This personal yet scholarly journey into the confusing and clandestine world of ritual abuse survivors sheds light on their catastrophic experiences and their efforts to heal afterward.
• Features recalled histories of ritual abuse and vignettes of patients who have experienced dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder)
• Discusses techniques used to create and manipulate altered states of consciousness
• Explores how media sensationalizes and inaccurately depicts ritual abuse
• Critiques the argument that ritual abuse stories are the result of false memories and advances the idea that reports of ritual abuse are understated
• Expresses the position that clinicians have an ethical duty to achieve competence in recognizing and treating the psychological effects of ritual abuse
• Concludes that clinicians, lawmakers, law enforcement, social services personnel, journalists, and others need to treat allegations of ritual abuse seriously and evaluate each report on its own merits
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About the Author
James Randall Noblitt, PhD, is professor of clinical psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in Los Angeles, CA.
Pamela Perskin Noblitt is a non-attorney representative advocating on behalf of Social Security Disability claimants.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgments vii
Chapter 1 The Church in Thetford Forest 1
Chapter 2 On the Borderline 5
Chapter 3 Entering Uncharted Territory 13
Chapter 4 Multiple Personalities 20
Chapter 5 Possession, Ritual Abuse, and Dissociation 38
Chapter 6 Empirical and Forensic Evidence of Ritual Abuse 52
Chapter 7 Breaking the Code 79
Chapter 8 The African Connection 93
Chapter 9 Other Cultures 107
Chapter 10 1990: The Year of the Awakening 119
Chapter 11 Investigating Western Occultism 126
Chapter 12 An Introduction to Wicca 144
Chapter 13 Satanism? 152
Chapter 14 Nihilists and Revisionists 163
Chapter 15 The Politics of Psychotherapy 180
Chapter 16 The Media 189
Chapter 17 Will "the System" Protect Them? 200
Chapter 18 Cult and Ritual Trauma Disorder 223
Chapter 19 Where Do We Go from Here? 234
Appendix A Cult and Ritual Trauma Disorder: A Proposed Diagnosis in DSM Format 239
Appendix B Letter from the FBI, January 18, 1993 243
Name Index 327
Subject Index 335
About the Authors 339
What People are Saying About This
"Pam and Randy were generous and helpful to me some years ago when I was working with a survivor of cult and Satanic abuse in South Africa. This book would have been incredibly helpful at the time. As I read this book I was struck by Randy's humility and honesty about himself as well as the sharing of his feelings and experiences. Many of his experiences about his early work and ‘not knowing' what was happening with patients who had suffered these abuses and his struggles to research and document his findings are to be admired. The disbelief and at times condemnation of other therapists, and especially government organizations, that he endured was similar to my experience. I believe that the denial about the validity of the existence of ritual abuse is one of the reasons it continues. The fact that this book is easy to read, believable, and informative will perhaps help people to recognize that these evils are present in society all over the world. This will then hopefully contribute to a reduction in the incidence of these crimes."
"This is a book to make you think about what you believe and why you believe it. It made me reflect on stories my clients have related and my own skepticism. As a therapist, it is not my job to determine the reality of my clients' memories, but to help them come to terms with them in order to live functional happy lives. The more I understand about what they may have actually experienced, the easier it is to remain neutral, rather than disbelieving.
The cases presented are powerful and compelling. The factual accounts of cult and ritual abuse are informative. The authors are respectful to nontraditional religion and carefully distinguish ritual from abuse.
The wish not to believe is familiar, much as it would be comfortable not to believe in the facts of slavery or Nazi persecution. This book is about the power to tell the truth and to be set free in the telling, as much as it is about helping the individuals who have survived.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning the facts about cult and ritual abuse and helping the people who have suffered from it."