February 22, 2008

Recovered memory therapist placed on probation

Before today's sexual predator hysteria came the satanic ritual abuse scare of the 1980s. Many of the day care providers prosecuted and imprisoned in that era have quietly won their freedom due to flaws in the cases against them. But what about the therapists who helped in their prosecutions?

This week, one of the key therapists involved in the satanic ritual scare agreed to be placed on professional probation for violating Utah codes of professional conduct.

Barbara Snow, a licensed clinical social worker, wrote one of the academic articles credited with fueling satanic hysteria. The article, "Ritualistic child abuse in a neighborhood setting" (Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 474-487), described secret, organized rings of satanists preying upon suburban children - claims that have never been verified with any credible evidence.

The Utah therapist was involved in several of the 1980s prosecutions in Utah. Children she interviewed described satanic rituals, cross-dressing, and the consumption of human excrement. One man she testified against was later granted a new hearing after the Utah Supreme Court questioned Snow's credibility.

The current case involved allegations that Snow planted false memories in two of her relatives, convincing a female relative that she was the victim of satanic abuse and military testing, and convincing a male relative that his father had sexually abused him. When investigators looked into the matter, she allegedly provided them with doctored notes of those therapy sessions.

More information on the current case is available from the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret Morning News. Additional background on Snow is here, here, here, and here.

It's fascinating historical reading, but it unfortunately shows that people don't learn from history.


Unknown said...

As a survivor of ritual abuse I know first-hand that I have personally experienced the things the witness described about ritual abuse in the article. No therapist "implanted" my memories of my personal experiences & don't believe Barbara Snow did either. No one wants to believe that ritual abuse exists & I believe they try to discredit anyone who talks about the validity of its existence.

Anonymous said...

Barbara Snow ruined and continues to ruin lives today, because she is still allowed to practice and still promotes her "recovered memory" bs. She is a narcissist who feeds off of the vulnerability of her clients, and she should be shut down forever.

A said...

the difference is, you're saying no one implanted your memories. Barbara Snow's patients had no such memories until she put them through what some described as abusive tactics to convince them they did. one of her victims started a blog about having gone to multiple other therapists, none of whom saw any signs of abuse, and mentioned the initial reason for therapy was just that their parents were divorcing. then Barbara Snow comes in and tries to convince the kid this happened, when there was never any evidence, any weird childhood behavior that would suggest repressed memories, etc.

Richard said...

Whelp, she has her license back. As a survivor of the ritual abuse panic (I have real memories of false events), this is extremely disappointing. Barbara Snow destroyed my family.

I could forgive Snow as a victim of the panic herself, but it is far past time to realize that the whole panic is bogus.