and to stop their silence from being just one side of the story.

My time is short, there is always so much more to say, but I don't want to be pessimistic about this. In the short run it seems to me, things look quite despairing. Headline after headline acts as Chinese water torture -- one drop at a time wears a hole in your head. But in the long run, I have to think of this the way we think of the Soviet Union under Stalin where what was politically accurate was what was scientifically accurate, and the biology and the psychiatry in the Soviet Union for 30-40 years wound up being an adulation of Marxist political theory, and when that finally was thrown off, scientists could get back to the good work that they necessarily need to do.

I think we are experiencing the same kind of thing in this area right now, and I want to close with a remark of Arthur Schopenhauer which it seems to me fits the current occasion:

"All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

Now that we are in stage two, can stage three be far behind? Thank you.

You have been listening to a presentation by Prof. Alan Scheflin, Professor of Law at Santa Clara University in California, and this comes in the wake of the US government attempting to bring criminal charges against psychotherapy, and indeed in effect criminalizing psychotherapy. This is one of the prime resources available for victims of sexual abuse, sadistic abuse, and mind control.

I can't help but asking what is behind this? Why is the U.S. government trying to criminalize these resources? What is the motivation for their actions? Is it that they are worried that victims of U.S. government mind control and organized child pornography and prostitution are healing and talking about their experiences, exposing the U.S. government's role in these atrocities?

I think it's a question worth asking.

You have been listening to the International Connection on CKLN 88.1 and we are continuing with our radio series on mind control.