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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.
Revised, updated, and expanded, this third edition of a classic study is one of the most authoritative and evenhanded volumes to tackle its hotly debated subject matter. Incorporating the authors' firsthand observations, the book provides historical, anthropological, and psychological context for contemporary reports of both ritual abuse and ritual crime.
In addition to sharing patient vignettes and a history of cult and ritual abuse in society, the authors explore fascinating topics related to these practices, among them what triggers personality shifts for victims even many years after the abuse has stopped. Importantly, the book shows how ritual abuse affects society as a whole, influencing civil and criminal law, politics, legislation, social movements, social welfare, and psychological theory. It provides unique insights into the scientific study, forensic investigation, and implementation of social services for survivors of cult and ritual abuse, discusses new research and treatment strategies, and establishes the foundation for a psychological diagnosis to be called Cult and Ritual Trauma Disorder.
- 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
- Author Info
"This text was originally published in 1995, and revised in 2000. The third edition incorporates fresh material and expanded coverage of the psychological components of ritual trauma and dissociation of identity, as well as explanations for the clinical narratives and clinical presentation of ritual abuse survivors. The authors advocate for increased awareness, acknowledgment, understanding, and treatment competence on the part of clinicians and others."
"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."
- Look Inside