Refutation of the disinformation about Monica Pignotti

Posts tagged ‘Project DoD’

Therapy or Legally Sanctioned Abuse? You Decide

When Ronald Federici sued me in the now-dismissed Federici v Pignotti et al., one of the claims he attempted to make was that the defendants were in a conspiracy and that we were responsible for a blog entitled A Search For Survivors, a blog authored by someone who goes by the name of Wayward Radish (WR). I am not Wayward Radish and I swore in an affidavit that I was not responsible for any of the anonymous postings Federici had complained about, nor, to the best of my knowledge, were any of the other defendants. Fortunately, I  have never been a patient of any of the therapists mentioned on that blog.

A Search for Survivors is the blog of a person who has stated that she is a survivor of attachment and holding therapy, which, as a child, she was subjected to (with another therapist, not Federici)This blog was formerly on WordPress, but reportedly, it is my understanding that Ronald Federici and others filed a DMCA complaint (even though from what I can tell, copyrights were not violated. They did the same for the Advocates for Children in Therapy (ACT) website, which, contrary to misinformation,  is not associated with Wayward Radish or A Search for Survivors.  Due to the fact that their hosts at the time were not willing to stand up to those who tried to have the websites removed, both WR and ACT found a host that did have the courage to do so, Project DoD and as a result the websites remain up to this day. Details of what transpired with regard to the DMCA complaints can be found in a paper presented at a conference by Christopher Mooney and Tiffany Rad of Project DoD entitled:

The DMCA & ACTA vs. Academic & Professional Research: How Misuse of this
Intellectual Property Legislation Chills Research, Disclosure and Innovation

Here is a link to WR’s account of what happened with WordPress. However, I am not responsible for the content of A Search for Survivors nor the ACT website.

My position on A Search for Survivors has been that these are accounts of survivors, who were subjected to “attachment therapy” as children (not with Federici, with other therapists). The “therapy” was so traumatic for them that some have been under treatment for PTSD that arose from the trauma of having to undergo such “therapy” and I use that word with caution. Recent research reported by SAMHSA has shown that a high percentage of people who experienced being restrained, experienced the event as traumatic. People can view videos of holding therapy and decide for themselves whether this is therapy or legally sanctioned abuse in the name of therapy.

Based on what he attempted to claim in his lawsuit, Federici and his supporters appear to be associating the word “abuse” with illegality. Federici seems to think that because he does not have a criminal record, this makes the use of the word, “abuse” defamatory. However, calling something abusive does not necessarily mean it is illegal. Just to give an unrelated example to clarify this point, many people are opposed to all forms of spanking children and consider it abuse. Yet spanking that does not injure a child is completely legal. Does that mean that anti-spanking proponents are libeling parents who spank children? Of course not and it would be absurd to allege as much. Or consider the recent controversy over hot saucing children (I’m not saying any of the therapists are doing this, just giving this as an example to illustrate my point). Abusive? Many of us definitely think so, but illegal? Probably not, unfortunately.

The so-called “therapies” discussed in WR’s blog are not illegal, yet many are of the opinion that they are abusive. Although they are not currently illegal, some are of the opinion that they should not be legal. Note that the opinion that those therapies should be illegal is not a statement that can be proven true of false. It is a “should” statement which indicates a value judgment, and thus is not subject to legal action.

Some of the videos of holding therapists are available online, so people can watch them and decide whether this is therapy or legally-sanctioned abuse.

Videos of the holds Ronald Federici recommends in his book, Help for the Hopeless Child are not available online. At one time, a segment demonstrating the hold from a Dateline episode was on YouTube and elsewhere on the internet, but they were removed. People who would like to view the prone hold he recommends in his book and on Dateline can, however, purchase a copy of his book from Amazon. Yes, that’s right, I am actually recommending that interested people purchase his book (as I have) because it is important that people obtain accurate information about what his therapy consists of. The holding diagram can also be viewed on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Help-Hopeless-Child-Discussion-Post-Institutionalized/dp/0966710118/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277928109&sr=8-2#reader_0966710118

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

Anyone can also purchase a DVD copy of the Dateline episode from NBC at 866-622-8273. Additionally, a transcript of a BBC program entitled Taming the Problem Child that featured his work is available online and presents Federici’s views as well as the views of critics such as Peter Fonagy.

I would urge anyone who cares about this issue to order the above materials and form their own opinion of whether they want to consider this therapy or something else and yes, people do have the Constitutional right to hold opinions on these matters and that include the right to criticize and advocate for changes in the existing law. In several states, prone holds or restraints are illegal in residential facilities and/or schools. However, to date, there is no existing law that forbids their use in private therapy practice or use in a client’s home. Does this makes sense, that procedures that are forbidden under highly supervised conditions such as state mental hospitals and schools in some states, ought to be legal for use in settings that are not as highly supervised, if at all? Again, this is something for each person to decide.

As for the accounts on WR’s website, although I cannot necessarily vouch for every statement made on that website, nor do I necessarily agree with every statement that was made, the reported experiences are highly consistent with what has been shown on a number of videos that are available of such interventions, where the therapists in question have demonstrated what they do for all to see. Thus, it is not surprising to me that at least some of the survivors of these treatments, now adults, would come forward and blow the whistle on their therapists and I find many of the accounts to be credible but again, I am not making any claims other than to suggest that readers watch the videotapes themselves and read the testimonials and decide for themselves, whether they find them credible.

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Irrelevant postings with my name (Monica Pignotti) on them in the posting tags

Another tactic of the smear campaign by those who are attempting to silence my criticism  is to post to that other WordPress blog about cases I have absolutely no connection to and put my name in the tag. Other than the document that was just posted, (the blog posting appears to be written as some kind of warning to me and certain others), I know absolutely nothing specific about the case in question involving Charly Miller and Bryan Bledsoe, a doctor who I have never had any dealings with in any way, shape, or form, nor have I ever written about his work. The only thing I know about this doctor is that I have read his criticisms on Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and I agree with those criticisms 100%. I have no idea what the specific conflict was that lead to the lawsuit or what exactly the charges and complaints were. All I can say is that I greatly respect the work that Charly Miller has done exposing the dangers of prone restraints (which she backs up with valid citations from the literature) and I also greatly respect the writings of the doctor exposing the dangers of Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, a practice I have also been highly critical of, even though he and I have never directly communicated.

Thus, I have no opinion about that case, but from the looks of the document, the court did not order her to pay any money and both parties have to pay their own legal fees, so it looks like a draw to me. She only has to pay money if she mentions things about the doctor that are not already in the public domain. She also remains free to mention his name on her website, as long as the documents were already in the public domain.

If this was meant as some kind of warning or attempt to silence my criticisms of certain other people, it doesn’t apply because I have not posted info about anyone that is not already in the public domain, nor has ACT — their page on Federici is all fair use quotes from his own writings and information that has already been in the public domain. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to file a DMCA complaint against the ACT website about those fair use quotes and failed because posting fair use quotes is not a copyright violation.  Tiffany Rad and Chris Mooney of Project DoD, explained the whole situation in a recent talk at a conference which can also be viewed on YouTube. And no, their attempts to sue Federici and that case getting dismissed on jurisdictional grounds has nothing to do with the fact that his DMCA complaints against fair use quotes were not valid and in fact, thanks to Project DoD’s courage and their following the law to the letter, the ACT website with their fair use quotes, remains up.

All of my criticisms of Ronald Federici have come from information that was already out there in the public domain, such as his books, media appearances and public documents.

None of this has anything even remotely to do with Dr. Bryan Bledsoe who I think has done an excellent job debunking CISD.

And by the way, if anyone has a sound argument (not appeals to authority or persona smears on critics) in favor of Dr. Federici’s prone restraint method that he recommends in his book, I would be very open to hearing that.

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