Refutation of the disinformation about Monica Pignotti

Posts tagged ‘social work’

If you Google Monica Pignotti, Read This Statement of Support First

Update: On a more positive note, I have been able to move on from this smear campaign and have a happy, fulfilling life. I just returned from a wonderful trip to Italy. This photo was taken on October 17, 2012 in beautiful San Benedetto, Del Tronto, Italy as I walked along the beach. That is where my ancestors on my father’s side came from and Pignotti is a very well known and respected name in that town, as Pignottis own many businesses there, including the lovely hotel where we stayed. It has been a wonderful experience getting more in touch with my Italian roots!

Thankfully, even though it took me awhile to find a job in my field, I have been employed throughout this period and so was able to afford this trip. As of September 2012, I am employed in my field at my degree level as a lead Program Evaluator/Researcher to evaluate a home visiting infant mental health program, a Connecticut-based intervention model, that serves teen parents who have been involved with the juvenile justice system and their 0-5 year old children/infants.  Interventions such as the one I am evaluating which help to develop healthy, secure maternal child attachment supply positive alternatives to the harmful and/or ineffective approaches I have expressed my concerns about.

Finally, an employer is smart enough not to believe everything that comes up on a Google search and who sees the mentality of the cyber smear campaigners for what it is and realizes what an injustice it would be to penalize me for that and instead, evaluates me on my actual job performance, not out of context distortions of my distant past or outright lies that my background screen soundly refutes. Of course, I will continue to write and publish on exposing untested, ineffective and/or harmful therapy practices while actively working to develop positive, evidence tested alternatives. There are indeed positive, helpful ways to promote and develop genuine attachment and attunement between mother and child.

I have already received a hateful response from my pseud-anonymous cyber stalker about this, who has tried to post seven times to this and my other blogs. Although it is my policy to post comments from those who have disagreements with me and I welcome debate, I draw the line at hate, threats and libelous statements that this communication contained, repeating the usual lies. The person is obviously very upset that I am happy and doing well in my life and that any sane person who reads the content of the smear campaign can see what a disturbed individual this is. As more people are getting targeted for various reasons by internet smear campaigns, more understanding is developing of the mentality of cyber bullies and cyber stalkers and people are realizing they, rather than the targets, are the ones with the problem.

Although this adversity is not something I would have chosen for myself, much good has come out of it for me spiritually, as it has brought me closer to God and helped me to develop a faith I would not have likely otherwise known. This is something no one can take away and puts all else in its proper perspective. I can honestly say that although I had a rough few years, I am happier than I have been in a very long time.

That being said, internet smear campaigns appear to be an occupational hazard for mental health consumer advocates who choose to challenge certain mental health practices that are untested and yet have proponents who promote them and make unsupported claims.  If anyone has any questions about anything they read on the internet about me, please do not hesitate to contact me and ask and above all, please do not make any assumptions about what you read, since Google or other internet search engines cannot tell the difference between fact and fabrication.

If you Google Monica Pignotti (pronounced “Peen-yocht-tee”), you will notice many odd and false postings come up on Google searches of my name which are made by people who are upset about my expression of concerns about the practices of some mental health professionals.  In addition to the many false statements that have been posted about me (such as the lie repeatedly posted that I have been arrested/convicted of crimes and fired when I have never been arrested, much less convicted for anything in my life, nor have I ever been fired from any professional job I have ever held in my entire life), postings have been made in my name that I did not write and quotes have been placed around words I neither wrote nor uttered and bizarre pictures are posted of women with my name on them, who are not me. To put it briefly, don’t believe everything you read on Google searches or images. Please click here to read a statement of support signed by 48 of my colleagues who share my concerns.  People who are unfamiliar with this form of abuse may wonder why I even bother to respond to this, but you would be surprised how many otherwise intelligent people believe whatever they read online.

This statement shows that professionals in the relevant scientific community support my work and contrary to what anonymous smear campaigners and practitioners of questionable practices would want to lead the readers to believe, my work is accepted and supported by the scientific community and not controversial. The only controversy about my writings is within the fringe cliques of those whose work I have criticized who try to turn the tables and call me fringe and controversial when the support I have received as well as my track record of peer reviewed publications in reputable journals, shows otherwise. One of my main detractors is the author of a self-published book who practices a form of therapy which, by his own admission is controversial. This individual also attempted to sue me and several others and a year ago, the case was dismissed by a Federal judge who opined that my writings did not constitute defamation, but rather, were opinion and all charges against us were dismissed, affirming our right to free speech as well as academic freedom.

Posting under multiple anonymous identities make it appear that there are more such detractors than there actually are. In internet jargon, this practice of one person using multiple pseudonyms to make it appear there is a mob at work when it is really only a few people with an ax to grind, is known as sock puppetry.

I have references from professionals who know me and have worked with me on a day-to-day basis, which I will provide to anyone with a legitimate inquiry about my standing with FSU, who will refute the lie I was “fired” and give you a more realistic assessment of what it is like to work with me. Click here for further details about the lies that have been posted about me and FSU. A background check will prove I do not have a criminal record of any kind, not even minor traffic violations, nor have I ever been arrested or charged with anything, nor do I or have I ever worked in an adult bookstore, nor have I had sexual relationships with my co-authors or any other inappropriate relationships with anyone else. These are just a few of the many lies that have been posted about me mostly by posters using pseudonyms or anonymous posters.

Bottom line: For the past three years someone appears to be investing a great deal of time and effort running a smear campaign against me that amounts to classic propaganda tactics. My friends tell me that this means I must be doing something right and be effective in my exposure of dangerous therapeutic practices. Otherwise why spend so much time and effort to attempt to discredit me? The smear campaigners have fabricated and posted the worst, most obscene possible things that can be attributed to a human being that they can and invent and then lie that I did them.  Some of the postings are postings with my name on them that I did not post (forgeries) and in others, quotations are put around sometimes obscene words I never wrote and there are completely fabricated stories about me. In addition to the fabrications, events from my very distant past that occurred before I ever obtained any advanced degrees and I have long since repudiated, are being taken out of context and misportrayed by the anonymous posters. A key difference here is that I have learned from my past mistakes whereas the proponents of the therapies I have expressed concerns about apparently have not, hence their need to attack anyone who challenges them.

It is a common misconception to blame the victim of cyber smear campaigns of the sort I have been enduring. This is not unlike the attitude towards rape victims that existed before society’s consciousness was raised — the victim must have done something  to “ask’ for it, must be somehow deeply flawed, so the mythology goes.

The simple fact of the matter is that I challenge people who most people are too afraid to challenge for fear of being maligned in the way I have been. There is something in me that cannot in all good conscience remain silent when I see abuse occurring that many others seem to have no problem turning a blind eye to, although many privately agree with me.  For this, I have suffered consequences, but nevertheless, I continue because if I can make a difference in the lives of individuals, it is worth it to me.  The posters seem to feel that they are retaliating against my critical blogs, which they have characterized as “hate” websites. It appears that somewhere in their education, they missed learning to distinguish between expressing concerns about mental health practices that lack evidence to support claims being made on on hand and personal attacks and malicious lies, on the other hand.

Recently, the Russian Commissioner of Children’s Rights is raising similar issues my much-maligned colleagues and I have been raising, with regard to the unsupported beliefs of certain mental health professionals about internationally adopted children, especially children adopted from Russia who have been victims of serious abuse and in some cases, have died at the hands of their abusive parents while these adoption “experts” have testified in a way that blames the victims and gets the abusive parents off the hook or at least lessens their conviction. 

It should go without saying that decent, ethical professionals who are offering valid therapies are able to provide sound support for what they are doing and hence, have no need to attack their critics in this manner.

Here is a quote that seems appropriate to this situation: 

To date, 48 of my professional colleagues, whose names appear below the statement,  have signed the following statement of support. I thank and extend my deepest appreciation to each of them for their support and having the courage to take a stand with me on the important issues involving our professions that are at stake. If any prospective employers are reading this, I am more than willing to answer any questions you might have and address any and all concerns and provide you with the names and contact information for references who I have actually worked with who will put the lies about me to rest, once and for all. Here is the statement of support my colleagues have signed.

Statement of Support for Dr. Monica Pignotti [May 2011]

For the past two years, Dr. Monica Pignotti has been subjected to an ongoing and concerted internet smear campaign in response to her peer-reviewed and internet writings on potentially harmful therapy practices, particularly attachment and other similar therapies involving coercive restraint of children. The postings have mostly been made by anonymous and presumably pseudonymous posters on blogs, public newsgroups, and other internet websites. These statements have often been malicious, false, and even profane, and have included not only Dr. Pignotti but also some of her colleagues and supporters (see http://phtherapies.wordpress.com and https://monicapignotti.wordpress.com).

Although the posters are, to date, unidentified and unidentifiable, it is clear from their content that they are one or more individuals who are upset by Dr. Pignotti’s criticisms of certain interventions directed at vulnerable children, such as internationally adopted children with serious developmental disabilities and/or behavior problems. Rather than take the high road and address the substantive criticisms raised by Dr. Pignotti and her co-authors, the anonymous posters have elected to take the low road and personally attack and malign the critics.

We, the undersigned, unequivocally oppose the cowardly and unethical behaviors of the internet posters, and strongly affirm Dr. Pignotti’s right to raise legitimate criticisms of their therapeutic practices without fear of false and defamatory attacks. Criticism of therapeutic practices that lack empirical support and may be harmful is vital for the profession and we are deeply concerned that smear campaigns could discourage others from engaging in public scrutiny of these and other practices. We call on the internet posters to stop such practices immediately. We further call on the posters to publicly identify themselves and to voice their criticisms in the form of clear descriptions of their concerns, using recognized venues such as peer-reviewed articles rather than in the form of baseless personal attacks.  Additionally, we ask that any prospective employers of Dr. Pignotti not allow the actions of these posters and the fact she has chosen not to remain silent, to impact their hiring decisions.

Signed:

Scott O. Lilienfeld, PhD, Professor of Psychology (Clinical), Emory University

Eileen Gambrill, PhD, Professor, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley

Bruce Thyer, LCSW, BCBA, PhD, Professor of Social Work, Florida State University

J. Michael Bailey, Professor Northwestern University

Aaron T. Beck, M.D., University Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Evelyn Behar, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago

Carolyn Black Becker, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Trinity University, San Antonio

Stephen T. Black, Ph.D., Ph.D, Social & Clinical Psychologist

Richard R. Bootzin, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona

Lynn Brandsma, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Chestnut Hill College

Roxane Cohen Silver, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology & Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine

James C. Coyne, PhD., Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Professor of Health Psychology, University of Groningen

Bella DePaulo, PhD

Benjamin Emmert-Aronson, M.A., Doctoral student in Clinical Psychology, Boston University

Wayne C. Evens, MSW, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Program Director, 1501 West Bradley Ave., Peoria, IL 61625

Trudy Festinger, DSW, Professor of Social Work, New York University

Howard N. Garb, YC 03, USAF, Ph.D., Chief, Psychology Research Service

Associate Editor, Military Psychology , 559 AMDS/SGPL, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX  [Please Note: Does not represent an endorsement by or the views of the United States Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the United States Government.]

Brandon Gaudiano, Ph.D., Assistant Professor (Research), Alpert Medical School of Brown University

James Herbert, PhD, Professor Clinical Psychology and Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Drexel University

D. Lynn Jackson, Ph.D., LCSW (FL), ACSW, Assistant Professor/ Field Coordinator, Department of Rehabilitation, Social Work and Addictions, 1155 Union Circle #311456, University of North Texas, Denton, TX  76203-1456

Robert K. Klepac, Ph.D., Psychology Training Director Emeritus, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Research Associate Professor, University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio

Steven R. Lawyer, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Idaho State University

Julia H. Littell, Ph.D., Professor, Graduate School of Social Work and Social Welfare, Bryn Mawr College, 300 Airdale Rd., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010, USA

Elizabeth Loftus, PhD, Distinguished Professor, Psychology & Social Behavior Criminology, Law & Society Cognitive Sciences School of Law, University of California, Irvine, 2393 Social Ecology II, Irvine, Calif. 92697-7080  USA

Jeffrey M. Lohr, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Psychological Science, University of Arkansas

Steven Jay Lynn, PhD, Professor of Psychology, SUNY Binghamton

Robin MacFarlane, PhD

Richard J. McNally, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Clinical Training, Department of Psychology, Harvard University

Cathleen Mann, PhD, Independent Practice

Jean Mercer, PhD, Professor Emerita, Richard Stockton College

Michael B. Miller, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.E., Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, email: mbmiller@umn.edu, phone: 612-564-5364

Randal S. Pennington, PsyD, Training Director, Wasatch Mental Health, Provo, Utah

Brady J. Phelps, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Dept. of Psychology, South Dakota State University

Ken Ruggiero, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina

Susan Kiss Sarnoff, DSW, Associate Professor, Ohio State University Department of Social Work

Sally Satel, MD, American Enterprise Institute

Lee Sechrest, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Arizona

Ian R. Sharp, Ph.D., Clinical Scientist and Senior Trainer, Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology Industry

Bradley H. Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Director, Community/Clinical Graduate Training Program,  University of South Carolina

Carol Tavris, Ph.D., Social Psychologist, Author, Lecturer

George Tremblay, Ph.D., Department of Clinical Psychology, Antioch University New England

Timothy R. Tumlin, Ph.D., Independent Practice, Darien, Illinois

Kristin von Ranson, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology (Clinical), University of Calgary

Hollida Wakefield, M.A. Licensed Psychologist, Private Practice, Northfield, MN 55057

Robert L. Weiss, Ph.D., Professor emeritus of Psychology, University of Oregon

Robert W. Wildblood, Phd, Retired Associate Professor of Psychology, Licensed Applied Psychologist in Virginia, Licensed HSPP in Indiana

Alexander Williams, M.A., Clinical Psychology Graduate Student, University of Kansas

Raising the Anonymous Posters’ Consciousness on Rape: 60% of Rapes are Never Reported to Police

Well, actually what I wrote in the title is not possible since these are malicious smear campaigners who appear to lack any kind of conscience whatsoever when it comes to posting fabrications about me, but the purpose of this posting is to set the record straight and provide any readers who are unaware, with the facts about how often rape is not reported to police. The anonymous smear posters are now demanding documents including a police report for an incident that occurred nearly 40 years ago where I was raped while I was in Scientology. At first they were ignorantly misportraying this as a new revelation on my part. When I proved them wrong and pointed out I had written about this in 1989, they just brazenly moved on to more smears, which has been their usual and all too predictable practice. When I expose the lies or their ignorance, they just move on to something else hoping people will forget they have been exposed, typical behavior for a pathological liar.

Most shamefully, the smear campaigners are now misportraying my sexual victimization that I had therapy 22 years ago to address, as “sexual escapades”. No, rape is not a “sexual escapade” and their attempts to portray it as such only demonstrates how low the smear campaigners have sunk, accompanied by their disgusting fabrications about me. I was in therapy 22 years ago to deal with a rape, not “sexual escapades”.

Additionally, the reason I didn’t report it was not, contrary to the ignorant postings of the smear campaigners, because I had some kind of “OT” Scientology beliefs. At the time this occurred, I had not reached any advanced Scientology levels and even if I had, Scientologists do not believe they can literally turn back time and make things not happen. The term “erasure” refers to removal of the emotional charge from traumatic events, not literally wiping out the event itself and as for OT superpowers, that is only claimed for the ultimate OT level, which at the time I was in Scientology no one had reached. So no, I never had any beliefs that I held such superpowers. The claimed end phenomenon for the level I did reach was simply, “return of full self-determinism”, not any supernatural powers but at that time, I hadn’t even reached that yet. The reasons I did not report the rape to police were much more mundane and rather common for women in those days who were raped by someone they voluntarily went with.

These latest smear postings demanding proof for a rape that occurred nearly 40 years ago that I shared in a personal account of my experience, indicate a very antiquated awareness of the statistics on rape victims, especially those that occurred that long ago. The fact is that the vast majority of rapes are never reported to the police. Even today, 60% of rapes are not reported to police. This was especially so in the early 1970s when it wasn’t even considered rape if the woman voluntarily went into a room with a man. Actually that kind of rape was very common in those days. Thankfully nowadays for most people, consciousness on this topic has been raised and rape is rape, regardless of whether the woman initially went voluntarily somewhere with a man, although it seems that even in this day and age, some people have yet to learn this.

In my case, I did not report the rape because in those days, my report probably would have been dismissed. He could have claimed it was consensual and it would have been my word against his and in fact, for years I blamed myself for this until in the late 1980s, I had therapy and my therapist helped me to understand that this incident did, indeed qualify as rape. When I finally told my therapist about this during the late 1980s, I saw tears come to her eyes and she said, “You were an innocent. This was not your fault”. That was so true. I was a sheltered, very naive 19 year old who actually believed the guy was going to help get me a legitimate acting job in the movies and I went with him, believing the myth that people could get “discovered” in that way. One of the nasty postings called me a “professional victim”. No, disclosing this does not make me a “professional victim”. For one thing, I have never been paid for having been a victim of rape. I have noticed, however, that “professional victim” is a phrase that people who wish to intimidate victims from speaking out and blame victims, just love to use. Rest assured, it will not have that impact on me. Calling me by that name will only make my voice grow louder to demonstrate that I will not be shouted down on this or on any other topic I feel it is important to speak out on.

So no, I did not report the incident when it happened because like many woman in those days, at the time, I blamed myself for going with him in the first place and did not view it as a rape at the time. I actually shared this with a few other Scientologists at the time and they too blamed me, the victim, for falling for the scam (quite ironic, since we had all fallen for Scientology). It was my therapist, years later after I had been out of Scientology for 13 years, who made me aware that this was rape.  It was then, that I chose to write about it in that affidavit of 1989 and until now, no one has had the indecency to attempt to shame me for this in any way. Therapy taught me not to blame myself and not all the internet smear campaigns in the world are going to shame me or break me.

Another statistic to be aware of is that about 50% of rape victims experience PTSD. That is a higher rate than veterans of war. However, I am in the fortunate 50% that did not develop PTSD. My therapy was mainly cognitive restructuring, meaning the therapist challenging my erroneous beliefs about the experience, such as blaming myself and this approach worked well for me. Even though I did not have PTSD, I did have residual feelings of self-blame and that is what therapy helped me to overcome. In the cases of people who are suffering from PTSD, however, they may need to have a therapy known as prolonged exposure therapy, which is a very well-supported therapy for PTSD, shown to be highly effective for people who have been traumatized by rape. Fortunately, there is help available and there are many compassionate, competent, caring and ethical therapists who can offer such help for PTSD or any other residual effects of trauma.

Every time I think the anonymous cyber smear campaigners cannot sink lower, they do. This attacking me for a rape that I wrote about that occurred nearly 40 years ago is indeed a new low, even for them.

So no, I don’t need to prove anything to anyone and anonymous cyber smear campaigners have no right to demand such proof. Their using this incident that I wrote about 22 years ago, to smear me makes them, not me, look very bad and a number of people have their own opinions as to who the circumstantial evidence indicates is behind all this. In any case, their ignorance on this topic is beyond belief.

Go here for some education on the topic.

60% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police, according to a statistical average of the past 5 years.2 Those rapists, of course, never spend a day in prison. Factoring in unreported rapes, only about 6% of rapists ever serve a day in jail.

Convictions

And this is 2011. In 1972, things were far worse.

Apparently the anonymous cyber smear campaigners are incapable of distinguishing what requires proof and what does not. Contrary to the recent straw man arguments being put forth by the anonymous smear campaigners, I have never, ever claimed that my PhD makes me immune to needing to prove things. If I was delivering interventions to children, I would indeed need to produce evidence to support what I was doing. However, they fail to make the distinction between what kinds of claims require proof and which do not. My claims about my own experiences in the distant past, are not provable and my inability to produce “documents” does not harm anyone.  No decent person would ever expect or demand proof of this.

This is very different from people such as Ronald Federici who are recommending interventions for internationally adopted children that recommend the use of prone restraint, which have no randomized controlled clinical trials to demonstrate their safety and efficacy. This is not a double standard. If Ronald Federici had chosen to write about personal experiences he had in the 1970s, I would not demand proof. If some associate of Federici’s was involved in a court case in the 1990s, I would not demand that he prove anything about it. What I do demand proof for is the claims he makes about his interventions for children.If I were delivering such interventions, I would also be obligated to provide evidence for them.

The anonymous posters attempt to equate apples and oranges. Needless to say, making unsupported claims about interventions being used on children is very different from making a claim about a personal experience that occurred nearly 40 years ago.  I am also not responsible to produce “evidence” for the postings of anonymous survivors of holding therapy, as that was never my blog, nor am I responsible to produce evidence involving long ago concluded voting machine cases that I had no involvement in whatsoever. Their attempt to equate these things fools no one but the true believers who attack me.

Moreover, anonymous cowards who use their anonymity to post malicious lies, have no right to make any demands of someone such as myself, who has always posted using my real name. If the anonymous cyber smear campaigners want to ask me something, let them reveal their identity first. I don’t respond to anonymous abusers, who have no intention other than twisting my words to attack me further, nor do I have anything to prove to them.

I will, however, continue to demand proof from mental health professionals who are offering interventions for their clients that appear to be lacking in evidence and I would hold myself to that same standard, for any interventions I recommend to others. If the anonymous smear campaigners think my social work colleagues would in any way be sympathetic to their disgusting behavior of attacking someone who shared a highly personal experience of having been raped at the age of 19, they really don’t know the social work profession, as any decent social worker will be appalled at such postings attacking me for sharing an experience about having been raped. Actually, one Dean of a prominent school of social work, when I told her about some of the earlier postings, attempting to reassure me, let me know that no rational person would believe a word these anonymous smear campaigners wrote about me.

So keep it up, cyber smear campaigners. You only make yourselves and your gurus look very, very bad when you attack someone for sharing a personal experience of a rape, very different from making a claim about an intervention.

To the cyber smear campaigners: If you think you are going to break me down in any way emotionally by posting about this, think again. I had therapy for this issue more than 20 years ago and since that time have become a highly empowered survivor who will not be broken, nor will I back down in my activism against harmful practices with children. Attacks such as this only show your appalling ignorance on the topic.

Now, back to the topic at hand, where is the evidence that the interventions that Ronald Federici promotes for children, are safe and effective? No matter how many lies his followers post about me and no matter how hard they try to deflect from this topic by posting lies about me and irrelevant nonsense about voting machine cases I had no involvement in whatsoever, I will continue to ask that question, as I will continue to ask for evidence to support the claims of a number of other mental health professionals who are making claims on the internet and else where that lack proper evidence (i.e. studies published in peer reviewed journals) to support them. Every time lies and ugly smears are posted about me, I will bring the discussion back to the topic at hand, which is the reason why I am currently the target of this smear campaign. I have challenged therapy gurus who have followers who obviously do not like to have their unsupported claims challenged.

Monica Pignotti and Florida State University: Setting the Record Straight

As detailed in the lead article on this blog, I have been the target of an ongoing internet smear campaign for the past two and a half years, which has included the posting of highly defamatory fabrications about my life and career by individuals who are upset by my expression of concern and criticisms of the claims being made by proponents of certain mental health interventions.  The purpose of this posting is to set the record straight regarding my relationship with Florida State University (FSU). Here are the facts:

  • I attended FSU from 2006 to 2009 as a PhD Student/PhD Candidate..
  • I graduated from FSU with a PhD in 2009.
  • While I was a PhD candidate I was a teaching assistant and also independently taught courses at the College of Social Work to undergraduates.
  • All PhD Social Work Students and Candidates at FSU are paid a set amount every year for their first three years (at the time I was there, it was $12,000 per year, although it may be more currently). In exchange, the student is a research assistant for the first two years and teaches during the third year and in some cases later years for as long as they are a student/candidate.
  • All of my teaching at FSU was done under the above arrangement. I only taught as a PhD Candidate.
  • FSU Social Work has a policy against hiring their own PhD students as tenure track faculty and since priority for non-tenure track is given to existing students, once someone graduates, they do not teach at FSU, not because they were ‘fired’ but because that is the arrangement.
  • I have not been “fired” from FSU.
  • No student ever complained about my teaching. Since FSU is very diligent about giving their instructors feedback, they definitely would have let me know if anyone had.
  • I received acceptable teaching evaluations. Several students commented that they found me highly approachable, easy to talk to, kind, tolerant and open minded. One of the questions on the evaluation asked if the instructor was arrogant and 0% (none) of my students agreed with that statement (I mention this because the lie has repeatedly been posted that my students found me arrogant and dogmatic when precisely the opposite was the case).
  • I never, at any time, was involved in any kind of sexual misconduct whatsoever.
  • I never, at any time made any derogatory remarks about faculty, students or anyone else at FSU.
  • I left FSU in good standing in every way.
  • Since graduating from FSU, I have delivered a number of guest lectures to both Graduate and Undergraduate social work students at FSU, the most recent being two in October 2011. These were lectures that I was invited to give, something that obviously would not have been possible, had I been “fired”.
  • To anyone with a legitimate reason, I can provide references of people I actually worked with at FSU who can verify all of the above.

The following falsehoods have been posted about me and FSU:

  • The lie that I flunked out of FSU. Click here for proof that I graduated.
  • After I presented irrefutable proof from the FSU website that I did, in fact, graduate, the lie was posted that I was allowed to graduate only because FSU was afraid I would sue them. This is ludicrous defamation, not only against me, but also FSU. FSU would never allow someone to graduate out of fear of lawsuit. In fact, PhD students and candidates are evaluated on a yearly basis and FSU has not hesitated to dismiss PhD students or candidates who were not performing up to par. I passed all my evaluations, fulfilled all the requirements ahead of schedule and was the first in my particular cohort to graduate. My transcript, which I will provide to anyone with a legitimate reason for needing to see it, demonstrates that I fully and honestly met all the requirements, including a 3.9 GPA and passing my preliminary examination and dissertation.
  • The additional lie was posted that I graduated and then was “fired”. Again, this is false. All of the teaching I did at FSU was as a PhD candidate. I held no other position at FSU because, as I mentioned above, they have a policy against hiring their own graduates in tenure track positions and give priority to their candidates for all the others, so there are no open slots for graduates to teach there. The fact, verifiable via my references, is that I left FSU in good standing in every way.

The following absurd fabrications were posted about me and FSU. Although absurd and unlikely to be believed, I want to state them here, for the record, just to demonstrate how sick and ugly this smear campaign has gotten. I am not mentioning the names of the faculty members because I do not want to add to the way in which their names have already been denigrated.

  • The lie that I called a faculty member a “bag lady”. I would never call anyone by such a derogatory name.
  • The lie that I denigrated a faculty member for wearing sexy clothing and called her a “tramp”. Again, an absurd lie.
  • The lie that I propositioned two faculty members who are a married couple and that they reported me and had me fired for “voyeurism”. I was not fired and this is a complete fabrication.
  • The lie that I called for the end to the College of Education and that their dean asked to have me “fired”. On the contrary, I hold a certificate in statistics and measurement from the FSU College of Education and have never said anything negative about them.
  • The lie that I “wasted class time” talking about my experiences in Scientology and “time travel”. I have never discussed my experiences in Scientology with any of my classes, nor have I discussed “time travel”.  The only time I have discussed Scientology at all is when I presented some scholarly qualitative research that was done on it, which was a relevant topic of the course being taught.
  • I have also been denigrated by smear campaigners for talking about Thought Field Therapy (TFT). Since I have published research and other peer reviewed articles on TFT, this is a legitimate topic and in fact, I have been invited by faculty members to guest lecture to their classes on TFT and present the research I published in a peer reviewed journal, a controlled study showing no difference between TFT Voice Technology (VT) and a sham VT control group. I also was a guest lecturer, by invitation, to a group of PhD psychology students at SUNY Binghamton. Again, this was all by invitation by people who obviously found my work in that area of enough value to their students to want me to speak to them on that topic and I obliged them. The feedback I received on my presentations was very positive.
  • That I “wasted class time” talking about “being single”. Although I have done no such thing, what I have done is spent time presenting on discrimination and stigmatization against people who are single. Again, I have published research on this topic in a top ranked social work journal. This is a legitimate topic, given that diversity is part of the social work curriculum and in fact, I was invited by one of the FSU faculty members to speak to his diversity class on this topic.

These are the facts about my relationship with FSU. If anyone has further questions, I will be glad to address them.

Monica Pignotti and NYU: What Really Happened

For more than a year now, the malicious lie has been posted that I was “fired” from Florida State University and declared “unfit to teach”, along with all kinds of other nonsense. As stated previously, this is entirely false and I have references and positive teaching evaluations that prove otherwise. It has become very obvious that someone is very hard at and spending an inordinate amount of time posting falsehoods about me on a regular basis, to try and make sure I do not get a faculty position by posting such lies and hoping the people doing the hiring believe them or perhaps wrongfully blame me as the victim that I must have done something to deserve this. What I did was expose what I consider to be abuse in the name of “therapy” (for example, using outdated prone restraint methods on children with behavior problems rather than empirically supported methods). This is why I am being targeted although 47 of my colleagues have been courageous enough to take a stand with me.

Now, in five separate postings, this lie is being extended to New York University (NYU) [Update May 20: there have now been a number of additional postings falsely asserting that NYU has made a statement that they have not and other false statements about this matter). For example, one posting claims that I was denied a position at NYU because of information that came up on an FOIA request on me for FSU. This is utterly absurd, since the only teaching I did at FSU was as a doctoral student and I only left because I graduated and left in good standing in every way. I was never faculty at FSU in the first place. My teaching was done as a PhD candidate under a stipend that all PHD students/candidates get and do teaching or research in exchange. I graduated and left in good standing and have the references to prove it. Another posting lied that NYU discovered I had a criminal record when the truth, which can be easily verified by a background check is that I have no criminal record whatsoever for anyone to discover, not even so much as a traffic ticket.

Before I go any further, let there be no misunderstanding. Please note that I am in no way intending to blame NYU for what I am about to describe happened nor am I accusing any of their faculty or personnel of anything. The person posting these malicious lies, whoever it is, appears to not have a conscience when it comes to lying and may well be a sociopath. Sociopaths can be very clever and even though I am sure the people at NYU did everything possible to protect the information I sent them, such people can find ways to get around these kinds of setups through no fault of the people concerned. It could have happened to virtually anyone.

Already my cyber stalker is frantically trying to misportray me as spinning conspiracy theories. No, I am not. The fact is that when a person applies for a job, their application is supposed to be kept confidential and in my case, the confidentiality of my application was breached. Postings were made that I had applied for this job when I had not publicly revealed that anywhere. Postings were made saying that I did not get the position before I was notified. How this happened is unknown and that is what I am requesting be investigated. This is a reasonable request because if there is a leak somewhere — whether that leak be due to computer hacking, someone snooping or someone violating the confidentiality of job applications, someone gossiping to friends about who applied or something else — it needs to be fixed so future applicants won’t have this happen to them. I am not blaming anyone, but I do have the right to know what happened. The fact is that the confidentiality of my application was violated, someone, somehow through some unknown means gained access to information they should not have had and a matter I chose to keep private was posted on the internet. That is an issue that needs to be taken very seriously.

Here is what actually happened with NYU. It is interesting and telling to note that until today (April 18, 2011) I have not discussed nor even mentioned anything about this matter. I have not discussed it on the Internet or even on Facebook. I make it a point never to discuss by name any faculty positions I apply for before a final decision has been made, for obvious reasons. Yet although it is a bald-faced lie that I was declared “unfit” for the position (in fact, I was declared by the search committee head “a qualified applicant”), someone seems to have gained inside information that I had applied for a faculty position at NYU’s school of social work and that I did not get it. How this information was obtained remains a mystery, since I am sure that the people on the search committee are completely ethical and would never have leaked it. It appears that someone snooped or someone snooped and then told someone else who posted this.

The anonymous poster, whoever it was, was apparently aware that I had not gotten the position before I received my rejection letter and announced the fact that I did not get the job in a very nasty way, accompanied by lies about the reasons why. The posting was made shortly before I got my formal rejection letter (via e-mail).

I notified the search committee chair about this to apprise him of the situation and he expressed serious concern and expressed his sincere compassion about what I was having to endure with regard to the internet smear campaign (I sent the head of the search committee links to all the postings so he could see the outrageous lies in them). While it is true I did not get the position, it is completely false that I didn’t get it because they considered me unfit to teach or that it had anything to do with any of the lies that were posted about me such as the lie that I have a criminal record, which of course I do not. The head of the search committee has now given me permission to make it publicly known that he and the other search committee members considered me one of a number of strong, qualified applicants who applied for the position and their decision was in no way meant to reflect poorly on me.

The NYU faculty position I applied for was an administrative program coordinator position for an MSW program at a campus outside of New York City. When I applied, I fully realized that this was a long shot for me and my chances of getting this were slim, simply because I have no administrative program coordinator experience in a university setting. I have such experience in a hospital setting, but I am well aware they must have had plenty of applicants who did have such experience in a university setting and understandably they would be a better fit for the position than I was. My main strengths and the bulk of my experiences are in research, clinical and teaching, not administration but I was willing to accept such a position, given the desirable location, high quality of the university and the fact that I did at least have some experience in a hospital, although not a university setting.

The job market this year is especially competitive, tough and challenging and for a school as popular as NYU is, I am sure they are being completely truthful that they did have many qualified applicants and I am honored that they considered me among their pool of qualified applicants even though I ultimately was not selected for the position. I completely accept that that’s the way things are on the job market. Hundreds can apply for a given position, but only one person can get the job. It doesn’t mean that the applicants not selected were “unfit” or even that they were in any way inferior to the one chosen. It only means that the person selected was considered a better fit for that particular job.

Just to give people an idea of how tough this job market is, someone I know who teaches at Rutgers mentioned to me that about 120 people applied for one social work faculty position on their Newark campus. I would imagine that a comparable number would apply for an NYU position, as jobs in the NYC area are very popular and desirable.

What is disturbing is that the information that I applied and did not get the position was somehow discovered by someone who was apparently snooping where he/she did not belong. The matter was investigated but unfortunately it looks like at least for now, whoever did these postings has gotten away with it. Maybe next time whoever this is, won’t be so lucky. At some point the person will go too far and get caught, just as most overconfident sociopaths do.

Also note that this does not have to do with a breach in internet security on my end, because whoever did the postings knew that I did not get the position before I was notified, hence that information was not on my computer. Moreover, if someone had actually gained access to my private e-mails, there is much more information about my job search for jobs I actually had a much better chance of getting where I was on short lists that they could have sabotaged that could have been far more damaging to my job search, but were not discovered. The only place that was found out about was NYU and since I haven’t posted publicly about this until now, this leads me to believe that the breach occurred somewhere at NYU where someone gained illegal access to my application material, either by hacking into their computers or somehow gained access to my materials by snooping where they were physically located or some other way that I can’t even conceive of because I have to confess I have no experience or expertise in criminal activity such as that.

I predict that now postings will appear saying I “admitted” that NYU declared me unfit to teach or some other malicious lie. If this happens, fair warning to my cyber stalker, I will post a link to this blog article exposing the lies and distortions about what really happened.

This is yet another example of how malicious this smear campaign has gotten and how it appears to have extended beyond the internet. However, sometimes people get overconfident and do eventually get caught. At this time, I do not know the identity of the individual(s) doing this. However, it is interesting to note that at least some of the therapists whom I have criticized, by their own admission, had serious behavior problems themselves as youths and so with such a history, I have to wonder if perhaps such problems carried over into adulthood, but at this point I do not know if that is the case.

Part of the reason that I am posting this is that some people have laughed this whole smear campaign against me off as a trivial prank by some internet troll. The fact that inside information about my job search that was not available anywhere on the internet was obtained is one more piece of evidence that it is far more serious than that and that someone is also doing snooping off the internet.  This is very serious business and in some states, such cyber stalking especially when it involves illegally gaining access to information, may be considered a crime. It is certainly nothing to laugh off and blame the victim for. For people who are tempted to laugh this off and think it is nothing, first walk a mile in my shoes.

Update: A recent posting hinted that a “vigilant” group of unidentified individuals wrote a letter to NYU. This appears to be similar to what happened at FSU when a number of faculty members received a rather rambling, disjointed e-mail that smeared me and made accusations that I made postings on a blog that was not my blog that I had no responsibility for. Fortunately, they were not taken seriously and several of the faculty members forwarded the e-mails to me in order to make me aware of what was going on. All were sympathetic to me and opined that these anonymous e-mails had no credibility and appeared to be coming from an unstable individual and they expressed their condolences to me for having to deal with this. Apparently these individual who is writing these anonymous letters has no self-awareness as to how he/she comes across to others.

A few months before that Ronald Federici wrote a letter of “complaint” to the Dean of the College of Social work at FSU. I do not know if he was involved in the contacts that were allegedly made with NYU. Fortunately, the Dean at FSU chose not to take an action with regard to that letter and let me know that he considered it irrelevant to my work at FSU. To add insult to injury Federici also attempted to sue me for the commentary I wrote about his complain to my dean (Exhibit H). However, in the dismissal hearing, the Federal judge ruled that my comments did not constitute defamation and were opinion. Yes, I do indeed have the right to defend myself.

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