Dr. Ellen Lacter has some bizarre, paranoid, and deeply irrational conspiracist beliefs regarding secret societies, ritual abuse, and mind-control. Described on her website as “a Licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY 9382), a Registered Play Therapist and Supervisor (S444), and a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC17912),” she also prides herself on being a “Past President of the California Association for Play Therapy.” Regularly, however, Dr. Lacter has spoken at conferences where earnest discussions are held regarding the problem of the Illuminati’s incursions into daily affairs, and secretive sanguinary Satanic cults are believed to be insidiously creating an army of brainwashed slaves in a centuries-long plot to dominate the world.
“There are a number of different organized groups that all have the agenda of ruling the world,” Dr. Lacter stated as a matter of fact in one interview, “There’s the Satanic network, and I don’t believe that that is all networked, there’s the witchcraft network,” etc. A living throwback to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, Dr. Lacter believes that these secret societies regularly practice infant sacrifice, sometimes targeting babies in utero to render their crime undetectable, “ “[…] they’ll force the delivery early so seven or eight months gestation and that baby will be sacrificed and then that person will be programmed [by way of mind-control] to believe that she just had a miscarriage.”
The lack of evidence for Dr. Lacter’s claims is, in her view, merely evidence of the organizational efficacy these preternatural secret societies have mastered, and their insidious encroachment into every level of law enforcement and public influence. “Most of the perpetrators of the most organized abuse never get arrested and they raise their kids to have jobs in law enforcement,” Dr. Lacter states, “They raise their kids to have jobs in child protective services and the District Attorney’s offices, etc. So they have their own network established in the institutions to erase records to disbelieve these reports. They have a very organized never-let-it-come-out campaign.” The media has been infiltrated as well: “The most organized groups have raised some of their children to be reporters who definitely write articles saying none of this is true, these therapists are crazy, these survivors are victims of their therapists putting memories in their minds. So the media is very influential and is one of their main ways of keeping the truth from being exposed.”
Concerningly, Dr. Lacter’s strange beliefs can’t be held separate from, and unrelated to, her clinical practice. Listing herself as a specialist in the “treatment of abused children, adolescents, and adults abused as children, Dissociative Disorders, adopted children, and ritual abuse trauma, in addition to general practice with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families,” Dr. Lacter’s public acceptance of conspiracy theories that attribute the diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder to “trauma-based mind-control” plots executed by these various groups that she believes pursue an agenda of world conquest, call into question her competence as a reliable practitioner of mental health care with deference to empirically-supported theories of etiology and intervention.
The danger in allowing a paranoid and deranged conspiracist to practice as a licensed mental health care professional was made tragically clear in 2010 when, after having consulted Ellen Lacter, multimillionaire mother, Gigi Jordan, murdered her own 8-year son under the deluded conviction that she was mercifully sparing the boy, Jude Michael Mirra, from a future of unending torment at the hands of an abusive, unseen Satanic cult.
We do not know what, exactly, Dr. Lacter conveyed to Ms. Jordan when consulting for her, but it is certainly reasonable to suspect that Ms. Jordan would have been better served if she had consulted a rational and competent mental health professional rather than Dr. Lacter. If Ms. Jordan had consulted a sane and rational professional, perhaps Jude Mirra might still be alive today.
It was The Satanic Temple’s Grey Faction that drew the connection from Jude Mirra’s death to Ellen Lacter’s conspiracism prompting us to file a complaint with a demand for an investigation to the California Board of Psychology. This resulted in nothing more than a dismissive letter from the Board simply stating that they looked into the matter and considered it closed.
This year, Dr. Lacter is speaking at the annual conference for the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), an organization that fashions itself as “an international, non-profit, professional association organized to develop and promote comprehensive, clinically effective and empirically based resources and responses to trauma and dissociation and to address its relevance to other theoretical constructs.” But there is no need to alert this respected professional society to the deeply troubling and almost certainly harmful beliefs purveyed by Dr. Lacter.
They are already quite aware.
In fact, Dr. Lacter has previously served as the head of the ISSTD’s “Ritual Abuse/Mind-Control Special Interest Group” (RAMC SIG, now the Ritual Abuse Mind Control Organized Abuse Special Interest Group RAMCOA SIG) where her peers within the mental health profession elaborate upon their conspiracist fears of hidden witchcraft, Satanic assaults upon civilization, and Illuminati mind control challenges to mental hygiene that they presumably believe themselves to have encountered through case studies in their clinical practice.
Just last year, an attendee on behalf of Grey Faction to the 2018 ISSTD conference reported on a presentation called “The Migration Model: A New Approach to Mind Control Treatment in Ritual Abuse Clients,” given by one Eileen Aveni:
[C]asual reference was made to the claims of a woman named “Svali.” This was the first time I had heard this name and the nonchalance with which the name was dropped led me to believe that this person was simply another therapist working on mind control. During the Q/A, an audience member remarked “You mention this ‘Svali’ as though we should all know who this is.” Surely what would follow would be an interesting discussion in which the audience member would push Aveni to explain who this person is and why her claims should be taken for granted. Aveni responded that Svali was a former “Illuminati programmer” who purportedly exposed the group’s mind control protocols. The audience member’s response was a credulous “Oh, ok,” or something to that effect. Aveni clearly believes in the testimony of Svali and it informs her clinical work.
Our attendee (an academic) was appalled by the lack of push-back or skepticism exhibited by the audience of (mostly) mental health professionals, and we should all be disturbed by the fact that licensed professionals were offered Continuing Education Units to sit through all of this deranged drivel.
Curiously, the ISSTD attracts participants, attendees, and speakers that otherwise display no outward attachment to conspiracy theories, but those of whom we have reached out to in the past have been oddly unconcerned with our warnings against attaching their professional reputations to such debunked, dangerous imbecilities as those peddled at ISSTD conferences. Writing to Dr. Donna Hicks last year, a plenary speaker at the 2018 conference, and associate at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, I stated:
I am writing to you in regards to your upcoming scheduled participation as a speaker in the “Plenary Session” of this year’s annual conference for the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD). On the face of it, the ISSTD seems to be a professional organization for experts in trauma and the study of dissociation. However, with a knowledge of the history of the ISSTD as well as a knowledge of the content of the materials the ISSTD produces, I think you’ll find that there is much that there is much cause for concern in attaching your reputation to an organization that espouses harmful pseudoscience, bizarre debunked conspiracy theories, and provably harmful “therapeutic” practices.The ISSTD was founded during the “Satanic Panic” in which “recovered memory” narratives were taken as evidence of a vast Satanist conspiracy. ISSTD founder, Bennett Braun, then a “nationally recognized authority on Multiple Personality Disorder,” lost his license to practice after a malpractice suit in which he was alleged to have led an inpatient of his to believe she had been raised in an “intergenerational Satanic cult” wherein she was forced to engage in unspeakable crimes including infant sacrifice and cannibalism. The ISSTD still venerates Braun and offer no censure against his methods of practice.
In fact, you’ll find that Braun’s techniques of memory “retrieval” are still very much endorsed by the ISSTD, as evidenced by the copious number of hypnosis seminars at each of their annual conferences, including those scheduled to take place this year.
Not only are the harmful techniques that create deeply-held delusions during the course of therapy still endorsed, the conspiracist narratives regarding “Satanic Ritual Abuse” are still openly endorsed as well. These careless accusations that ruined lives during the 80s and the 90s are still propagated by the ISSTD “Ritual Abuse/Mind Control Special Interest Group” (RA/MC SIG).
Dr. Hicks never replied.
Recently, in regards to the coming 2019 conference, Grey Faction director Evan Anderson wrote to scheduled speaker Dr. Benjamin Keyes, Director for Center for Trauma and Resiliency Studies- Divine Mercy University in Virginia:
Dear Dr. Keyes,
I noticed that you are scheduled to present at the upcoming annual conference of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). I want to make sure you are aware of the ISSTD’s propagation of the debunked conspiracy theory of Satanic ritual abuse.
At least half of the ISSTD’s Founders and several past Presidents have astonishing beliefs and practices.
- One believes he can shoot beams from his eyes, has been accused of instilling the belief in a patient that she was forcibly impregnated by extraterrestrials, and firmly believes Dissociative Identity Disorder patients are victims of CIA mind control experiments.
- Many have had malpractice judgements and settlements against them for millions of dollars. Most or all of these were cases of implanted false memories.
- One ISSTD Lifetime Achievement Award recipient advocated for debunked Facilitated Communication as evidence in the murder case of an 8 year old autistic boy. His evidence was in defense of this child’s killer who supposedly murdered the child to put him out of his misery.
Other presenters at this year’s ISSTD conference have even more worrisome beliefs. If you’d like, I’d be happy to provide sources for each of the claims above, and/or elaborate on the disturbing beliefs of others scheduled to speak at the conference.
Is this the type of organization and people you would like to be associated with? What are your views on Satanic ritual abuse, repressed memories, and recovered memory therapy?
To which Dr. Keyes gave a hysterical and wildly unprofessional reply:
Please do not reply to this message. You are clearly delusional and I would suggest help, though I think that you might believe you are beyond that. Most of the ‘facts’ you state are out of context designed to fit your confabulated rhetoric. You clearly do not have an understanding of this are and I can only hope you find your way out. Blessings- BKeyes
Benjamin B. Keyes, Ph.D., Ed.D.
Director of Training and Internship- Eastern States
Director Center for Trauma and Resiliency Studies
Executive Director Green Cross Academy of Traumatology
Divine Mercy University
2001 Jefferson Davis Hwy Suite 508
Arlington, VA 22202
“…God is Love.” (I John 4:8)
I can only assume that this blasé attitude derives from a confidence that — given the long-standing history of public ignorance to the ISSTD’s lunacy and the utter lack of regulatory intervention against their purveyance of quackery and conspiracy theory — there will be no consequences against those who attach their professional names to the organization now.
But I think the time is well past due that we do at least give the speakers and participants at the ISSTD conferences pause, and try to make them consider that their complicity in the spread of destructive delusions will not be forgotten. It is time we hold them accountable and demand answers. It is time we fight to see that mental health care is taken seriously, and that crippling paranoid delusions are not propagated by way of pseudoscientific “therapy.”
If you have a Twitter account, use the ISSTD conference hashtag #ISSTDAC19 to ask the speakers to justify their presence among the likes of Dr. Lacter. Ask them to explain their presence at a conference where the ISSTD’s RAMCOA SIG will propagate conspiracist paranoia about secretive cults that practice mind-control. Feel free to write to individual speakers scheduled to present at this year’s annual conference between March 30 to April 1st and ask them if they choose to ignore the plight of Jude Mirra and the preponderance of evidence that shows the ideas being propagated by the ISSTD are not only wrong, but devastating and tragic. Feel free to write to the employers of the speakers and participants of the ISSTD conference and let them know that you expect higher professional standards than those that would accept Continuing Education Units earned through the ISSTD. Let those who stand with the ISSTD know that you will not allow them to pretend to advocate for victims while ignoring science and history.
Let them know that their Satanic Panic is being brought to an end, and their names shall be preserved in ignominy.
For more information about the ISSTD and Grey Faction, go to www.GreyFaction.org