Ten years ago, my 19-year-old daughter told me that she was regularly visiting a woman, a kind of coach, who was helping her make sense of her young life. She had heard about her through some friends who had been raving about how this person had been helping them realise their capabilities and work through insecurities and anxieties. The woman used dream therapy, visualisation exercises and talking therapy.
I have always trusted my daughter to be very sensible and thought how clever of her to find such an interesting person. Some go to a yoga class and this did not seem too different. Her ‘teacher’ was charging her £100 an hour but she thought it was worth it. She even explained how she would stay for three hours, but was only ever charged for one. How generous I thought. Big mistake. Over the next two years, unbeknown to me, my daughter was being groomed to cut herself off from family, friends and everything that connected her to her old life.
I could feel her gradually becoming more distant, pulling away from me. At the time, she was living with two other girls, all of whom were seeing the ‘guru’ and one of whom had already cut off all communication with her mother. I had never met this mother, but one day she called me to warn me to be careful in being overly critical of the teacher as she would turn my daughter against me. I started to walk on eggshells and thanked my lucky stars we were at least still talking.
The first alarm bells went off eight months later when my daughter said that she could not see me for a bit but that it was nothing personal. She was doing the same to her friends, too, sending letters to say she was going on a journey and would not be able to see them for the foreseeable future. When she broke up with her boyfriend of several years, with whom she had been extremely close, I was astonished.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThe day I will never forget was when she stopped taking my telephone calls altogether. I had called her, but when she heard my voice the line went dead. I dialled her mobile from another number. Again, on hearing my voice, the line went dead. Completely panicked, I ran out of the house and raced to the flat where she was staying at the time, which was only a couple of streets away.
As I arrived, she stepped out, saw me, her eyes widened in surprise and then glazed over. She climbed onto her bicycle and rode away. Without a backward glance, she shouted: “I am going to work”. It would be the last time she saw any of her family or friends for six long years.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appWhat I have since discovered about coercive control is how simple it is to achieve, especially if the victim and their family have no idea what they are up against. Later, I learnt that other clients of her ‘teacher’ had also dropped those closest to them. I have since discovered that there is a pattern to brainwashing – for brainwashing is what was happening to my daughter.
As Dr Alexandra Stein spells out clearly in her book, *Terror, Love and Brainwashing*, rule one is to isolate your victim. Instead of promoting a healthy relationship with others, the key is to foster alienation from others. And rule two is to engender fear. My daughter was told that she should not talk to her family nor her friends unless she wanted to ruin all the ‘work’ being done between her and the ‘teacher’.
Healthy therapy2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app is easy to spot: the aim is to psychologically enable your client not disable them; to rehabilitate, not debilitate; to promote independence not dependence, and you certainly don’t isolate them.
During those three-hour sessions with her ‘teacher’, I later discovered, my daughter’s childhood was being completely reframed. The teacher might prompt a thought, that thought would then be discussed and added to, and of course, my child would get exhausted after three hours and end up agreeing with the therapist, who had reinterpreted the original prompt into something sinister. Even a simple doodle could be turned into a vile memory after a three-hour session.
Being isolated from family and friends means that it is impossible to have a rational discussion with anyone who knows your past history and who could tell you what you were remembering is complete bunkum. Surely this has to be described as mental abuse?
Incredibly, through all this terrible ordeal, we had no recourse to the law, as there is no law that exists that could help us. My daughter’s ‘teacher’ had no recognised qualifications for what she was doing, belonged to no regulatory body. Anybody can set themselves up as a ‘teacher’, ‘life coach’ or ‘therapist’ and there is no law to prevent them from brainwashing adults.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appCurrently, it is against the law to coercively control another person in a ‘domestic’ situation: to psychologically disable your partner or a member of your family to the extent that their decision making is impaired and they are completely dependent on their abuser. But the law does not apply to controlling somebody outside the ‘domestic’ situation. It seems obvious to me that this anomaly is a dangerous gap.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appFor six long years, it felt as if I were drowning in a vat of black oil. With two other adult children and a husband to look after, I could not go to pieces. My child’s father, her two siblings, her brother-in-law, her step-father, aunts and uncles, her grandmother, her many friends – they all missed her dreadfully and suffered in their own way.
One birthday, I remember, one of those milestone birthdays when everyone had come to visit us, the sky was bright blue, it was a perfect day but, of course, nothing can be perfect when there is a black, gaping hole in your life. My carefully assembled defences burst open and I burst into tears.
And then, by complete coincidence, a year or so later, someone I knew bumped into my daughter in a large town. The minute I was told this exciting bit of news, I was able to track her down and made contact by postcard, saying how much I loved her, giving her my email details. Ten days later I received a reply. We made plans to meet and had an emotional reunion. Her stories of six lonely Christmases where her tears flowed all day, missing her family but unable to escape from the invisible bonds that were keeping us apart, broke my heart.
I am happy, delighted, relieved and ecstatic to say that my beautiful grown-up daughter and I are now fully reconciled. She has finally broken free of her guru, having come to realise that she was not helping at all. Today, she feels free and liberated and has made new friends.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appBut I will never forget what happened to my family. Through the years of our living hell, I badgered every MP or Member of the House of Lords that I happened to meet at a party or who had the fortune – or misfortune – to be placed next to me during lunch or dinner. Last year, I sat next to Lord Marks of Henley and he heard my plea for a new law to be made. I was invited to tea in the House of Lords with him and Baroness Jolly and after hearing my story, a request for a debate on the subject was made.
Finally, this will happen on March 2nd, when Baroness Jolly will ask the Government what assessment they have made of the impact of treatment by unregulated and unregistered persons offering psychotherapy or counselling services upon the mental health and wellbeing of their clients.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appRecently, my daughter saw an old photograph of herself on the fridge, laughing and looking really happy. Amazed, she said, poignantly, that during her time with her ‘teacher’, she had been led to believe that she had never had a happy day in her life.
It was heartbreaking to think of the pain and anguish my child has suffered and I am determined that this should never happen to anyone else.
Some names and details have been changed