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: