Refutation of the disinformation about Monica Pignotti

Posts tagged ‘Cyber Harassment’

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 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.

I Could Say That Too

The so-called  anonymously posted “history making lawsuit”  WordPress blog claiming Ronald Federici has brought a lawsuit against me (even though to date, I have yet to be served with any papers, nor has anyone attempted to send me or serve me with papers or any of my colleagues named — leading me to see this as more of a trial by internet), reminds me of an amusing story Roger Callahan once told me. No, it was not about a lawsuit, but it is, in my opinion, an apt metaphor.

A 90 year old man went to his doctor and complained that he wasn’t able to have sex as often as he used to when he was younger. The doctor reassured him that this was normal and nothing to worry about.

The man replied: But doctor, my next door neighbor is 95 years old and he tells me he has sex everyday!

The doctor replied: You could say that too!

Indeed, with regard to the so-called “history making lawsuit” I could say that too. I could just as easily use my word processing skills to create “legal documents” (although I would do better homework on proper formatting) and put up a blog claiming I was suing these same parties and put them up on a “history making lawsuit” blog. Anyone could.

But hey, guess what? No service, no case and it has been a whole month since that “history making lawsuit” blog has been erected and no papers have been served on me, nor has anyone attempted to serve me with any papers (although lies have popped up claiming I refused service), nor have any of my colleagues named in the lawsuit had any papers served and I know for sure Ronald Federici knows how to reach them because he sued them in small claims court and lost. So far, no date set for the appeal for his losses, nor is there any evidence of a second lawsuit against them or a first one against me. One of the anonymous postings linking to the anonymous “history making lawsuit” blog suggested I would have a hard time explaining this in job interviews. Sounds like a malicious intention to me.

Again, I have to ask, who is being defamed here? I have repeatedly challenged Ronald Federici to name one specific statement I made that was factually false and so far, no response.

So yes, I could say that too. I could erect such a blog too, saying I am suing certain parties. WordPress’s policy is that they don’t remove false statements without court orders, so I could easily say that too. But I won’t, because my intention is to be completely truthful in the statements I make on my blogs and I do my very best to ensure that the factual statements I make are true. If anyone believes I have made a factually false statement on any of my blogs, I invite them to provide me with specifics and a rebuttal, but so far none have been forthcoming.

As a point of clarification, I actually agree with WordPress’ policy. Even though the blogs that make false statements about me are potentially harmful to my reputation, I also recognize that if they were able to remove blogs so easily, it would have chilling effects on legitimate rights to free speech for people who do, to the best of their ability, tell the truth and there is no reliable way for WordPress to tell the difference. The only practical way they can distinguish between the two is to require a court order, although the downside is that people such as myself who cannot afford to go running to a lawyer each time a false and potentially damaging statement is posted about me, are powerless to stop such lies from being posted. That, however, points to a flaw in our legal system since the law hasn’t caught up with all that is possible on the internet.

Thanks go to Roger Callahan for the metaphor. Even though I have no use for his Thought Field Therapy, this little story contains a lesson that is the most valuable thing he ever taught me.

The Adoption Cruise: Monica Pignotti Sets the Record Straight

On September 28, 2010, an article appeared on an adoption website [article has since been deleted] announcing a conference on adoption, a cruise that is scheduled for late September/early October of 2011.  What is key to recognize is that I had absolutely no knowledge of this discussion that occurred on that article until after the comments had been closed, nor did anyone else involved with Advocates for Children in Therapy (ACT). In other words, that entire discussion took place without my participation or the participation of anyone from ACT. It is also a lie that I wanted to stop or in any way sabotage this cruise. I have no intention of doing so and I wish the organizers of this event well and hope it is a successful event. I am not opposed to all adoption. What I am opposed to is abuses of the system and interventions that target adoptees which may cause harm.

Both relevant articles have been deleted. To provide a summary of what transpired, the article announced that Ronald Federici was scheduled as one of the keynote speakers. The first person to respond was someone using the name, Linda. Clicking on Linda’s name in her posting, readily identifies her as a blogger who writes about being an adoptee.  Linda was critical of Ronald Federici and soon after someone named Daniel Ibn Zayd responded with a critical comment about Dr. Federici. At that point, someone identifying himself as Dr. Federici posted a comment that the critical comments were coming from Linda Rosa and Larry Sarner. It appears that Federici mistook Linda, the adoptee blogger for Linda Rosa. Dr. Federici accused them of making libelous and ridiculous statements and requested that they not be allowed to post further and that the postings currently up be removed. This request for removal of the negative comments (that were not even made by Linda Rosa and Larry Sarner) elicited even more negative comments from people upset with the attempt being made to suppress criticism. The moderator of the board allowed the critical discussion to continue and the comments remained up for several months, although more recently, they appear to have been deleted.

The discussion continued until 7:37AM on September 29, when someone using the name DCParent posted, for the first time bringing my name into the discussion with the usual denigrations of my “background” that I have gotten used to by now from Federici supporters (for example, associating my name with Scientology, neglecting to mention that I left and completely repudiated Scientology in 1976 and associating my name with “energy therapy” neglecting to mention that I left and completely repudiated such therapy over 7 years ago and am now a well known, published critic  of it). In any case, after that posting, the thread was closed. Remember, at this point in time, I knew absolutely nothing of this discussion.

I did not learn of the discussion until a rather creepy posting appeared about me entitled Monica Pignotti at the Center of Adoption Controversy! several hours later on alt.religion.scientology that provided the link to the adoption cruise discussion. I was hardly “at the center”. I wasn’t even involved in the aforementioned discussion and my name was only mentioned once, at the very end. The posting lied that I had “teamed up with” Daniel Ibn Zayd who they called a HAMAS supporter to “attack an adoption cruise ship” which clearly is a malicious lie. In the first place, up to that point, I had never even heard of Ibn Zayd so I certainly was and am not involved in any sort of conspiracy with him. In the second place, Ibn Zayd later set the record straight that he is not connected with HAMAS and a joking remark he had made had been taken out of context. However, to this date, I have never met or even directly corresponded with Ibn Zayd although I did later make a comment on his blog, ironically correcting him on something he said about Dr. Federici, letting him know that Federici does not practice rebirthing, which he then thanked me for and corrected. This demonstrates intention on my part and on his to present only accurate information and Ibn Zayd removed the statement that was not correct and thanked me. Federici should also be thanking me, since I actually helped correct and remove a negative comment about Dr. Federici! I did this because I care about truth and accuracy for all concerned, even the people I criticize.

At any rate, to get back to the alt.religion.scientology posting, made hours after the discussion had been closed that I even learned about this “controversy”. I went over to the website to check it out but was unable to add my comment because the discussion was closed. To sum it up, a number of people were opposed to Dr. Federici being a keynote speaker who had no relationship whatsoever with me or with ACT. Nevertheless, for the past 10 days, ridiculous postings have been appearing about me all over the internet, saying I have terrorist connections, one posting even saying that I have been reported to the FBI’s terrorist hotline. Presumably that FBI hotline had a reliable way to deal with crank complaints, but what this shows is how far some people are willing to go to attempt to discredit me, by telling bald faced, crazy lies such as this. Ironically, less than a month prior to that, Larry Sarner and I had been falsely accused of being Quran burners and if the FBI were to decide to check me out, they would immediately find out about this glaring contradiction, along with notice the vicious internet smear campaign I have been subjected to, for the past year and a half.

Following the initial thread about the adoption cruise, the people who run the website posted another article, explaining why they had chosen Dr. Federici as keynote speaker and stating that they stood by that.  However, later, after a number of additional negative comments, by people I did not know, they decided to cancel Dr. Federici. It appears that I, along with other people involved with ACT are being blamed for this when we had nothing to do with it and were not even aware of the initial discussion where so many people had protested and clashed with other people who were posting who supported Dr. Federici.

Since the comments on that article were open, for the purposes of clearing up the misinformation that had been posted about me, I sent a comment, clarifying what my position actually was on Federici and letting people know I had no involvement in the original thread, even though I had been accused of trying to sink the ship. I received a number of very supportive comments from people, although those comments also ended and were closed after a posting from a Federici supporter who did not provide a name, trashing me, denigrating any of the posters who had been critical of Dr. Federici and suggesting that people who were critical of Federici not be allowed to post.

The person asked “Can you say you actually helped?” My answer is yes, I can say I have helped. My MSW internship was working with inner city children and I believe I helped several of those children and I loved working with them using play therapy. I also believe I helped several children with serious behavior problems, some of whom were adopted, when for nearly 5 years I worked for a neuropsychologist and 90% of that work had absolutely nothing to do with TFT, to refute the way this has been misportrayed.

I also am currently providing help. Educating the public about novel unsupported treatments, especially those that may be potentially harmful and are untested for safety and efficacy and working to disseminate evidence  based approaches does ultimately help children. So my answer to that question, to paraphrase Obama, is yes I can.

The smear campaign against me continues, with anonymous lies being posted that I am a terrorist and have connections to HAMAS. One anonymous posting even stated that my PhD was funded by HAMAS. If that isn’t libel and defamation of me, I don’t know what is! This is especially ridiculous, since it is well known that FSU funds its own PhD students with full tuition reimbursement and a stipend and I covered any additional expenses I had with student loans that I am currently paying off.

The accusations that I am in this for financial gain are the most ludicrous of all, since I have not made any money from any of this, nor have I ever attempted to. The anonymous postings claiming to be me offering adoption services are forgeries, posted through anonymous remailers. I never post through anonymous remailers, so anyone seeing such postings can be 100% certain they did not come from me. This appears to be yet another attempt to make me look like a business competitor when I am far from being one. I am a scholar and my interest is in facts and evidence regarding therapies that are being offered to people.

What all this demonstrates is the lengths that some people will go to, in order to discredit anyone who is critical of their favored therapies. Someone is obviously going to great lengths to attempt to silence me.

This is the truth about what occurred, which hopefully will set the record straight about all the lies and false innuendo that have been posted about me being a terrorist and trying to sink a ship.

Help Requested: LEGAL ways to bring Monica Pignotti’s Anonymous Cyber Harassers and Defamers to Justice

I’m open for any suggestions or help anyone can offer me WITHIN THE LEGAL LIMITS OF THE LAW, of course. The lies about me being spread on the internet are getting more and more outrageous, the latest lie being that I have been criminally charged and arrested for cyber harassment, when, in fact, I am the one who is being cyber harassed and I have not been charged with any crime or arrested for anything. Since their all too obvious lies about my arrest (which NEVER happened) have been exposed, they are now backpedaling by making vague innuendos that I am “under investigation” when again, they have not produced any evidence that such an investigation by any recognized legal body is occurring. Although cranks may have attempted to file baseless complaints against me, law enforcement is all too familiar with that sort of crackpot complaint that has no valid evidence, which would be disregarded.

If anyone can offer me any help in identifying the anonymous people who are doing this to me, I would greatly appreciate it.

I am only looking for solutions to this that are completely legal and am not wiling to involve myself in anything even remotely illegal, as any background check will show that my record is squeaky clean and I intend for it to stay that way. The malicious lies being spread about me online are clearly libelous and defamatory. All that is missing is the means to identify the anonymous individual(s) who are doing this. Again, I am only interested in legal ways of doing this from people who are willing to disclose to me their identity.

To point out the obvious, I post using my own name and give my opinions, completely openly and honestly. My cyber abusers and libelers, on the other hand, choose to be anonymous when they post malicious lies about me and attempt to flip things to make me look like the bad person. It should be quite obvious to anyone with even a modicum of decency and making an honest inquiry into the matter, who is doing something wrong here.  I therefore ask anyone who cares about the future of the mental health profession to please help me make a stand for what is right. I’m not asking people to be unselfish and do it for me, I’m asking people to do it for themselves and the profession, to save it from rule by cyber thugs. Today it’s me, but tomorrow it may be you, if you are someone who takes the kind of stands I take. The mental health profession really needs to come together and take a stand against cyber thugs, who when criticized, attempt to silence people, either by malicious internet smear campaigns or by baseless lawsuits. Enough is enough.

To sum up: Monica Pignotti has not been arrested or charged with anything and is not “under investigation” by any legitimate body of the law. An entire series of entirely fictitious postings have been anonymously posted, the latest lie being that I am involved in a plea bargain in Florida when in fact, there is no need for any plea bargain because I have never been arrested or charged with anything whatsoever in any state.  That’s why the only place they dare post this is on the completely unregulated usenet. The only problem I have is that because I have done the right thing and spoken out about what in my opinion are potentially harmful interventions for children, I have become a victim of cyber libel, cyber defamation and cyber harassment.

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