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Sinason, V. (2015). Editorial. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 9(1):vii-ix.

(2015). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 9(1):vii-ix


Valerie Sinason

Thank you to the organisers for making this event happen and to the MPs here and John Mann for making it happen here, in this place that represents democracy even though and, ironically, especially because, perpetrators like Cyril Smith abused their parliamentary role.

I am here as a child psychotherapist and psychoanalyst who has worked with survivors of organised abuse for thirty years, including with those whose perpetrators, like Savile and Smith are only being named publicly now and those whose police files disappeared.

One poor brave nurse contracted Ebola. Resources were found for her. Hospitals received training. The general public was warned. But compare this with the eleven million individuals who experience some form of abusive crime over a lifetime. Eleven million individuals, and yet there are hardly any resources, inadequate training, and no personal automatic grant for support and psychotherapy. If those eleven million formed a political party it would be the largest!

So what do those eleven million receive and what are their therapeutic and support needs?

First, I want to agree with Liz Davies that “abuse” is a medicalised word. The proper terms are criminal acts and torture.

Second, as Fay Maxted always says, there is no such thing as a “typical survivor”. There is no such thing as a single support or therapeutic need. The experts, through their own lived experience, know the kind of response that helps them most: choice is the crucial issue and so is justice.

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