Title: AMER Representatives Dispute Bogus Claims at Ritualized Abuse Seminar The Official

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Title: AMER Representatives Dispute Bogus Claims at Ritualized Abuse Seminar From: AMER Intelligence The Official Journal of the Alliance for Magical and Earth Religions, Volume 1, Number 1. copyright 1991 by AMER and the respective authors. All rights reserved. (Permission to reprint has been granted by AMER.) On Friday, December 7, 1990, Epworth Children's Home at Kirkwood United Methodist Church in St. Louis, Missouri, sponsored a seminar titled "Diagnosis, Treatment, & Assessment of Ritualistic Abuse Survivors." The two speakers were Janet Banker and Darrell Miller, both Licensed Specialists in Clinical Social Work with private practices in the Kansas City area. Many of the outrageous claims made during this seminar were challenged by three AMER members who were in attendance, Chris Carlisle -- AMER president, Carolyn Clark, and Gillian Stewart. Ms. Clark and Ms. Stewart are both employed as psychiatric nurses, which helped to bolster their credibility with the other attendees. Janet Banker spoke first, and according to the AMER members present, was the more biased and fanatical speaker. She works with allegedly sexually abused children, and claimed that she began encountering victims of ritualized sexual abuse. These patients required years of therapy before they revealed the ritualized nature of their abuse. During her presentation she quoted from such highly disreputable sources as _Michelle Remembers_, and _Painted Black_ (which the publishers have recently withdrawn from publication after losing a lawsuit over inaccuracies in the book), and made references to a widespread network of Satanic crime and conspiracy which she apparently believes in. This was interspersed with more clinical references to such things as multiple personality disorder and its symptoms, which she believes is intimately associated with survivors of ritualized abuse. Banker also discussed the methods she used to help the children reveal the details of their ritualized abuse. Some of these techniques are of a highly questionable nature and could best be described as leading the patient in a particular direction by providing very specific types of props and toys for the children to act out their allegedly suppressed memories. During the break between presentations, Chris Carlisle spoke with both of the speakers and Roger Drake, administrator of the Epworth Children's Home. She informed them of the unreliable nature of the sources quoted by Ms. Banker. According to Ms. Carlisle, Drake and the speakers reacted with hostility, and she was asked not to ask any questions during the following presentations until the formal question and answer period. She agreed to this, but pointed out that it wasn't good practice to not allow spurious material to be corrected promptly. In response to this Mr. Drake forcefully pointed out that this was Epworth's presentation for their therapists, and that she was there at their sufferance, says Ms. Carlisle. Once she pointed out that their own brochure demonstrated that the seminar is a public event, Mr. Drake became more conciliatory and promised that she would be called on during the question and answer period. After the break Mr. Miller gave his presentation during which he made it a point to say that Witchcraft was harmless and not the same thing as Satanism. According to Ms. Carlisle both speakers were careful to use the phrase "alleged Satanists," or "call themselves Satanists," except when they became excited or agitated. During Miller's talk, Carolyn Clark, former AMER president, asked him about cases where children are alleged to have been ritually abused by Christian caregivers. Miller responded that if these cases were investigated more "deeply," then Satanic involvement would be uncovered. Ms. Clark, as well as most other people who asked questions during the presentations, was not relegated to the question and answer period. While the speakers were giving their programs, unbeknownst to them, AMER members Henry Manning and Jay Stewart were putting packets of AMER literature, including "The Truth About Ritual Abuse," on the windshields of cars parked outside. The three AMER attendees noticed many people reading them during the lunch break with apparent interest, and Gal Stewart and Carolyn Clark saw people putting the packets in their purses and briefcases. One attendee even introduced herself to Ms. Carlisle, and said that she had been told that Chris was one of the "good guys" in this matter. Ms. Carlisle also says that she spoke to the Epworth Chaplain, who proved to be very reasonable, and said that he had been trying to persuade Drake to take a more conservative approach to ritual abuse in their own therapy at Epworth. According to the AMER members present, Banker was extremely agitated during her second presentation after the lunch break. They speculated that perhaps she had become aware of the AMER pamphlets. Reportedly, her composure waned and the use of qualifiers such as "alleged" became scarce. Banker said that the therapist must suspect everyone in the child's life, and admitted to using hospitalization and other means to isolate a child from its home, says Ms. Carlisle. Furthermore, Ms. Banker said that if she saw all the "red flags" for sexual abuse, but the patient won't admit it, then she automatically diagnoses ritual abuse. She also admitted to using techniques which appear to constitute leading the patient in a particular direction. As the talk progressed, Banker's statements became increasingly bizarre. For example, she claimed that inter-generational cults are using selective breeding. Also, there are hundreds and thousands of people who have been put in state hospitals for telling these stories, but they aren't insane -- they're telling the truth. Responding to a question, she replied that if she learned that a patient had been lying to her about such matters, that it would just be part of a conspiracy of insiders trying to get into her therapy group to spy on her patients. Finally, when another questioner gently suggested that she was identifying too strongly with her patients, she insisted, extremely upset and on the verge of tears, that she had to believe in her patients, because that was part of her duty as a therapist. Miller's follow-up was largely clinical in nature, as if to move the tone of the presentation away from Banker's alarmist presentation. Carlisle also says that the presenters admitted to using "Bibliotherapy" to deal with post-traumatic stress for patients and their families. This consists of the patients reading books about the subject by psychologists and other alleged survivors. This would appear to provide the ideal vehicle for confabulation. During the question and answer period, Carlisle was allowed to discuss the distorted nature of the book _Painted Black_ as well as the _Cornerstone Magazine_ (a Christian publication) article exposing as fraudulent the claims of the alleged ritual abuse survivor who wrote _Michelle Remembers_. Several attendees were seen writing down that reference. Also, the woman seated next to Ms. Carlisle said that she would consider the material presented at the seminar in a very different light, in view of what Chris had told her, and would work in her capacity as a therapist to counteract this sort of hysteria. /end of article/


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