“Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs”
– The 5th Tenet of The Satanic Temple.
Let’s talk about superstition and mental healthcare.
WithImagine for a moment: meetings of professional psychiatrists and therapists who are highly religious and highly paranoid, who cannot help but to blame everything negative in their lives on a scapegoat such as Satan or The Devil, in accordance with their personal religious beliefs. Now imagine that those individuals are talking to your children or loved ones, in their seemingly safe therapy sessions, about satanic ritual abuse and mind control, expecting to be taken seriously.
Doesn’t that sound utterly ridiculous? And so, wouldn’t you find it very unsettling to discover that a highly respected organization called International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) actually has a special interest group called “Ritual Abuse Mind Control Organized Abuse” and that this organization of licensed professionals (quoted at several thousand members worldwide), has been the subject of much controversy, protesting and activism?
I am by no means trying to discredit the American Psychiatric Association, or the mental health field itself, but the APA does has some extremely serious oversight problems. I believe that our society in general just does not take mental health care as seriously as it should. The quality of the care that someone receives can vary just as much as the credibility of the practitioners providing that care. For such a delicate and important field of medicine, how can there be such a low and unregulated standard for it?
This is a topic you can research very easily and I won’t get into every example, but I’ll discuss one problem: Pseudoscience, Satanic Panic and superstition. Please keep in mind that I am not suggesting that anyone should stop trusting their therapists or start shoving healing crystals into their body’s orifices as an alternative to professional psychiatric care. I am only suggesting that we promote transparency, regulation, and a higher and completely scientific standard for both the American Psychiatric Association and the entire industry as a whole.
I very strongly believe that, along with any other field of medicine, the mental health field should be scrutinized constantly and held to the highest possible standards. Part of my concern is that there is lack of awareness in where this industry should improve. Many people don’t realize that The Satanic Panic is still an ongoing problem which has real-world consequences in various fields of medical care. Religion and medicine should not mix.
When pseudoscience in mental health gets more serious
I didn’t realize, until about a year ago, just how many licensed professionals in the mental health fields are actually full of shit and push a superstitious agenda. I didn’t know, until I learned about Grey Faction’s own research into the topics, that the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is not actually a reliable resource and carries within it some outdated information which is used in very unethical ways by some acclaimed professionals to exploit their patients and further the professional’s own personal agendas. I won’t be discussing individual cases of this, but if you are curious (and you should be), please visit Grey Faction online to read more beyond what I will be summarizing.
Please view this most recent lecture on the topic of Mental Health Malpractice by The Satanic Temple.
What Grey Faction has been researching and discovering is that there is a shameful amount of malpractice and pseudoscience tainting the entire mental health industry inspired entirely by professionals mixing their own superstitious and religious paranoia into their practices and organizations. What we saw of the Satanic Panic in the 1980’s and 1990’s, which led to completely unjustified victimization of women, children, nonconformists and anyone who listened to the wrong music, has continued in subtle and dangerous ways. It has continued in the very fields that are supposed to be safe, accountable and scientifically sound. This irresponsible care has resulted in everything from gross, co-dependent, abusive relationships between a therapist and patient, to induced trauma and resulting deaths.
Just one example of these consequences is the story of an autistic eight year old child named Jude Mirra, who was murdered by his mother, Gigi Jordan, in 2010. There is plenty of reason to consider that some of the blame for this child’s death should have been placed on the therapist that Jordan sought out, named Ellen Lacter, who is only one example of these licensed professionals in the fringe community of delusional and dangerous therapists.
What is the International Society For The Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD)?
The ISSTD has a history of “using therapy to promote debunked and discredited notions of international conspiracy,” as well as, “propagating conspiracy theories of organized Satanic abuse in therapy. As described by Grey Faction’s director Sarah Ponto Rivera, “The ISSTD’s propagation of pseudoscience and anti-satanist conspiracy theories are being touted as professional content for which mental health professionals can receive Continuing Education Units”
According to Grey Faction, “Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) has come to refer to an alleged network of Satanists inflicting harm as part of a system of rites. In accordance with all mainstream scholarship on the Satanic Panic and the outcomes of criminal investigations into the allegations regarding a Satanic cult conspiracy, Grey Faction holds the uncontroversial position that no such networks exist.”
One major problem with the ISSTD (and the political clout that they have with the American Psychiatric Association) is their misuse for certain medical diagnoses which have also been the subject of controversies, including the diagnosis of Multiple Personality Disorder which has been re-branded and is now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder. There is enough evidence that DID is therapy-induced, and is a type of trauma created by malpractice in the therapeutic setting, to discredit the current definitions and widespread diagnoses of DID. Once you add in that the fear mongers who have these “Ritual Abuse and Mind Control,” meetings are the ones who are doing the re-branding and pushing of DID, (please see this lecture by Grey Faction describing this topic), you’ve got a really horrifying situation with serious neglect in oversight from the American Psychiatric Association, and entire groups of professionals who get away with harmful malpractice centered around pseudoscience and superstition.
What is Grey Faction doing about it?
The reason I wanted to write this blog post and talk about Grey Faction is because they are working hard to shine light on these hard-to-grasp issues and they are also taking concrete action, such as filing formal complaints and inquiries. In 2018, Grey Faction protested the ISSTD at their annual conference. This action brought awareness in an artful and confrontational way to the harmful pseudoscience of “Recovered Memory Therapy, Dissociative Identity Disorder, and the hazards of an insular therapeutic community self-policing against harmful practices against their own economic interests.”
For more information about Grey Faction’s research, actions and specific instances of harmful mental health malpractice, please visit their website.
If you care about the risks of theocracy, you should also care about ongoing Satanic Panic.
I am very uncomfortable with the idea of evangelicals and etc doubling as politicians and doing their very best to usher in some theocratic system that maintains their religious authority in the United States. I am also very uncomfortable with the idea that the moral panic about Witchcraft, Satanism and ridiculous supernatural paranoia has continued to inspire and normalize fake threats in the mental health field. This pseudoscience will only serve to further promote a theistic, authoritarian control of society based on moral panic and will prevent our scientific progress toward better mental health care.
I am personally well versed in the client/customer side of the mental health industry. I’ve talked to a lot of fucking therapists or psychiatrists and have seen a wide range of credibility. Throughout my life I’ve been labeled many things and over a few decades and doing my own research I’ve determined which psychiatrists and therapists from my personal experiences were or were not full of shit. I consider every potential diagnosis, assumption or possibility with a very critical eye. It would be against my religion not to (please see the 5th tenet written above). This includes making every effort to understand a diagnosis and to get second opinions, etc. This includes keeping myself in check and considering that I am not a professional. Sometimes, though, they aren’t either, and that’s the troubling thing.
Apparently, none of this is news… so why am I just now learning about it, now? Are you?