In the posting just previous to this one, dated August 29, I had predicted:
I predict the anonymous smear campaigners who are not affiliated with Mr. Knapp as far as I know, who are upset with my criticism about certain adoption therapists, will try to piggyback off of Mr. Knapp’s profanity-laced postings denigrating me. Just watch.
Unsurprisingly, my prediction regarding the smear campaigners piggybacking on the John Knapp fiasco has come true within days, with yet another highly misleading posting on that other WordPress smear blog about me. I won’t link to it because I do not wish to promote it, but the WordPress blog is entitled Plangent Bleating and appears to be exclusively devoted to attacks on me for blowing the whistle on certain “therapy” practices. It appears that the anonymous smear campaigners are extending a very warm welcome (implicitly, they are not using those words explicitly but that is what their actions seem to convey when they reference his blog) to the mental health professional, John Knapp, LMSW who has posted their material about me on his blog, aptly entitled “Reckless Speculation“. Most ironic that Knapp, who claims to specialize in helping ex-cult members heal from their cult experiences and was, himself, by his own admission, in a cult for 23 years, would post smear campaign material about me that called me a “cult dingdong”. People can decide for themselves whether this is the sort of healing they would want to seek out from someone who joins in such denigration of former cult members with such childish name calling that reinforces negative stereotypes of people who have been in cults that have no basis in evidence (I left the group I was in 35 years ago in my early 20s, whereas Knapp left the group he was in, in the mid-90s as a middle-aged man in his 40s. I applaud him for doing so as I would anyone who leaves a destructive, abusive situation after decades and wish him well in his recovery — however, if he is using such derogatory language toward former cult members and participating in internet smear campaigns against former clients and ex-cult members, I have to wonder if it would be wise to recommend his “healing” center to others, in my opinion.)
What they neglect to mention is that the discussion Knapp posted was not a public “internet” discussion or debate. It was a private e-mail communication which I sent him, doing my ethical duty as a mental health professional to express my concerns about what he posted about a former client who filed a state board complaint against him and also denigrated the state board investigator (both Knapp and the client have posted publicly about this board complaint and investigation), and John Knapp chose to make our private exchange public. It has nothing to do with internet “addiction” nor was it a “Pavlovian response”. Newsflash: E-mail is how most professionals communicate with one another these days and this particular communication had everything to do with my exercising my carefully thought out professional duty and extending Mr. Knapp the courtesy of attempting to communicate with him privately about the matter before turning the material he posted about his former client, over to his state board. Since Mr. Knapp’s response was to malign me publicly, the entire contents of his blog has indeed been forwarded to his state board investigator. John Knapp, by his own public admission, is under investigation by his state board, due to a complaint from a former client who has posted publicly on her blog about her experiences as a client of John Knapp’s and about her subsequent board complaint against him.
And by the way, as an aside, although this was not a [gasp!] “internet debate” what, pray tell, is wrong with participating in a debate on the internet? There is nothing wrong with debate. Vigorous debate is healthy, but apparently not from the point of view of someone who does not want to be challenged and questions and many of the folks I have criticized on my blogs and elsewhere, fit that bill, including the anonymous smear campaigners. Internet debates take power away from therapy gurus who do not want to be challenged and they and their followers don’t like that one bit.
John Knapp’s response to all this was to publicly smear his former client and when I wrote to him privately expressing my professional concerns about his actions, he chose to post a series of postings about me where he piggybacked off the existing internet smear campaign. Because I refused to stand by silently while John Knapp publicly humiliated his former client, I spoke up and let him know that is not okay. Here I conclusively demonstrate that his heading about me is false, as I was not “120 days on the same subject”. The exchange posted by Mr. Knapp occurred over the course of one day and when I saw Knapp had publicly humiliated his client, I sent him an e-mail communication, not having communicated with him in 120 days.
As the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together. There is one key difference, however. The authors of those other WordPress blogs are anonymous whereas incredibly enough, John Knapp, a licensed masters social worker in NY State has chosen to post under his actual name. Given that he is already, by his own admission, under investigation by his state licensing board, the readers can judge for themselves the wisdom of that move. State board complaints commonly move pretty slowly, but I will be keeping an eye on the progress of that complaint and will keep readers apprised of any new developments, if they become part of the public record. This is the first time that I know of that a licensed mental health professional has posted on the internet, using his or her own name, such derogatory and obscene comments about not only a colleague, but also a former client. If anyone knows of any other cases I may have overlooked, please feel free to comment.
What the anonymous smear campaigners and Knapp have in common is that both are upset about my criticism of their therapy practices and rather than take the high road and discuss my criticisms, they instead chose to engage in personal attacks on me. However, I have the public support of a number of prominent mental health professionals who are standing up to these smear campaigners.
Interestingly enough, Knapp has a pretty decent and helpful article on fair fighting he wrote, which he makes clear can apply to any relationship, not just romantic ones, posted on his website, where he wrote:
Avoid—and defend against—hurtful speech. This includes name calling, swearing, hurtful sarcasm, raising the voice, and other forms of verbal hostility or intimidation. When either party says something hurtful, agree with your partner to use a key phrase that indicates the partner has hurt your feelings, such as “That’s below the belt!” If your partner continues despite your warning, it may be time to walk away.
When one moves from that page to his blog and examines the profanity-lace diatribes against not only me, but more importantly, a former client and coworker, the irony is rich indeed. If only he could follow his own advice.
Once again, I would like to know, what do John Knapp’s advisory board members such as the prominent cult expert and sociologist, Dr. Janja Lalich, have to say about this?
Update: Although thus far, it is unclear what, if anything she intends to do about the situation, Janja Lalich has now made a comment on John Knapp’s Facebook page, which is open and be accessed by anyone who goes there, unless he has chosen to block you.