Refutation of the disinformation about Monica Pignotti

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If you Google Monica Pignotti, Read This Statement of Support First

Update: On a more positive note, I have been able to move on from this smear campaign and have a happy, fulfilling life. I just returned from a wonderful trip to Italy. This photo was taken on October 17, 2012 in beautiful San Benedetto, Del Tronto, Italy as I walked along the beach. That is where my ancestors on my father’s side came from and Pignotti is a very well known and respected name in that town, as Pignottis own many businesses there, including the lovely hotel where we stayed. It has been a wonderful experience getting more in touch with my Italian roots!

Thankfully, even though it took me awhile to find a job in my field, I have been employed throughout this period and so was able to afford this trip. As of September 2012, I am employed in my field at my degree level as a lead Program Evaluator/Researcher to evaluate a home visiting infant mental health program, a Connecticut-based intervention model, that serves teen parents who have been involved with the juvenile justice system and their 0-5 year old children/infants.  Interventions such as the one I am evaluating which help to develop healthy, secure maternal child attachment supply positive alternatives to the harmful and/or ineffective approaches I have expressed my concerns about.

Finally, an employer is smart enough not to believe everything that comes up on a Google search and who sees the mentality of the cyber smear campaigners for what it is and realizes what an injustice it would be to penalize me for that and instead, evaluates me on my actual job performance, not out of context distortions of my distant past or outright lies that my background screen soundly refutes. Of course, I will continue to write and publish on exposing untested, ineffective and/or harmful therapy practices while actively working to develop positive, evidence tested alternatives. There are indeed positive, helpful ways to promote and develop genuine attachment and attunement between mother and child.

I have already received a hateful response from my pseud-anonymous cyber stalker about this, who has tried to post seven times to this and my other blogs. Although it is my policy to post comments from those who have disagreements with me and I welcome debate, I draw the line at hate, threats and libelous statements that this communication contained, repeating the usual lies. The person is obviously very upset that I am happy and doing well in my life and that any sane person who reads the content of the smear campaign can see what a disturbed individual this is. As more people are getting targeted for various reasons by internet smear campaigns, more understanding is developing of the mentality of cyber bullies and cyber stalkers and people are realizing they, rather than the targets, are the ones with the problem.

Although this adversity is not something I would have chosen for myself, much good has come out of it for me spiritually, as it has brought me closer to God and helped me to develop a faith I would not have likely otherwise known. This is something no one can take away and puts all else in its proper perspective. I can honestly say that although I had a rough few years, I am happier than I have been in a very long time.

That being said, internet smear campaigns appear to be an occupational hazard for mental health consumer advocates who choose to challenge certain mental health practices that are untested and yet have proponents who promote them and make unsupported claims.  If anyone has any questions about anything they read on the internet about me, please do not hesitate to contact me and ask and above all, please do not make any assumptions about what you read, since Google or other internet search engines cannot tell the difference between fact and fabrication.

If you Google Monica Pignotti (pronounced “Peen-yocht-tee”), you will notice many odd and false postings come up on Google searches of my name which are made by people who are upset about my expression of concerns about the practices of some mental health professionals.  In addition to the many false statements that have been posted about me (such as the lie repeatedly posted that I have been arrested/convicted of crimes and fired when I have never been arrested, much less convicted for anything in my life, nor have I ever been fired from any professional job I have ever held in my entire life), postings have been made in my name that I did not write and quotes have been placed around words I neither wrote nor uttered and bizarre pictures are posted of women with my name on them, who are not me. To put it briefly, don’t believe everything you read on Google searches or images. Please click here to read a statement of support signed by 48 of my colleagues who share my concerns.  People who are unfamiliar with this form of abuse may wonder why I even bother to respond to this, but you would be surprised how many otherwise intelligent people believe whatever they read online.

This statement shows that professionals in the relevant scientific community support my work and contrary to what anonymous smear campaigners and practitioners of questionable practices would want to lead the readers to believe, my work is accepted and supported by the scientific community and not controversial. The only controversy about my writings is within the fringe cliques of those whose work I have criticized who try to turn the tables and call me fringe and controversial when the support I have received as well as my track record of peer reviewed publications in reputable journals, shows otherwise. One of my main detractors is the author of a self-published book who practices a form of therapy which, by his own admission is controversial. This individual also attempted to sue me and several others and a year ago, the case was dismissed by a Federal judge who opined that my writings did not constitute defamation, but rather, were opinion and all charges against us were dismissed, affirming our right to free speech as well as academic freedom.

Posting under multiple anonymous identities make it appear that there are more such detractors than there actually are. In internet jargon, this practice of one person using multiple pseudonyms to make it appear there is a mob at work when it is really only a few people with an ax to grind, is known as sock puppetry.

I have references from professionals who know me and have worked with me on a day-to-day basis, which I will provide to anyone with a legitimate inquiry about my standing with FSU, who will refute the lie I was “fired” and give you a more realistic assessment of what it is like to work with me. Click here for further details about the lies that have been posted about me and FSU. A background check will prove I do not have a criminal record of any kind, not even minor traffic violations, nor have I ever been arrested or charged with anything, nor do I or have I ever worked in an adult bookstore, nor have I had sexual relationships with my co-authors or any other inappropriate relationships with anyone else. These are just a few of the many lies that have been posted about me mostly by posters using pseudonyms or anonymous posters.

Bottom line: For the past three years someone appears to be investing a great deal of time and effort running a smear campaign against me that amounts to classic propaganda tactics. My friends tell me that this means I must be doing something right and be effective in my exposure of dangerous therapeutic practices. Otherwise why spend so much time and effort to attempt to discredit me? The smear campaigners have fabricated and posted the worst, most obscene possible things that can be attributed to a human being that they can and invent and then lie that I did them.  Some of the postings are postings with my name on them that I did not post (forgeries) and in others, quotations are put around sometimes obscene words I never wrote and there are completely fabricated stories about me. In addition to the fabrications, events from my very distant past that occurred before I ever obtained any advanced degrees and I have long since repudiated, are being taken out of context and misportrayed by the anonymous posters. A key difference here is that I have learned from my past mistakes whereas the proponents of the therapies I have expressed concerns about apparently have not, hence their need to attack anyone who challenges them.

It is a common misconception to blame the victim of cyber smear campaigns of the sort I have been enduring. This is not unlike the attitude towards rape victims that existed before society’s consciousness was raised — the victim must have done something  to “ask’ for it, must be somehow deeply flawed, so the mythology goes.

The simple fact of the matter is that I challenge people who most people are too afraid to challenge for fear of being maligned in the way I have been. There is something in me that cannot in all good conscience remain silent when I see abuse occurring that many others seem to have no problem turning a blind eye to, although many privately agree with me.  For this, I have suffered consequences, but nevertheless, I continue because if I can make a difference in the lives of individuals, it is worth it to me.  The posters seem to feel that they are retaliating against my critical blogs, which they have characterized as “hate” websites. It appears that somewhere in their education, they missed learning to distinguish between expressing concerns about mental health practices that lack evidence to support claims being made on on hand and personal attacks and malicious lies, on the other hand.

Recently, the Russian Commissioner of Children’s Rights is raising similar issues my much-maligned colleagues and I have been raising, with regard to the unsupported beliefs of certain mental health professionals about internationally adopted children, especially children adopted from Russia who have been victims of serious abuse and in some cases, have died at the hands of their abusive parents while these adoption “experts” have testified in a way that blames the victims and gets the abusive parents off the hook or at least lessens their conviction. 

It should go without saying that decent, ethical professionals who are offering valid therapies are able to provide sound support for what they are doing and hence, have no need to attack their critics in this manner.

Here is a quote that seems appropriate to this situation: 

To date, 48 of my professional colleagues, whose names appear below the statement,  have signed the following statement of support. I thank and extend my deepest appreciation to each of them for their support and having the courage to take a stand with me on the important issues involving our professions that are at stake. If any prospective employers are reading this, I am more than willing to answer any questions you might have and address any and all concerns and provide you with the names and contact information for references who I have actually worked with who will put the lies about me to rest, once and for all. Here is the statement of support my colleagues have signed.

Statement of Support for Dr. Monica Pignotti [May 2011]

For the past two years, Dr. Monica Pignotti has been subjected to an ongoing and concerted internet smear campaign in response to her peer-reviewed and internet writings on potentially harmful therapy practices, particularly attachment and other similar therapies involving coercive restraint of children. The postings have mostly been made by anonymous and presumably pseudonymous posters on blogs, public newsgroups, and other internet websites. These statements have often been malicious, false, and even profane, and have included not only Dr. Pignotti but also some of her colleagues and supporters (see http://phtherapies.wordpress.com and https://monicapignotti.wordpress.com).

Although the posters are, to date, unidentified and unidentifiable, it is clear from their content that they are one or more individuals who are upset by Dr. Pignotti’s criticisms of certain interventions directed at vulnerable children, such as internationally adopted children with serious developmental disabilities and/or behavior problems. Rather than take the high road and address the substantive criticisms raised by Dr. Pignotti and her co-authors, the anonymous posters have elected to take the low road and personally attack and malign the critics.

We, the undersigned, unequivocally oppose the cowardly and unethical behaviors of the internet posters, and strongly affirm Dr. Pignotti’s right to raise legitimate criticisms of their therapeutic practices without fear of false and defamatory attacks. Criticism of therapeutic practices that lack empirical support and may be harmful is vital for the profession and we are deeply concerned that smear campaigns could discourage others from engaging in public scrutiny of these and other practices. We call on the internet posters to stop such practices immediately. We further call on the posters to publicly identify themselves and to voice their criticisms in the form of clear descriptions of their concerns, using recognized venues such as peer-reviewed articles rather than in the form of baseless personal attacks.  Additionally, we ask that any prospective employers of Dr. Pignotti not allow the actions of these posters and the fact she has chosen not to remain silent, to impact their hiring decisions.

Signed:

Scott O. Lilienfeld, PhD, Professor of Psychology (Clinical), Emory University

Eileen Gambrill, PhD, Professor, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley

Bruce Thyer, LCSW, BCBA, PhD, Professor of Social Work, Florida State University

J. Michael Bailey, Professor Northwestern University

Aaron T. Beck, M.D., University Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Evelyn Behar, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago

Carolyn Black Becker, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Trinity University, San Antonio

Stephen T. Black, Ph.D., Ph.D, Social & Clinical Psychologist

Richard R. Bootzin, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona

Lynn Brandsma, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Chestnut Hill College

Roxane Cohen Silver, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology & Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine

James C. Coyne, PhD., Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Professor of Health Psychology, University of Groningen

Bella DePaulo, PhD

Benjamin Emmert-Aronson, M.A., Doctoral student in Clinical Psychology, Boston University

Wayne C. Evens, MSW, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Program Director, 1501 West Bradley Ave., Peoria, IL 61625

Trudy Festinger, DSW, Professor of Social Work, New York University

Howard N. Garb, YC 03, USAF, Ph.D., Chief, Psychology Research Service

Associate Editor, Military Psychology , 559 AMDS/SGPL, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX  [Please Note: Does not represent an endorsement by or the views of the United States Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the United States Government.]

Brandon Gaudiano, Ph.D., Assistant Professor (Research), Alpert Medical School of Brown University

James Herbert, PhD, Professor Clinical Psychology and Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Drexel University

D. Lynn Jackson, Ph.D., LCSW (FL), ACSW, Assistant Professor/ Field Coordinator, Department of Rehabilitation, Social Work and Addictions, 1155 Union Circle #311456, University of North Texas, Denton, TX  76203-1456

Robert K. Klepac, Ph.D., Psychology Training Director Emeritus, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Research Associate Professor, University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio

Steven R. Lawyer, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Idaho State University

Julia H. Littell, Ph.D., Professor, Graduate School of Social Work and Social Welfare, Bryn Mawr College, 300 Airdale Rd., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010, USA

Elizabeth Loftus, PhD, Distinguished Professor, Psychology & Social Behavior Criminology, Law & Society Cognitive Sciences School of Law, University of California, Irvine, 2393 Social Ecology II, Irvine, Calif. 92697-7080  USA

Jeffrey M. Lohr, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Psychological Science, University of Arkansas

Steven Jay Lynn, PhD, Professor of Psychology, SUNY Binghamton

Robin MacFarlane, PhD

Richard J. McNally, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Clinical Training, Department of Psychology, Harvard University

Cathleen Mann, PhD, Independent Practice

Jean Mercer, PhD, Professor Emerita, Richard Stockton College

Michael B. Miller, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.E., Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, email: mbmiller@umn.edu, phone: 612-564-5364

Randal S. Pennington, PsyD, Training Director, Wasatch Mental Health, Provo, Utah

Brady J. Phelps, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Dept. of Psychology, South Dakota State University

Ken Ruggiero, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina

Susan Kiss Sarnoff, DSW, Associate Professor, Ohio State University Department of Social Work

Sally Satel, MD, American Enterprise Institute

Lee Sechrest, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Arizona

Ian R. Sharp, Ph.D., Clinical Scientist and Senior Trainer, Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology Industry

Bradley H. Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Director, Community/Clinical Graduate Training Program,  University of South Carolina

Carol Tavris, Ph.D., Social Psychologist, Author, Lecturer

George Tremblay, Ph.D., Department of Clinical Psychology, Antioch University New England

Timothy R. Tumlin, Ph.D., Independent Practice, Darien, Illinois

Kristin von Ranson, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology (Clinical), University of Calgary

Hollida Wakefield, M.A. Licensed Psychologist, Private Practice, Northfield, MN 55057

Robert L. Weiss, Ph.D., Professor emeritus of Psychology, University of Oregon

Robert W. Wildblood, Phd, Retired Associate Professor of Psychology, Licensed Applied Psychologist in Virginia, Licensed HSPP in Indiana

Alexander Williams, M.A., Clinical Psychology Graduate Student, University of Kansas

The Google Groups Search Results Are Replicable: Anyone Can Search Google Groups and Find 1000s of Smear Postings About Monica Pignotti

The anonymous WordPress Bloggers responded to my posting of verifiable statistics of their over 1000 postings to internet newsgroups, as usual for them, by fabricating a dialogue that never occurred and focusing on the person who did the analysis. As is common for them, they raise a straw man argument. I never claimed this to be scholarly research. What it is, is a very simple search of Google Groups that one person took the time to do. What they are attempting to obscure is that these are verifiable statistics. Anyone who cares to take the time to do a search of Google Groups for postings about me under the pseudonyms listed and will find the same thing. It’s rather hypocritical for them to put an emphasis on the anonymity of the poster when they themselves are performing their smear campaign as anonymous individuals.

My “astonishing” number of postings (which even on the highest months, average only around 4 per day = about 15-20 minutes per day of my time) would not exist, were it not for 1000+ postings smearing me. Unlike my postings, the smear postings sometimes include fancy graphics and dredged up postings from more than a decade that would have taken the cyber smear campaigners much time to dredge up. It seems that attacking me is a full time job for someone. It only shows the extent of the smear campaign which is quite “astonishing” to borrow the ridiculous term used to describe my self-defense. Astonishing attacks call for astonishing responses rather than the victim sitting passively back and doing nothing. Once again, the anonymous WordPress posters have tried to blame the victim and failed.

That will not change the verifiable results that anyone with internet access can verify which conclusively shows that I am indeed the target and the victim of an anonymous internet smear campaign.

Perhaps this most recent flood of attacks on me and attempting to reverse things is deigned to distract from the legal documents I recently found regarding the conclusion of Federici v Pignotti et al. Why is it that Federici’s former lawyer who represented him in Federici v Pignotti et al was, according to what he stated in the filing,  unable, despite repeated attempts to reach him? Why did he state that he believed he could no longer ethically continue to represent him in any matter? Your guess is as good as mine, but obviously I have hit a nerve, in spite of the attempts of the anonymous smear bloggers to portray this (which involves a Federal case and order from a Federal judge) as well as my posting on the passage of important anti-SLAPP legislation in Washington DC as “legal trivia”. I can assure you that this is not “trivia” to those of us who have been hit with such lawsuits, nor is a federal case trivial.

This is only part of what I have uncovered in recent public records searches I have conducted.

In the meantime, the support I have received from the mental health profession and academic community shows that such people are not gullible enough to be fooled by this anonymous smear campaign, will not blame the victims and instead are calling the anonymous posters out on their antics.

The Blind Stupidity of Google Search Engines and The National Enquirer

Come on people, it’s just a computer program and in my opinion, not such a good one at that because Google searches all too often, produce unreliable information. No offense intended personally to any of the individuals who are programmers for Google  — I have known a few and they are very bright individuals — but something really needs to be done because all too often, a Google search on a person’s name is not an accurate representation of who they are (which also points to the flaws in critical thinking of people who make such an assumption that it is). More and more people who have even minimal critical thinking skills are coming to understand that Google is not a reliable source for information and to really find out information about someone, sources of whatever comes up, need to be carefully and critically examined. Anyone can post anything on the internet about anyone and if they have a bit of technical knowledge and know how to Google bomb or if someone is a critic of certain pseudoscientific practices, the blind stupidity of the Google search engine will make these ads for practices come up with the person’s name. Anti-cult activists have been aware of this for quite awhile now. The reason these ads come up and not ads for more credible sources is that often, these pseudoscientific practices aggressively advertise on the internet whereas the more credible sources most often do not buy so many Google ads, if any. Academics and  clinicians who already have busy, successful practices often see no need for aggressive ad campaigns because they have busy practices with long waiting lists simply through word of mouth and do minimal to no advertising.

Perhaps this is why attorney John Dozier, co-author (with Sue Scheff) of the book, The Google Bomb has compared Google to The National Enquirer. Virtually anyone can post anything about someone and Google does not discriminate as to whether it is backed up by any evidence. Dozier stated:

I can see the day when Google will be the National Enquirer of the online world. And ironically, it will be by the vote of each of you. The online society will have voted to leave for greener pastures, tired of the trash Google presents as authoritative (p. 221).

Dozier went on to explain that better search programs will be developed. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has been victimized by an online smear campaign.

Ironically, what’s happening lately is that people, to defend themselves from the libel and defamation that comes up on Google searches that Google will not remove without a court order and since most people cannot afford to hire teams of lawyers to deal with this, is that people are getting Google alerts on their names and doing their own searches in order to defend themselves and this gives even more hits and business to Google. I would bet this is temporary, though, until a competitor steps in and creates a better, more reliable search engine.

So Google, get with it and fix your search program so it does not misrepresent people, or your competitors will do it for you and Dozier’s prediction will come true. In my opinion and experience, for critical thinkers, it already has. In the meantime, smart people or perhaps I should say people that have at least minimum levels of intelligence and critical thinking skills, do not jump to unwarranted conclusions about a person based upon Google ads or what comes up on Google searches.

Until this search engine reliability problem gets corrected, which could be years, I highly recommend people read books like The Google Bomb for things they can do to minimize the damage.

Are people with strange belief systems not of sound mind?

There is a commonly believed myth that people with strange belief systems are always psychotic or not of sound mind in some way. In fact, the research of Richard J. McNally and his team of researchers at Harvard University and others demonstrates that by and large, people with strange belief systems are not psychotic.

McNally and his colleagues studied people who believed they had been abducted by aliens. Some even had the delusion that they had been taken up to spaceships, medically examined, and impregnated by aliens. Understandably, people uninformed in this area would make the assumption that such people had to be psychotic. However, when McNally and his team performed an extensive battery of psychological and psychiatric testing, they found that the vast majority were not psychotic and their mental health pathology was no different from a comparison group of normals who were subjected to the same tests.

This has implications for people in cults who adopt strange beliefs. Furthermore, the DSM IV-TR excludes a diagnosis of schizophrenia if the delusion is culturally based. If a person, for example, lives full time among Scientologists who have the Scientology belief system, which includes at its most advanced levels, a belief in Xenu and body thetans and incredible past life incidents, that could be considered a cultural belief because Scientology is that person’s culture (note the first four letters of the word). People who leave Scientology, usually drop that belief although there are some Scientologists who leave the organization and continue to affiliate with independent Scientologists who have that belief. Since leaving Scientology, I completely dropped that belief.

UPDATE: In a recent other WordPress blog, an absurd comparison was made that betrays the author’s ignorance about extensive social psychology research on social influence dynamics and techniques. The statement was made that most people laugh when they heard the OT III materials, but I did not. This completely and probably intentionally drops the context in which this belief evolved. If I had heard the OT III materials when I was new to Scientology I too would have laughed it off. I was not introduced to these materials until more than two years after I first became involved with Scientology and by that time was very much a part of the culture and under their social influence. Most people who stick with Scientology and get to OT III do believe it when they see it, not because they are gullible, stupid or kooky people but because they have come under social influence and have gradually accepted the belief system. The fact is that most people who have come under the influence of Scientology’s belief system do not “laugh” when they see the OT III materials. There is a very large body of social psychology research showing that susceptibility to influence techniques has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence, nor doe it mean that the person is in any way mentally ill or odd. Normal, intelligent people, given the right (or the wrong) circumstances can be influenced to believing some very strange things.

If we examine the belief systems of many mainstream religions, if looked at from the perspective of an objective outsider, many of those beliefs could be considered just as strange as those of nonmainstream religions. What makes them not seem strange is that the beliefs are held by millions of people, not their content.

It is a highly stigmatizing myth that people in cults are psychotic. The vast majority are not. In fact, although of course there are tragic exceptions to this, such as Lisa McPherson (who became psychotic long after her initial involvement) people who are truly psychotic usually do not last long in cults because in many cults, they would not be on medication and would not be able to function in the community. Eileen Barker cites a number of studies that dispel the myth that all or even most people in cults are mentally ill. On the contrary, most are not.

People leaving cults, especially those who were in for most of their adult life, have very real challenges adjusting to life in the outside world. Let’s not compound that by stigmatizing them with myths.

My attackers have written that I am “not of sound mind” because of my long-past experience in Scientology, so I thought I would use this as a opportunity to debunk myths and educate people on cults. There is no evidence to support this claim. Since leaving Scientology  in 1976 (which I was in for less than 6 years in the 1970s) I have operated as a high functioning adult with credible mental health professional references, who has held down long-term jobs, and acquired a BA, MSW, and PHD and have never received a diagnosis of psychosis or serious mental illness of any sort.

Similar assertions are made about my experience with TFT. TFT involves the stimulation of acupressure points. Millions of Americans believe in acupuncture/acupressure and in Eastern cultures, belief is even more widespread. The theory of meridians have no scientific basis, but believing in something that has no scientific basis hardly means that someone is mentally unstable. Were that the case, the vast majority of Americans (who surveys show believe in all kinds of unscientific things such as ESP) would have to be diagnosed. If so many believe in ESP, people believing in distance healing is not such a stretch, although VT is claimed to be based on a specific technology, not ESP.

More potentially dangerous than that, are therapists who recommend interventions for children that involve instructing parents to put disobedient children in a prone restraint position. While it is unlikely that these therapists are mentally ill, the intervention, like TFT, has no randomized clinical trials to support its efficacy and according to a 2002 review published review in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry by David M. Day, the theories behind such therapies have virtually no empirical evidence to support them. Day wrote (p. 274):

Second, as stated previously, none of the theories has been subjected to careful and systematic empirical evaluation. To be sure, there is a need for research to assess the propounded theoretical models to determine which are sound and which need to be revised or discarded. For example, Singh et al. (1999) commented that the underlying theory of restraint “is based partly on the unproven assumption that coercive interactions, which impose control through force, effectively reduce an individual’s aggression and lead to more socially acceptable behaviors” (p. 251). Drawing on the work of Patterson (1982), they went on to note that “in fact the opposite occurs” (p. 251), in that restraining children may serve to reinforce the aggressive behavior by fostering the coercive cycle of escalating aversive reactions. Such assumptions need to be carefully examined and revised on the basis of empirical observations. Moreover, there is a paucity of high-quality, methodologically sound research to inform clinical practice.

Rather than personally malign people with whom one disagrees as being psychotic or not of sound mind (which is unlikely to be the case), I find it is more useful to discuss the theories themselves and the degree of  research support for the interventions. In this case, it is sorely lacking. Given that the prime directive in any health/mental health professional code of ethics is to first, do no harm and given the controversy over the safety of restraints, the ethical thing to do would be to refrain from such practices or in a true emergency, which is defined as an immediate (not longer-term) threat of harm, use the least possible restrictive method for as short a time as possible. For example, if a child backs down and promises to be good, there would no longer be what the hospital restraint guidelines would consider an acceptable emergency. Some people believe otherwise, however and unlike my detractors I do not assume that people who disagree with me are mentally unstable. The literature does show, however, that there is very little support for these methods and burden of proof is on the therapists who are using these methods to show they are safe and effective with well designed controlled studies. So far, as Day’s review and several more recent systematic literature reviews have demonstrated, this has not occurred. Note that this is not an argument from “polemics” or authority. This is an argument from evidence or in this case, lack thereof.

Moreover, we, as a society, need to be really careful about labeling people who are different from the mainstream as mentally ill. History has shown that the infamous dictatorships that have done this have not created societies in which any rational, humane, decent person would want to live.

Monica Pignotti: Bogus Lawsuit Thrown Out in 2002

To set the record straight about outright libelous postings that misrepresent this case, which are springing up on blog after blog here on WordPress, I, Monica Pignotti, was not sued for defamation. There was a bogus lawsuit that was completely dismissed in 2002 where I was named as a cross-complainant. I did not even have to hire a lawyer or appear in court — that’s how obviously frivolous and bogus it was. However, defamation was not on the list of their charges. I was never even served with any papers and no one attempted to do so. Therefore, legally, although I was named in a document that was filed in a court of law in the State of California, I was not sued. Thankfully, California has very strong anti-SLAPP legislation, on of the few US states that does. The ludicrous charges were:

http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/ni/strange/ncplawsuit.pdf

Unlawful, Unfair, and Fraudulent Business Practices,
Violation of Civil Rights,
Intentional Interference With Prospective Advantage,
Negligent Interference With Prospective Advantage,
Civil Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO),
Abuse of Process,
Negligence,
Civil Conspiracy,
Injunctive Relief

The word defamation appearing in the text of the complaint does not mean that I was sued for defamation, as is being misrepresented in a highly misleading way on these other WordPress blogs. Words appearing in the text of a complaint are not the charges. The charges are listed in the complaint on p. 3.

The suit was filed by the company of Hulda Clark, who was well known for her books that claimed in the title to have the “Cure for All Diseases”.

More about Hulda Clark can be found by clicking here.

As one of the other cross-defendants, Peter Bowditch, puts it, the quacks “caved in” very quickly because it was obvious the kooks charging conspiracy of 30 people, most of whom had never even met one another, had no real case. Here is the document that dismissed the cross-complaint. I did not even have to hire a lawyer or appear in court, nor was I (or any of the other cross-defendants, some of whom were completely outside US jurisdiction) served with any papers.

Monica Pignotti: Running Pictures from the 1980s

Here are some running pictures of me that were taken during the 80s.

I’m in the middle standing next to my then-boyfriend. My hair is a hot mess, because I had just completed the Jamaica Marathon, 1986

Here I am, front row seated, second from the left, with my running club, prior to running the NYC Marathon 1986.

Another picture of me, front row (W136), fourth from the left (1985).

Here are two more pictures from the 1980s, just before I started running (around 1983) with my cats Dagny (1983-1998) and Bianco (1975-1990) — those who know Italian will guess which one is Bianco:

Propaganda Against Monica Pignotti: The Big Picture

In a previous posting (which I have since removed from this blog because it may have been unnecessarily defensive) I made a lengthy point-by-point rebuttal to several aspects of the extensive propaganda campaign against my colleagues and me because we dared to criticize and challenge certain therapists who are delivering what in our opinion is dangerous therapy. The result has been an all-out smear campaign that has consisted of distortions and outright lies by proponents of such therapies.

The latest antics of the propagandists are to dwell and blow out of proportion aspects of my past that I have always been very honest and transparent about, namely my involvement with Thought Field Therapy (TFT). Humorously, this is presented as some kind of major revelation, when it is common knowledge that I completely repudiated six years ago in 2004 and am now known as one of the foremost critics who has more critical publications than any other TFT/VT critic. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop the propagandists from blogging about my past experience with TFT/VT as if it were some startling new revelation when really it is something that I have always been up front and honest about.

If nothing else, this makes a good teaching example of propaganda in action. One of the tactics of propagandists is to take the most negative material they can find and then blow it all out of proportion and present it in a very misleading way. For instance, they take that fact that I worked for a psychologist who practices TFT/VT along with many other approaches between 2001 and 2006, neglecting to mention that I completely stopped doing TFT/VT in 2004 and my work for him between March 2004 and 2006 did not involve the practice of TFT/VT in any way, shape, or form. Even prior to 2004, TFT was only a very small part of the work I did for this psychologist — around 10%. Yet this is completely blown out of proportion and presented as if it were some sort of stunning revelation about me. I would add that although I know nothing at all about his practice since I left in 2006, at the time I was working for him (2001-2006) TFT/VT practice comprised only a very small percentage of his practice. Most of the work he did was administering neuro-psychological testing to children, training parents in behavior modification techniques which have a strong degree of empirical support, and delivering biofeedback sessions. He offered TFT/VT to people but most people did not go for it, at least not during the period I was working for him — again, I don’t know what has happened since then.

Newsflash to my cyber-smearers: People are getting tired of you and many people on the usenet say that they have blocked any postings with my name in the subject header because your smears against me have become tedious and boring to them. This is really getting old. No one cares about my past involvement with TFT except, perhaps current TFT proponents who wish I would go away. I have to add, though, that with a few minor exceptions from true believers, TFT proponents are not responsible for the current large-scale smear campaign against me, which I believe is being conducted by supporters of Ronald Federici and Arthur Becker-Weidman (I concluded this because in some of their postings, they praise these two therapists while slamming me and attack others who have criticized them but have not criticized TFT). Once in awhile a TFT or EFT supporter will jump on their bandwagon, but based on what I’ve had passed along to me, TFT proponents are smart enough to understand that if they engage in nasty attacks on me, it will only make them look bad and they know they have no rebuttal to my criticisms. It is not Roger Callahan’s style to engage in confrontations with people who criticize him — I knew him well and his personality was one that would go to great lengths to avoid interpersonal conflict. Although Callahan’s blog has blocked me from access, the Callahans have made no aggressive moves against me.

In any case, professionals who I deal with on a day-to-day basis are well aware that I have moved on and have a CV full of publications to prove it. What’s likely perceived a threat is that my most recent publications review therapies and theories involving children and have nothing to do with TFT. One department head told me that if I were to take a position on her faculty, that I would be eligible for tenure in three years rather than the usual five years because I have so many publications and this is very unusual. I say this not to brag, but rather to put things into perspective to correct the distortions of the propagandists. That is what objective people see when they look at my CV. The propagandists, however, with an agenda and an axe to grind can see only that which they think will discredit me, but they’re wrong because I have freely admitted to my past mistakes and they have only made me stronger and more aware of such issues. My mistakes have made me a better person with something to teach people because I admitted to and corrected them. But of course propagandists believe that if they repeat something enough, it will be believed — well, at least by the gullible unable to spot propaganda and think critically, it will.

For what these propaganda tactics are designed to distract people from, click here. Instead of addressing the substantive issues I raise, they dwell on past events that have no relevance at all to the issues at hand. Newsflash to the propagandists: You are fooling no one but yourselves. So, shall we have a discussion about whether face-down prone restraints ought to be recommended for parents to use at home on their child or anywhere else, for that matter? That is a current issue because that is what a certain therapist I have criticized is recommending.

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