Originally emailed 18 September 2002
Myrick Resolution Passes House
Rep. Myrick “rebirthing” resolution passed the House yesterday. There were no opposing votes cast. That may have something to do with the fact that even Attachment Therapists want this red herring to pass. Of all the violent, unvalidated, restraint practices that make up Attachment Therapy (AT), rebirthing was insignificant. Today there are no signs that it is done at all.
Meanwhile, other violent AT “therapies” using restraint, continue on with names such as “holding therapy,” “compression therapy,” “rage reduction,” and the like.
After doing something about rebirthing, Congress may be less likely to concern itself in the future with the other AT restraint therapies. One observer rightly commented that Myrick has “played into the hands” of the AT therapists. That now goes for the House of Representatives, as well.
Myrick’s resolution originally stated four children had died from rebirthing. Only Candace Newmaker has died from rebirthing. Our count of all fatalies from AT practices is currently eight children.
Associated Press, “House Condemns Rebirthing Therapy,” Washington Post, 17 Sep 2002
On the Net: Congress
Rosa Awarded the S.P.I.T.
The Science and Pseudoscience Review Special Interest Group (SIG) is pleased to announce that the recipient of its Third Annual Scientific and Professional Integrity (SPIT) award is Linda Rosa. Linda, who is a full-time nurse, is Colorado Coordinator for the National Council Against Health Fraud. [ed. note: she is now in addition the Executive Director for ACT]
Specifically, we are recognizing Linda for her heroic and untiring efforts on behalf of psychological science in response to the tragic death of 10 year old Candace Newmaker last year. Candace Newmaker was smothered to death in Evergreen, Colorado, by two attachment therapists who were practicing “rebirthing” therapy, an entirely unsubstantiated and scientifically questionable treatment technique. This technique is premised on the scientifically unsupported notions that (a) one of the primary causes of psychopathology is the trauma of birth and (b) one must “relive” this birth trauma to effect substantial changes in current psychopathology. It is essential to emphasize that there are no adequately controlled published studies supporting the efficacy of rebirthing therapy for any psychological disturbances.
Linda, along with her husband Larry Sarner (both of whom, incidentally, co-authored the now-famous debunking of Therapeutic Touch in the Journal of the American Medical Association along with their daughter Emily), played an extremely active role as citizen advocates following Candace Newmaker’s tragic death. Specifically, Linda supplied the Colorado District Attorney’s office with a considerable amount of useful information regarding rebirthing “theory” and therapy, as well as the punitive practices involved in the “holding therapies” used by the attachment therapists prior to Candace Newmaker’s death. In addition, Linda collected information regarding rebirthing therapy from mental health professionals around the country (including SIG member Scott Lilienfeld) and forwarded this information to the District Attorney’s office and to others interested in halting the unsubstantiated and potentially harmful rebirthing practices that led to Candace Newmaker’s death. Linda also played an active role in communicating the hazards of rebirthing therapy to the popular press and various media outlets. Finally, Linda and Larry helped to counter concerted efforts by advocates of rebirthing and similar therapies (e.g., primal scream therapy, reparenting) to come to the defense of the therapists charged in the Candace Newmaker case.
For these scientifically and socially important efforts, we thank Linda Rosa and present her with our Third Annual SPIT award in recognition of her service on behalf of psychological science.
Caution: links may have aged since this AT News was first emailed.