Selected Bibliography On Child Abuse & MPD

Moderators: DrVolin, 82_28, Elvis, Jeff

Selected Bibliography On Child Abuse & MPD

Postby American Dream » Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:39 pm

Selected Bibliography On Child Abuse & Multiple Personality

Compiled by
Henry Lawton


I have been a social worker for the NJ Division of Youth & Family Services for the past 27 years. My job is to work with emotionally disturbed adolescents & their families to see if I can prevent the child going to an out of home placement. I deal with every sort of emotional pathology you can think of, & maybe a few that you cannot even imagine. Over the years I have dealt with many survivors of traumatic physical &/or sexual child abuse. The sequelae of such treatment can involve such pathologies as major depression, substance abuse, suicidal behavior, delinquent acting-out, post traumatic stress disorder & multiple personality or dissociative identity disorder (DID) as it is now called, often in bewildering combination. Because of my work & my psychohistorical interests I have read a lot over the years on child abuse, & when I met my first multiple a few years ago I did a lot more reading in that area as well. While reading can help you understand & give you some amount of edge in attempting to help, I am not sure that there is anything that can quite prepare you for the first time you actually meet a multiple. For me it was unexpected & quite extraordinary....

One of the major issues that many people have in coming to grips with this material is the problem of disbelief. Extreme cases, especially, can be almost beyond imagination to consider, it can be very hard to believe that human beings, no matter how rotten they might be, would perpetrate such horror on young children. This is one reason why the work of Lloyd de Mause on the history of childhood evokes such outrage in many quarters. He has, for years, been telling us things we do not want to know. With the advent of such entities as the False Memory Syndrome Foundation this problem has become increasingly serious. So let me be out front about where I stand. Child abuse is real, extreme traumatic child abuse is real, more so than any normal person wants to know or would like to admit. Sexual abuse is real, again more than we may want to know. Physical & sexual abuse inevitably inflicts varying degrees of physical pain & actual injury upon children. But the greater damage, it seems to me, is emotional. Virtually all abuse is perpetrated by adults, usually family members but also strangers. In our world adults have power over children, with that power, it seems to me, comes a responsibility to protect & nurture all children, to respect them, & not to betray their trust. Abusers routinely violate all this. Sometimes they will say that the child really wanted the sexual encounter. Even if that were so, it is not the point, we as adults still have a responsibility to the child that is betrayed if we give in to such urges. Blaming the child (victim) is a fallacious attempt to rationalize our own betrayal toward & of the child. Generally abusers are not monster psychopaths; they are sick, tragically ill human beings in desperate need of decent help, all too often not readily available. The emotional effects of abuse, especially traumatic abuse, are, for the child, often profound and long lasting even with good therapy, assuming it is available. Among other things, children repress, split, & dissociate to cope with and defend against their emotional pain becoming too overwhelming. Those that claim otherwise are deluding themselves & society in service of their own agendas. Of course, false memories exist, but it would be mistaken to assume they are as prevalent as the naysayers’ claim. I have found it best & most humane to believe the child unless or until convincing evidence to the contrary comes to light. If we begin with indulgence in denial, we fail ourselves & more importantly we fail our children, who, after all, are our future.....

As you may know the literature in this area is immense, so a full survey would be impossible. Thus, of necessity, what I offer for your consideration must be selective. I cite many more books than articles to provide a volume of information. But hopefully, you will find that I have at least hit the high points & given you good material on the salient issues as well as enhancing your knowledge and awareness. My selection process was random, influenced only by my estimation of whether the source was substantive in some way about the topic. Many of these sources are readily available in bookstores or libraries, but some may be fairly esoteric & obscure. Material is also included from the Journal of Psychohistory, but only for the past few years. Citing all relevant material from the Journal would have dramatically increased my length. Also included is material from the Internet. In today’s world this has become an essential adjunct to the library. The range of Internet materials on abuse & multiplicity is also immense, so I can only hope to include a few selections. I have attempted to organize the material by sub-topic, with introductory comments. Each source will be fully cited & many will have annotations of varying length. This document will probably be rather long but there are many, often complex, issues involved. But hopefully, what I offer for your consideration here will aid those of you interested in the topic, for whatever reason, to explore further effectively.....



Freud & the Problem of Trauma

The problem of child abuse begins with Freud’s Seduction Theory. In his time, the most prevalent form of neurosis was hysteria. Freud found that hysteria seemed to stem from the trauma of sexual seduction of the patient during childhood by an adult, often a family member. He was seeking a great single cause that would explain everything, and in the famous letter to his friend Fliess came to the realization that this would not do & renounced (NOT ABANDONED) his seduction theory. His doing so helped pave the way for the discovery of the Oedipus complex, infantile sexuality, &, most importantly, the idea that emotional problems were due to reasons much more complex than just trauma. In point of fact, Freud never denied that children were not sexually abused. His focus became more on the complex emotional processes that cause, not only abuse, but also all emotional disorders. The effort to comprehend continues till this day.

Unfortunately, trauma & its importance seemed to get lost in the shuffle. It has only been within the last 30 years or so that the importance of trauma & child abuse has begun to be more fully recognized.

Freud, Sigmund, “Heredity & the Aetiology of the Neuroses (1896),” Standard Edition, vol. 3, pp. 141-56

______________, “Further Remarks on the Neuro-Psychoses of Defense (1896),” Standard Edition, vol. 3, pp. 162-85.

______________, “The Aetiology of Hysteria (1896),” Standard Edition, vol. 3, pp. 191-221.

My analyst correctly notes that if you want to understand Freud’s ideas it is best to go to the original source first. These three papers constitute the basic expression of the Seduction Theory. As such they are of key importance.

The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess, 1887-1904, translated & edited by Jeffery Moussaieff Masson. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985. xviii, 505pp.

The letter renouncing the Seduction Theory is dated September 21, 1897 (pp. 264-67)

Garcia, Emanuel E., “Freud’s Seduction Theory,” Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, vol. 42 (1987), pp. 443-68

One of many overviews that one can readily find in the literature.

The legacy of Freud’s move away from consideration of trauma & its proper place in the explanation of emotional problems was that the subject seemed to have been largely neglected for many years. At least one early analyst, who wrote about abuse, went so far as to blame the victim.

Abraham, Karl, “The Experiencing of Sexual Traumas as a Form of Sexual Activity (1907),” pp. 47-63 in Selected Papers of Karl Abraham, trans. Douglas Bryan & Alix Strachey. London: Hograth Press, 1965.

Consider this: - “in a great number of cases the trauma was desired by the child unconsciously”(p. 48). He goes on, “it is a remarkable thing that a child who has experienced a sexual trauma should keep it secret from its parents in spite of the emotion associated with it ... The reason is clear: the child had yielded to the attraction of doing something forbidden, and it now has the feeling that the accident is its own fault.” (pp. 51, 52). Now think about this, do we not have a basic statement of the rationale for blaming the victim here?

Ferenczi, Sandor, “Confusion of Tongues Between the Adult & the Child: The Language of Tenderness & Passion (1933),” pp. 156-67 in Final Contributions to the Problems & Methods of Psycho-Analysis, ed. Michael Balint, trans. Eric Mosbacher & others. London: Hogarth Press, 1955.

Ferenczi was the only early analyst that I know of who gave the question of sexual seduction serious consideration. He was much criticized for his viewpoint. He notes that abused children “feel physically & morally helpless ... the overpowering force & authority of the adult makes them dumb & can rob them of their senses ... Almost always the perpetrator behaves as though nothing has happened, & consoles himself with the thought: ‘Oh it is only a child, he does not know anything, he will forget it all’ ... Not infrequently after such events, the seducer becomes over - moralistic or religious & endeavours to save the soul of the child by severity.” (pp. 162, 162-63)

By the late 1960’s the pathogenic nature of trauma was still open to question in analytic thought. There was still a lot of support for the notion advanced by Abraham that the child had a lot to do with the problems by unconsciously provoking trauma upon itself.

Furst, Sidney S., “Psychic Trauma: A Survey,” pp. 3-50 in Psychic Trauma, ed. Sidney S. Furst. NY: Basic Books, 1967.

A good survey of theory up to the late 1960’s, which, in light of present day knowledge, is rather sad & appalling.

The work of J.M. Masson (who deserves our praise for finally bringing the complete Freud-Fliess correspondence to the light of day) on the subject, served to complicate things even more.

Masson, Jeffrey Moussaieff, The Assault on Truth: Freud’s Suppression of the Seduction Theory. NY: Penguin, 1985. xxxi, 316pp.

______________________ , Final Analysis: The Making & Unmaking of a Psychoanalyst. NY: Harper Perennial, 1991. 212pp.

______________________ , My Father’s Guru: A Journey Through Spirituality & Disillusion. Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, 1993. xvii, 174pp.

Masson claims Freud was reluctant to face the true reality of sexual abuse of children & feared negative reaction from the scientific establishment of his time to a shocking/controversial theory. Therefore he “abandoned” a valid idea; in essence, Masson seeks to brand Freud a moral coward. I have read enough on Freud’s life & the history of psychoanalysis to know that, whatever else he may have been, Freud was certainly not a moral coward in any sense of the term. Why Masson’s incorrect reading caught on & was uncritically accepted by so many, is not within my scope here, but he himself reveals, albeit unconsciously, the reasons for his problems with Freud in the other 2 books cited above. In essence, I think Masson was repeating with Freud his own profound feelings of having been failed by his father. Read Final Analysis & My Father’s Guru for yourself, maybe you will agree.

Child Abuse Discovered

Child abuse had always been known on some level but during the late 1960’s and 1970’s awareness of the problem began to grow in our culture and around the world. There were a number of reasons for this growth of awareness, which are beyond my scope here.

Breiner, Sander J., Slaughter of the Innocents: Child Abuse through the Ages & Today. NY: Plenum, 1990. xiv, 314pp.

Though he appears to overly idealize Chinese culture, Breiner offers a good historical introduction to the issues.

Kempe, C. Henry, et. al., “The Battered Child Syndrome,” Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 181 (1962), pp. 17-24.

Perhaps the first postulation of what we know today as physical child abuse.

Helfer, Ray E. & Kempe, Ruth S., The Battered Child. 4th ed., rev. & exp.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987. xxiii, 470pp.

First published in 1968, this has been, & remains, perhaps the basic introductory text to the field for most people. It covers historical, cultural, medical, treatment, & definitional issues of physical & sexual abuse.

Herman, Judith Lewis, Trauma & Recovery. NY: Basic Books, 1992. xi, 276pp.

A good general discussion of the emotional aftermath of all sorts of violent trauma.

Shengold, Leonard, Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse & Deprivation. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989. 342pp.

Shengold is one of the few analysts who has written a great deal on this subject. Though his formulations are sometimes a bit vague & unclear, he is generally very much on target. He uses many examples from history that should be of great interest to psychohistorians, to support his arguments. This book is first rate & merits the attention of interested scholars in our field.

I Never Told Anyone: Writings By Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, ed. Ellen Bass & Louise Thornton. NY: Harper & Row, 1983. 278pp.

While the book is marred in its introduction, by the anti-male bias of the editors (perhaps understandable, given the subject matter), these writings deserve to be & should be read by anyone interested in the subject. Some of the contributions are heartbreaking & truly terrifying. Anyone wanting to know something of the emotional realities of the abuse experience should read this book.

Russell, Diana E.H., The Secret Trauma: Incest in the Lives of Girls & Women. NY, Basic Books, 1986. xvii, 426pp.

Pioneering & convincing documentation that incest is much more prevalent than had hitherto been realized. This book merits close study.

Fraser, Sylvia, My Father’s House: A Memoir of Incest & of Healing. NY: Ticknor & Fields, 1987. x, 213pp.

An incest narrative by a real survivor.

Morris, Gregory W. & Waters, Thomas J., Unspeakable Acts: The Ordeal of Thomas Waters - Rimmer. NY: Morrow, 1993. 493pp.

This is a narrative of a sexually abused child (Waters), removed from his family, placed in a sexually abusive foster home & a child welfare system that apparently allowed it. This book is part of his effort to understand his past.

Mohr, Richard, “The Pedophilia of Everyday Life.” 5pp. (From The Guide, September 1996) On the Internet @

Discusses pedophilic themes in art & media & their prevalence in our culture.

“Paedophilia: Information Sources,” 13 pp. (Updated July 1998)

On the Internet @

A very large bibliography on the subject put out by an anonymous author.

“Top 50 Titles - Sexual Abuse.” 6pp.

On the Internet @

This does not give full citations.

Miller, Alice, “The Political Consequences of Child Abuse,” Journal of Psychohistory, 26#2 (Fall 1998), pp. 573-585.

Miller is certainly one of the leading advocates on child abuse issues. Her books on the subject are widely known (which is why I did not list them) & deserve close study, as does this article.

De Mause, Lloyd, “The History of Child Abuse,” Journal of Psychohistory, 25#3 (Winter 1995), pp. 216-236.

A concisely written statement.

A Very Important Web Site.

On the Internet @

This is Lloyd de Mause’s web site & features most of his best writing on the subjects that I consider here. Definitely check this out.

Child Abuse - Statistics

Information on the incidence of child maltreatment in history as well as in the present is an area of on-going controversy. Those who believe that the problem of child abuse is a major social issue in today’s world tend to take the position that it is very wide spread, while advocates of the opposite view tend to claim that reports are exaggerated. The truth is probably somewhere in between, but, in my view, it is safe to say that there is more abuse going on than confirmed by official reports. While there is no way to be absolutely sure how much abuse goes on, official reports are probably the best indicator we have.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Administration for Children & Families. Administration on Children, Youth & Families. Children’s Bureau, Child Maltreatment 1996: Reports From the States to the National Child Abuse & Neglect Data System. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1998. xii, 64pp.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Administration for Children & Families. Administration on Children Youth & Families. National Center on Child Abuse & Neglect, Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse & Neglect: Final Report (NIS - 3), Andrea J. Sedlak & Diane D. Broadhurst. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1996. xix, 231pp.

Child Maltreatment 1996 is listed as being on the Internet at But I have not looked to be sure. Both these sources are available for free, either by sending an e-mail to, or writing to: -

The National Clearinghouse on

Child Abuse & Neglect Information

330 C Street

Washington, DC 20447

Phone 800-FYI-3366 or 703-385-7565

Fax 703-385-3206

Web Site

These people are a very useful source of information.

National Committee To Prevent Child Abuse, “Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect Fatalities,” Fact Sheet #9 (Dec. 1996)(Modified July 1998). 5pp.

On the Internet @

National Committee To Prevent Child Abuse, “National Incidence Study: Implications for Prevention,” Fact Sheet #13 (Nov. 1996)(Modified July 1998). 4pp.

On the Internet @

National Committee To Prevent Child Abuse, “Child Abuse & Neglect Statistics.” (April 1998) 3pp.

On the Internet @

Wang, Ching-Tung & Daro, Deborah, “Current Trends In Child Abuse Reporting & Fatalities: The Results of the 1997 Annual Fifty State Survey (Center on Child Abuse Prevention Research, Working paper #808) 17pp.

On the Internet @

The National Committee To Prevent Child Abuse puts out a number of concise reports on statistics & other aspects of abuse & neglect. These are easily available & give good information.


You might gain some concept of the magnitude of the emotional issues involved for the survivor of abuse by learning something of what it takes to provide effective help. It is not easy & far too many helpers, in my experience, lack the ability. This is doubly tragic for it further hurts the abused & gives those who, for whatever reason, wish to defend perpetrators &/or disbelieve victimized children ammunition to be used against those that deserve it least. Child abuse can only be dealt with if child welfare workers, in their investigation, are able to substantiate or gain an admission from the perpetrator. Many cases go unsubstantiated. Most of the time this proves not to be a problem, but occasionally an investigation might miss something, make a mistake, be duped by a perpetrator, etc., etc. & a child may die or be terribly injured. This stress to get it right is one reason why there is a stereotype of child welfare workers as over zealous baby snatchers. Burn out is a serious problem in child welfare; the average life of a worker is generally less than 5 years. With adults the issues can be even more difficult. Substantiation of what may have happened so long ago is often very difficult if not impossible. Much of the work with adults thus hinges on questions of memory, never voiced, repressed & recovered, etc., fantasy vs. reality, & how the therapist tries to deal with the material presented by the patient. These can be difficult issues that can require much therapeutic skill. It can be a great temptation for the helper to want to find ways to punish the perpetrator (working with the survivor to do confrontation, file a law suit, etc.), but, even with adults, this is rarely feasible, possible, or realistic. Many perpetrators, especially in adult cases, if they have never made any admission never will. Their facade of denial tends to be unlimited.

Davies, Jody Messler & Frawley, Mary Gail, Treating the Adult Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Psychoanalytic Perspective. NY: Basic Books, 1994. xii, 259pp.

This is a good, clearly written discussion of the issues with useful guidance on telling fantasy from reality in the patient’s material. This book is first rate.

Scharff, Jill Savage & Scharff, David E., Object Relations Therapy of Physical & Sexual Trauma. Northvale, NJ: Aronson, 1994. xvii, 370pp.

A clear, well-written, wide-ranging review of key issues involved with trauma in general, physical & sexual abuse, & multiplicity. The author’s make extensive use of clinical examples, which seem well chosen. Their judgments (e.g. of Freud) seem tough but fair. This book is also first rate & merits close study.

Pearlman, Laurie Anne & Saakvitine, Karen W., Trauma & The Therapist: Countertransference & Vicarious Traumatization in Psychotherapy with Incest Survivors. NY: Norton, 1995. xix, 451pp.

This book details how the material presented by the patient/survivor can be a kind of vicarious trauma for the therapist/helper. This is a valuable concept for helpers to know about, because attempting to help abused people can be very difficult in its own right. The book is complex in style, written for therapists, but is accessible for the sophisticated general reader.

Adult Analysis & Childhood Sexual Abuse, ed. Howard B. Levine. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 1990. x, 231pp.

A good compendium on treatment issues.

Sexual Abuse Recalled: Treating Trauma in the Era of the Recovered Memory Debate, ed. Judith L. Alpert. Northvale, NJ: Aronson, 1995. xxiv, 410pp.

A superior collection of articles. The following chapters are especially good: -

Chapter 3 - Daniel Brown, “Sources of Suggestion & their Applicability to Psychotherapy,” pp. 60-100

Chapter 4 - D Corydon Hammond, “Hypnosis, False Memories, & Guidelines for Using Hypnosis with Potential Victims of Abuse,” pp. 101-131

Chapter 9 - Sue Grand, “Incest & the Intersubjective Politics of Knowing History,” pp. 235-253

Chapter 10 - Sue Grand, “Toward a Reconceptualization of False- Memory Phenomena,” pp. 257-288

Whitfield, Charles, Memory & Healing: Remembering & Healing the Effects of Trauma. Deerfield Beach, Fla.: Health Communications, Inc., 1995. xviii, 375pp.

By in large, a lucid, humane, thoughtful, & well written guide through the maze of complex issues that can often be involved in working with & understanding cases of traumatic abuse. Read this book.

Terr, Lenore, Too Scared To Cry: Psychic Trauma in Childhood. NY: Harper & Row, 1990. xii, 372pp.

__________ , Unchained Memories: True Stories of Traumatic Memories Lost & Found. NY: Basic Books, 1994. xvi, 282pp.

Terr is a child psychiatrist long experienced in dealing with & treating trauma related emotional problems. In Too Scared To Cry, she states, “‘Psychic trauma’ occurs when a sudden, unexpected, overwhelmingly intense emotional blow or a series of blows assaults the person from outside. Traumatic events are external, but they quickly become incorporated into the mind. A person probably will not become fully traumatized unless he or she feels utterly helpless during the event or events.” (p. 8) Though her focus is broader than just abuse related issues, her writings are of basic importance to help understand the issues that are involved. READ THESE BOOKS.

Freyd, Jennifer, Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996. 232pp.

This book emphasizes the aspect of betrayal in child abuse & how it can affect the ability to remember what happened. It is first rate. It is also worthy of note that Freyd’s mother is one of the founders of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. The author calls attention to the strategy of this group “of diverting attention from the message to the messenger.” Such conduct often emerges “when children and adult victims of sexual abuse who dare to attempt to communicate their experiences suffer attacks on their credibility.” (p. 199) (emphasis mine) Read this book.

“J.J. Freyd’s Trauma, Memory, & Betrayal Trauma Research.” 7pp.

On the Internet @

A list of relevant publications by Freyd who is the author of the book cited above.

“Trusting Childhood Memories,” Journal of Psychohistory, 23#2 (Fall 1995).

This is a special issue devoted to various aspects of the subject. The first 5 articles merit close study.

Rediscovering Childhood Trauma: Historical Casebook & Clinical Applications, ed. Jean M. Goodwin. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press, 1993. xxv, 215pp.

An excellent historical introduction that puts the lie to the notion that childhood trauma, abuse & dissociation are relatively new issues. Such problems have existed throughout history but are only being more clearly seen in the last 30-40 years.

“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Bibliography.” (1997) 12pp.

On the Internet @

This covers all aspects of the issue, not just abuse.

Stocks, J.T., “Recovered Memory Therapy: A Dubious Practice Technique,” Social Work, 43#5 (Sept. 1998), pp. 423-436.

Stocks says that there is no empirical evidence that the benefits of participation in recovered memory therapy outweigh its risks. The author seems to me insufficiently critical of backlash writers. There is also a large bibliography.

“Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.” 3pp.

On the Internet @

“Aspects of Trauma & Abuse.” 4pp.

On the Internet @

Nicely written brief discussions to help with understanding of the many issues that survivors have to deal with. These are worthwhile.

Wills, Sharon & Goodwin, Jean M., “The Re-Experiencing Experience: Guidelines for Trauma Survivors.” (1996) 19pp.

On the Internet @

A first rate discussion.

“The Sexual Abuse of Children,” Journal of Psychohistory, 19#2 (Fall 1991).

A special issue on the subject. The articles by Lloyd de Mause (“The Universality of Incest,” pp. 123-164), Brett Kahr (“The Sexual Molestation of Children: Historical Findings,” pp. 190-214), & the comments (pp. 215-220) are quite good & should be closely read.

Sachs, Nanette Person, “The Courts As Persecutors of Child-Victims of Incest,” Journal of Psychohistory, 24#3 (Winter 1997), pp. 221-233.

A sobering & well-argued study. Sachs is a lawyer working in this area.


In the last 10-15 years there has begun to be a backlash about issues of recovered memory. It has become increasingly fashionable, especially in cases where adults remember or reveal childhood abuse, to blame the victim via claims that they are deluded, or that they are actually victims of suggestion by over zealous or unscrupulous therapists who implant memories in their gullible patients. It is, of course, never clearly explained why therapists would want to do this. It is implied that maybe the therapist is inept, or acting out his/her own personal agenda through their patients. While such things are certainly possible, we must ask: - On such a massive scale? With children, sometimes over zealous or witch hunting child welfare officials &/or law enforcement personnel are blamed for over reacting or creating a sense of mass hysteria where a situation gets totally blown out of proportion. Such things do happen, but I remain unconvinced that there are legions of fanatical police, child welfare workers & prosecutors foaming at the mouth to victimize innocent adults of horrible crimes in a misguided urge to protect children. Certainly false accusations of abuse are made, usually not by adult survivors, but more by children being used as pawns in custody disputes between divorcing parents. It is a very common ploy of perpetrators to call the victim’s credibility into question in whatever way they can & to make the victim doubt their own veracity to the point that they have no clear conception of what is true & not true. Especially with adults who recall abuse after many years, the concepts of repression, & the idea that memory of trauma can often be totally repressed & surface years later has been ferociously attacked by a wide variety of people. Some seem driven by honest belief, or because they hate psychoanalysis & Freud. Others because they see the increased awareness of abuse in our society as being due to what is essentially (in their eyes at least) a feminist conspiracy. Some have their own duplicitous agendas (e.g. accused perpetrators willing to go to any lengths to hide their past crimes. If you find this hard to imagine, guess again, I have seen examples of such things myself.). Ask yourself, in whose mind does the controversy about “recovered” memory exist? Who made it into a controversy? At the forefront of the backlash is a group called the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) founded in the early 1990’s by Pamela Freyd, Ralph Underwager, & others. These people appear to have grown in power over the years, have a great deal of money behind them, & very aggressively promote their views in academia & the media. I will refrain from verbalizing an opinion about the validity of their viewpoints, rather I will cite in this section, materials embodying their views & encourage the reader to study what I list here or whatever else they can find & make up their own minds. Regrettably the controversy has become increasingly polarized with little or no middle ground.

Bass, Ellen & Davis, Laura, The Courage to Heal: A Guide For Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. NY: Harper & Row, 1988. 495pp.

THIS BOOK IS NOT AN EXAMPLE OF BACKLASH THINKING. I cite it here because more than any other source, it has aroused the ire of backlash writers (e.g. the 2 books cited just below) & served as a lightning rod for their scorn & righteous indignation. The book has gone through at least 3 editions (I have the first). Though I am not sure it has anything to do with anything, many backlash writers seem very concerned that Bass & Davis are apparently lesbians. But since I see no discussion of how this might disqualify them as helpers with abuse issues, I cannot help but wonder if there may not be some use of homophobia to discredit them. While they are guilty of some amount of over statement (perhaps the most famous example is their claim that “if you have a feeling that something abusive happened to you it probably did.” [p.21] It would be a mistake to assume I am saying to ignore such feelings, but we need to know a lot more to be really sure). Their use of symptom lists (especially in part 1) has also been criticized with some justice. I have always thought diagnosis exclusively by symptoms shown to be a rather questionable procedure. Careful history taking & assessment that pays attention to context & inter-relationships is essential as well. Bass & Davis do not always show this kind of careful attention to detail. But their concern for & dedication to survivors is quite clear, which is as it should be! They have little, if any, sympathy for perpetrators, which certainly does not endear them to these types. This book merits much closer study than backlash writers would have you believe.

Wakefield, Hollida & Underwager, Ralph, Return of the Furies: An Investigation into Recovered Memory Therapy. Chicago: Open Court, 1994. x, 431pp.

Consider the following: - “There are numerous reports indicating that many people perceive their childhood sexual experiences with adults as neutral & even that some people report that they were positive ... The most recent review article on the effects of sexual abuse reports a consistent finding that a substantial proportion of abuse victims show no symptoms. This can be interpreted to mean that the experience was more neutral ... These data disprove the radical feminist concepts of sex as aggression & of the power imbalance meaning that all sexual acts are traumatic.” (p. 63) I must confess that in almost 30 years in the helping profession I have never heard of “recovered memory therapy.” That does not mean that such therapists may not exist (how many are there in the country? Why do they seem to be known only to advocates of the backlash?), but to paint them as the vanguard in a campaign to promote hysteria about the extent of child abuse stretches the bounds of credibility. This book is in a class by itself. Any of you who want to see, contact me & I will send you a photocopy of the first 100 pages of this book.

Pendergast, Mark, Victims of Memory: Incest Accusations & Shattered Lives. Hinesburg, Vt.: Upper Access, 1995. 603pp.

Pendergast is perhaps one of the most sophisticated voices of the backlash. He wrote this book because his 2 adult daughters had gone into therapy, recovered memories of abuse, the circumstances of which they were never very clear about, seemed to hold him responsible, though he could never quite understand how because he did not realize that he had done anything, and he needed to find a way to make sense of what had occurred. He discovered the FMSF essentially by accident & found many other families whose children had accused them of abuse “& completely cut them off, leaving no opportunity for dialogue.” (p.37) Is Pendergast telling the truth? Though he presents as sincere, he gives no real evidence either way. He gives enough family history to make me believe there is more that needs to be known, but not enough to be sure of abuse. He asks that we accept his word over that of his children. He goes on to marshal a long, very elaborate argument, basically suggesting that adults who recover memories of abuse are victims of therapists, recovery books (e.g. The Courage to Heal), feminist belief, the culture, in fact just about anything or anybody, except a perpetrator. Like most backlash writers he concedes that abuse is real & the consequences devastating; where he attacks is on the question of recovered memories. He argues that by their very nature, traumatic events are too extreme to be forgotten, so when this happens it must be do to suggestion (consciously or unconsciously) from the therapist, use of hypnosis, influence of self help groups & literature, etc., etc. Among backlash writers Pendergast is very smooth & sophisticated, thus anyone wanting to learn about what these people think might wish to consult this book. My only advice would be to read a lot about the reality of the problem before you look at this book & even then read with extreme caution. Ask yourself why should I believe this man?

Crews, Frederick, The Memory Wars: Freud’s Legacy in Dispute. NY: NY Review Books, 1995. xiii, 301pp.

Loftus, Elizabeth & Ketchum, Katherine, The Myth of Repressed Memory: False Memories & Allegations of Sexual Abuse. NY: St. Martin’s, 1994. xi, 290pp.

Ofshe, Richard, & Watters, Ethan, Making Monsters: False Memories & Sexual Hysteria. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. x, 360pp.

Yapko, Michael, Suggestions of Abuse: True & False Memories of Childhood Sexual Trauma. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1994. 271pp.

Some representative samples of backlash thinking. Crews is one of the more articulate critics on Freud & his legacy (note that I did not say correct). Loftus is quite scrupulous about pointing out that she is not a therapist & that her findings are derived from laboratory studies. But does this mean that her findings are generalizable to traumatic experience such as abuse? I am not convinced, maybe you will be. Yapko, claims that many therapists appear to be ignorant about issues of suggestibility in dealing with remembered material. To the extent he may be correct this is certainly a disturbing problem, which speaks to the need to use care in treatment of such cases. It would be a mistake to confuse advocacy of careful treatment practice for advocacy of disbelieving the survivor as some of these people appear to do.

McDonald, Arlys Norcross, Repressed Memories: Can You Trust Them? Grand Rapids, Mich.: Fleming H. Revell, 1995. 286pp.

Recovered Memories & False Memories, ed. Martin A. Conway. NY: Oxford University Press, 1997. xi, 301pp.

Wassil-Grimm, Claudette, Diagnosis for Disaster: The Devastating Truth About False Memory Syndrome & its Impact on Accusers & Families. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1995. 381pp.

These books appear to take something of a middle way in that they do not unquestioningly embrace backlash viewpoints. As such they seem worth more examination than some of the texts described above.

“Backlash Against Psychotherapy,” Journal of Psychohistory, 22#3 (Winter 1995).

This is a special issue on the backlash, which explores false memories, cult abuse, etc. While the whole issue is quite good, the article by Sandra Bloom, “When Good People Do Bad Things: Meditations on the “Backlash””(pp. 273-304) is especially worth reading.

Kincaid, James R., Erotic Innocence: The Culture of Child Molesting. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998. xii, 352pp.

This book has one clever, perhaps brilliant, insight, namely that our understanding of child abuse/pedophilia is confused by what Kincaid calls a “story.” Psychohistorians would call it a group fantasy. The “story” makes abusers & victims into symbols of group fascination, by casting abuse into a sort of alluring gothic monster story that the culture perpetuates out of some guilty need to deny such interest in ourselves. Unfortunately, he takes a good idea & uses it in service of backlash viewpoints to diminish & further confuse awareness about the reality of abuse. This is reprehensible. If you decide to read this book, do not be taken in by his defense of abusers & pedophiles.


There have been some celebrated child abuse cases that have been extensively written about over the last 8-10 years. The people who write about these cases often do so in an effort to point out the excesses & supposed “witch-hunt” mentality of the “system” (child welfare workers, lawyers, police, prosecutors, the media, etc.). It can be very easy for the real question (the guilt or innocence of the perpetrator(s)) to get lost in the shuffle in the highly charged media circus atmosphere that can dominate such cases.

Johnston, Moira, Spectral Evidence - The Ramona Case: Incest, Memory, & Truth on Trial in Napa Valley. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997. 440pp.

One of the first cases where therapists were discredited in court for supposedly implanting false memories.

Franklin, Eileen & Wright, William, Sins of the Father, The Landmark Franklin Case: A Daughter, a Memory, & a Murder. NY: Crown, 1991. 353pp.

MacLean, Harry N., Once Upon a Time: A True Story of Memory, Murder, & the Law. NY: Dell, 1994. viii, 566pp.

The first case successfully prosecuted for murder of a child on the basis of recovered memories.

Wright, Lawrence, Remembering Satan. NY: Vintage, 1995. 205pp.

This details a case were the accused perpetrator, Paul Ingram, got so much into accepting guilt that he began to recover memories of abusive doings well beyond what he was accused of. Wright’s book is a clear demonstration that a witch-hunt mentality does indeed seem possible. But it certainly does not prove that all child abuse prosecutions can be or should be branded as, or are, witch hunts.


Multiplicity is still a controversial, frequently misunderstood, & often mis-diagnosed condition. The pathology involved can be very complex, horrific beyond belief, very intimidating for both patient & helper, tragic, a testament to the power & resiliency of the human spirit against unspeakable adversity, & utterly fascinating, often all at the same time. There are those that say it is a relatively rare condition, but I am not so sure. I think that multiples tend to be very intelligent, thus you have to be on your toes more so than normal to work with them. The intensity of dedication & depth of effort required to work with multiples can be well above & beyond the call of duty. I was very lucky with my one case because she had a therapist well experienced in these matters. That we proved able to work well as a team helped us see this person through some very difficult periods (e.g. being seriously suicidal at times). There are still not a lot of helpers that are able or know how to work with multiples, thus the experience can be even more stressful because, especially in an agency like mine it means your working most of the time on the tightrope with no net.

While it may be inspiring to see a multiple eventually integrate into a whole person, there are also many who seem secure in their multiplicity. When you consider that dissociation is essentially a defense against extreme trauma, such an attitude may be understandable. When I discussed this question with the multiple I worked with, she said she was undecided about integrating her personalities, because how would she cope if she experienced further trauma (always a possibility in any life).

From what I can see, in the last 20-30 years a number of therapists seemed to come upon multiplicity independently. Even though the condition had been named a century before, it was as if they somehow came to it anew & relearned the basics each in their own way. Thus, it has only been fairly recently that a clear consensus has been reached about dynamics, causative factors, pathology, etc. Treatment is not easy. Hospitalization is generally not routinely indicated unless the issues are really extreme (frequently violent or suicidal). Medication is not generally helpful because there can be a tremendous diversity of reaction from each personality or alter. The authorities I looked at do not endorse hypnosis, but there is a great deal of controversy about this. I remain skeptical about its worth. Outpatient psychotherapy is the basic treatment modality, & in proper hands it can & does work.

As with child abuse, there are naysayers about dissociation. Many backlash writers are also skeptical about multiplicity (if they were not, their skepticism about abuse & believing the child would become untenable). On the basis of my study &, more importantly, my experience these people are quite simply wrong.

One can certainly read and learn much about multiplicity from books, but I am not sure that anything can prepare one for the actual experience of seeing someone switch in front of you repeatedly. For me the experience was quite extraordinary....


Putnam, Frank W., Diagnosis & Treatment of Multiple Personality Disorders. NY: Guilford, 1989. xi, 351pp.

A lucid, clearly written discussion of the intricacies of dissociative conditions. Dissociation is basically an adaptive defense reaction to unpleasant/traumatic situations. Such phenomena exist “on a continuum & become maladaptive only when they exceed certain limits in intensity or frequency...” (p. 9). Daily life is filled with small dissociation’s if you look for them (e.g. day dreaming, driving along immersed in thought & missing your turn, etc.). Putnam is quite clear & convincing that the opposite end of the continuum, MPD/DID, is linked with the experience of recurring intense trauma, usually in childhood or adolescence (i.e. traumatic physical &/or sexual child abuse). Properly speaking the mind does not dissociate into whole personalities, rather they are personality fragments that reflect varying degrees of wholeness. Often these parts or alters reflect various functions or do various tasks, such as bearing the emotional pain, being a custodian of all the person’s horrifying memories, various intellectual or social abilities, etc. Some multiples are able to hold a conversation, read, and write all at the same time. Some alters can be persecutory & do their utmost to harm the body, while other alters who favor life must fight against them. Thus with some multiples, there can be varying degrees of internal warfare going on all the time. And at times the alters can work together with remarkable harmony & ingenuity to achieve mutually desired goals. Putnam is very helpful in understanding all this. His book stands the test of time & may be justifiably considered a classic in the field.

Ross, Colin A., Dissociative Identity Disorder: Diagnosis, Clinical Features, & Treatment of Multiple Personality. 2nd ed.; NY: Wiley, 1997. xii, 452pp.

This also is a very strong work & worthy of close study. Consider this: - “DID is not a fantastic curiosity in which there is more than one person in the same body. There is only one person, an abuse victim who has imagined that there are other people inside her in order to survive. This is an adaptive use of the human imagination which, at least in its rudiments, appears to be available to a large segment of the population. Since childhood physical & sexual abuse are common, & the ability to create alters is common, DID should be far from rare, in both its full classical form & in partial forms.” (p. 80) But Ross really shines when he reminds us that “the fundamental problem in DID is the problem of attachment to the perpetrator ... The abused child cannot escape from the trauma, nor can she control or predict it ... The abused child can use dissociation to block out some or all of the actual abusive events ... The child is overwhelmed, helpless, & powerless. It is this helplessness & powerlessness that is the deepest trauma. The child’s developmental problem is that she must attach to her perpetrator in order to survive ... She must attach to survive ... the child tries to attach to her perpetrator father & enabler mother, who is often a perpetrator in her own right. To keep her ... attachment systems up & running, the child must dissociate ... Because of dissociation, the attachment systems can be kept up & running, given that from their point of view the trauma is not occurring ... the attachment systems become personified as separate entities who idealize the parents, and are amnesic for most or all the abuse ... an additional drive to the creation of alter personalities is the need to create stable internal persons who are always available for attachment, safety, security, & nurturing. The need for attachment drives the narcissistic investment of the alters in separateness, & the delusion of separate physical bodies they often create.” (p. 65) As if this were not enough, “the abused child is trapped in her family. She cannot run away from home & live on the street, move away to college, take drugs, or get married to escape from the family. She cannot get the abuse to stop, cannot predict it, & cannot control it. If she tries to tell anyone outside the family, she is not believed, or she is overwhelmed by threats, intimidation, & mind control tactics, that she does not try to tell. The reality of her situation is that she is trapped, helpless, & overwhelmed ... She is biologically dependent on adult caretakers for physical survival ... the child has no choice spiritually or emotionally - she must love her parents & must want to be loved by them ... If the child does not attach to her parents she will fail to thrive ... She must love the people who hurt her, or die. [emphasis mine] This is the core problem in DID, & the primary driver of the dissociation ... The deepest pain arises from the overall gestalt of the person’s childhood. It is not so much that Dad did this on this day, or that on that day, it is more just the whole reality of life in that family, all the denial, the hurtful things said, the secrets, the betrayal, the lies, & the endless insoluble double binds. This is what hits patients the hardest. The deepest pain is not event-specific, & does not depend on the accuracy of any given set of memories [emphasis mine].” (pp. 283-284) What Ross describes here is equally applicable to child abuse in general, though on a somewhat less extreme level. I think that backlash critics, for the most part, tend to ignore or gloss over Ross’ point about the gestalt of specific events. This book is well worth close attention.

The Dissociative Child: Diagnosis, Treatment, & Management, ed. Joyanna Silberg. Lutherville, Md.: Sidran Press, 1996. xxvi, 343pp.

Shirar, Lynda, Dissociative Children: Bridging the Inner & Outer Worlds. NY: Norton, 1996. xii, 246pp.

It is well known that dissociation begins in childhood, though it seems to have been rarely observed in children. The conventional wisdom was that it emerged in adolescence or adulthood. This may have been due to the fact that multiplicity is often misdiagnosed, that the patient may decide not to reveal the condition for fear of being put into the hospital as hopelessly insane, or the patient, strange as it might seem, may not know she is a multiple. (I use “she” because most multiples are women) With the advent of better comprehension of the issues & dynamics involved, helpers are beginning to be better able to recognize dissociation in young children. These two books cogently address the issues involved & are essential for anyone wishing to more clearly understand what is involved.

Glass, James, Shattered Selves: Multiple Personality in a Postmodern World. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993. xx, 177pp.

Glass is a political scientist who has written extensively on the political aspects of mental disorder (Private Terror/Public Life: Psychosis & the Politics of Community, Psychosis & Power: Threats to Democracy in the Self & the Group). He notes that “for the multiple personality, otherness is born in the expression of terror ... What saved these women from becoming totally mad ... was the power of self-hypnosis (dissociation) & the capacity to forge alternative identities shielding, through language, the rape of the self & the experience of horror ... For the multiple personality to have an authentic knowledge her self would require facing the terror & the masks used to hide the terror from consciousness.” (pp. 54, 56) The creation of alters “is essential if the self is to continue living ... Pain therefore” remains “totally inaccessible - the major consequence of dissociation. But the pain was never lost. It lay within the constellation of the self, but so deeply held that its infantile core never became available to the other alters ... In a case of multiple personality, there is no independent cohesive link in the self that can allow the personality to take responsibility. Everything ... is considered to be the work of alters ... who exist independently of any controlling agency.” (p. 80, 83)


Multiple personality may be unique in the number of narratives it has generated by people who are or who have been multiples. Though these accounts seem independently written many of them exhibit a broadly similar form - that of an emotional detective story, gradually discerning symptoms, slowly coming to a diagnosis, patient & therapist working together to ferret out the history involved, going through often tremendous chaos with the patient finally achieving integration & becoming a whole person. Though these true stories are generally fascinating & can be inspiring to read, there is after awhile a sameness to them. Why is this? They speak to the realities of extreme abuse, which is important to know about, but I have come to believe that these stories or case histories are also symbols of fascination for those of us who feel trapped, if you will, in mundane lives. We can read about a person overcoming horror beyond imagination & feel uplifted & transported for a while. Multiples are, as a rule, amazing & fascinating people even if they are seriously dysfunctional. We can best learn about them from such narratives if we do not let our fascination carry us away from the reality of what they have endured & try to transcend.

Schreiber, Flora Rheta, Sybil. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1973. xx, 424pp.

Casey, Joan Francis with Wilson, Lynn, The Flock: The Autobiography of a Multiple Personality. NY: Fawcett Columbine, 1992. ix, 303pp.

Lancaster, Evelyn with Poling, Jane, Stranger in My Body. NY: Signet, 1958. x, 244pp.

Cameron, Marcia, Broken Child. NY: Kensington Books, 1995. 447pp

The Troops for Truddi Chase, When Rabbit Howls. NY: Jove Books, 1987. xxvii, 370pp.

Sybil is perhaps the classic example of this genre. Casey is well written & quite accessible. Evelyn Lancaster is the Eve of Three Faces of Eve fame. All of these are intense harrowing books in their own way & worthy of study.

“Inside Multiple Personality: What Is It Really Like Within The Mind Of a Classic Multiple Personality?” 11pp.

On the Internet @ ... /index.htm

“Untitled Document.” 9pp.

On the Internet @ ... cerpt1.htm

“Untitled Document.” 5pp.

The two untitled documents are additions to the longer 11 page document, which are presented separately. This is worth a look.


As with abuse, multiplicity also has its skeptical backlash. Some of the material cited above under Child Abuse also questions multiplicity (e.g. Pendergast). I cite here some material that focuses on the issues involved with multiplicity.

Hacking, Ian, Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality & the Sciences of Memory. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995. ix, 303pp.

Spanos, Nicholas P., Multiple Identities & False Memories: A Sociocognitive Perspective. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1996. xiii, 371pp.

Both these books are very sophisticated in their presentation & thinking. However, each author in different ways down plays the importance of trauma & abuse & accents the idea that multiplicity is a legitimate, culturally sanctioned way for women, especially, to express their unhappiness, failures & frustrations. Spanos goes so far as to claim that patients “learn” to present themselves as multiples. Thus, therapists play a major role in the creation & maintenance of multiplicity (p. 3). Protracted traumatic abuse is not necessary for the creation of multiplicity, “people can learn to think of themselves as possessing more than one identity or self, & can learn to behave as if they are first one identity & then a different identity.” (Spanos, p. 4) But why would someone decide to learn to be a multiple?? Even though multiples may have certain unique abilities, they are hardly worth the price of on-going problems with relationships, loosing time, major depression, post traumatic stress, suicidal ideation & attempts, self mutilation, antisocial behavior, alienation, insecurity, anxiety, rage, nightmares, etc., etc. These writers, for all their sophistication, essentially deny the reality of extreme abuse/trauma experiences in the lives of multiples. As such, they are an insult to the humanity of abuse survivors, because they trivialize what they have been through!


Ian Hacking (cited above) goes to great lengths to prove that multiplicity as we now know it did not exist prior to the 1870’s. He does note cases going back to the late 18th century but they do not seem to qualify, in his view, due to different medical knowledge & social context. In point of fact, the only thing that seems to have changed is the name of the condition.

Kenny, Michael G., The Passion of Ansel Bourne: Multiple Personality in American Culture. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1986. ix, 250pp.

Deals with various cases reported in America throughout the 19th century. Despite its skepticism about the validity of dissociation this book contains much useful information.

Flournoy, Theodore, From India to the Planet Mars: A Case of Multiple Personality with Imaginary Languages, trans. Daniel B. Vermilye, ed. Sonu Shamdasani. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994. li, 335pp.

This book, originally published in 1900, details the career the famous medium known as Helene Smith. I include this because there are some authors that have confused multiplicity with spiritualism, not choosing to realize that before it was more clearly understood such confusion was quite logical given the state of knowledge at the time. It seems to me quite likely that some multiples in the past did become practicing mediums.

Prince, Morton, The Dissociation of Personality: A Biographical Study in Abnormal Psychology. NY: Meridian Books, 1957. x, 575pp.

First published in 1908 this is one of the first major studies of dissociation. Prince makes extensive use of hypnotism in his treatment, which is certainly understandable given the era in which he worked. Today, hypnotism is still used in the treatment of multiplicity but is controversial because of its alleged potential for implanting suggestions in the patient. Prince’s account is also frustrating because he does not go into the issue of causative factors in any meaningful way.

Hill, Sally & Goodwin, Jean R., “Demonic Possession as a Consequence of Childhood Trauma,” Journal of Psychohistory, 20#4 (Spring 1993), pp. 399-411.

A cogent consideration of the relation of what used to be called demonic possession & dissociation. Well done.

van der Hart, Onno, Lierns, Ruth, & Goodwin, Jean, “Jeanne Fery: A Sixteenth Century Case of Dissociative Identity Disorder,” Journal of Psychohistory, 24 #1 (Summer 1996), pp. 18-35.

A discussion of what is probably the earliest case that can be diagnosed with certainty. An important study.


As suggested above, it can be a difficult, often arduous enterprise to work with multiples. The sources cited below give additional discussion of the issues involved.

Bryant, Doris, Kessler, Judy, & Shirar, Lynda, The Family Inside: Working With Multiples. NY: Norton, 1992. xiii, 268pp.

The author’s look at the patient’s alters as an “inner family,” which is often the case, & explore applying techniques of family therapy in addition to more conventional treatment modalities. Written in clear, relatively jargon-free prose this book can help your overall understanding quite well.

Rivera, Margo, More Alike Than Different: Treating Severely Dissociative Trauma Survivors. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996. xvi, 248pp.

She holds that dissociation is a clinical, social, cultural & political issue. It is about the refusal of the survivor to be destroyed. Even though she may be correct to give a revolutionary/political spin to multiplicity, I doubt this is felt to any degree by most dissociative people. They dissociate as a way to survive not to express resistance to patriarchy. But Rivera does have a point when she criticizes treatment that overly focuses on the problem as an inadequacy. Given the multiple’s reality it is the best they can do & that should not be lost sight of in the treatment.

Stoller, Robert J., Splitting: A Case of Female Masculinity. NY: Delta, 1974. xvii, 395pp.

Stoller writes to probe various issues of gender identity, but his patient, Mrs. G, is, among other things, a multiple with both male & female alters (this is something that may be fairly common). The book contains extensive verbatim transcripts of their therapeutic work & is quite fascinating.

Ross, Colin A., The Osiris Complex: Case Studies in Multiple Personality. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994. xiv, 296pp.

Certainly worth study.

Turkus, Joan A., The Spectrum of Dissociative Disorders: An Overview of Diagnosis & Treatment.” (1992) 10pp.

On the Internet @

International Society for the Study of Dissociation, “Guidelines for Treatment.” (1997) 26pp.

On the Internet @ (pp. 1-21) (pp. 22-26)

Nicely written summaries.

A Useful Web Site.

On the Internet @

This is the site of Dr. Ralph Allison a long time authority on dissociation. The site features papers on aspects of diagnosis, treatment, & working with multiples in the legal system (something that there does not seem much about). This site is definitely worth your time.


Here we enter into the area of satanic/cult abuse, certainly the most controversial area in a field already routinely able to evoke very intense emotion in survivor, helper, & general scholar interested in these subjects. Satanic abuse involves children being subjected to trauma so extreme as to be literally beyond imagination - e.g. black mass, orgiastic sex, being buried alive, killing babies, eating body parts, killing animals/pets, drinking blood, in short, every sort of perversion one can imagine & some that no one can or should have to. Skeptics believe that memories of such things may be the ultimate outcome of overly suggestive therapy, etc. It is pointed out that no real evidence of cult activity (bodies of babies killed in sacrifice, meeting places, etc.) has ever been found. If there were a vast underground network of people devoted to doing this sort of thing to children, their own or others, why have they never been discovered? Who are they? Where do
American Dream
Posts: 19708
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 4:56 pm
Location: Planet Earth
Blog: View Blog (0)

Rest of Bibliography on Child Abuse & MPD

Postby American Dream » Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:45 pm

Here is the part which didn't fit above:

...discovered? Who are they? Where do they come from? How could anyone be capable of such monstrous acts? Why do investigations of such activity never find anything? Many of the people who come up with memories of such things appear to be very severely disturbed. Are we talking psychotic fantasy or legitimate reaction? Maybe both? It is very hard to be sure. Given the depravity that human beings are capable of, such acts are certainly possible, but that does not prove they occur or if they do to what extent they may occur. The problem of belief with less extreme varieties of physical & sexual abuse is well known & cannot be denied here. Do we see the same issue here only more so? I know that I said above that it is always best to believe the survivor unless evidence to the contrary comes to light ... I am not going to contradict myself here, but I am really skeptical. I just do not know for sure. So look at the material cited below, read more on your own & try to decide for yourself....

Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse, ed. Valerie Sinason. London: Routledge, 1994. xii, 320pp.

This covers history, media issues, the realities of working with such cases, the nature of survivor’s experience, aspects of treatment, etc. Most of the contributors are English & European, which shows that such problems are not confined to American culture alone. This is a very well put together source.

Out of Darkness: Exploring Satanism & Ritual Abuse, ed. David K. Sakheim & Susan E. Devine. NY: Lexington, 1992. xix, 315pp.

Similar to the above source but not quite as strong.

Smith, Margaret, Ritual Abuse: What It Is, Why It Happens, How to Help. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1993. viii, 213pp.

A popular account.

Mayer, Robert S., Satan’s Children: Studies in Multiple Personality. NY: Putnam’s, 1991. 267pp.

It is well known that many of those who report satanic abuse are multiples. Some of the sources cited above have material on this but Mayer gives us a whole book on the issue. Certainly worth a look.

Smith, Michelle & Pazder, Lawrence, Michelle Remembers. NY: Pocket Books, 1981. xvi, 334pp.

This appears to be the first narrative of a survivor of Satanist abuse. It is hard to tell about the credibility of the story, since little that might seem conclusive is presented. Pazder was Smith’s therapist, sometime after the book came out they got married, which might also make one wonder. This book has been strongly attacked by those skeptical of such practices & is reputed to have single handedly spawned much of the contemporary interest in Satanism.

Victor, Jeffery S., Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend. Chicago: Open Court, 1993. xiv, 408pp.

This seeks to paint belief in satanic abuse & cults as being “almost without foundation.” Victor claims he has no bias but he appears in sympathy with the child abuse backlash. But he does marshal a lot of information that one cannot ignore. Look at it & decide for yourself.

Nathan, Debbie & Snedeker, Michael S., Ritual Abuse & the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt. NY: Basic Books, 1995. xvi, 317pp.

Along the same lines as Victor above. They also seem clearly in the backlash camp. They blithely label multiplicity as a “social construct” (as per Kenny & Hacking cited above), which is simply absurd in my view.

Boyd, Andrew, Blasphemous Rumors: Is Satanic Abuse Fact or Fantasy? An Investigation. London: Fount, 1991. xi, 420pp.

This appears more open minded than the previous two sources.

Muir, Hugh, “Report dismisses Satanic child abuse as a myth.” 2pp.

On the Internet @ ... glish.html

An English report from 1994.

“FBI 1992 Study Of Childhood Ritual Abuse”

On the Internet @

This is the text of the report by Kenneth Lanning that everyone cites as definitive proof that satanic abuse is not real. It is presented here in 12 separate parts, each of which can be printed on your computer. Read it & decide for yourself.

“Cult Abuse of Children: Witch Hunt or Reality?,” Journal of Psychohistory, 21#4 (Spring 1994)

A special issue featuring 12 articles on the topic. The articles by Roland Summit “The Dark Tunnels of McMartin,” pp.397-416), Sandra Bloom (“Hearing the Survivors Voice: Sundering the Wall of Denial,” pp. 461-477), Jean M. Goodwin (“Credibility Problems in Sadistic Abuse,” pp. 479-496), & Lloyd de Mause (“Why Cults Terrorize & Kill Children,” pp. 505-518) are especially well done.

Tanner, Jerald & Sandra, Satanic Ritual Abuse & Mormonism. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1992. 100pp.

____________________, Occultic Ritual Abuse: Fact or Fantasy? Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1995. 203pp.

The Tanner’s have devoted most of their adult lives to exposing the many hidden aspects of the Mormon Church. Their reasons for doing this are outside the scope of my concern here. Whether or not one agrees with them, no one can deny that they are very thorough & honest scholars. Though not definitive, they present, what seems to me, some very thought provoking evidence for the existence of such abuse, though not in the sense of some widespread underground cult network. They are criticized unconvincingly by Jeffery Victor cited above (pp. 268-270). These two works merit close study.

Concluding Comment

So there you have it. I initially thought this would be a quick simple project (such can be the power of fantasy), but I hope that you the reader will feel that I have given good attention to the salient issues involved. If any of you who read this had doubted the validity/importance of believing the child, I hope this document has helped dispel that.

Feedback, pro or con is welcome.

Peace & Good Will,

Henry Lawton

266 Monroe Ave.

Wyckoff, NJ 07481-1915



Revised slightly and additionally proof read – November 2002 & October 2003.
American Dream
Posts: 19708
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 4:56 pm
Location: Planet Earth
Blog: View Blog (0)

Return to Data And Research

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest