Refutation of the disinformation about Monica Pignotti

Posts tagged ‘propaganda’

Two Propaganda Tactics: Repetition of Lies and Context Dropping

A well-known propaganda tactic is to repeat lies. However, not all the repetitions in the world will change the facts of reality. A lie is still a lie, no matter how often it is repeated.  The anonymous smear campaigners have given us repeated examples of this.

Another propaganda tactic is to selectively report events from a person’s distant past. Dr. Ronald Federici has done us the honor of providing an example of this tactic in action, now repeated on blogs, when he attempts to resurrect ancient history by launching ad hominem attacks on critics rather than responding to the substance of their concerns (e.g. questioning the highly controversial recommendation of prone restraint on children and asking where and when he trained in the use of such procedures, for example). Long-ago dismissed voting machine cases I had zero involvement in and practices I have long ago left, repudiated and now am a known critic of, are irrelevant. Thank you, Dr. Federici.

Of course, the fallacy in this is that first all, I have never expected or encouraged people to believe something simply because I say so. What I have done is presented a number of references of research-based opinions from organizations such as SAMHSA and white papers on prone restraint (written by people who have never had anything whatsoever to do with voting machine cases or Scientology) that people can read and form their own opinions.  Federici’s response appears to be, in essence, the ad hominem, who would believe a former Scientologist? That’s no problem because I am not asking people to believe anything just because I said so. Moreover, the expressions of my views have nothing to do with being a former Scientologist (in fact I left and fully repudiated Scientology over 35 years ag0). My education, including my PhD, my training in evidence-based practice and 20 peer reviewed publications are evidence that I am qualified to evaluate the evidence behind claims, but even so, I would never expect anyone to simply believe something because I said so. I invite people to look at the references and links to articles in my postings which contain evidence to back my opinions up and make their own decisions.

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More Disinformation from Anonymous WordPress Bloggers: This time regarding medical marijuana

Once again, I need to correct the disinformation from the anonymous WordPress bloggers. Ironically, although they have accused me of being a prolific poster and blogger, they are the ones who have erected numerous blogs that appear to have the sole intent of doing whatever they can to smear me as well as any of my colleagues who have been critical of various “attachment” and coercive restraint therapies. The latest is a blog devoted to the topic of marijuana although its very first and thus far, only posting appears to be one that is continuing to spread misinformation about me.

In the blog posting, they jumped to the false conclusion that because I expressed a simple statement of my opinion and position on the issue of the legalization of medical marijuana, that I am an active crusader for this cause, which I am not (perhaps this is wishful thinking on their part that I would switch causes?). While I am in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana (I do not use marijuana myself), that was a simple statement of my position. I am not, nor have I ever been, nor do I plan to engage in any kind of activism regarding that issue. I would suspect that a number of others in the social worker profession are also in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana so the bad news for the anonymous blogger is that I doubt taking such a stance will harm my reputation.

Medical marijuana has been shown to have some positive effects for people who are suffering from nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, so if that helps someone to get through a difficult but lifesaving treatment, namely chemotherapy for cancer, that the person might have otherwise dropped out of, it makes sense to make it legally available. If it can alleviate a person’s suffering who is going through chemotherapy, why not? Legalizing it takes it off the black market and its associated crime and would help ensure that what patients obtained was not adulterated with dangerous additives that some of the illegal street versions have. That’s my opinion, for what it’s worth, but it is not a “cause” I am actively involved in. I already have my hands quite full with the current cause I am involved in, which is exposing potentially harmful and other questionable mental health practices.

Additionally, they repeated the lie that Thought Field Therapy and Voice Technology diagnoses diseases over the telephone. This is false. They have never claimed to diagnose disease. I fully repudiated TFT and VT over 7 years ago, but when I did practice, I bent over backwards to inform my clients, both in writing and verbally that I was NOT diagnosing or treating any diseases.

In TFT and VT, the word “diagnosis” was never intended to mean the diagnosis of disease, not even mental illness. The word “diagnosis” simply means a procedure that is claimed to identify which acupressure points on the body to stimulate. It is most unfortunate that Roger Callahan chose to call it “diagnosis” as it has led to much misunderstanding, but it is very clear what he means by that to anyone who actually reads about TFT. Again, this is also a procedure that I consider bogus pseudoscience, but let’s be accurate. It does not involve the diagnosis of any disease. It is claimed to “diagnose” which acupressure meridians are out of balance or perturbed and since that is what Roger Callahan believes is the root cause of all disturbances. He called it causal diagnosis, meaning diagnosis of perturbations in what Callahan called thought fields, related to meridian points. Yes, I know it is rather confusing and meaningless jargon, but it is not diagnosis of disease.

As for “zeal”, that is a term that would be best used to describe the perpetrators of the ongoing smear campaign against me that has been going on for the past two years, not my own involvement in anything. Even when I was involved in Scientology, I was a rebel, not a zealot. I continually questioned and protested abuse where I saw it and as a result was always getting into trouble. I also continually questioned things I saw with TFT that I did not agree with, much to the annoyance of some of the true believers on their list serv. So much so, that the Callahans eventually kicked me off the list serv. So no, zealot is not accurate. Once again, terms are being applied to me that would best be applied to the internet smear campaigners.

My Prediction Comes True: The propaganda continues and I continue to challenge it

As predicted, a number of the prominent mental health professionals who have signed my statement of support are now being brought into the smear campaign, the latest being the well-known social psychologist, Carol Tavris. I am honored to be in such company. Fortunately,  most of these people are established enough that the anonymous cyber smear campaigners have no power to harm them.

I continue to be very grateful to the 47 people who signed this statement of support in helping the days of the therapy guru who is immune to questioning and criticism, come to an end by adding their voices to this ongoing conversation (this is not to say that they are all criticizing and exposing the same individuals — what they have in common is that they are exposing various forms of pseudoscience and other forms of questionable practice, as well as advocating research and evidence-based practice).

[In a later posting, I elaborated on who I do and do not consider a “therapy guru”. Since those anonymous WordPress bloggers have been attempting to twist these words and interpret them in a ludicrous way that no reasonable person would, to set the record straight, I was not talking about “terminating” or doing violence to anyone  (I haven’t a violent bone in my body!)  I was talking the continuing nonviolent cause I have been involved with for the past seven years of educating and advocating for therapy consumers. I was not  “alluding” to the most recent set of questions I asked Ronald Federici and Heather Forbes. What I am talking about is bringing those days where therapy gurus are immune to questions and criticism and dissenters are silenced to an end by speaking out and being a strong advocate for evidence-based practice and critical thinking. I don’t just mean one particular therapy guru (I was using the term generically here). I mean the many therapy gurus that are still out there who cannot deal with having their claims challenged and instead launch smear campaigns against anyone who questions or criticizes or as one “cult expert” did, bring in a third person to attack me on a list serv where I had expressed a disagreement with a statement the person had made to CNN.] The message from these 47 people is that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. They way the anonymous smear campaign bloggers attempted to twist this message is only further evidence of the propaganda campaign.

That doesn’t mean that we are “demanding answers”. What it means is that therapy gurus who feel they are above answering questions will be seen for what they are by educated consumers. As Margaret Singer pointed out, one of the most telling signs of whether a mental health professional is trustworthy is the manner in which they respond to questions.

All 47 of those people have in some way made substantial contributions to ending the days when questioning a therapy guru is not allowed. And yes, anyone has the right to ask those questions, not just people within the profession. Licensed mental health professionals are here to serve the public and that means that anyone in the public, regardless of their position does have the right to question them.

Lately I am being attacked for posting to the internet of all things.  Much ado is being made over the fact that sometimes on a busy month I might average around 4 postings per day to Google Groups. These are mostly postings that take me, on average, all of 5 minutes to do, so that’s about 20 minutes per day, far less time than most people would spend on some hobby and hardly the “astonishing number” that are being portrayed.

What is happening is that some of the followers of other therapy gurus and self-proclaimed top “experts” who I have questioned and expressed disagreements with (e.g. Steven Hassan who has proclaimed himself to be America’s Leading Exit Counselor), are popping out of the woodwork, glad to see this smear campaign against me and essentially informally aligning themselves with Ronald Federici and his supporters, not necessarily with Dr. Federici’s consent and approval and not in any kind of conspiracy, but essentially they are taking his side when they pile on in this smear campaign. I have questioned Mr. Hassan’s claims that the therapy he offers to ex-cult members is superior to that of other mental health professionals, since no direct comparison studies (or even uncontrolled studies, for that matter) have ever been conducted on Mr. Hassan’s approach and yet he charges fees that are quite high for a masters-level licensed mental health counselor ($2500 per day plus $100 per hour just for travel time and $200 per hour on weekends for travel time and even higher rates for holidays). What this means is he is charging $100 per hour on weekdays and $200 per hour on weekends just to sit in what he requires to be a business class section on a plane or in an airport while traveling. Some of us are lucky if we make that amount for an entire day’s actual work and don’t get paid for any travel time, yet he makes it just for one hour of sitting on a plane in the comfort of business class. On a weekend on a coast-to-coast flight, that could amount to $1000.  How can he charge this? He has convinced enough people that what he does is very special and unique, yet where is the evidence? His infomercial-style website, lacking transparency, does not list these fees and says instead to call for fees and repeats his phone number multiple times, but the word has gotten out anyway.

I have also expressed my disagreement with Mr. Hassan for claiming that most ex-cult members need therapy to recover. Again, this seems to be a prime example of the kind of propaganda tactic described by Eileen Gambrill in a recent publication of a propaganda index. Among other issues, the article discusses as one propaganda tactic, problem framing in such a way that it medicalizes and pathologizes life problems that may be more successfully worked out by means other than psychotherapy and not labeling the person with a mental health diagnosis, as Mr. Hassan is prone to do (e.g. he labels cult members has having “dissociative disorders”). A classic propaganda tactic is to 1) claim that a particular problem is highly prevalent, without empirical support for its prevalence and 2) claim that the problem is under-treated and I would add, 3) if left untreated by so-called experts in the area (who often charge very high fees for their services) that the problem will not get better or will even get worse.

This may be good for business, but not so good for the consumers who may spend time and money in therapy that not only wastes their money that could have been put to better use and may not help, but may even do more harm than good. If a therapy is not well tested, we do not know whether it helps, does nothing, or harms. We are basically taking a gamble based on misplaced trust in authorities who market their treatments ahead of testing them to see if it works. Again, it’s the old “trust me, I’m an expert” line.

This is a prime example of what I would encourage prospective therapy clients to question when interviewing therapists or people to conduct cult interventions who, in the absence of good research, claim that their approach is superior to others. It is the clients who are hiring the therapist and have every right to demand that a therapist who is making such claims provide good, sound evidence, rather than the kinds of testimonials from “grateful” mothers and the like, that we see on Steve Hassan’s website, to support those claims. Testimonials are simply not enough.

The issue and conflict here is between therapy gurus who are offering treatments based on testimonials and self-published books who are not used to being challenged vs. the critical thinkers and mental health consumer advocates who are concerned about the welfare of mental health consumers and in essence, putting these therapy gurus and their followers on notice that their days of being immune to criticism and questioning are over. We are getting, predictably, a great deal of push back on this from people who have a vested interest in this not changing and their followers who go ballistic at the thought of any criticism of their therapy guru.

PS: For the record, it is already well known that I left and completely repudiated Scientology 35 years ago. As my account of my experience makes clear, even during the time I was involved in Scientology I was never involved in any kind of violence (as the anonymous WordPress bloggers have been implying as they once again demonstrate their inability to comprehend figures of speech). While in Scientology, I never had that kind of power and was always on the receiving end of the abuse, not a perpetrator although I never experienced any physical violence the entire time I was in. During the time I was involved that was many years before the current leader who is the one who has been alleged to be violent, came into power and I was long gone before any of that happened.

Debunking the Myth that I (Monica Pignotti) spend my “whole life” on the Internet

It has been asserted by those other WordPress bloggers and elsewhere that I spend my “whole life” on the internet or even that I have an “all time record”. Hardly. Even in the months where I recorded over 100 postings, that’s about 3 postings a day, hardly a record of any kind.

Internet postings and discussions are a sort of hobby for me and yes, I enjoy vigorous discussion and debate on actual topics (as opposed to personal smears some have leveled at me for disagreeing with them) and sometimes I do get into it with people. However, I most certainly do not spend my “whole life” on the internet as I actually work a minimum of 8 hours per day, sometimes much more and it is impossible for me to work and post at the same time (I am paid for product, not time, so no one can accuse me of using my job time to post because if that were the case I would not get paid). And no, contrary to malicious lies that have been posted about me, I am not working in an adult bookstore or in anything even remotely related to the sex industry.

During the time period of some of the postings that have been referred to (e.g. 2008), I was a full time student who never made anything less than an A- in any class I took and also had several articles accepted by peer review journals which take much time to produce, so I could hardly be spending my “whole life” on the internet. Since graduation, I have published several more articles, book chapters and co-authored a book. Again, these are projects I could not have accomplished, had I really been spending all my time on the internet.

I’m just a very fast typist and can knock off a post of a few hundred words in a few minutes that might take some people without my typing skills much longer.

The postings that attempt to portray me as someone who spends my “whole life” on the internet are yet another misportrayal of my life, by those who are unhappy with my criticism of certain therapy gurus who will grasp at any straw to attempt to discredit me.

The real issue here is that there are some people who are so upset by my criticism and expression of concerns about harmful practices carried out in the name of “therapy” that they just cannot stand vigorous debate where anything is seriously challenged, hence the need to personally attack me as an “internet addict” who spends my “whole life” on the internet. Attempts to label critics as having mental disturbances is nothing new. Totalitarian dictatorships have been doing that for centuries, but thankfully I live in a free country where they are powerless to use government force against me. Hence, the all too obvious attempts to denigrate anyone who dares to challenge.

Hate Speech: A Subjective Term

Since Ronald Federici’s supporters are now accusing me of “hate speech” or a “hate campaign” on that other anonymous WordPress blog, I need to point out that “hate speech” is a highly subjective term. So-called “hate speech” or “campaign” is not against the law unless it contains libel/defamation or specific threats of/or incites violence or if it discriminates against someone because of their race, religion, or sexual orientation, but  my “speech” or writings have contained none of this, since Dr. Federici’s interventions are presumably not a religion and therapy interventions are not considered a “protected group” as race, religion, ethnicity are. In other words it is not against the law to “hate” or criticize TFT, EMDR, CISD, or any other alphabet therapy or Federici’s intervention although I do not equate criticism with hatred as the true believers in these approaches might.

The very idea of “hate speech” is highly controversial. One person’s “hate speech” could be another person’s sincerely held opinions and thus, the US Constitution protects hate speech that does not fall into the categories I described, even the type of hate speech most people would find repugnant (although again, no reasonable person would consider what I have written to fall into that category).

For example, Scientologists consider any criticism of Scientology to be “hate speech” especially former member/whistleblowers. Can they sue for that? Of course not. They have sued for many other things, but not hate speech. Scientologists have every right to believe that it is hate speech, but no right to enforce that belief on critics by silencing them.

During the civil rights movement, early activists were portrayed as angry haters, simply because they were fighting for their civil rights. The best definition for “hate speech” or a “hate campaign” seems to be anything someone says that one strongly does not like. But guess what? You don’t have to like it, but it is protected by our Constitution. People who want to silence the speech of others they do not like would be better off moving somewhere there is a totalitarian dictatorship and making sure they are the ones in power so they can oppress and silence anyone with whom they disagree, but here in the US, we have a Constitution.

Calling something “hate speech” appears to be yet another propaganda tactic to attempt to smear critics. No reasonable person would consider my sincere expression of concerns about interventions that lack evidence for safety and efficacy that may do harm to children to be “hate speech” or a “hate campaign”. Again, this looks to me to be yet another attempt to manipulate others with propaganda.

Ludicrous comparisons of ACT have been made to Fred Phelps and the blatantly false statement was made that ACT was “Scientology-backed” (the website in question, a reputation management company, which denies Federici had anything to do with it but yet vigorously defends him and states that he has retained their services, has now removed the false statement about Scientology but persists with their ludicrous analogy to Phelps — fine by me, as it exposes what in my opinion is quite obviously faulty thinking and blatant propaganda tactics — kind of like calling someone a Nazi).

In any case, to set the record straight, ACT is not Scientology backed in any way, shape or form. And no, the fact that I left Scientology 34 years ago and have been a strong critic of Scientology ever since, is in no way an indication that ACT is “Scientology-backed” and if this does get to court, this blatantly false statement will be exposed (this lie has been repeated more than once and not just by that rep management company who edited their website to remove the statement). I am adamantly opposed to Scientology and any Google search on my name will reveal very high profile, public criticism that I have been engaged in on the internet since I first got online in 1996. I have no desire whatsoever to ever be a member of Scientology and never have in the 34 years since I left, but there is no way Scientology would even allow a person who has criticized them to the extent that I have, to be a member, much less work for them. Public criticism of Scientology is considered by Scientology’s own policies to be a suppressive act of the highest order and that makes me a Suppressive Person, in the eyes of Scientology.

As for Phelps, their “opinions” and rationalization of it is in my opinion, some of the most convoluted and ludicrous propaganda I have ever witnessed. They argue that we are taking a ridiculous position and that no reasonable person wants to see a child subjected to terror. That has never been my argument or that of anyone connected to ACT. No one is saying what these therapists “want”. We are not mindreaders and would not presume to know what they want. What we have done is pointed to specific examples of therapy that employ prone restraint positions that much literature has shown to be dangerous, even when used in institutions by professionals under highly supervised conditions.

We have criticized certain holding therapy methods, that do exist and in my opinion and in the opinion of many who have observed them are cruel and abusive, regardless of whether the people who employ them are in favor of terrorizing children. It is what they actually do, not what they want or intend, that is important. For example, view the video of Neil Feinberg, who finally, after more than a decade of subjecting children to these tactics as a licensed mental health professional, just this year finally had his license permanently revoked by the State of Colorado. This is not some made up problem. This was a licensed mental health professional that hundreds of parents trusted and turned over their children to for “therapy” for decades and he is not the only one.

Do I hate the way Feinberg is dealing with the child on that video? You bet I do. I hate, what in my opinion are verbally and physically abusive acts and the fact that they were done in the name of “therapy” makes them even worse. I have been accused of having “no respect” for such “professionals.” Darn right I don’t. Imagine how quickly a child would be removed from a parent’s custody if a parent were ever seen treating a child in that manner, yet therapists get away with it for years on end — this is a disgrace to the profession and to any licensing boards that allow these kinds of practices to continue. How many children suffered before that happened? Yet I do not know Neil Feinberg and have no idea what he really wanted and what his intentions were and I don’t give a flip what his intentions were or what he wanted. For all I know, he may have been merely misguided and sincerely believed he was helping children and had nothing but the best intentions. The bottom line is, however, that these so-called “therapies”, in our opinion, do terrorize children and in some cases have done much worse.

Their attempts to relate our protest of prone restraint procedures, coercive holding therapies and interventions that lack scientific research to support their efficacy is a completely reasonable position and has absolutely nothing to do with Phelps. Obviously a number of professional peer reviewers have disagreed with this reputation management company and consider our position and criticisms reasonable ones, because we have had a number of our articles published in peer reviewed journals. Trust me, I have absolutely no desire to know what is going on inside the minds of those who carry out these therapies and I don’t care if they have the best intentions in the world. I am not claiming to know what they want and what their intentions are. All I care about is the fact that they are using treatments that have no scientific evidence for their safety and efficacy and in my opinion, based on my observation of videotapes of these treatments, are cruel and abusive, regardless of what the therapists intended. Connell Watkins did not intend to kill Candace Newmaker. She thought she was doing “therapy” and helping her but that makes no difference because the bottom line is that a 10 year old child died.

The people using these propaganda tactics need to realize, however, that they may have grossly underestimated the intelligence of the average American who I believe is unlikely to fall for such an obvious smear tactic, attempting to make loose and convoluted associations to people and organizations that have nothing to do with ACT.

If people are interested in a more appropriate analogy, here’s one for you. Extensive interviews with the followers of Jim Jones who were fortunate enough to survive the Jonestown mass suicide/murder revealed that most of these followers were extremely well intentioned individuals who were attracted to following Jim Jones and his People’s Temple because they sincerely believed he was doing good in the world, fighting poverty and racism. Who would be opposed to that? We cannot fault them on their intentions, but nevertheless, instead, what ended up happening was that they were led by Jones to brutally murder their own children, but forcing them to drink a cyanide-laced punch. The act was brutal, but the vast of these people, if asked, would never have said they were in favor of murdering children and they would have been completely sincere. Yet that’s what they did. Prior to this mass atrocity, people who expressed their concerns about what was going on were seen as anticult cranks and fanatics by some. This is an example of what what people want and what they actually do can be quite different. Too often, people confuse motives with actions. And to anticipate a way this might be twisted, I am not saying that these cult members or Jim Jones was like attachment therapists. My point is that people who commit atrocities whether it be abusive “therapies” or cult members who abuse/kill their children, very often do not see themselves as bad people who want bad things to happen and this even often holds true for the leaders. Good actors who play villains in a convincing manner, know this.

Instead of flinging around terms that in no way would be anything anyone could be charged with, my offer to Dr. Federici remains open to have a professional, sensible discussion that names specific statements I have made that he considers to be legally actionable — meaning factually false. There is nothing I have written that I consider, based on my own careful review of the literature,  to be factually false but again, I am not infallible so my offer remains open.

Michael Shermer Recommends Advocates for Children in Therapy Website

The meaningless phrase “fringe advocacy group” has been repeated endlessly by proponents of certain therapies Advocates for Children in Therapy has criticized and I have been repeatedly accused of being a “fringe group writer” although my CV shows publications in a number of reputable peer reviewed journals that are far from “fringe” and there is nothing the least bit “fringe” about my present activities. It would seem that “fringe” can be applied to anything one does not like. To slap a label of “fringe” on me for activities I was involved in when I was in my teens and early 20s as “fringe” is ridiculous. What person that age has not been involved in something considered “fringe”?

What I would consider “fringe” is a self-published book by a middle aged adult that proposes an intervention for children that has no studies published in peer reviewed journals to support its safety and efficacy and which has been declared to be “controversial” by a number of media outlets. It is laughable that supporters of this intervention are calling me “fringe”. It’s rather like a drunk staggering over to his computer and calling someone who has been clean and sober for decades someone who has an alcohol problem. Best to get clean and sober from pseudoscience yourself, before trying to slap labels on a person who is a well known debunker of pseudoscience.

Repetition of lies and meaningless phrases is a classic propaganda tactic. For example, the lie has been endless repeated that I have been “dismissed” or “fired” from FSU when in fact I graduated with my PhD and left in good standing in every way and have solid impeccable references from FSU who will vouch for me and I have never in my life been fired from any professional position I have ever held.

It might interest the people who have chanted this phrase to know that renowned skeptic, Michael Shermer recommended the Advocates for Children in Therapy website in his Scientific American column. Click here to read it. Excerpt where he recommends the website and the book Attachment Therapy on Trial:

The ultimate cause was pseudoscientific quackery masquerading as psychological science. “However bizarre or idiosyncratic these treatments appear — and however ineffective or harmful they may be to children — they emerge from a complex internal logic based, unfortunately, on faulty premises,” write Jean Mercer, a psychologist at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and Larry Sarner and Linda Rosa of the National Council against Health Fraud in their 2003 analysis, Attachment Therapy on Trial: The Torture and Death of Candace Newmaker.

Other children have died after AT as well. The American Psychiatric Association states: “While some therapists have advocated the use of so-called coercive holding therapies and/or ‘re-birthing techniques,’ there is no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of such interventions.” Nevertheless, AT continues to flourish. ATTACh claims to have about 600 members. The numbers may be even higher, Mercer, Sarner and Rosa say, because the practice goes by different labels, including holding-nurturing process, rage reduction, cuddle time and compression therapy (see www.ChildrenInTherapy.org).

What next? Will they dare to call Shermer a fringe advocate?

The fact is that there are many renowned skeptics, as pointed out in a recent discussion, such as Susan Blackmore who were once believers. Susan Blackmore was once a parapsychologist with a PhD in Parapsychology and is now a highly respected debunker of the paranormal. People can and do change.

For more details on the ongoing smear campaign against Monica Pignotti and Advocates for Children in Therapy which has been unrelenting for over a year now, see:

http://cyabuseaware.blogspot.com/2010/03/cyber-abuse-monica-pignottis-story.html

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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