New? Update – March 25, 2003
times of turmoil, I wish you all the best, and join with people worldwide
who hope for peace and healing.
As I had
hoped, Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea has given me permission to post a copy
of her letter to acting bishop Richard Lennon, protesting attempts by
lawyers for the Boston Archdiocese to depose therapists of victims/survivors
of clergy sexual abuse. The letter was printed in the Boston Globe. It
follows, with the list of professionals who signed it.
January 20, 2003
Most Reverend Richard G. Lennon
Archdiocese of Boston
2121 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02135-3193
We the undersigned
are clinicians, authors, clergy, and/or researchers who have been active
in the area of psychological trauma, including childhood sexual abuse,
for many years. We are writing from deep concern about the decision of
the Archdiocese of Boston to depose therapists with whom you have contracted
to provide clinical services to adult survivors of sexual abuse by priests.
relationship and the healing process therein are successful only to the
extent that the therapy is impervious to disruptive impingements from
others. In order to heal, any patient must be assured that conversations
taking place in the consultation room are confidential. Under ordinary
circumstances, confidentiality is broken only if the patient intends to
harm herself/himself or someone else, and/or if the patient discloses
that a minor is being abused or neglected. Most therapists make these
exceptions to confidentiality clear to a patient early on. Although confidentiality
is always sacred, it is even more so with patients whose bodies, minds,
and souls already have been betrayed by loved and trusted figures in their
We who are
experienced in working with former victims of sexual abuse must assert
that your willingness to allow your attorneys to invade the confidentiality
of a survivor’s psychotherapeutic treatment by deposing his or her
therapist is an act of reabuse. In June of this year in a nationally televised
speech in Dallas, Bishop Wilton Gregory, the President of The United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops invited all victims of sexual abuse by
clergy to come forward and he pledged the commitment of the American Catholic
Church to help these members of the faithful heal. He said, “If
there is anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse by a priest or representative
of the Church in the United States and has not yet reported this fact,
I ask you to report it to the Bishop of your diocese and to the appropriate
civil authorities. Though this may be a very difficult step for you, the
Church does love you and wants to help you find justice and healing.”
Many dioceses, including Boston, made similar pleas. Often, victims coming
forward have been offered psychotherapy as one reparative gesture provided
by the Church. Many victims, perhaps hoping to restore their faith in
the compassion and good will of the Church they still love, indeed stepped
forward and availed themselves of the promised assistance. At the time,
they were not informed that if they also were involved in litigation with
the Church, their therapy conversations would be subject to depositions.
Is it not painfully apparent to you that to call forth victims whose therapies
you then allow to be penetrated and dismantled reenacts the seduction
and abuse perpetrated by the original abuser?
to revictimizing already traumatized victims of clergy abuse, subjecting
therapists to depositions also traumatizes them. It is a shock for any
therapist to experience the invasion of his or her consultation room by
attorneys seeking information about a patient that may be used to discredit
him or her in legal proceedings. Moreover, responding to subpoenas, preparing
for and enduring depositions, and later perhaps having to testify in court
removes the therapist from his or her own practice, thus disrupting the
treatments of even more patients. Finally, in most cases, the therapy
with the trauma survivor will be permanently harmed by the intrusion of
the legal system.
are in relationship with trauma survivors sometimes experience themselves
as victims while survivors can end up subjectively feeling like abusers.
While the Archdiocese of Boston has a legal right to pursue the depositions
of therapists treating abuse survivors in litigation with the Church,
it is crucial for Church officials to remember that these suits have emerged
from the sexual abuse of minors by priests and, often, only after years
of stonewalling efforts by the hierarchy. We hope that you will reconsider
your decision to retraumatize the already broken members of your flock
and will choose to pursue a pastoral rather than corporate and counter-litigious
Chairman Mao launched in China the “Let One Hundred Flowers Bloom”
campaign. In it, he asked that the citizens of China freely discuss their
reactions to his regime. It was all a ruse. As people gratefully reached
for what they perceived to be an outstretched hand, many ended up slaughtered
or imprisoned. To invite adults who were tragically betrayed by priests
and by your predecessor bishops to come forward to be helped only to betray
them again is cruelly reminiscent of Mao’s tactics. Please do not
do this to your wounded faithful.
Frawley-O’Dea, Ph.D. Executive Director, Trauma Treatment Center,
Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis; Co-author, Treating the Adult
Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse; Invited speaker, Semiannual Meeting
of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Dallas, June 2002.
5 Opal Court
New City, NY 10956
MA, NCC, LPC. Partners in Healing. Peoria, IL.
Judith L. Alpert, Ph.D. Professor of Applied Psychology, New York University;
Editor, Sexual Abuse Recalled. NYC.
David Brennan, MSW, LICSW. Psychotherapist, Private Practice. Boston,
Bill Burmester, MA. Marriage and Family Therapist; Training Leader, Relational
Psychotherapy with Male Survivors, University of California, Berkeley;
Clinical Member, MaleSurvivor. Berkeley, CA.
Margaret A. Carr, Ph.D. Private Practice; Candidate, New York University
Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. Princeton, NJ.
James Cassese, CSW. New York City.
Andrea Celenza, Ph.D. Consultant on clergy sexual misconduct to Episcopal
Diocese of Northeastern United States, Northeast Diocese of Catholic Churches,
Conference of American Rabbis. Lexington, MA.
Rev. Maureen Chase. Littleton, MA.
Richard A. Chefetz, MD. President, International Society for the Study
of Dissociation; Faculty, Washington School of Psychiatry; Founding Member
and Faculty, Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis;
Faculty, Modern Perspectives in Psychoanalysis, Washington Psychoanalytic
Foundation. Washington, DC.
Christine A. Courtois, Ph.D. Psychologist; Cofounder, Clinical and Training
Director, The CENTER: Posttraumatic Disorders Program at the Psychiatric
Institute of Washington; Independent Practice. Washington, DC.
John F. Crowe, MS, CRC, BCSA. Co-director, Sexual Assault Mental Health
Project, Mental Health Association of Ulster County, Inc. Albany, NY.
Davies, Ph.D. Psychoanalyst; New York University Postdoctoral Program
in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy; Co-author, Treating the Adult Survivor
of Childhood Sexual Abuse. New York City.
Muriel Dimen, Ph.D. Psychoanalyst; New York University Postdoctoral Program
in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. New York City.
Peter Dimock, MSW, LICSW. Faculty, School of Social Work, University of
Minnesota; Author, Adults Molested as Children: A Survivors Guide for
Men and Women. St. Paul, MN.
Anne Marie Dooley, CSW, BCD. Private Practice. New York City.
Martha Douty, BSW, MSW Candidate. Worcester, MA.
Ann Drake, Psy.D. Private Practice. Gloucester, MA.
Kathleen M. Dwyer, BA. Institute for Health and Recovery. Cambridge, MA.
Leslie R. Fenn, M.D. Community Psychiatry, Somerville, MA; Staff Psychiatrist,
Cambridge Health Alliance of Harvard Medical School.
The Reverend Anne C. Fowler. Episcopal Priest, Rector, St. John's
Episcopal Church, Jamaica Plain, MA.
Howard R. Fradkin, Ph.D. Psychologist; Chairperson, MaleSurvivor Retreat
Committee. Columbus, OH.
David Friedman, Psy.D. Psychologist, Rockland County Child & Adolescent
Services; Private Practice. West Nyack, NY.
Mary L. Froning, Psy.D. Psychologist; Former President, District of Columbia
Psychological Association. Washington, DC.
Glen O. Gabbard, MD. Professor of Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine.
Richard B. Gartner, Ph.D. President, MaleSurvivor; Founding Director,
Sexual Abuse Program, William Alanson White Institute; Author, Betrayed
as Boys. New York City.
Mark Gianino, MSW, LICSW. Private Practice; Adjunct Professor, Simmons
College School of Social Work. Boston, MA.
Esther Giller. Chief Executive Officer, Sidran Institute for Traumatic
Stress Education and Advocacy. Baltimore, MD.
Marc Gilmartin, MA. Past Membership Chair, MaleSurvivor. Bellevue, WA.
Arnold Goldberg, MD. Cynthia Harris Professor of Psychiatry, Rush Presbyterian
St. Luke’s Hospital. Chicago, IL.
Virginia Goldner, Ph.D. Psychoanalyst; Clinical Professor of Psychology,
Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University.
New York City.
Douglas Goldschmidt, CSW, Ph.D. New York City.
Ellen T. Goodman, LICSW. Faculty, Simmons School of Social Work. Jamaica
Judy Gotthoffer, BCETS, CSW. New York City.
Sue Grand, Ph.D. Psychoanalyst; Faculty, New York University Post-Doctoral
Program; author, The Reproduction of Evil. Englewood, NJ.
Green, MSSW, CSW-R. Co-Director, Trauma Treatment Center, Manhattan Institute
for Psychoanalysis. New York City.
Frances K. Grossman, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, Boston University. Boston,
Valentina Harrell, Ph.D. Psychologist; Psychoanalyst. Affiliated with
Columbia University and William Alanson White Institute. New York City.
Thom Harrigan, LICSW. Co-director, Next Step Counseling and Training.
Jamaica Plain, MA.
Elizabeth Hegeman, Ph.D. Faculty, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
and William Alanson White Institute. New York City.
Richard Hoffman. Writer-in-Residence, Dept. of Writing, Literature, and
Publishing, Emerson College. Boston, MA.
William C. Holmes, MD, MSCE. Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology;
Senior Scholar, Center for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University
of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Philadelphia, PA.
Gloria B. Horvitz, LICSW. Private Practice. West Roxbury, MA.
Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D. Psychologist; Adjunct Associate Professor, New
York University; author, “The Role of Trauma and Dissociation in
the Creation and Reproduction of Gender.” Private Practice. Brooklyn,
John W. Jones. Marriage and Family Therapist; Supervisor, Counseling Department,
California Pediatric and Family Services. Pasadena, CA.
Kelly, Ph.D. Faculty, Advanced Psychotherapy Training Program, Washington
School of Psychiatry; Faculty, Doctoral Program, Psychoanalytic Psychology,
George Washington University; Senior Staff Consultant, Adele Lebowitz
Center for Youth and Families; Private Practice. Silver Spring, MD.
Eugene C. Kennedy, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Loyola University
of Chicago; author, The Unhealed Wound: The Church and Human Sexuality.
Sue Kolod, Ph.D. Psychologist; Psychoanalyst; Faculty and Supervisor,
William Alanson White Institute, New York City.
Beth Lawrence, CSW. Co-Director, Trauma Treatment Center, Manhattan Institute
for Psychoanalysis. Brooklyn, New York.
Mike Lew, M.Ed. The Next Step Counseling; author, Leaping Upon the Mountain:
Men Proclaiming Victory Over Sexual Child Abuse. Brookline, MA.
Donna Robin Lippman, M.S. Executive Director, Incest Awareness Foundation;
Director, Incest and Rape Recovery Center. New York City.
David Lisak, Ph.D. Editor, Men and Masculinity; Department of Psychology,
University of Massachusetts. Boston, MA.
John McDargh, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Religion and Psychology, Department
of Theology, Boston College. Boston, MA.
Nancy McWilliams, Ph.D. Psychoanalyst; Professor, Graduate School of Applied
and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University; Private Practice. Flemington,
BA. Clinical Psychology Doctoral Candidate and Masters Candidate in Human
Sexuality, Widener University. Stewart Manor, New York.
Charles G. Martel, LICSW. Boston, MA.
Marcie Mitler, M.Ed. Psychotherapist, Sexual Abuse Specialist, Cambridge.
Mikele Rauch, M.A., LMFT. Membe, MaleSurvivor. Waban, MA.
Philip A. Ringstrom, Ph.D., Psy.D. Senior Training Analyst, Supervising
Analyst, Faculty, Board of Directors Member, The Institute of Contemporary
Psychoanalysis. Encino, CA.
Geraldine Russo, CSW. New York City.
Mark T. Sammons, Ph.D. Psychologist. Adelphi University Postdoctoral Program.
New York City.
Emily Samuelson, Ph.D. The Soaring Project: Thriving Beyond Childhood
Sexual Abuse. Towson, MD.
Linda T. Sanford, LICSW. Boston College Graduate School of Social Work;
author, Strong at the Broken Places and The Silent Children.
Joan E. Sarnat, Ph.D., ABPP. Psychoanalyst; author, “Working in
the Spaces Between Psychoanalytic and Trauma Approaches to Stories of
Abuse.” Berkeley, CA.
Bert H. Schaffner, M.D. Medical Director, HIV Service and Supervising
Analyst, William Alanson White Institute. New York City.
Schane, MD. Faculty, Masterson Institute for Psychoanalytic Psychology.
New York City.
Jim Schmidt. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Sidran Institute,
Traumatic Stress Education and Advocacy. Baltimore, MD.
Dennis G. Shulman, Ph.D. Founding Director, The National Training Program
in Psychoanalysis; Professor, The Kollel Program of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish
Institute of Religion. Demarest, NJ.
Nancy B. Siegel, MSW. Leadership Council for Mental Health, Justice, and
the Media. Bala Cynwyd, PA.
Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D. Author and editor, The Dissociative Child., Baltimore,
Zoya S. Silve, Ed.D. Private Practice. Cambridge, MA.
Ken Singer, LCSW. Member, MaleSurvivor. Lambertville, NJ.
A.W. Richard Sipe, MS. La Jolla, CA.
Josef Spiegel, Ph.D. Wellsprings Psychotherapy; Author, The Sexual Abuse
of Males: The SAM Model of Theory and Practice. Asheville, NC.
Jim Struve, LCSW. Psychotherapist; Member, MaleSurvivor. Salt Lake City,
Ellis Waingrow, MSW, LICSW. Newton, MA.
Gillian Walker, ACSW. Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, New
York University Medical School; Former Co-Director, The Incest and Family
Program, Ackerman Institute for the Family; Director, Unique Minds Program,
New York University Child Study Center. New York City.
Webb, Ed.D. Psychologist. Associate Director, South Shore Counseling Center.
Ned Weisman, LICSW. Clinical Director, Centerpoint; Private Practice.
Elaine Westerlund, Ed.D., DABPS, DAPA. Cofounder and Director, Incest
Resources, Inc; author, Responding to Incest: In Memory of Nancy (commissioned
and published by the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts) and Women’s
Sexuality After Childhood Incest. Cambridge, MA.
Charles Whitfield, MD. Specialist in trauma psychology. Atlanta, GA.
Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D. Psychologist; Psychoanalyst; Clinical Associate
Professor of Psychiatry, University of Vermont Medical College. Worcester,
Gadi Zohar, MFT. Member, MaleSurvivor. San Francisco, CA.
CC: Sue Archibald,
President, The LinkUp (via e-mail and U.S. mail)
Pam Belluck, The New York Times (via e-mail and Fax)
Barbara Blaine, President, SNAP (via e-mail)
Mark Chopko, General Counsel, US Conference of Catholic Bishops (via e-mail
and U.S. mail)
David Clohessy, Executive Director, SNAP (via e-mail and Fax)
Most Rev. Wilton Gregory, President, US Conference of Catholic Bishops
(via Fax and U.S. mail to Belleville, IL)
Fr. Gary Hayes, Executive Board Member, The Linkup (via e-mail and U.S.
Andrea Johnson, Chair, Survivor’s Committee, Voice Of The Faithful
Rev. Ted Keating, Conference of Major Superiors of Men (via e-mail and
Michael Paulson, The Boston Globe Spotlight Team. (via e-mail and Fax).
James E. Post, President, Voice Of The Faithful. (via e-mail and Fax)
Wilson D. Rogers, Jr., Esq., Counsel, Archdiocese of Boston. (via Fax
and U.S. mail).
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