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VxAcct: 230739

Article ID: 5012

Section: whs

Age Group: Adult

Posted: January 13th. 2003

Views: 17745

Strange Therapy [3]

by Kerr Cuhulain


Many of the therapists supporting the Satanic Ritual Abuse myth believe in practising psychiatry from a "Christian perspective." James Friesen, a Christian psychologist in California, made the following statement in the Journal of Psychology and Theology:

"A cosmic struggle is taking place: The Kingdom of God is being spread, and Satan's forces are constantly opposing it. The battles can be psychological and/or spiritual and can take place in the human and/or spiritual realms. Satanists and Christians receive instruction about participation in spiritual warfare (SW), including opening themselves up to spiritual forces..."(1)

Notice how Friesen has even assigned an acronym ("SW") to the buzz phrase "Spiritual Warfare." Later in the same article Friesen states:

"Contacts with other Christian therapists and my own experiences have repeatedly confirmed that it is better to handle psychological and spiritual concerns under the same roof."(2)

A therapist is not necessarily hindered by subscribing to one set of religious beliefs or another. I am aware of many devout Christians who are very reputable therapists. However, as can be seen by statements by Friesen and others like him, there is a very great danger that some of these fundamentalist Christian therapists are consciously or unconsciously more interested in using their patients to provide validation for their beliefs about Satanic conspiracies and fundamentalist Christianity than in providing treatment. The disclosures that such therapists obtain from their patients are used as proof that the Satanic conspiracy they believe in exists. They present these uncorroborated disclosures as factual, using them as the cornerstone of their hypotheses concerning treatment. George Gannaway, director of the Ridgeview Center for Dissociative Disorders, describes this situation very succinctly:

"...If one is to propose a hypothesis that the earth is round rather than flat, one first is expected to provide evidence that, in fact, there is an earth about which to hypothesize."(3)

We have already encountered examples of belief in demonic entities in earlier articles in this series. Some of these Christian therapists believe some of the "alters" or fragmented personalities that they identify within a person are evil entities that are external. Friesen states:

"Another twist is that demons can disguise themselves as personalities- they claim to be a personality, but have no life experience... The truth must be sought over a period of time, asking for God's guidance along the way... I have developed a lot of confidence, over time, in the ability of SRA survivors to be able to recognize spiritual entities accurately."(4)

Friesen has used disclosures of his "patients" as proof not only of demons, but of angels as well. Friesen has even created a diagnostic category which he calls "Oppressive Supernatural States Disorder," which appears to be a fancy way of saying "demon possession." Friesen defines OSSD symptoms as follows:

"1) Marked revulsion to Christian symbols and/or to the name of Jesus (see Hart, 1991; Isaacs, 1985).

"2) Evidences of supernatural occurrences, such as telepathy, levitations, objects moving by themselves, or strength out of proportion to age or size (see Isaacs, 1985; Koch, 1972).

"3) An 'evil presence' is perceived by persons other than the oppressed person (see Isaacs, 1985; White, 1990)."(5)

The papers that Friesen is referring to here are:

  • The book Christian Counselling and Occultism by Kurt Koch, a prolific Christian author who has written a lot of material about Satanic conspiracy and demons.
  • The book The Believer's Guide to Spiritual Warfare by Thomas R A White, founder of Frontline Ministries and Mantle of Praise in Corvallis, Oregon.
  • "The Possessive States Disorder: The Differentiation of Involuntary Spirit-Possession from Present Diagnostic Categories", a doctoral dissertation by T.C. White.

A good example of a therapist operating from such a fundamentalist Christian perspective is Holly Hector. Hector received a Master's degree in counselling from the University of Colorado and spent a year studying at Denver Seminary. She was formerly employed by the Menninger Foundation and went on to be a counsellor at Centennial Peaks Hospital in Louisville, Colorado. Hector claims to have begun working with juveniles involved in Satanism in 1979. She is the editor/author of a manual entitled Satanic Ritual Abuse and Multiple Personality Disorder: Understanding and Treating the Survivor.

In the Editor's Notes at the beginning of Hector's manual, she attributes much of the material in it to another book entitled Confronting and Exposing Satan and Associates, by Wendell Amstutz. Amstutz is the director of National Counselling Resource Center (NCRC), a Christian ministry based in Rochester, North Carolina. Amstutz is a resource for CCIN Inc, whom I've discussed at length elsewhere in this series. Hector's editorial notes are followed by a page dedicating the manual to Jesus Christ.

The first warning sign is on page one, where Hector states that Satanic ritual abuse seems " unbelievable to those unfamiliar with these crimes..."(6) This suggests that the only way that one would believe such accounts is if one was trained to. This is, of course, exactly what they are trying to do here. Several pages of descriptions of kinds of abuse are then followed by several lists of Satanic Ritual Abuse symptoms, some by Hector and one from the Ritual Abuse Task Force of the Los Angeles County Commission on Women. Hector's lists, "Behavioural/ Psychological Indicators of Satanic Ritual Abuse Survivors" include a wide variety of psychological symptoms, including: "... self mutilation,... suicidality... eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, bulimorexia, compulsive overeating,... sexual dysfunctions... depression... frequent diagnostic labels: multiple personality disorder, paranoid schizophrenic, borderline personality disorder, manic/depression, bipolar, psychotic disorder, addictive disorders, depersonalization disorder, psychogenic amnesia, psychogenic fugue, post traumatic stress disorder."(7) The impression that I get reading a list like this is that it is so all inclusive that no matter what the "patient" claims to be suffering from, the therapist can turn it into an indication of Satanic Ritual Abuse.

A couple of significant warning signs on this list are the following indicators listed by Hector:

"Multiple psychiatric hospitalizations with minimal alleviation of symptoms... easily induced into a trance state,... fires or switches therapists frequently... belief that they are 'crazy', belief of always being watched, followed, ...fear of talking to therapist, authority figures,... frequently labelled 'malingerer', 'liar', 'hypochondriac', 'imaginative' as a child,..."(8)

In my experience with these cases, one of the common characteristics is that a person will diagnose themselves using one of the many "self help" books on SRA that are available. The "survivor" will then shop around for the right therapist, firing or switching therapists that do not accept the patient's diagnosis, until they find someone who tells them what they want to hear. All of the indicators listed by Hector here fit that scenario.

Other supposed "indicators" on Hector's lists include a broad list of vague occult themes, the suggestion that those who do not accept Christ are SRA survivors, mixed in with some odd additions:

"...noticeable aversion to drinking water (prefers coffee, pop, juice)... artwork/poetry has themes of... occultism,... speaking in unknown languages, chemical dependency,... draws or 'doodles' occult... symbols... often fascinated by or drawn to aspects of the supernatural, the paranormal, psychic phenomenon, contempt/rage at God, Jesus Christ, Christianity,... extreme claustrophobia,... convinced that they are 'possessed',... imaginary friends/playmates as a child... intense paranoia/dreams of family being hurt/killed."(9)

Note how the category listing "contempt/ rage at... Christianity" automatically labels those who may disagree with Hector's Christian agenda as possible SRA participants.

Another list in Hector's manual is "Possible Fears and Phobias of Satanic Ritual Abuse Survivors." Fears listed on this list include supposed fears of: "Christian symbols/ artifacts... churches..."(10) Hector apparently does not entertain the idea that such fears could easily arise from abuse suffered at the hands of religious zealots or persons of authority in the Church who have abused the victim. Other persons in authority listed by Hector include lawyers, judges, law enforcement officers, doctors, judges, teachers and therapists, thus listing all of those who are most likely to object to this nonsense. Elsewhere in this catalogue of phobias Hector lists "...receiving mail, phone calls..." indicating that she believes in the concept of "cuing" that I discussed earlier in my article on Simandl and others.

Hector indicates the source of the information used to create these inventories of supposed symptoms and phobias:

"The information available about how ritually abusive cults indoctrinate young children comes primarily from child and adult survivors who have been able to remember how the cult achieved mind control over them and others in the cult."(11)

This once again raises the question of how valid these disclosures are as evidence. If none of the stories are ever corroborated, how can one declare that these disclosures are evidence at all? Hector then quotes a list of elements of "cult indoctrination" from Singer's "Cults, Quack and Non-Professional Psychotherapists." Note how the following elements could apply equally well to the kind of therapy that those treating alleged SRA survivors engage in:

"1) Isolation of the recruit and manipulation of his environment.

"2) Control over channels of communication and information.

"3) Debilitation through inadequate diet and fatigue.

"4) Degradation or diminution of the self.

"5) Induction of uncertainty, fear, and confusion, with joy and certainty through surrender to the group as a goal.

"6) Alternation of harshness and leniency in a context of discipline.

"7) Peer pressure generating guilt and requiring open confessions.

"8) Insistence by seemingly all-powerful hosts that the recruit's survival, physical or spiritual, depends on identifying with the group.

"9) Assignment of monotonous or repetitive tasks such as chanting or copying written materials.

"10) Acts of symbolic betrayal or renunciation of self, family, and previously held values, designed to increase the psychological distance between the recruit and his previous way of life."(12)

Later Hector provides the reader with a list of "cognitive beliefs imparted by ritual abuse and mind control, seen in both adult and child survivors,"(13) created by the Ritual Abuse Task Force of the Los Angeles County Commission on Women. Keeping in mind what we have seen, you'll note once again that the therapists who buy into the SRA myth indoctrinate their "patients" in these fears in order to create the illusion of SRA survival and to set themselves up in the position of being the only alternative for the alleged survivor:

"1) There is no escape...

"2) The Cult completely controls me...

"3) I am incapable of protecting myself...

"4) The cult is my only true family...

"5) Memories are dangerous...

"6) Disclosures are dangerous..."(14)

This theme continues later, with Hector quoting Percy and Davidson's "Five-phase model for MPD Therapy." This model begins with the following two steps (emphasis mine):

"1) Diagnose and teach: educate the client as to the diagnosis.

"2) Contact and Contract: Teach the technology, explain and utilize hypnosis, meet alters, mapping of alter system..."(15)

Note the emphasis here on teaching the system to the prospective patient. Later Hector quotes a list of "Do's and Don'ts for Supporting the MPD Victim" presented by Bennett Braun and Richard Kluft at the 137th Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. On this list we find the following "do's":

  • "...Provide all personalities with information about their role in the dissociated system..."(16)
  • "...Teach the multiple a new set of social and coping skills..."(17)

Note how these points apparently emphasize the need to educate the patient in the expectations and beliefs. Note also how these compare with the following "don'ts":

  • "...Try to impose a particular theory on the multiple...
  • "...Have the multiple participate in heterogenous group therapy or family therapy with the family of origin..."(18)

Once again we see the discouragement of contact with the family, one of the very cult characteristics listed by Hector.

Hector's manual starts to get really interesting on page 26. Here we start to see her beliefs about demon possession sneaking into a detailed discussion about Multiple Personality Disorder. Hector states:

"A survivor of satanic cult abuse usually creates several alternative personalities (alters) who are forced to participate in satanic rituals. To survive they often learn to be loyal to the cult and claim they enjoy the heinous rituals. These are NOT demons. They cannot by exorcised or cast out... If people experience parts as 'demons' or 'spirits', carefully consider deliverance (exorcism). Do not argue with the system-- if they believe in demons-- utilize their belief system. Consult a specialist in deliverance ministry who understands both MPD and satanic ritual abuse [emphasis in original]."(19)

Hector reinforces this later, stating that "The family of origin of the multiple espouses rigid or false religious or mystical beliefs."(20) False by whose standards?

Later Hector discusses "Spiritual Issues of Multiple Personality Disorder."(21) Hector quotes William James:

"The refusal of modern 'enlightenment' to treat 'possession' as a hypothesis to be spoken of as even possible, in spite of the massive human tradition based on concrete evidence in its favour, has always seemed to me a curious example of the power of fashion in things scientific. That the demon-theory (not necessarily a devil-theory) will have its innings again is to mind absolutely certain. One has to be 'scientific' indeed to be blind and ignorant enough to suspect no such possibility."(22)

This is followed by a quote from Ralph Allison:

"Repeatedly, I encountered aspects of their personalities that were not true alter personalities... In many of these cases, it was difficult to dismiss these unusual and bizarre occurrences as mere delusion. In the absence of any 'logical' explanation, I have come to believe in the possibility of spirit possession."(23)

Next in Hector's manual is the section "History of Multiple Personality Disorder." This commences with the following unusual statement: "MPD diagnosis is historically flawed." This sentence stands alone, with no explanation as to what exactly Hector means by it. After a few general historical facts about MPD diagnosis, Hector primes the prospective patient to expect a lengthy treatment period, stating that "it often takes an average of 6.8 years for correct diagnosis once treatment is initiated."(24) Later Hector reinforces this, stating that "On average therapy can last 7-10 years"(25) and quoting Braun and Kluft: "...Expect a prolonged period of treatment..."(26) and "...don't ...Hasten integration or fusion."(27)

This is one of the aspects of this sort of treatment that appeals to the therapist's pocket book. They've created a captive patient to pry multiples out of for years and years.

A few paragraphs later Hector demonstrates to the reader that she is aware of the objections to this type of therapy. Hector tries to cover all the bases, stating: "A false positive diagnosis of MPD is ultimately far less damaging to the patient than a false negative one." Hector offers no evidence at all to substantiate this claim. In fact, as we have seen repeatedly in the articles of this series, the exact opposite appears to be true.

Another good example of a therapist who operated from such a fundamentalist Christian perspective was Dr Willi Gutowski. Gutowski was a psychiatrist at the Chilliwack General Hospital in British Columbia's Fraser Valley. He attended the Glad Tidings Tabernacle in Chilliwack. His name appeared repeatedly in Canadian newspaper articles, where he was billed as an expert in the treatment of "ritualistic abuse survivors." Gutowski's fundamentalist background isn't mentioned in any of these articles, and the comments that he is quoted as making do not make his beliefs obvious.

For example, in the Vancouver Sun newspaper on 16 September 1989, Gutowski, who at that time claimed to have treated five "ritual abuse survivors in the last four to five years,"(28) is quoted as follows:

  • "We, as psychiatrists, don't want to believe it at all. But the weight of evidence about hypnotic regressions convinces us that these things are actually true. And when you see the reality of the impact it has on their minds and bodies and emotions, it becomes much more believable."(29)
  • "According to Gutowski, at these [occult crime] conferences, psychiatrists are hearing that survivor's disclosures are pointing to the fact that prominent people are involved in cult activities. `They're mayors, lawyers, police, church people- upstanding citizens. These people are not from Skid Road,' he says."(30)
  • "Gutowski says evidence gathering is nearly impossible because cults `go to extreme detail in covering up the remains of people that are murdered, especially of babies. But I don't think anything is being done because of the difficulty of getting evidence'".(31)
  • "Chilliwack's Gutowski estimates that up to half of the one in 3,000 people with multiple personality disorders in Canada have been ritually abused. The other half have experienced extremely sadistic sexual, physical, mental, or emotional violence. `The typical memories (of those who have been ritually abused) are of being tied down, mutilations in the secrecy of night in graveyards, bushes and forests. Wounds are inflicted where they're not seen and they are not deep.'"(32)
  • "Consistency in the way patients retell the details of their stories while in trances, as well as cross-patient consistencies in the recounting of typical cult activities, convinces Gutowski further."(33)

Gutowski's name appears again in the Ottawa Citizen, on March 3, 1990. Gutowski is quoted as follows:

"Dr. Willi Gutowski, a psychiatrist at the Chilliwack General Hospital in British Columbia, has dealt with 20 cult survivors since 1985.

"Drugs are a frequent thing that happens, to confuse (the victims) so they don't really remember what's reality. That's a purposeful technique so (memories of the event are) actually blocked out of the conscious mind and this is where the development of the multiple personality starts.

"The cult's activities, he says, 'are so gross, that most people who aren't familiar with the field would say, 'that's not possible'. Secrecy is one of their (cult's) biggest weapons."(34)

Gutowski's hidden Christian views come out in the interviews which he did for Christian newspapers however. For example, he appeared again in an article in Christian Info News on August 12, 1990. Two years later he is now estimating that as many as "one person in 800 have been ritually abused,... and that number is constantly changing".(35) Here are some other excerpts from this article:

  • "[Gutowski believes] the church has a role in the healing process of MPD's. Gutowski, who attends Glad Tidings Tabernacle in Chilliwack, has asked a group of people to pray while he is meeting with an MPD support group. `I can actually tell when they're praying and they're not praying,' he says. The first time the group prayed simultaneously, `there was a sense of peace and joy.' The following week, when the group was not praying, `there was havoc, confusion.'"(36)
  • "For many Christians, Gutowski acknowledges, there is often confusion between demon possession and multiple personalities or other types of mental illness. `It's a broken or splintered spirit that forms the personality, and the emotions follow the split,' he explains. `Some of the personalities are demonized and some are not.'"(37)
  • "Gutowski believes God has given him a gift of discerning evil spirits. While that unorthodox psychiatric tactic has not always stood him in good stead with his peers, he says psychiatrists are becoming more receptive to the possibility of a spiritual dimension."(38)
  • "For Gutowski the spiritual battle is as obvious as the vivid scenes of demons and angels painted by novelist Frank Peretti in This Present Darkness. `There needs to be a greater awareness that there is a spiritual battle going on,' the psychiatrist says. But, he points out, `the spiritual battle is not between God and Satan.' The fight is rather between Satan and Christian believers. And this affects us all, he stresses. `There are no civilians in this. We're all warriors in this spiritual battle.'"(39)
  • "Gutowski agrees the church should be involved [in treatment]. `There aren't enough psychiatrists to go around,' he says. He adds that the `basics of spiritual warfare need very little training.' Battling the problem of ritual abuse on a spiritual level is much more effective than tackling it from a legal level, Gutowski indicates. Gathering evidence of abuse is difficult, `for the very reasons that (Satanists) do everything in secret.' And, he says, `I believe Satan assists in covering up his trail.' While he has received threats as a result of his work, `I have no fear at all,' says Gutowski. `If I'm afraid, that gives Satan a foothold in my life.'"(40)

As Fieguth points out in the above excerpt, Gutowski's "unorthodox psychiatric tactics" did not stand him in good stead with his peers. In fact, on November 14, 1990, B.C. Coroner Gerald Tilley called for an in depth inquiry into the methods used by Gutowski. Three of Gutowski's patients had committed suicide within four months in 1990

  • George Dudas, 52, of Hope, BC, committed suicide by deliberately crashing his car into a concrete abutment on Highway 1 near Yale, BC, January 12;
  • Maureen Clarysse, 38, of Chilliwack, committed suicide by hanging on March 17; and

  • Harold Watters, 25, of Chilliwack, committed suicide by taking an overdose of a friend's prescription drugs on April 18.

Tilley investigated the December 17, 1988 death of 18 year old Michelle Wolfe, another of Gutowski's patients, who died of a drug overdose. Tilley ruled it a homicide: A homicide finding by the coroner's report means that the death was caused directly or indirectly by another person, but does not attribute blame. Wolfe, who repeatedly expressed concerns to others about seeing Gutowski, died after taking an extremely high dose of prescription medicine that had been prescribed by Gutowski. Gutowski stated to Province newspaper reporter Greg Middleton that "he had `no problem' with his treatment or the amount of drugs he prescribed. `They are all within the therapeutic guidelines', he said."(41)

In the same Province newspaper is another article by Middleton, entitled "Widow Tells of Evil Spirits." Middleton quotes the widow of George Dudas:

"Theresa Dudas said yesterday her husband often thought he was possessed by demons when he was not taking medicine to control his schizophrenia.

"`But I thought it was a little strange coming from a psychiatrist,' she said."(42)

Let's look at another example: Dr Richard Flournoy and Michael Moore are a therapeutic team that treated women that they believed to be survivors of SRA in the 1980s. Moore holds master's degrees in social work and divinities. Flournoy worked for the Minirth-Meier Clinic of the Richardson Medical Center in Dallas for 6 years, going into private practice in 1985. Flournoy is reported to have told his patients that he had a "calling from God" to treat people.(43) The patients came to Flournoy and Moore complaining of eating disorders. Moore believed that such disorders were a sign that the woman had been sexually abused as a youth. In some cases he was correct. But in many other cases it appears that he was not. Even in those where he was correct, he was seldom satisfied that the stories of his patients were gruesome enough, and pushed them aggressively to revise their stories, making them increasingly more bizarre.

Moore used trance writing sessions to recover "repressed memories": Moore would hypnotize the patient to remove "blocks" that he believed the patient's parents created, then leave the patient to write or draw what had happened to her in the past. According to some ex patients, Moore "...wanted pictures of horrible, cruel abuse."(44)

One ex patient, Lynn Price, stated that "Most of us obliged him. I'd make up something to get out of there."(45) One patient who had actually been abused as a child wrote what had actually happened to her, but Moore wasn't satisfied with her account as it wasn't awful enough. She tried to please him but became frustrated and finally wrote on her pad that she was making up everything. Moore simply told her that all victims maintained that they were making it up as they didn't want to admit to themselves that it had happened.(46)

Heidi Prior, another former patient of Moore's, states: Mike kept telling me the only way I'd ever get out [of the hospital] was if I began having flashbacks and memories of the abuse... I finally figured out the only way I could get out was to fake some flashbacks and say my parents were Satanists. I was out in a week."(47)

Another patient, Debbie Nicholas, had been sexually abused by several male relatives as a child, an event that she had never forgotten. But Moore wasn't satisfied with the true story she told him. Nicholas states: "Mike insisted constantly that my father was one of the perpetrators because my dad is a Shriner, and Mike believed that anyone in the Shriners was in a cult."(48) Nicholas says that when she denied that her father was a Satanist Moore would "laugh, get sarcastic and leave."(49) When Nicholas finally left Moore's group in frustration, Moore told her that she "would never get well, that she would struggle all her life because she wouldn't admit her father abused her."(50) Nicholas states: "I never saw anyone get any better in that group. They either tried to commit suicide or ended up in the hospital."(51)

A number of patients who have now left Moore's therapy confirm this, admitting that they attempted suicide to try to get extra attention from Moore. Moore did not see this as a cry for help. He believed that Satanic cult members had programmed them to make them commit suicide when they attempted therapy.

In 1987 Moore began to hold "spiritual growth" sessions in his office on Saturday mornings, charging $15 per session. Ultimately he used these sessions to "cast out demons" and "lay hands" on women who came in complaining of sickness.

One of the prime causes of this situation appears to be lack of expertise on the part of the therapists seeking these supposedly repressed memories. As journalist Darrell Sifford so aptly puts it:

"There seems to be, based on many conversations, a correlation between minimal credentials and maximal discovery of sexual abuse. Therapists with master's degrees find more of it than therapists with doctoral degrees. Psychiatrists find less of it than anybody. What does this mean? I think it means that a little knowledge can be dangerous."(52)

One of the principal culprits in this mess seems to be the suggestive questioning techniques on the part of the therapists involved. Hypnosis is the method most popular with the therapists treating "victims" of SRA. Hypnosis is not as an effective method of retrieving memories as some therapists who use it would like you to believe. Paul Fink, head of psychiatry at Albert Einstein Medical Center and medical director of Philadelphia Psychiatric Center says that hypnosis "is not a good way... It's dangerous to believe what somebody says under hypnosis unless there is supporting evidence."(53)

(Continued... Click HERE for page II)


Kerr Cuhulain

Location: Surrey, British Columbia


Bio: Kerr Cuhulain the author of this article, is known to the mundane world as Detective Constable Charles Ennis. Ennis, a former child abuse investigator, is the author of several articles on child abuse investigation that appeared in Law & Order Magazine. Better known to the Pagan community by his Wiccan name, Kerr Cuhulain, Ennis was the first Wiccan police officer to go public about his beliefs 28 years ago. Kerr is now the Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon. Kerr went on to write four books: The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca (Horned Owl Publishing), Wiccan Warrior and Full Contact Magick: A Book of Shadows for the Wiccan Warrior. (Llewellyn Publications), as well as a book based on this series: Witch Hunts: Out of the Broom Closet (Spiral Publishing).

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