Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dr. Joy Silberg - what is her role in the Sanhedria Murchevet Satanic abuse hysteria?

updated below with review of 22 Faces - about Satanic abuse which was endorsed by Dr. Silberg

After exchanging a number of emails with Dr. Silberg, I think it is important to try and clarify her role in this hysteria.

She has written to me that she has seen zero evidence that there is any ideological abuse. That means no Christian or Satanic ring.

However, she has up until now refused to issue a public statement saying that point. She did respond to my request for a public statement with a statement for publication. However it did not include this critical observation of hers (despite my request to say so) but it also omitted saying that one should go to the police if you suspect your child has been abused. This omission is very problematic. Aside from the fact that only the police have the resources for a proper investigation and only the police have the legal ability to arrest and give a suspect over to be tried - it implies that she does not trust the police? Why?

 Is this related to the bizarre rumor by those claiming that there is Satanic abuse - that the police are complicit and are actively concealing the evidence for abuse? In fact there is no evidence for a cover up - but this rumor seems to have persuaded parents not to go the police - but instead to go to certain therapists who believe and promote the theory that there is a Satanic abuse ring.

It is important to note that she has trained and endorsed the two therapists who have been major figures promoting the claims that there is a Satanic ring operating in Sanhedria Murchevet and also benefiting from having the alleged victims referred to them.. Neither of them is a psychologist and one of them is a speech therapist! Why?

In short, she has not disavowed the Satanic ring theory. She trained and apparently still endorses the main therapists who have been getting referrals based on the Satanic abuse theory. She is not advising parents to go to the police  or to involve them in the investigation of these abuse cases - according to her public statement.  

Her public statement was an embarrassing collection of statements which basically called for collection of data and withholding judgment until the data has been analyzed. But who is collecting this data? And who is analyzing it? We are talking about allegations of satanic abuse for over two years. Rabbi Berkowitz has already publicly stated it is Satanic abuse. Where did he get his conclusion from? It apparently was not from his own investigation - since he has no training in either police work or abuse. Which professionals did he rely on and trust that told him it was a Satanic cult? Was it from the two that Dr. Silberg trained and still endorses?

The fact that Dr. Silberg after several years is still calling for withholding judgment obviously means that she is in fact open to the fact that there could be a Satanic cult! This despite that she has stated she has seen no evidence of it after two years and the police after extensive investigation say they have found no evidence?!

What is she waiting for? How many years is this hysteria going to continue until conclusions are drawn to either support or reject the existence of a Satanic abuse ring? Why is she claiming scientific neutrality on the one hand when she is apparently deeply involved in the  support of those who are the main proponents and beneficiaries of the claims that there is a Satanic abuse ring?

I am calling on her to categorically state three things without any qualifiers

  • 1) She does not support the claims of Satanic abuse and has not seen any evidence for it.
  • 2) She supports the Jerusalem police in their investigation of the matter and tells people to report all cases and suspicions to them
  • 3) She is not endorsing and referring people to the two therapists she trained and are the major proponents of the Satanic abuse ring
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Update: It is helpful to be aware of a book - 22 Faces - which Dr. Silberg has endorsed. This book has received searing reviews - SEE   Where the witch hunters are and
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 When therapists are lunatics
The book also contains an endorsement from one Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D., Past President of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) which, if anything, says something negative about the ISSTD more than it tells us anything substantive about Byington’s book. Silberg claims that she and her peers “are all too familiar with the kinds of crimes and disorders described in 22 Faces.” Indeed, this year the ISSTD is hosting a conference which will feature a lecture on the topic of Ritual Abuse given by one Ellen Lacter, whose website offers helpful (if hardly coherent) tips such as “Pray a perimeter of protection against everything of witchcraft”, and discredited British therapist Valerie Sinason.
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Twenty-Two Faces by Judy Byington falls within an outdated genre of prurient Satanic Panic supernatural-erotica-sold-as-a-true-story pulp novels which enjoyed a certain popularity throughout the 80s and 90s. It tells the story of one Jenny Hill, a former prostitute and drug abuser who, upon submitting herself to psychiatric attention, learned that she had Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) (now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder [DID]). Surely, this diagnosis must have come as quite a relief, as it promised that Hill herself need not bear any of the responsibility for her own actions, which the book describes as, at times, being outright psychopathic. The book makes quite clear that every foul thing Hill ever did — from slashing her sister with a razor blade out of mere curiosity of the consequences, to allowing herself to be pimped by a husband she met whilst working with sex offenders (he was one) — was actually the mischievous doings of personalities that resided within her, and without her own conscious awareness. Unfortunately, this ultimate absolution came at a predictable cost: in accepting the MPD/DID diagnosis, Hill would also have to necessarily accept that she was harboring “repressed memories” of traumas which she would need to recall in the course of reintegrating her fractured mind. Fortunately for Hill, however, nobody required of her that the heartbreaking story of traumatic abuse that she would “recall” need make any sense, and the fact that it doesn’t seems to have completely escaped her biographer, Judy Byington. 

Invoking the specter of sinister, underground secret societies dedicated anti-human Evil (as well a the comparatively petty-minded abuse of Ms. Hill) Twenty-Two Faces pays homage to debunked Satanic Panic literature of years past, even placing the book Satan’s Underground by Lauren Stratford in the bibliography, despite the fact that this book was so thoroughly discredited as to be withdrawn from publication, with the author changing her name and running off, abandoning her claim to Satanic cult abuse to instead pose as a childhood victim of the Holocaust. [...]
And here we have a real problem: therapists hiding their most unhinged paranoid fantasies under a veneer of scientific credibility derived from case studies and surveys applied to those whom they’ve previously infected with their conspiracist ideas. Never mind that Past Life Regression and Alien Abduction narratives, too, are derived from “recovered memories”; to question the bizarre claims put forward by Byington or the perpetually panicked ISSTD faithful is to invite criticisms that you, in fact, have an “agenda”. To doubt the truth of recovered memory narratives is to support child abuse.
This tactic of argumentation is truly offensive, as it hijacks children’s rights and attempts to create human shields of real victims as protection against criticisms directed at patently absurd claims. In the proper context, Twenty-Two Faces is a helpful book, as it illustrates this problem clearly for those who may doubt the magnitude to which conspiracists have over-run the study of Dissociative Disorders. Byington does not simply misappropriate the condition of multiple personalities as a plot device for her ridiculous book, she shows the condition for what it largely (if not entirely) is: a collaborative therapeutically-created delusion. In trying to expose a Satanic conspiracy, Byington unwittingly exposes a foul movement that exploits vulnerable mental health consumers. Let’s hope the licensing boards and professional associations eventually move to erase such embarrassments from practice.
[to be continued]

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