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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

Database of Past CMRL Messages

Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages. The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - December 22, 2017 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 8166
Date: 2009-05-27

Author:John Polstra

Subject:RE: Are Therapists Potentially Dangerous?

Mr. Little, I read this email and it stirred me in a number of ways.

Although I agree that absolute "right" paths regarding human endeavors are

nearly impossible to discern and many "mistakes" or "happy accidents" have

lead to explosions of new ways of doing things (your reference to

antibiotics would be one), I'm am concerned that you paint too broad and

forgiving a road for clinicians to navigate when dealing with serious life-

and welfare-threatening phenomena such as interpersonal and sexual violence.

I remember when I was an inexperienced social worker, I worked with a woman

who was a victim of her boyfriend's regular and repeated violence. I

encouraged her to leave her relationship with this man without providing her

with the proper support, planning and information she needed to leave

safely. I was a newly graduated MSW with good intentions but lacking in

training in how to help this woman leave this relationship in the safest way

possible. I had had no practical training on developing an escape plan,

helping my client identify and develop a support network of friends and

family to keep her safe or what the risk factors are to avoid or address. I

remember the day that I met her at her home shortly after she had broken off

the relationship. She had a black eye, a concussion and her head was

swollen to twice its size. This was the parting gift her boyfriend had

given her. That experience occurred nearly twenty years ago and I still

remember it vividly today. I think what Ms. Cavanaugh-Johnson is trying to

do is commendable. My mistake was conceived and conducted in ignorance. I

believe we can all agree that any clinical practice that is conducted in

ignorance is bad practice. It is my hope that Ms. Cavanaugh-Johnson's work

alleviates more of our ignorance so that we can avoid the kind of mistakes I

have made in my career.



Mr. John M. Polstra, MSW, LCSW

Home-based Family Therapist

Family Works, Inc.

3675 N. Washington Blvd.

Indianapolis, IN 46205

Ph: (317) 923-4437, ext. 411

Fax: (317) 931-1580

Email: jmpolstra@att.net



-----Original Message-----

From: bounce-3959297-6833731@list.cornell.edu

[mailto:bounce-3959297-6833731@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Ken Little

Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 9:42 AM

To: 'Child Maltreatment Researchers'

Cc: toni@tcavjohn.com

Subject: RE: Are Therapists Potentially Dangerous?



The things we "used to do" are the things we once "currently" did. Many of

today's best practices will become our errors to some future perspective.

There is nothing to sensationalize the things we currently do as all

approaches are based on our best "guesstimates" in this current moment.

Antibiotics and Teflon were once considered invaluable discoveries -- both

have considerable down-sides discovered well after the fact. In retrospect

... would either have been so fully embraced had the future be more

discernable?



As for personal and professional fallibilities, quirks, philosophies, etc.

you will find no human endeavor untouched by these things. Eradicating them

is as undesirable as it is desirable. Who decides which are good and which

are bad? Which group or authority chooses the narrow path for all to walk,

includes those who are able to walk it and excludes those who cannot or do

not adhere? Which philosophies are chosen as the acceptable ones, which as

the unacceptable ones? Since there is no known universal human philosophy or

truth that has existed throughout the ages -- which current and transient

philosophy or set of philosophies or proscribed practices are correct?



When do the personal issues of therapists enhance the richness of the

experience and outcome? When do they detract? When is the more precise

clinician less helpful and when is the more flawed clinician the precise

instrument of the time?



History is filled with examples of this topic run amok. Those deemed

"dangerous" have been burned at the stake, squashed under piles of stone,

gassed and hacked and hung; excluded, shunned, and banished; and most often

-- done so in error by some narrow group who thinks they have the best lead

on what is right and what is wrong.



The very question may be in some ways the most dangerous thing of all.



Ken



-----Original Message-----

From: bounce-3958023-6833746@list.cornell.edu

[mailto:bounce-3958023-6833746@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Toni Cavanagh

Johnson

Sent: Monday, May 25, 2009 12:38 PM

To: Child Maltreatment Researchers

Subject: Re: Are Therapists Potentially Dangerous?



I echo Lisa's sentiments also. There is nothing to sensationalize

about the things we used to do. Yet, this is an important training

issue.



My thoughts run more to personal issues of therapists getting in the

way of therapy, e.g. philosophies, theories, money, politics, our

feelings, our needs, our desires, our longings, our biases, "un"

common sense, poor training in basic therapeutic interventions, etc.





Toni Cavanagh Johnson, Ph.D.

1101 Fremont Avenue, Suite 101

South Pasadena, California 91030

USA

Tel: 626-799-4522

FAX: 818-790-0139

toni@tcavjohn.com

www.tcavjohn.com









On May 23, 2009, at 7:56 PM, Faller, Kathleen wrote:



> Toni,

> I echo Lisa's sentiments. I would add that there is still much to be

> learned about evidence-based treatment and case-management in child

> sexual abuse and children with sexual behavior problems (I am

> assuming you are addressing practice in your area of expertise).

> Many of our colleagues have to treat complex cases where there is no

> evidence to guide them, or the evidence only addresses a small part

> of the problems that need to be addressed.

> Kathleen Coulborn Faller, Ph.D., A.C.S.W., L.M.S.W.

> Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor of Children and Families

> Director of the Family Assessment Clinic

> School of Social Work

> The University of Michigan

> 1080 S. University

> Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106

> 734 998 9700

>

> kcfaller@umich.edu

>

> The information contained in this message may be privileged and

> confidential and is intended only for the use of the named

> recipients. This communication is protected by federal law, both the

> Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and 18

> United States Code Section 2511. If the reader of this message is

> not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you have

> received this in error and that any review, dissemination,

> distribution, or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. If

> you have received this communication in error, please notify me

> immediately by phone (collect, if long distance) and destroy the

> message as you would confidential information

> ________________________________________

> From: bounce-3951502-6833631@list.cornell.edu

[bounce-3951502-6833631@list.cornell.edu

> ] On Behalf Of lfontes@rcn.com [lfontes@rcn.com]

> Sent: Saturday, May 23, 2009 8:16 AM

> To: Child Maltreatment Researchers

> Subject: Re: Are Therapists Potentially Dangerous?

>

> This feels like a really delicate topic to me, and it would be

> CRUCIAL to distinguish between practices performed in the 80's and

> early 90's when we didn't really know what we were doing in

> therapies for abused children & adults, and what is being done now.

> I could see an appeal to sensationalize "bad therapy" based on

> practices which--one would hope--are no longer being used.

>

> TOni, I certainly hope you'll provide this context in terms of date

> & knowledge. I'm sure you will.

>

> Respectfully,

>

> Lisa Fontes, Ph.D.

>

> ---- Original message ----

>> Date: Fri, 22 May 2009 13:44:20 +0100

>> From: Peter Dale

>> Subject: Re: Are Therapists Potentially Dangerous?

>> To: "Child Maltreatment Researchers"


>> >

>>

>> Toni,

>> Your might like to dig out my 1999 book: Dale, P.

>> (1999) Adults Abused as Children. Experiences of

>> Counselling and Psychotherapy. London: Sage

>> publications

>> This reported my PhD research project in this area,

>> and includes some graphic examples of very damaging

>> 'therapeutic' practice with adults who were abused

>> as children.

>> Regards,

>> Peter

>> Dr Peter Dale & Associates Ltd

>> Independent social work, counselling, training,

>> research, expert witness services

>> Phone: (01424) 424504

>> Mobile: 07903 523 877

>> Email: info@peterdale.co.uk

>> Website: www.peterdale.co.uk

>> On 22 May 2009, at 01:47, Toni Cavanagh Johnson

>> wrote:

>>

>> I am preparing a talk and an article on

>> therapists. My thesis is: Are therapists

>> potentially

>> dangerous?

>>

>> I have examples from my own mistakes and those I

>> have seen with

>> others. Do any of you have concerns about the

>> efficacy of

>> therapists? Are you willing to share with me the

>> concerns? If I were

>> to use the example in a lecture or paper, it would

>> be anonymous.

>>

>> Toni

>> Toni Cavanagh Johnson, Ph.D.

>> 1101 Fremont Avenue, Suite 101

>> South Pasadena, California 91030

>> USA

>> Tel: 626-799-4522

>> FAX: 818-790-0139

>> toni@tcavjohn.com

>> www.tcavjohn.com











Mr. Little, I read this email and it stirred me in a number of ways.

Although I agree that absolute "right" paths regarding human endeavors are

nearly impossible to discern and many "mistakes" or "happy accidents" have

lead to explosions of new ways of doing things (your reference to

antibiotics would be one), I'm am concerned that you paint too broad and

forgiving a road for clinicians to navigate when dealing with serious life-

and welfare-threatening phenomena such as interpersonal and sexual violence.

I remember when I was an inexperienced social worker, I worked with a woman

who was a victim of her boyfriend's regular and repeated violence. I

encouraged her to leave her relationship with this man without providing her

with the proper support, planning and information she needed to leave

safely. I was a newly graduated MSW with good intentions but lacking in

training in how to help this woman leave this relationship in the safest way

possible. I had had no practical training on developing an escape plan,

helping my client identify and develop a support network of friends and

family to keep her safe or what the risk factors are to avoid or address. I

remember the day that I met her at her home shortly after she had broken off

the relationship. She had a black eye, a concussion and her head was

swollen to twice its size. This was the parting gift her boyfriend had

given her. That experience occurred nearly twenty years ago and I still

remember it vividly today. I think what Ms. Cavanaugh-Johnson is trying to

do is commendable. My mistake was conceived and conducted in ignorance. I

believe we can all agree that any clinical practice that is conducted in

ignorance is bad practice. It is my hope that Ms. Cavanaugh-Johnson's work

alleviates more of our ignorance so that we can avoid the kind of mistakes I

have made in my career.



Mr. John M. Polstra, MSW, LCSW

Home-based Family Therapist

Family Works, Inc.

3675 N. Washington Blvd.

Indianapolis, IN 46205

Ph: (317) 923-4437, ext. 411

Fax: (317) 931-1580

Email: jmpolstraatt.net



-----Original Message-----

From: bounce-3959297-6833731list.cornell.edu

[mailto:bounce-3959297-6833731list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Ken Little

Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 9:42 AM

To: 'Child Maltreatment Researchers'

Cc: tonitcavjohn.com

Subject: RE: Are Therapists Potentially Dangerous?



The things we "used to do" are the things we once "currently" did. Many of

today's best practices will become our errors to some future perspective.

There is nothing to sensationalize the things we currently do as all

approaches are based on our best "guesstimates" in this current moment.

Antibiotics and Teflon were once considered invaluable discoveries -- both

have considerable down-sides discovered well after the fact. In retrospect

... would either have been so fully embraced had the future be more

discernable?



As for personal and professional fallibilities, quirks, philosophies, etc.

you will find no human endeavor untouched by these things. Eradicating them

is as undesirable as it is desirable. Who decides which are good and which

are bad? Which group or authority chooses the narrow path for all to walk,

includes those who are able to walk it and excludes those who cannot or do

not adhere? Which philosophies are chosen as the acceptable ones, which as

the unacceptable ones? Since there is no known universal human philosophy or

truth that has existed throughout the ages -- which current and transient

philosophy or set of philosophies or proscribed practices are correct?



When do the personal issues of therapists enhance the richness of the

experience and outcome? When do they detract? When is the more precise

clinician less helpful and when is the more flawed clinician the precise

instrument of the time?



History is filled with examples of this topic run amok. Those deemed

"dangerous" have been burned at the stake, squashed under piles of stone,

gassed and hacked and hung; excluded, shunned, and banished; and most often

-- done so in error by some narrow group who thinks they have the best lead

on what is right and what is wrong.



The very question may be in some ways the most dangerous thing of all.



Ken



-----Original Message-----

From: bounce-3958023-6833746list.cornell.edu

[mailto:bounce-3958023-6833746list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Toni Cavanagh

Johnson

Sent: Monday, May 25, 2009 12:38 PM

To: Child Maltreatment Researchers

Subject: Re: Are Therapists Potentially Dangerous?



I echo Lisa's sentiments also. There is nothing to sensationalize

about the things we used to do. Yet, this is an important training

issue.



My thoughts run more to personal issues of therapists getting in the

way of therapy, e.g. philosophies, theories, money, politics, our

feelings, our needs, our desires, our longings, our biases, "un"

common sense, poor training in basic therapeutic interventions, etc.





Toni Cavanagh Johnson, Ph.D.

1101 Fremont Avenue, Suite 101

South Pasadena, California 91030

USA

Tel: 626-799-4522

FAX: 818-790-0139

tonitcavjohn.com

www.tcavjohn.com









On May 23, 2009, at 7:56 PM, Faller, Kathleen wrote:



> Toni,

> I echo Lisa's sentiments. I would add that there is still much to be

> learned about evidence-based treatment and case-management in child

> sexual abuse and children with sexual behavior problems (I am

> assuming you are addressing practice in your area of expertise).

> Many of our colleagues have to treat complex cases where there is no

> evidence to guide them, or the evidence only addresses a small part

> of the problems that need to be addressed.

> Kathleen Coulborn Faller, Ph.D., A.C.S.W., L.M.S.W.

> Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor of Children and Families

> Director of the Family Assessment Clinic

> School of Social Work

> The University of Michigan

> 1080 S. University

> Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106

> 734 998 9700

>

> kcfallerumich.edu

>

> The information contained in this message may be privileged and

> confidential and is intended only for the use of the named

> recipients. This communication is protected by federal law, both the

> Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and 18

> United States Code Section 2511. If the reader of this message is

> not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you have

> received this in error and that any review, dissemination,

> distribution, or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. If

> you have received this communication in error, please notify me

> immediately by phone (collect, if long distance) and destroy the

> message as you would confidential information

> ________________________________________

> From: bounce-3951502-6833631list.cornell.edu

[bounce-3951502-6833631list.cornell.edu

> ] On Behalf Of lfontesrcn.com [lfontesrcn.com]

> Sent: Saturday, May 23, 2009 8:16 AM

> To: Child Maltreatment Researchers

> Subject: Re: Are Therapists Potentially Dangerous?

>

> This feels like a really delicate topic to me, and it would be

> CRUCIAL to distinguish between practices performed in the 80's and

> early 90's when we didn't really know what we were doing in

> therapies for abused children & adults, and what is being done now.

> I could see an appeal to sensationalize "bad therapy" based on

> practices which--one would hope--are no longer being used.

>

> TOni, I certainly hope you'll provide this context in terms of date

> & knowledge. I'm sure you will.

>

> Respectfully,

>

> Lisa Fontes, Ph.D.

>

> ---- Original message ----

>> Date: Fri, 22 May 2009 13:44:20 +0100

>> From: Peter Dale

>> Subject: Re: Are Therapists Potentially Dangerous?

>> To: "Child Maltreatment Researchers"


>> >

>>

>> Toni,

>> Your might like to dig out my 1999 book: Dale, P.

>> (1999) Adults Abused as Children. Experiences of

>> Counselling and Psychotherapy. London: Sage

>> publications

>> This reported my PhD research project in this area,

>> and includes some graphic examples of very damaging

>> 'therapeutic' practice with adults who were abused

>> as children.

>> Regards,

>> Peter

>> Dr Peter Dale & Associates Ltd

>> Independent social work, counselling, training,

>> research, expert witness services

>> Phone: (01424) 424504

>> Mobile: 07903 523 877

>> Email: infopeterdale.co.uk

>> Website: www.peterdale.co.uk

>> On 22 May 2009, at 01:47, Toni Cavanagh Johnson

>> wrote:

>>

>> I am preparing a talk and an article on

>> therapists. My thesis is: Are therapists

>> potentially

>> dangerous?

>>

>> I have examples from my own mistakes and those I

>> have seen with

>> others. Do any of you have concerns about the

>> efficacy of

>> therapists? Are you willing to share with me the

>> concerns? If I were

>> to use the example in a lecture or paper, it would

>> be anonymous.

>>

>> Toni

>> Toni Cavanagh Johnson, Ph.D.

>> 1101 Fremont Avenue, Suite 101

>> South Pasadena, California 91030

>> USA

>> Tel: 626-799-4522

>> FAX: 818-790-0139

>> tonitcavjohn.com

>> www.tcavjohn.com