Refutation of the disinformation about Monica Pignotti

Posts tagged ‘Roger Callahan’

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.

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.

Monica Pignotti Strongly Opposes Burning the Quran or Koran or Any Other Books

Updated October 5, 2010

If you Google “Monica Pignotti” — for the record I want to state that I strongly oppose the burning of the Quran (or Koran) or any other book, for that matter, religious or otherwise, contrary to the malicious lies being posted on the internet about me by anonymous people who lack the courage to put the name to their defamation of me. I stand for reason, not force and violence. The lies that are being posted by people falsely impersonating me about Quran burning are perhaps the most malicious lies yet because they do not only endanger me — they also have the potential to contribute to the danger of our troops by inciting people to violence. Whoever is doing this, shame on you.

I was in New York City on 9/11 at Saint Vincents Hospital where I worked at the time, which was only about a mile and a half from Ground Zero. I saw the twin towers burn and fall and I was part of a city that was in shock, terror and then grief. I have seen enough hatred to last me a lifetime and I have no place in my life whatsoever for book burning or any other hateful acts towards anyone.

I expose abuse in the name of therapy out of my love and concern for children, not hatred and it is because of love, not hatred that I stand by my principles. When I see that wrong is being done, I will stand up and say so, no matter how much bullies attempt to intimidate me. It is my conviction that some (not all) interventions done in the name of “attachment therapy” or whatever the therapists want to call it and however good their intentions are, are harmful, abusive and just plain wrong and I will not hesitate to continue to say so. The fact that people feel the need to spread vicious lies about me all over the internet is only further evidence that the people who are supporting these therapies are highly abusive individuals.

Anyone who knows me knows that I stand for open, intellectual, peaceful discourse in a free society where people have the right to believe whatever they wish and read whatever they wish to. I also have no intention of burning Roger Callahan’s Tapping the Healer Within or Ronald Federici’s Hope for the Helpless Child.  Although I disagree with these particular licensed psychologists (Dr. Callahan and Dr. Federici), I don’t burn books. If I don’t like a particular book, I criticize it and I have plenty such books on my bookshelf, all of which remain intact. If anyone is wondering why such vicious lies would be circulated about me, here are the details.

Fomenting hatred of this kind, particularly around 9/11 is about as low as anyone can go and every little bit of it, even the lies about me, may put our troops in danger, who the folks bent on smearing my reputation don’t seem to care about.

PS: The professional community is taking note of the smear campaign against me and my colleagues and since the name of a certain person was carelessly posted on a certain smear website for a short period of time which many prominent mental health professionals saw and took note of that particular individual’s name and consequently, they have a good idea as to who is behind it. His smear tactics may be backfiring big time, if he thinks that putting up smear websites against his critics and telling all too obvious and easily refutable lies about us is going to help his reputation. The hired guns or true believers (whichever the case may be) going after us seem to have become loose cannons and kind of remind me of the character, Trashcan Man in Stephen King’s novel, The Stand. As the saying goes, with friends such as this, who needs enemies?

Taking the high road, having a dialogue with me without attacking me personally with lies and actually responding to the substance of my criticisms, might have been a better path to choose, rather than the smear campaign we are all now witnessing. Of course, in such a peaceful, intellectual dialogue of the sort that is my style, it is the person who has the most evidence who wins, not the one with the most money to hire lawyers and/or reputation management firms.

To those who seem to be bent on doing whatever they can to see that harm befalls me, I ask that you take a step back on September 11, and think through what it is that you’re doing because it is really no different from what any terrorist does — try to control people through fear tactics and intimidation.

You might be able to hide your identity from the world but you know what you are doing and you cannot hide from yourself or your conscience, if you have one. You are the one who has to face yourself at 3AM. Do you have a conscience? If so, please take some time to reflect on your actions and whether doing what you have been doing to Larry Sarner, to Jean Mercer, to Linda Rosa, to Charly Miller to me and to others makes you feel good about yourself and at peace. If you achieved the apparent goals of your lies about us and some unbalanced individual were to be incited to violence against us, would that make you feel truly joyful when you  are old and look back on your life? Is inciting others to violence just because you happen to disagree with them, what you stand for? If you believe in God, will you be able to face God with a clean conscience and be accountable for your actions? If you don’t believe in God, is this really in line with however you conceive of what is good and what is right? I can and no one can take that away from me.

If you are an admirer of one of the therapists I am criticizing or if you, yourself are one of the therapists I am criticizing, is attacking my colleagues and me really something you will be able to look back on and be proud of? If I really was the quack and the kook you say I am, then I would have no power to have any impact on what you are doing. The truth stands on its own. People who have the truth have no need to engage in these kinds of tactics. Please think about it and reflect on your actions over the past year and a half. Is this really how you want to be?

If you would like to have a dialogue with me on the actual issues involved here, I am more than willing to talk. What I am not willing to do is allow your intimidation tactics to compromise my values.

P.S. Here is what Penn had to say about this whole Koran burning controversy that has people whipped up into a frenzy.

Update: Less than a month later the absurd lie has been posted that my PhD was funded by HAMAS! These liars can’t even get their stories straight. First, the lie is posting that I’m burning Qurans and then, less than a month later, I am accused of being involved with HAMAS. Obviously nothing posted about me by these anonymous individuals can be taken seriously. My PhD, as all PhDs in social work at FSU, was funded by FSU. FSU funds their own PhD social work students with full tuition reimbursement and a stipend and this is well known.

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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