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Spiritual Emergency/Emergence/Counseling
Record Type: Review   ID: 295

Satanic Ritual Abuse: Principles of Treatment

Ross, Colin A.

 Colin Ross is a therapist who takes patients’ memories of satanic ritual abuse (SRA) seriously. This is not the same as saying he believes they in fact are bonafide cases of SRA. Rather, he has encountered more than 300 patients who recall SRA in his practice (his specialty is the treatment of those suffering from dissociative disorders). However, he has not verified the existence of a widespread satanic network, but he remains open to the possibility that some of the memories of his patients are historically accurate. He advises therapists to maintain an attitude between disbelief and being caught up, if momentarily, in the patient’s recollections as if they really occurred. The principles of treatment he sets forth are grounded in his work with patients suffering from multiple personality disorder, for most of the SRA patients he has encountered are members of this group. He has done the groundwork anyone must do who looks into the reality of an exceptional experience of any type. Part I consists of four chapters on "The Historical and Social Background" of the SRA phenomena from secret societies throughout history to current non-satanic cult activity in North America. Next come three chapters on "Satanic Cults Today": "Five Levels of Satanism," "Satanism and Multiple Personality Disorder" and "Alternative Hypotheses of Ritual Abuse." The third part consists of three chapters on therapeutic techniques for SRA survivors. The last section is composed of two chapters on "Society’s Response to Satanism," one on "Extremes of Skepticism and Denial" and the other on future directions. One of the most active critics of those who take SRA seriously, Elizabeth E. Loftus, was invited to write an Afterword. Her discussion centers on criticisms of the truth claims of SRA.
Publisher Information:Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995. Pp. xiv + 228. Bibl: 211-218; Index: 219-228
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