Therapists Go Rogue

When Family Rights Are Undermined by Child Protective Services It was a case that should have been on the front page of every major newspaper, or the opening story on every newsfeed—a case that seemed to have more akin to a bad horror flick than to reality. In the spring of 2019, police arrested 18 people in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy for allegedly “brainwashing” children into believing they had been abused by their parents. These people—therapists, social workers, and others of the helping professions—used coercive therapeutic techniques to convince children they had been sexually abused or even forced into satanic activities.[1] Methods included leading questions (in which the answer was presumed), electroshock, the alteration of children’s drawings to add details of an explicitly sexual nature, and even dressing up as the evil characters of fairy tales.[2] Once separated from their parents, the children were given to foster parents in exchange for money. The scheme, reports the Guardian, involved “hundreds of thousands of Euros.” At least some of the children were then sexually abused by their new foster parents.[3] The investigation, code-named “Angels and Demons,” began in 2018 when police noticed an unusually high number of child-abuse allegations in the region. Details were recorded via wire-taps and hidden cameras, and the footage is horrific. In one taped session, a therapist is recorded telling a child, “Now we must do a big thing together. Do you know what? We must pretend that we are mourning. Your father does not exist as a father any more, it is as if he were dead, we must make a funeral for him.”[4] And the parents? Many were tried and subsequently imprisoned. The machine had been running successfully for two decades, and many of the children involved are now adults who still believe their parents perpetrated unspeakable acts against them. Gifts that parents sent to children were found in stor
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