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[This excerpt is from Survivor Psychology: The Dark Side of a Mental Health Mission by Susan Smith, pp. 134-138. Upton Books and SIRS Mandarin, Boca Raton, FL. Copyright (c) 1995. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Read our review or order it from]

Constructing Evidence Using the Survivor Logic Formula

One of latest additions to the genre of books written by therapists who help clients dig up pornographic, criminal and sadistic "memories" through hypnosis is Gail Feldman's Lessons in Evil, Lessons From the Light: A True Story of Satanic Abuse and Spiritual Healing. Like the rest of the most famous case studies, Feldman's client "Barbara" khew nothing about her decade of "satanic ritual abuse" or that her mother, grandmother, grandfather and extended family members sustained intergenerational involvement with satanic cults (Game: No Motive). They were strict fundamentalist Christians by day and depraved blood cult members by night (Principle 2-The opposing argument or evidence becomes the proof).

Barbara has been in therapy before but has been unable to get better. Feldman describes her as "impeccably dressed, well-educated, employed and accomplished." Yet she hates sex, cannot socialize, despises her body, cannot shop or spend money, and is irrationally angry at her seven-yearo-ld daughter. In addition, Barbara is suicidal, has horrible nightmares, claims no self-esteem and has fantasies about cutting herself open and "pulling her insides out." In spite of all these adjustment problems, compulsive thoughts and affective disorders, Feldman claims Barbara is "the most stable person I have ever known." The description of Barbara's emotional adjustment and the illogical conclusion that this woman is stable and therefore not suffering from other delusions or personality problems is based on Principle 2-the opposing argument or evidence becomes the proof.

Feldman reports that Barbara came to her because Barbara had heard she uses hypnosis. They begin hypnotic regressions almost immediately, with Dr. Feldman discovering that Barbara is a good subject, and according to the eye roll test, is highly hypnotizable (Principle 2-instead of exercising caution because of the client's suggestibility, this is presented enthusiastically as a good sign to go ahead).

The eye roll test is considered a fairly stable predictor of hypnotizability, with only around 10 percent of the population highly hypnotizable and able to roll the eyes back while still open and reveal white sclera completely as Barbara can do. Although the majority of highly hypnotizable people are psychologically normal, hypnotizability can be associated with certain symptomatology that includes "a tendency to compulsively comply with others, a nonrational inner sense of inferiority, and a variety of spontaneous dissociative and conversion symptoms." When Feldman puts Barbara in a trance, she immediately begins recalling murders, beginning with the killing of her pet cat, after which Barbara is forced to drink the blood and eat part of the heart. Barbara becomes worse and worse, and the memories become increasingly bizarre. None of these signs cause the doctor to exercise caution.

Feldman reports her increasingly tense relationship with her husband as a result of her work with Barbara (Game: This Hurts Me as Much as It Hurts You). Mr. Feldman is skeptical and becomes angry that his wife must tell him the gory details of Barbara's sessions. He questions Barbara's sanity and wonders why these survivors seem to find his wife so regularly. This angers Dr. Feldman, who blows up at her husband and blames the history of male dominance and sexual abuse on male insensitivity. If not for women infiltrating the mental health profession, she claims women would be subjected to 75 more years of non-belief (Game:
The Oppressor and the Oppressed).

Dr. Feldman spends many pages trying to convince the reader that she was unprepared for Barbara's case (Games:
This Hurts Me as Much as It Hurts You, and I Know This Is Hard to Believe). In fact, Feldman's "education" in satanic ritual abuse begins formally when Barbara gives her a copy of Michelle Remembers, the 1980 forerunner of the popular crypto-pedophilic genre of SRA books currently polluting the pop psychology market (Game: I Know This Is Hard to Believe-I Used to Be a Skeptic Too!).

Feldman's book follows the factoid manifesto formula to the letter: contrived skepticism; increasing conversion to a belief in both evil and Christianity; the use of other survivors manifestoes as proof; and the construction of evidence via audio tapes and other documentation that only shows that accusations have been made.

The foreword to Feldman's book is written by Carl Raschke, a professor of religious studies at the University of Denver. Raschke gives his opinions and justifications for why the account given by Feldman and her client should be considered true, and why other accounts should be considered true if they follow a consistent pattern.

1. The complete lack of evidence for Barbara's accounts and other such accountings is actually proof because it is consistent with cult programming, which ensures that survivors will not be able to produce evidence (Principle 2--the opposing argument or evidence becomes the proof).

2. Raschke claims that the painstaking clinical process by which Feldman documents her client's sessions are not only proof that she did not lead her client, it is also proof of a broader variety (Game: The Experts Know Best). Feldman's documentation of Barbara's memories makes it possible that "the reader can easily see that the fashionable accusation that survivors are simply telling tales in order to 'please the therapist' has no grounding." First of all, the oversimplified notion that the only criticism of bad therapy is that eager-to-please clients tell tales, addresses the least likely scenario of all. The dynamics of influence, suggestibility, psychological and physiological disorders are far more complicated than that. How one therapist's clinical process with one client generalizes to negate all the current criticisms of exploitive therapeutic techniques based on what is known about suggesfion, interpersonal cuing, social psychology and the dynamics of influence, is incomprehensible logic. If the process as written in Feldman's book is an accurate accounting of her sessions with Barbara, Feldman has documented the contamination process quite adequately. There is certainly no evidence of a painstaking clinical process, which would involve much more than audio taping a client under hypnosis and keeping case notes.

3. The patient is skeptical of her own memories. The con job to sell clients on repressed memories always includes a section on disbelief and denial. (Game: I Know This Is Hard to Believe). Yet, according to Raschke this is not a trait usually found among dissociative patients who would simply be confabulating. If skepticism is not characteristic of true survivors, then every single survivor book on the market is wrong about its criteria for judging the veracity of repressed rnemories. Fredrickson says: "Crippling disbelief is the hallmark of repressed memories." Bass and Davis claim: "Believing doesn't usually happen all at once--it's a gradual awakening." Lauren Stratford, author of Satan's Underground, says: "The way I was raised was so ugly and traumatic that for many years of my adult life the memories haunted me day and night, I refused to accept them as reality, let alone reveal them to anyone else." James Friesen, satanic ritual abuse counselor, claims: "It takes time for most people to trust a therapist enough to open up about deep issues. Considering how many people have failed the client, we can understand that it can take a lot of time for him or her to trust enough to accept this particular diagnosis."

4. Feldman is a "highly respected" hypnotherapist, therefore she understands the "potentialities" of "her art" which should "leave far less doubt in the readers mind" (Game: The Expert Knows Best).

5. The survivor recalls "real places" that are "identifiable." This is a good one. Totally meaningless in terms of what is true or untrue.

6. The survivor's memories are consistent with what "is known from other sources about the occult." This is not proof. In fact, if anything it implies contamination (Principle 2-the opposing argument or evidence becomes the proof).

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