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  1. John, I’m a bit surprised by your attitude regarding those who claim to have been a victim of ritual abuse. I think I heard you say one time that Spotlight is one of your favorite movies. What if Spotlight had dismissed the claims of the Catholic Priest victims? Dr Frankfurter seems to be saying, if I’m understanding correctly, that the claims are just too aweful and far fetched for him to believe, too pornographic, it involves canabalism, or whatever. Look at Warren Jeffs. I’m sure he’s not the only person to do strange sexual rituals on little girls. When you say that people come to you with Mormon claims of sexual ritual abuse, they all are alike. You seem to be dismissing them because they all sound the same. Perhaps you should consider the possibility that they could be true because they are so similar. Is that too far fetched? I don’t know if these things are true, but I’ve gotten to the point, that I can believe that terrible things happen to people in religious contexts, and that leaders can look great on the outside, but be very evil behind closed doors. Please do a follow up episode, with a little compassion shown toward those who make these claims. I’d hate for them to see your comments as a rejection and then they go back into their silence.

  2. I respect John for his wiliness to tackle a very polarizing subject. If you think navigating a mixed faith relationship is difficult, this is much harder. From a distance, John seems to have an ability to see both sides of a mixed faith relationship and provides needed help and understanding for both, respecting individuality and humanity.

    Sexual abuse is devastating and is much harder to navigate because it really happens more than we think, and there are times it doesn’t happen with many cases of recovered memories. Both are true and happen. Depending on a victim’s personal experience, they don’t know and feel the abuse is real regardless. And if outsiders don’t trust their recovered memories, the outsiders are not only dismissed from the conversation, but are often branded as abusers themselves, I know, I’m one of those. But I believe and empathize and want to help victims of real abuse.

    I see John stepping onto a tightrope, trying to walk a very wobbly, professionally and personally perilous line, across a deep emotional chasm. I applaud his efforts. This is not easy. But if he can bring his sensibilities and experience of helping mixed faith relationships to this devastating issue of understanding real sexual abuse from recovered memories, then I have hope. His help is really needed especially in the Mormon communities. As an example, I was concerned to hear that a professor in Logan has advocated recovering memories in recent times.

    We need John’s help to start the conversation. It will be polarizing.

  3. I had no idea what to expect from this series…it’s so much more interesting than I would have ever imagined. It’s so nice to distinguish between conspiracy and problematic psychology practices and actually addressing real abuse.

    In the second half of this interview, there was discussion about a dramatic rise of real abuse during the second half of the 20th century, I’m curious if John has any insight why this rise occurred. Is it somehow related to the sexual revolution which may have opened things up and resulted in some people falling into/getting involved with some really nasty stuff? Not sure what I exactly mean by this, but I wonder if a sense that “anything goes” made some people feel like they had permission to explore increasingly damaging behavior. Or, maybe these current rates of abuse are the same as always but that they’re just reported better now.

  4. Thought for you, John:

    If a predator knows how to abuse a child in a manner that ensures the child won’t remember the abuse, does that mean the abuse didn’t happen?

    1. Post
      Author

      If a child is abused, the child is abused. It’s worse than horrific.

      And if and when anyone knows about that abuse, and if and when the victim feels safe and decides to press charges, the perpetrators should be charged and prosecuted. And the victims should get the support they need to heal.

      The fact that so many children and adults feel unsafe to charge and prosecute rapists is a huge problem that we need to address as a society of course. It’s sickening that 99% of rape cases go uncharged and unprosecuted.

      My point here isn’t to say in any instance when abuse did or didn’t happen. Nor is it to protect any perpetrator. Anyone who follows me knows that I do what I can to stand strongly against abuse. See the disclaimers in the post. I hate abuse, and have covered and condemned abuse repeatedly on this podcast and elsewhere.

      But if and when a therapist (Barbara Snow) or Guru (Teal Swan) implants or helps to generate in the minds of their clients fabricated or false memories of infant or early child abuse that didn’t happen, then no. That fabricated abuse did not happen.

      Abuse is awful and real. Recovered memory is bad. Both can be true.

      And it is also harmful to the clients to engage in Recovery Memory techniques, which have no scientific backing, are roundly condemned by the mental health community, and considered deeply unethical for therapists to us.

      That is what this series is about.

      1. Another thought:

        How can a victim who doesn’t immediately remember abuse report it on time for evidence to be gathered?

        1. Post
          Author

          The scientific literature says that it’s quite rare for victims to have absolutely no memory of abuse, and then to remember it years or decades later. Do you acknowledge that?

          Also, Recovered Memory has been summarily condemned as an unethical and harmful practice.

          Do you value the consensus of the mental health community?

          All of this said, I do not consider it my business to ever question an individual’s report of abuse.

          What I am comfortable doing is condemning harmful practices or unethical providers, based on scientific or professional consensus.

  5. What research are you referring to, specifically, when you say, “The scientific literature says it’s quite rare for victims to have no memory of abuse, and then to remember it years or decades later” ?

    Could you please provide some links to the abstracts of the studies you’re thinking about when you make that statement?

    Based on the research you’re familiar with, could you say a few words about how scientists have determined that it is rare?

    Have you searched for studies that make a counter claim? What do their abstracts say?

    1. From the American Psychological Association:

      “ First, it’s important to state that there is a consensus among memory researchers and clinicians that most people who were sexually abused as children remember all or part of what happened to them although they may not fully understand or disclose it. Concerning the issue of a recovered versus a pseudomemory, like many questions in science, the final answer is yet to be known. But most leaders in the field agree that although it is a rare occurrence, a memory of early childhood abuse that has been forgotten can be remembered later. However, these leaders also agree that it is possible to construct convincing pseudomemories for events that never occurred.”

      “ A competent psychotherapist will attempt to stick to the facts as you report them. He or she will be careful to let the information evolve as your memory does and not to steer you toward a particular conclusion or interpretation.

      A competent psychotherapist is likely to acknowledge that current knowledge does not allow the definite conclusion that a memory is real or false without other corroborating evidence.”

      https://www.apa.org/topics/trauma/memories

  6. This series is absolutely fascinating. I thought you might find this interesting: https://youtu.be/ZDFkP-wJNq8
    It’s a video posted on May 12, 2020 by Dr. Neil T. Anderson (on the channel “Freedom in Christ”), who claims that Santanic ritual abuse is real and that he can spot it. Anderson seems like a textbook case of the phony therapists described by Dr. Frankfurter. Crazy. I look forward to the rest of your episodes on this topic.

    1. I just looked at the youtube posting of Dr. Neil T. Anderson on the “Freedom in Christ” channel. This melding of Christian theology with physiotherapy is difficult to parse out what is healthy. Obvious question is what if you are not Christian?

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