COUNSELOR DEFENDS HIS PAST AND PRESENT Satanic-trial [sic] Therapist Has Critics, Supporte

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COUNSELOR DEFENDS HIS PAST AND PRESENT Satanic-trial [sic] Therapist Has Critics, Supporters By Pat Brennan and James V. Grimaldi The Orange County Register April 14, 1991 Pages A1 & A26 The softly lit suite of offices opens into a waiting room with a burbling fish tank and carefully layered stakes of news and nature magazines. But behind the heavy wooden doors of therapy rooms, clients known as "multiples" are switching from one personality to another. They are homemakers and parents, professionals and teen-agers [sic], and some are recounting tales of satanic [sic] rites, human sacrifice, group sex, torture and mutilation. Horrific and bizzare [sic] tales, to be sure, but nothing Timothy Hugh Maas hasn't heard before. Few people doubt that Maas' clients believe what they're saying. What a lot of them want to know, though, is whether the accusations leveled against him in recent weeks in a Santa Ana courtroom are true: Is the defrocked [sic] Lutheran minister from Huntington Beach planting memories in his clients' impressionable minds? The case centered on two of Maas' patients accusing their 76-year-old mother of forcing them as children, and later one of their daughters, now 11, to participate in bloody satanic [sic] orgies, incest, cannibalism even murder. In a compromise ruling Friday, a five-man, seven-woman jury found in favor of the plaintiffs, but awarded no money to them. Jurors voted 10-2 that the mother was only negligent, and did no intentional harm. Jurors raised serious questions about the methods of Maas and his Seaview Counseling Inc., the Huntington Beach-based chain of therapy centers he founded six years ago. "We felt Tim Maas and his whole Seaview organization is lacking-- lacking in professionalism," juror Richard Thieren said after the verdict. "He seems to have concluded they (the plaintiffs) were all multiple-personality syndromes based on just nine hours of session." Maas' testimony convinced juror Delores Thomas of Orange that Maas was simply using the women for his own personal gain. "He sees it as a money opportunity for his Seaview clients," said Thomas, who was one of the two jurors who voted for the mother. "All of his therapists are really inexperienced. He didn't even ask for medical records." It was when Maas was treating the two Orange County women that they first realized they had formed multiple personalities to repress more than three decades of satanic [sic] abuse by their mother, a Mission Viejo resident, the women testified. But Tom R. Allen, their mother's attorney, labels that nonsense. Rather, Maas, a certified hypnotist, planted the stories in the minds of the daughters now 35 and 48, Allen said, and encouraged them to sue so he could win fame as a satanic-abuse [sic] expert. "I think he's scary," Allen said. Maas denies ever suggesting or pushing satanism [sic] on a client. He is quick to dismiss the criticism, saying his methods are sound. "If they weren't accurate and they weren't helpful then we wouldn't have more and more people coming in," Maas said. Seaview Counseling, a tax-exempt, Christian-oriented center with six locations and 23 therapists, now treats about 50 ritual abuse clients a week, and typically signs up two new ones a month, Maas said. Ritual abuse, he adds, now accounts for about 20 percent of his business. Maas' colleagues at Seaview say the criticism being leveled at him is the result of misunderstanding how he helps victims of satanic [sic] rituals overcome years of abuse. Seaview staff members believe Maas heals patients by carefully guiding them through their long-repressed memories. "He's a good teacher," said Seaview therapist Judy Possnack, a former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, who testified at the trial. "He shows us how to just be with somebody, and not try to lead them in any way." There is nothing weird or mystical about the kind of healing Seaview practices, said Colleen Yoder, an intern-trainee who joined the center about seven months ago. And certainly nothing suggestive. "I have absolutely zero doubt that these clients are telling the truth (about ritual abuse)," Yoder said. "I think it's so bizzare [sic] and so awful it's really beyond what people can take in." Maas said he usually tries to determine whether any physical pain his patients feel is caused by a repressed memory. The idea that physical symptoms are precursors to emerging memories is common in psychology, he said. Few psychotherapists in Orange County and elsewhere know of him. Those psychologists who are critical of him decline to comment publicly, citing an unwritten rule that therapists do not openly criticize other therapists. Orange psychologist Pamela A. Reagor, who also treats ritual abuse patients, said she differs with Maas over some of the treatment methods he uses. Reagor says she uses a battery of psychological tests to determine whether her patients have multiple personality disorder [MPD], which is caused by severe child abuse in most cases. Maas acknowledges he normally does not administer such tests. Multiple personality disorder "got dramatically more attention in the early 1980s," Reagor said. "That means we have to counter anything (suggesting) fads or that sort of cult phenomenon (among therapist). We just have to be real careful not to diagnose it when it is not there." Since the so-called "Satan trial" began last month, two of Maas' former clients have alleged that he suggested memories to them that they later realized were false. A man identified in court as Greg D.-- the former husband of the 35-year-old plaintiff in the case-- testified that Maas once suggested during a marital therapy session that he may have been molested as a child. When he told Maas he had a cold, the man said, Maas suggested to his that it could be the sign of a hidden memory. Maas said he did not know the man's past. Maas' ex-wife, Robin, said her former husband also was her therapist at one time and interpreted her dreams as revealing satanic [sic] abuse. She said he hypnotised her and also suggested that she had been molested as a child by her parents, which she said is untrue. "He told me I sat in this throne thing, with this black cape, and I watched baby sacrifices," Robin Maas said. "It's worse than a cheap book." Maas declined to comment on his wife's claims citing doctor- patient confidentiality rules. # # # Maas first encountered tales of satanic [sic] ritual abuse, he said, in 1983 when he was a minister working as a marriage and family counselor at Lutheran Social Services in Garden Grove. A patient told him she was one of several young women raped on an alter by men in black robes. His common sense rebelled, Maas said, and he rejected it as fantasy. "My reaction was one of disbelief, except for the fact that she was telling these stories with great pain and conflict," Maas said. When another woman came in with a similar story, Maas said his skepticism was shaken. About that time, other Orange County therapists began reporting similar stories, he said, so they met in groups at the University of California, Irvine, to compare notes. Maas became a believer. Maas said it wasn't a difficult leap. He had his own hidden memory of being sexually abused by his grandfather when he was 5, and again by a returning World War II soldier who stayed with his family when he was 7, he said. "It's taken me a long time to deal with that," Maas said. Ordained a minister in 1971, Maas split from the Missouri Synod seven years later in a dispute over the literal interpretation of the bible. He joined the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, before it merged with another branch of the Lutheran church. One of Maas' former supervisors, retired Lutheran Bishop Nelson Trout, said Maas was asked to surrender his ministerial office in 1984 for misconduct. "He did not take his call to the ministry seriously," Trout said. "He leaves no good impression." Maas said he was forced to resign from Lutheran Social Services in Garden Grove and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches because, "to the best of my recollection is had to do with a divorce." But Trout and another retired bishop, Will L. Herzfeld, said many divorced ministers currently serve in the Lutheran church. Maas said the abuse he suffered as a child led to trouble with alcohol and with forming lasting relationships. He said he now only drinks socially. He has been married three times. "I would be inclined throughout my career to want to try to help other people as an indirect way of helping myself," Maas said. Maas said he does not mind if some people outside Seaview portray him as a renegade among psychotherapists. "I am quite willing to try to learn, or at least ask challenging questions about treatment procedures, and not be sort of molded into a certain kind of direction clinically," Maas said. "But of course, unless you [sic] know what you're [sic] doing, it's easy to get lost in the client's word rather than being objective." Roe Case Delved Into Ritual Abuse, Repressed Memories And Disorders SIDEBAR ONE In the landmark civil case that ended Friday, two daughters accused a Mission Viejo grandmother of subjecting them to a lifetime of satanic [sic] terror and sexual abuse. The women claimed their mother and late father introduced them to a secret cult at infancy. Their litany of alleged horrors was unrelenting: human sacrifices of kidnapped transients; baby stabbings; animal mutilations; torture by electric shock. The mother, identified in court documents as Ellen Roe, said she was bewildered by the allegations. Roe said her family was a normal, healthy one until her daughters started therapy three years ago. An Orange County Superior Court jury returned a mixed verdict that may further muddle the satanic [sic] debate. Jurors found the mother negligent ut also found that she neither intentionally harmed her daughters nor her 11-year-old granddaughter. They awarded no monetary damages. Jurors said afterwards that they believed the daughters had been abused, but they weren't sure who was responsible. [IT'S QUITE OBVIOUS MAAS WAS! -D.R.] The Roe case delved into the largely uncharted legal area involving ritual abuse, repressed memories and multiple personality disorders. Both sides-- those who believe in the existence of satanic [sic] cults and those who seek to debunk ritual abuse claims-- have followed the case closely because they believe the outcome will affect whether other alleged victims follow a similar path. At trial's end, both sides declared victory. Timothy Hugh Maas SIDEBAR TWO 49, director of Seaview Counseling Inc. $36,622 salary, plus $30,000 for housing, according to 1989 tax return. Seaview's net revenue $344,665 with reported deficit of $6,890, according to 1989 tax returns First obtained marriage, family and child counseling license from state Board of Behavioral Sciences Examiners in 1981. License is current, with notation that he is certified to practice hypnotism on his patients. Founded Seaview Counseling Inc. in 1985 in Huntington Beach. Other offices in Westminster, Los Alamitos, El Toro, Tustin, La Habra, Lakewood, and another planned in Fullerton. Seaview also works through Parkcrest Church in Long Beach. Twenty-three therapists work at six locations, including six licensed marriage and family counselors, three psychological assistants, one clinical psychologist, nine interns working towards their state licenses, and four student trainees. Handles 45 to 50 abuse patients who Maas said were ritualistically abused. Gets two new satanic-abuse [sic] clients per month. Previous Experience Pastoral counselor with Lutheran Social Services of Garden Grove from 1980 to 1984. Counselor in St. Louis from 1976 to 1979. Minister at two Lutheran churches in Tennessee from 1971 to 1976. Education and Background Associate of arts degree, Santa Monica College, 1962. Bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing-management research, California State University, Los Angeles, 1965. Divinity studies, Concordia Theological Seminary in Clayton, Mo., 1965. Ministry degree in pastoral counseling, Eden Theological Seminary, Webster Groves, Mo., 1979. Ordained in the Lutheran church, Missouri Synod, September 1971. Split from the Missouri Synod in 1978 to join a branch group; asked to resign from Lutheran Synod Services of Garden Grove and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in 1984. Personal Born in Los Angeles, April 24, 1941. Married three times, including to a former patient he met while counseling at Lutheran Social Services of Garden Grove. Has two daughters. SOURCES SEAVIEW COUNSELING STATE REGISTRY OF CHARITABLE TRUSTS STATE BOARD OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE EXAMINERS INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICES INSTITUTIONS CITED REGISTER'S SACRAMENTO BUREAU. Transcribed by d. rice April 23, 1991 Commentary and My Two Cents' Worth By Transcriber D. Rice. It is always distressing to see people manipulated and taken advantage of by someone they had put their trust in--- even more so when these people come to that person out of pain, fear, and confusion. Maas may or may not be acting out of good intentions; he may very well believe in the "'Satanic' Abuse" myth, or he may have so much invested in bolstering the myth, he cannot entertain any objective, unbiased reasoning or critical thinking which threatens his paradigm. "Covariance" [M. Snyder] and "cognitive dissonance" [P. Clance, S. Imes, et al] tends to make some people more inclined to believe the irrational, improbable, and even impossible, when presented with convincing--- even irrefutable--- evidence to the contrary. Couple these self-defense mechanisms with economic and social gain, and an occult theism that has a stake in believing magically (both of which Maas demonstrates), and one encounters an individual who quite literally cannot observe and internalize information that does not meet his preconceived world-view. Unfortunately, the best way to buttress a flagging conviction in the magical thinkers' paradigm, and quiet those murmuring of doubt welling in his subconscious, is to infect others with the same information disease. Maas, a certified hypnotherapist, is in an excellent position to plant such memes in his victims. What Maas did (and continues to do!) to his victims, to make them believe his tales of "'Satanic' Abuse" to such an extent that they brought civil suit against their mother, is quite despicable for anyone to do, whether out of ignorance or intent, but for a licensed therapist do to so it is utterly abominable. For those who wish to query Maas concerning his phantasies, write to the address below. One may be tempted to send him good information that demonstrates his phantasies invalid, but it is probable he will immediately reject it. Give him a call and ask. Mr. Timothy Hugh Maas Care Of Seaview Counseling 22772 Centre Drive El Toro, California 92630 1-714-951-9596


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