I’m W(r)ong about almost everything

ACC Minister Nick Smith was conveniently absent for Parliament today when questions were raised by Green and Labour MPs about the proposed changed to ACC counselling for sexual abuse victims. So Associate Minister Pansy Wong was left to carry the can.

7. Hon DAVID PARKER (Labour) to the Minister for ACC: How will the proposed changes to the treatment of sensitive claims meet the legal requirements of the ACC scheme to provide “for a fair and sustainable scheme for managing personal injury that has, as its overriding goals, minimising both the overall incidence of injury in the community, and the impact of injury on the community”?

Hon PANSY WONG (Acting Minister for ACC) : ACC’s proposed changes to the treatment guidelines for mental injury resulting from sexual abuse are based on a comprehensive 5-year programme of clinical research commissioned by the corporation. The Massey University school of psychology undertook this research with a team comprising 23 researchers and an advisory committee of 13 people. A multi-method approach was taken, utilising quantitative and qualitative analysis, literature reviews, questionnaires, and focus groups. The research team included specialists in survivor advocacy, psychology, counselling, education, migrant resettlement, indigenous issues, and the mental health of children and older people.

Well, that’s the only bit she got right. Pity, though, that she didn’t actually read the report from the Massey University School of Psychology.

Hon David Parker: Will the Minister release the medical and scientific evidence that the Minister has relied upon to conclude that the current clinical pathway for the treatment of victims of childhood sexual abuse is not satisfactory, and why were the professional bodies of the current treatment providers excluded from meaningful consultation?

Hon PANSY WONG: I am very pleased to table the report by Massey University commissioned by the corporation, Sexual Abuse and Mental Injury: Practice Guidelines for Aotearoa New Zealand. It was somehow totally forgotten and neglected by the previous Labour Government.

The Minister says nothing significant actually. The Massey University report (PDF 1.115 MB))was released in March 2008, and actually suggests increased flexibility because of the different victim responses of child v adult sexual abuse and the different victime responses of single instance of abuse to systematic abuse. It does not recommend restrictive regulation, as the Government is proposing – actually it would imply greater flexibility is required.

Sue Bradford: How does the Minister reconcile the proposal to impose an arbitrary cap on ACC funding for counselling for victims of sexual abuse with the statement by the Prime Minister in a recent speech to the Sensible Sentencing Trust that “where New Zealanders do become victims of crime, National will give them the support and respect they deserve.”?

Hon PANSY WONG: Indeed, this is a new guideline. It has been proposed because it is not fair or right for victims to have one-size-fits-all treatment, so this proposed treatment takes into account tailored treatment for survivors whether they are women, men, children, adolescents, Māori, Pasifika, or ethnic.

But the proposed guidelines, unlike the former regime that relied on clinical judgment of the treatment provider, are a one-size fits all treatment regime, with a claimant being required to demonstrate exceptional circumstances – a very high test in law – to get extended counselling beyond the guideline norm.

Lynne Pillay: Can the Minister reassure childhood sexual abuse victims that the proposed ACC cuts will not detrimentally impact their quality of life; if so, how?

Hon PANSY WONG: Indeed, all those have been taken into account because this Government is committed to improving the life of survivors and—

Hon Members: Rubbish!

Hon PANSY WONG: This is a very serious issue. The Opposition might feel agitated and not want to know the real reasons, but others might. According to this study, victims’ traumatic ordeals should be seen as a complex life experience and not as a disorder or life sentence. That is why the best-practice treatment is being implemented.

But best-practice treatment is not being implemented. This regime sets a limit of maximum 16 sessions of therapy, with “exceptional circumstaces being required to gain greater entitlement, That is not what the Massey University study recomended, other than for one-off instances of adult rape or sexual asault – see p.80 of report linked to above.

Sue Bradford: Why is the Government requiring victims of sexual abuse to see at least three different health professionals, and does the Minister think it is easy for victims to go over their traumatic experiences, over and over again, with strangers?

Hon PANSY WONG: Indeed, the clinical research conducted by Massey University is not asking victims to relive their traumatic ordeals. This is tailor-made clinical treatment that takes into account each survivor’s personal circumstances.

The report isn’t, and the Associate Minister is correct in that regard. But she is obfuscating and lying. The Massey University report doesn’t recommend victims of sexual assault have to relate the experience to three different health professionals before cover and entitlements can begin. It is the proposed Government policy that does that.

UPDATE: There has been a partial backdown.

Dr Kevin Morris, said last night that the proposal would be modified in response to feedback before it comes into force on September 14.

“The provider/assessor split – we won’t be taking that because I don’t think that’s going to work,” he said.

“Individuals having to disclose to a number of different people – that has always been a problem in this area. We have no intention of trying to make it any worse than it is. We are quite keen to improve that.”

He said the agency also had no intention of removing a client’s right to choose their own therapist.

How embarrassing for the Associate Minister who denied only a few hours before that the original proposal would require disclosures to additional health professionals!

34 thoughts on “I’m W(r)ong about almost everything

  1. Hi There, congratulations to a great post. It’s exciting to see that the issue is picked up not only by the opposition in parliament but also by fellow bloggers.

    I am part of the group of members of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists who formulated an open letter to the Minister of ACC that was presented to him yesterday morning. Very satisfying to see the members of parliament using our questions almost verbatim!

    If you or any of your readers are interested to read and distribute the original letter you can find it on my blog

  2. Agree that victims of sexual abuse should have ACC funding, just like any accident victim.

    With a physical injury the care providers (doctors, surgeons, physio, etc.) there is an easily measured patient status to report on, with mental trauma this is much more difficult.

    It leaves the whole field open to exploitation by the phychotherapist market. One could quite easily milk the system by declaring that a patient needs continueing treatment, even if not required.

    So how then to measure if a patient treatment is complete? Peer review? Can the NZL association of phycotherapists be trusted to provide second and third opinions?

    One could envisage an never ending case requiring treatment at the ACC (tax payer)expense simply on the say so of a manipulative phycotherapist.

    Somewhere we must have a limit to funding, the NZL tax take is down significantly and the state cannot keep provide unlimited funding.

    I see this more of a rear guard action by phycotherapist that is more attuned to protecting their “patch” then to the well being of patients.

    For opposition political parties to use the NZL A of P patsy (pun intended)question (so proudly proclaimed by Gudrun) is just a gullable use of question time in parliament and resulted in the questions being used for nothing more then political point scoring.

    The real question is how to get the best bang for buck with the dwindeling finaces avaialable to ACC to treat the patients.

    Somehow that never seems to get asked nor promoted by the NZL A of P.

    I’m all in favour of peer review (after all we measure global climate change facts by peer review) so if the NZL A of P has a problem with that. Get used to to it, this is the real world of limited financial capacity.

    So Gundrun, get your association to come up with how you could treat the victims better and for less cost. Not get the gullable opposition to ask patsy and self serving questions in parliamant.

  3. Thanks for the link Gudrun. I’ve worked as an ACC claimant advocate for a number of years, so know just how difficult it will be for claimants to meet the “exceptional circumstances” test to obtain extended counselling.

    And for very vulnerable and traumatised people to have to tell their story to three different health profesionals before they get thereapy can hardly be best practice.

    Gerrit – I suspect there may be the odd bad egg among psychotherapist and counsellors, just as there probably is amongst all categoroes of health professional, who will milk the system by providing ongoing and unnecessary treatment. But what evidence is there that this is a widespread problem? And why should the client be forced to jump through the hoops because of it? Surely a peer review of the therapy after a certain number of sessions – without the client having to be reinterviewed by the reviewing therapist – would be a more appropriate way to go if this is something that needs to be addressed.

    And as the NZ Association of Psychotherapists points out in its oppen letter, the annual costs of ACC entitlements to sexual abuse survivors is $19m, while the cost of administering ACCs Sensitive Claims Unit is about $30m. If there is any fat in the system to be cut, surely most of it is in the bureacracy.

  4. The problem of sexual abuse in our society and sexual abuse recovery is much to complex to discuss in-depth on a rainy Wednesday morning. Just some food for thoughts:

    Sexual abuse is NOT an accident – its a problem of a society that – to a large extend – looks the other way when children get sexually assaulted by mainly males. So, I disagree that ACC is the ‘logical’ agency to deal with recovery from sexual abuse.

    I really like to meet that person who first spread the rumour that counselling is a fun thing to do and clients have nothing better to do than going to therapy week after week, year after year for a cup of coffee and a pat on the back. – Which also implies that counsellors have nothing better to do than spending perfectly good money for an education they will then quickly forget because all they wanted in the first place was to get a license that enables them to the cup of coffee/pat on the back routine for years to come … and sending the bill for that to ACC. An extraordinary train of thought!

    It’s sad to see that counter-arguments rarely go any deeper than the gravy-train syndrome. Nobody has a problem with peer-review > although that is just as reliable or unreliable than any oversight conducted by a human being who comes with his/her own set of biases, preferences, and prejudices. There are perfectly good and scientifically tested instruments that measure outcome much more accurately than through peer review. Even more so when the peer is not a peer.

  5. Toad,

    I have no doubt feather bedding is NOT a problem in the psychoanalysis market.

    Just raising the point that a lobby group, approaching members of parliament, should be treated no differently and with the same critical (even jaundiced) eye as say the AA or Road Transport lobby groups asking for more roads.

    They are pushing a barrow.


    You are right the sexual abuse victims should come under the mental health cover not accident.

    And no, am not advocating that

    because all they wanted in the first place was to get a license that enables them to the cup of coffee/pat on the back routine for years to come … and sending the bill for that to ACC. An extraordinary train of thought!

    Just asking how do you know a patient is “treated”.

    Not an extraordinary train of thought at all, in fact a very common sense one.

    Your suggestion that as a tax payer we are not to ask the question, is extraordinary in this age of reduced tax takes and tight money supply.

    Would it be fair to say that a “victim” is able to strech out treatment by suggestion they are “not” well, means the psychoanalyst is “bound” to keep treatment up.

  6. Hi Gerrit, there are many indicators that tell the therapist that a client is well on his/her road: wanting to live and not seeing sexual abuse written on every leaf would be only one. Responsible therapists will always check with the client where the therapy is at, will discuss progress or the lack thereof, will challenge avoidance, will encourage stretching into new behaviours. The greatest source of recognition is having a client being so well that he/she doesn’t need to come for therapy anymore.

    It has been my experience in the last 18 years working with ACC funded clients that with 2 or 3 exceptions they all want to get out of therapy as soon as they can. They want to come to a point of not being affected by the past anymore. They want a life worth living – rather today than tomorrow.

  7. Are the analists trained to weed out false claims from genuine?

    If we read the herald


    and find that

    The agency is struggling with a 41 per cent increase in sexual abuse claims in the past few months, with new abuse claims running at 550 a month.

    we can quite easily see that maybe there is going to be a shortage of funding for treatment in the very near future. Nearly 20 new cases are notified every day. That is a lot of sexual abuse!

    What happens to the genuine cases when there are not enough analists available to cover the workload?

    High demand and limited availability will lead to higher prices being charged for therapist services.

    Think I’ll retrain.

  8. “Are the analists…” !!! ?

    I really hope that typo was unintended – especially on this thread.

  9. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, Lady P. Gerrit’s contributions are usually thoughtful, even though I often disagree with him. In my experience of him here and elsewhere he doesn’t engage in smutty put-downs.

  10. The issue of knowing whether therapy has helped or not is very important and taken seriously by most psychotherapists. An issue with the current ACC process is that ACC do not actually know how much the therapy they fund is helping. ACC has financial measures of success – whether someone is “off the scheme” – which relate mainly to the high-cost weekly compensation. Most sexual abuse claimants do not claim weekly compensation so a “return to work” is not a satisfactory measure of success. Instead ACC are looking for reduction in expenditure as a measure of success. If ACC were to establish consumer-based outcome measures it would be in a better position to decide whether its current processes are succeeding in promoting recovery.

  11. Lady Penelope,

    Sorry, yes a typo, And in the context of the post and the answers, I hide my head in shame whilst blushing profusely.

  12. Gerrit,
    Hmmm. Prehaps it hints at a knowledge of Freudian theory, maybe even hatred of those whom embrace such a subjective and baseless paradigm? Did someone suggest you were a bit anal retentive? lol.

    Analists, love it! I shall hence forth refer to freudians as analists. Now I just need something to refer to the post-modernists and activist social scientists.

    In afew years there should be a test to detirmine the likelyhood of a recovered memory being false, then we will have some fun! Save a few innocent people, castrate a few suggestive false-memory-inducing psychotherapists. lol.

  13. It’s actually not the therapists’ job to corraborate the authenticity of a claim. As most claims are historical, this would be very much impossible in most cases anyhow. Having said that, it’s usually very clear very soon whether a claim is false or not. It takes a formidable actor to fake the symptoms congruently. The story has to fit and the symptoms have to fit the story in severety, and you have to have the corresponding emotional expression. That’s very hard for a lay person to get right.

    When you go to the statistic page of the ACC website you will see that over the last 15 years the number of active claims has hardly changed. I expect (maybe I am cynical) this to be the same for 2009. ACC management always struggles with interpreting their own statistics. Dr. Kevin Morris was quotet in the Herald today saying ACC has spent $15m on counselling each year in the last 3 years. NOT according to ACC’s own statistics.

  14. Most people would rather sexual abuse didn’t exist, we attempt to deny, minimise or avoid knowledge of these crimes which occur every day in our clean green country. It’s not surprising then that people jump at the chance to talk about false memories. It’s also not surprising that a large organisation like ACC would rather not have to deal with this unpleasant subject and then attempt to structure it into something they imagine to be controllable. The staff in the ACC sensitive claims office have to review on a daily basis the details of often horrific sexual assaults – they will defend against this through denial, over-structuring and constant change of processes – attempts to deal with the horrors. One of the defences is to marginalise the survivors of sexual abuse as hysterical liars etc, also to see the health professionals involved in providing treatment as leeches, gravy-trainers etc. A major factor in the current change processes is a lack of trust in the professionals providing treatment – the other major factor is, of course, the government’s wish to save money and to pave the way for ACC to be more of an insurance company than an arm of health and social policy.

  15. Sapient,

    Maybe it is repressed sexual abuse coming out. Even though the abuse was pre-teen and happened some 45 years ago, do you think it is coming to the fore?

    Honestly had not thought about it for many many years but this discussion has bought the memory back to the surface.

    Even though I had no counciling (not available in those days) it has not affected by life to the best of my knowledge.


    I have no doubt that a trained therapist is quite capable to determine fact from fiction. The mere fact that up to 20 cases per day need to be funded, to actually see if they are genuine or not, is worrysome.

    Would require a very strong therapist to call someone a fibber.

    How many of these cases actually appear before the court? If there is an assault surely it will go before the court?

  16. I think it’s worth pointing out that one of the authors behind the 2005 research is Felicity Goodyear Smith. Goodyear Smith is a founder of the group COSA a group that wants to limit rape convictions. She has also stated the rape of children isn’t always harmful in her book First Do No Harm.

    Her husband John Potter has been imprisoned for indecently assaulting two under-age girls. His website MENZ gives advice on what you can do to get off rape and child abuse charges.

    Is this really research we can trust if a woman with such an obvious bias is behind it?

  17. we can quite easily see that maybe there is going to be a shortage of funding for treatment in the very near future. Nearly 20 new cases are notified every day. That is a lot of sexual abuse!

    Then the funding should go up. I’m sorry, but this is not the sort of thing you can afford to cut costs on, and as Gudrun rightly points out, it is incredibly difficult to fake sexual abuse.

  18. So Nuck Smuth is trying to use Labour’s introduction of the ACC Sexual Abuse treatment Guidelines as political capital- the trouble is it’s not the Guidelines that created the ACC changes – it’s the will of ACC to save money. The Guidelines don’t, in fact, recommend the changes that ACC have been trying to put into place! The guidelines recommend tailored treatment processes and stress the importance of the relationship between client and therapist.

  19. Ari,
    While Gudrun is entirly correct that it is generally very chalanging for a lay-person to fake the generalised symptoms of sexual abuse, it is incredibly easy to induce false memories in individuals on a potentially massive scale, this is where my research resides. If a false memory is induced then that individuals belief is genuine and as such the symptoms are generally displayed as if the trauma actually happened. Non-veridical recollection of memories is even easier to induce.
    Much psychotherapy, especially psychoanalysis, is particuarly good a inducing such memory errors or implantation, particuarly when the therapist has an agenda or a tendancy to see things as happening due to life events such as sexual trauma. It is for this reason that police are required to follow certain protocols, the cognitive interview, in many countries so as to avoid inducing memories in the young and susceptable. Young people being the most susceptable to the induction of the relivant types of memories, inteligence and psychopathy also having string influenes on susceptability

    Very possible, did your uncle often touch you in places? Did he stroke your leg like this? Look at you like this and then ask you to lick for the salty prize?

  20. Ari,

    Then the funding should go up. I’m sorry, but this is not the sort of thing you can afford to cut costs on, and as Gudrun rightly points out, it is incredibly difficult to fake sexual abuse.

    When there is no more funding, what happens?

    Not everything, no matter how grave or serious can be funded.

  21. it is incredibly easy to induce false memories in individuals on a potentially massive scale, this is where my research resides. If a false memory is induced then that individuals belief is genuine and as such the symptoms are generally displayed as if the trauma actually happened. Non-veridical recollection of memories is even easier to induce.

    An individual that genuinely believes they’ve been traumatised is suffering symptoms. Even if it didn’t actually happen, they still need treatment to live a normal life if they’re so hard to tell from the real thing. Even from a pure cashflow point of view this is probably the investment in a productive member of society, and not some sort of liability the state is taking on. It’s important that counseling for sexual abuse take a wellness-based approach- and that means addressing problems. (or symptoms if you prefer)

    I should also point out that even if you do buy the idea that people suffering from delusions need to somehow be pruned out of the treatment system, many people who have been sexually abused face disbelief from practically everyone else in society, and counseling is their one safe haven where they can actually talk with someone who’s willing to engage with them so long as they’re honest with themselves. Putting a shroud of suspicion over that process could be really damaging for genuine survivors of abuse even if it doesn’t cut them off.

    While some people will cope without counseling, they may well recover quicker with it. Some will never recover without someone else to get them back into their life. Many of those cases will need more than sixteen sessions, and the review did not suggest any such arbitrary limit.

    I fail to see how there is any aim here to increase the general wellness of people who have survived sexual abuse.

  22. When there is no more funding, what happens?

    Not everything, no matter how grave or serious can be funded.

    I agree that money is not unlimited, but this is an amazingly insignificant part of the ACC budget, and there is ample room for ACC to save any increase on costs by pruning back their own administrative functions in this area, which cost more than the actual treatment. There is room to fund increases in sexual abuse treatment costs- if they do increase, which is not at all a given.

  23. Gerrit,
    I appologise, given the context I had assumed it was a criticism of freudian thought.
    Seeing as my speciality lies in false memory I am rather critical of the, almost guarantieed to be implanted, ‘recovered memories’.

    One of the good things to come out of the freudian approach is the idea that a persons experiances can unconciously affect ones affect and life outcomes. It is however dubious that a forgotten/supressed event can dirrectly influence life outcomes, more likely is that the continued effects arising from that event may influence other aspects of their life.
    It is of course possible that such abuse would induce the use of that word but I find it far more likely to have another cause such as a simple spelling mistake or typo.

    Tone is rather hard to convey in text. 😛

  24. Ari,
    Yes, I agree there.
    My comment was mearly ment to point out that fake sexual abuse can result in real symptoms and was intended to support the treatment even when it doesint appear entirly genuine. Additionally, it was a critque of many counselling techniques which often do more harm than good, not so applicable to the treatment of sexual abuse but just one of my pet-peaves and relivant to the accused.

  25. Sapient,
    I can assure you that competent practitioners should never suggest in any fashion that “this means you were sexually abused…” in the absence of clear recollection by the client. As a practitioner of ACC funded therapy every client has come to me willingly telling me of events they recall. My understanding (and I may be wrong) is that incompetent practice can lead to false accusations and in my experience is quite rare.

    However the idea is so shocking, that someone might be “falsely accused” of such a horrific crime, that is is often easier to defend against the very real horror of the high frequency of sexual abuse by society taking the position of “this can’t be real!!”

    Many feminist and revisionist critiques of Freud’s original theories in fact believe Freud originally was a trauma theorist, and in attempting to present his clinical observations to polite Venetian society encountered such resistance that he back pedaled to a more palatable view that it was in fact the clients “unconscious fantasy.” Society has always struggled with the painful and revolting reality that our children get raped and assaulted, on a daily basis… awful, but true.

  26. My Goodness, you guys have been going to town while I have worked and hopefully not implanted some false memories.:)

    There are some interesting misconceptions going on:
    1. False Memories = a tragic thing and certainly damaging. Question: is that then considered vicarious sexual abuse by the counsellor?

    2. False Memories = I have in my 20 years of practice and in my research (masters + phd) not had one client who had forgotten about the abuse – they might not have made the link between the abuse and their problems. The common thought was “Why would something that happened 30 years ago affect me today”? In conversations with colleagues it is clear that they have similar experiences. Those who talk about ‘false /recovery memories’ talk about a negligable small amount of cases. Although, as can be seen with Goodyear-Smith, it makes great publicity.

    3. False Memories = I would dispute that it is easy to implant false memories. Here an quote from my 2008 research: “How Do Services Shape the Recovery From Sexual Abuse” >>>”Elliot and Briere’s (1995) study that investigated post-traumatic stress related to delayed recall of sexual abuse in a general population study concluded that traumatic memories cannot be implanted in peoples mind, delayed memory retrieval is common whether people are in psychotherapy or not, and amnesia after experiences of trauma are not dependant on social class.

    McFarlane and Kolk (1996) noticed that delayed memory retrieval was neither contested nor of any public interest as long as it was discussed in the context of combat neurosis of Vietnam veterans or amongst survivors of disasters. Only when children and women reported similar symptoms in the context of taking legal steps against fathers and/or men for incest and sexual abuse did the discussion about delayed memories become passionate and controversial.

    It appears that when accusations are made that strike at the social fabric of society and challenge the patriarchal order, both male and female bystanders join the battlefield and accusations of sexual abuse have sparked passionate responses from scientists, journalists, and politicians. McFarlane and Kolk (1996) noticed that these responses in support of victims or the accused often stand out for only paying selective and biased attention to the complex issues at hand” <<.

    4. Funding: Shame on a society that has no problem to spend $60m for rugby related injuries – a recreational sport undertaken at free will and gets all up in arms to spend $19m ($2m for counselling + $17m for other entitlements e.g. weekly compensation)on victims of sex crimes mainly perpetrated on children. Maybe it is time to examine the value systems?

    5. Counselling sessions: Most clients need no more than 10-30 sessions with an average of about 16 sessions. Only about 14% need 100 sessions including a small percentage who need more than 300 sessions. This is pretty much in tune with international research: The majority of people don't show any lasting problems, a small percentage uses no more than 10-30sessions, and about 15% show lang term severe disturbances.

    6. Freud = Although I am not a Freudian Analyst, I would say it is pretty unlikely that they are involved in suggestions or implanting in what-ever memories. They usually stand out for not saying much at all.

    7. Ah, a closing thought about therapists implanting false stuff into people's minds: I would like it very much if that were possible. I would implant in all my clients that they are good people, loveable, and perfectly able to "leave the wheelchair and walk" to use an evangelist metaphor. That would take care of my dream of a Mansion in Remuera.

  27. Kyle,
    Yes, a competant practitioner without an ideological bias will tend to be able to avoid such a induction, the problem is that we have very few such practitioners. The problem rests no so much with the therapists whom are encounted after the complaint but with those encountered before hand whom may intentionally or unintentionally install such a memory. Simply thinking ‘i guess that would explain the way i am’ can lead to very strong false memories; all it takes is a suggestion, not even saying ‘i think you were raped’ but listening to the patient and then saying ‘have you experianced any sexual abuse in your past’ can do it. In my opinion the incidence is probally very high. It is one of the reasons I do not support the death penalty.
    False memory is very easy to induce, particuarly among those whom usually end up claiming such abuse. It is common knowledge that due to the falibility of memory eye-witness testimony is the least reliable evidence accepted in the court room and yet it is given the most precedent; there have been many many incidences of false conviction as a result of this, as was shown by the vast amount of ‘falsely convicted’ judgements after the rise of DNA in forensic matters.
    An interesting, and true, story often toldto second years is that of a women whom had a intruder break into her house and rape her while she was watching TV, she latter identfied the accused and stated she was positive as to the identity. The accused was infact live on TV at the time and thus had a solid alaby. The claimant had seen his face on TV and had developed the memory that he was the attacker. Another which one of my associates is fod of taliking about is that of a man in NZ accused of pedophilia, I do not know the details, but the incident would appear impossible and he remains imprioned despite this and acknowledgement that the police used very leading questions on a young child.

    I have managed to divert the topic quite majorly and rather unintentionally.

  28. Gudrun,
    Re 7: I beleive Becks approach would be more useful for that wouldint it? Thats said, im not a clinical, and have very little interest in that feild, so my actual experiance with the therapies is very minor.
    The problem with false memories of sexual abuse is that it is only very rarely that such a claim can, be disprooven and as such the estimates of prevalence have little to go on. Most studies which try to induce memories of events not actually experianced are very successful when those events are low impact and those events are claimed to have never been forgotten despie being induced. I would imagine it to be much harder to induce a high impact memory such as sexual abuse due to a lack of expected concordance of symptoms, though I would imagine it relativly unchallenging where there is a concordance, esspecially when effort is actually made to do so. Understandibly such an effort would be too unethical to include in a study.

  29. Well, kia ora everyone,

    ACC has a strict policy of accreditation to be funded to work for them assensitive issue therapists. Many apply but not all are accepted to work for ACC. Furthermore we are required to have had a thorough training in therapy, to be members of professional associations; adhere strictly to our codes of ethics and complete years of supervised practice before we are accepted to work for ACC. We are also required by both ACC and our respective associations to maintain ongoing training in the latest and best practice protocols and keep up to date with reading to work for ACC. So the attitude ACC has taken to those of us who have dedicatedly attended to these requirements is one of the many reasons why “accredited ACC counsellors” and therapists are so taken aback at ACC not consulting us. We are abreast of the best practice protocols and hundreds of us will even next week attend seminars around the country with the world leading research clinician and author Dr John Briere (check out his website) on the subject of sexual abuse and effects.

    The greatest tragedy is that these changes effectively marginalise survivors of complex childhood sexual trauma who have not yet accessed psychotherapy and who are now required to separate their symptoms from the story and emotional impact of the sexual abuses they survived; and if they cannot do this within the proposed regime they will be shunted into the already overworked and under-resourced Community Mental Health system.

    This seems like the most obvious way to undermine the wellbeing of our entire society. There are estimated to be 600,000 abuse survivors in New Zealand – many with incredible talents and skills to have survived as well as they have; these folk, often your own family members can with effective therapy can become solid employees and tax payers and contribute to our society in all the ways anyone does. This is something those of us who do this work daily know and why we are so utterly shocked at the proposed changes.

  30. 7. Ah, a closing thought about therapists implanting false stuff into people’s minds: I would like it very much if that were possible. I would implant in all my clients that they are good people, loveable, and perfectly able to “leave the wheelchair and walk” to use an evangelist metaphor. That would take care of my dream of a Mansion in Remuera.

    Well, I know there’s ample research about false memories that suggests implantation is quite possible, I’m just no expert on it in cases of trauma or abuse. Try asking someone if they remember meeting Bugs Bunny in disneyland sometime, and see if they say “yes” even though Bugs Bunny isn’t a Disney character. 😉

    This seems like the most obvious way to undermine the wellbeing of our entire society. There are estimated to be 600,000 abuse survivors in New Zealand – many with incredible talents and skills to have survived as well as they have; these folk, often your own family members can with effective therapy can become solid employees and tax payers and contribute to our society in all the ways anyone does. This is something those of us who do this work daily know and why we are so utterly shocked at the proposed changes.

    Indeed, for a party that claims to be all about growing our economy, National are doing remarkably well at shrinking it and being cruel to some of the most needy members of society at the same time.

  31. Pingback: New Zealand:How W(r)ong can you get? « Quid Pro Quo

  32. It was with relief and some hope that many of us in the process of challenging the proposed ACC SCU changes received a message yesterday afternoon that TOAH NNEST (google) have been able to negotiate a process of consultation with ACC.

    ACC agreed:

    # To revise the clinical pathway in accord with feedback from the consultation meetings and the feedback from the Taskforce ACC Service Improvement Working Group

    # To communicate the revised clinical pathway to ACC providers for further feedback

    # To meet with TOAH-NNEST representatives on the 30th September for a full day consultation on the revised pathway taking into account the feedback from providers and the Service Improvement Working Group Report

    Please use this information primarily to reassure survivors that there is an ongoing commitment to challenge processes that perpetrate harm. It is essential too that ACC are met in an environment of dignity and respect to achieve the best possible outcome.

    To quote some lyrics from ‘Fly My Pretties’ “We can make a life worth Living” 🙂

  33. Id just like to say that it was good to have come on to this site and read all of the comments. I am currently receiving help from Acc for child sexual abuse, I am grateful for the help that I have received thus far and hope to eventually be able to cope with everyday life as personally speaking sexual abuse that happened to me as a child has and is still traumatising me. To hear from a more professional perspective that dealing with this issue isnt as easy as what people think is very encouraging to me so Id just like to say, any help is a healing process for myself……so thanks for all the posts……

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