The following statement of support has been signed by psychologists, social workers and other mental health professionals and academics regarding Monica Pignotti. Their names appear below the statement.
Others are invited to add their names if they agree with the statement. While obviously, this is in my own interest, I am asking that people sign this because it involves the future of the social work, psychology and other mental health professions and anyone in these professions who values their freedom to take a stand on these and similar issues without having their career and reputations placed in jeopardy. If people are bullied into silence about potentially harmful and other questionable mental health practices, where will the profession be?
The anonymous posters who have been engaging in these tactics only have power only if others give it to them by remaining silent. If you wish to add your name to the statement that appears below, please send an e-mail to email@example.com and provide your name and affiliation, as you would like it to appear. Thank you to those who have already signed.
Statement of Support for Dr. Monica Pignotti
For the past two years, Dr. Monica Pignotti has been subjected to an ongoing and concerted internet smear campaign in response to her peer-reviewed and internet writings on potentially harmful therapy practices, particularly attachment and other similar therapies involving coercive restraint of children. The postings have mostly been made by anonymous and presumably pseudonymous posters on blogs, public newsgroups, and other internet websites. These statements have often been malicious, false, and even profane, and have included not only Dr. Pignotti but also some of her colleagues and supporters (see http://phtherapies.wordpress.com and http://monicapignotti.wordpress.com).
These statements may have been extremely damaging to Dr. Pignotti’s career. As a recently graduated PhD who has been on the academic job market, she has been especially vulnerable to these attacks. In spite of receiving consistent feedback that her scholarly credentials are impressive and that she is fully qualified for entry-level tenure-track faculty positions in graduate social work programs, for a year and a half following her graduation she has been unable to secure such a position. Some of the universities at which she has applied have told her that the material on the internet raised serious concerns for them.
Although the posters are, to date, unidentified and unidentifiable, it is clear from their content that they are one or more individuals who are upset by Dr. Pignotti’s criticisms of certain interventions directed at vulnerable children, such as internationally adopted children with serious developmental disabilities and/or behavior problems. Rather than take the high road and address the substantive criticisms raised by Dr. Pignotti and her co-authors, the anonymous posters have elected to take the low road and personally attack and malign the critics.
We, the undersigned, unequivocally oppose the cowardly and unethical behaviors of the internet posters, and strongly affirm Dr. Pignotti’s right to raise legitimate criticisms of their therapeutic practices without fear of false and defamatory attacks. Criticism of therapeutic practices that lack empirical support and may be harmful is vital for the profession and we are deeply concerned that smear campaigns could discourage others from engaging in public scrutiny of these and other practices. We call on the internet posters to stop such practices immediately. We further call on the posters to publicly identify themselves and to voice their criticisms in the form of clear descriptions of their concerns, using recognized venues such as peer-reviewed articles rather than in the form of baseless personal attacks. Additionally, we ask that any prospective employers of Dr. Pignotti not allow the actions of these posters and the fact she has chosen not to remain silent, to impact their hiring decisions.
Scott O. Lilienfeld, PhD, Professor of Psychology (Clinical), Emory University
Eileen Gambrill, PhD, Professor, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley
Bruce Thyer, LCSW, BCBA, PhD, Professor of Social Work, Florida State University
J. Michael Bailey, Professor Northwestern University
Aaron T. Beck, M.D., University Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Evelyn Behar, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago
Carolyn Black Becker, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Trinity University, San Antonio
Stephen T. Black, Ph.D., Ph.D, Social & Clinical Psychologist
Richard R. Bootzin, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona
Lynn Brandsma, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Chestnut Hill College
Roxane Cohen Silver, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology & Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine
James C. Coyne, PhD., Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Professor of Health Psychology, University of Groningen
Bella DePaulo, PhD
Benjamin Emmert-Aronson, M.A., Doctoral student in Clinical Psychology, Boston University
Wayne C. Evens, MSW, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Program Director, 1501 West Bradley Ave., Peoria, IL 61625
Trudy Festinger, DSW, Professor of Social Work, New York UniversityHoward N. Garb, YC 03, USAF, Ph.D., Chief, Psychology Research Service
Associate Editor, Military Psychology , 559 AMDS/SGPL, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX [Please Note: Does not represent an endorsement by or the views of the United States Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the United States Government.]
Brandon Gaudiano, Ph.D., Assistant Professor (Research), Alpert Medical School of Brown University
James Herbert, PhD, Professor Clinical Psychology and Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Drexel University
D. Lynn Jackson, Ph.D., LCSW (FL), ACSW, Assistant Professor/ Field Coordinator, Department of Rehabilitation, Social Work and Addictions, 1155 Union Circle #311456, University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203-1456
Robert K. Klepac, Ph.D., Psychology Training Director Emeritus, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Research Associate Professor, University of Texas Health Science Center - San Antonio
Steven R. Lawyer, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Idaho State University
Julia H. Littell, Ph.D., Professor, Graduate School of Social Work and Social Welfare, Bryn Mawr College, 300 Airdale Rd., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010, USA
Elizabeth Loftus, PhD, Distinguished Professor, Psychology & Social Behavior Criminology, Law & Society Cognitive Sciences School of Law, University of California, Irvine, 2393 Social Ecology II, Irvine, Calif. 92697-7080 USA
Jeffrey M. Lohr, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Psychological Science, University of Arkansas
Steven Jay Lynn, PhD, Professor of Psychology, SUNY Binghamton
Robin MacFarlane, PhD
Richard J. McNally, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Clinical Training, Department of Psychology, Harvard University
Cathleen Mann, PhD, Independent Practice
Jean Mercer, PhD, Professor Emerita, Richard Stockton College
Michael B. Miller, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.E., Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 612-564-5364
Randal S. Pennington, PsyD, Training Director, Wasatch Mental Health, Provo, Utah
Brady J. Phelps, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Dept. of Psychology, South Dakota State UniversityKen Ruggiero, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina
Ian R. Sharp, Ph.D., Clinical Scientist and Senior Trainer, Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology Industry
Bradley H. Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Director, Community/Clinical Graduate Training Program, University of South Carolina
Carol Tavris, Ph.D., Social Psychologist, Author, Lecturer
George Tremblay, Ph.D., Department of Clinical Psychology, Antioch University New England
Timothy R. Tumlin, Ph.D., Independent Practice, Darien, Illinois
Kristin von Ranson, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology (Clinical), University of Calgary
Hollida Wakefield, M.A. Licensed Psychologist, Private Practice, Northfield, MN 55057
Robert L. Weiss, Ph.D., Professor emeritus of Psychology, University of Oregon
Robert W. Wildblood, Phd, Retired Associate Professor of Psychology, Licensed Applied Psychologist in Virginia, Licensed HSPP in Indiana
Alexander Williams, M.A., Clinical Psychology Graduate Student, University of Kansas