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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2001 > Nov > Nov 19

Re: Psychological Trauma - Sandow

From: Greg Sandow <greg@gregsandow.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2001 19:52:33 -0500
Fwd Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 05:31:47 -0500
Subject: Re: Psychological Trauma - Sandow


 >From: Kevin Randle <KRandle993@aol.com>
 >Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2001 10:17:42 EST
 >Subject: Re: Psychological Trauma
 >To: ufoupdates@home.com


First I want to thank Kevin for his thorough and constructive
reply to me.

 >What we need to do, as
 >researchers, is survey the field to see if there is a
 >distinction. And, what we need to do is check the original
 >report made by the abductee with that at the conclusion of the
 >research, to learn if it has been changed, for whatever reason,
 >between the time it was first reported and the time that the
 >researcher has determined that he or she has completed the
 >investigation. Such a survey would certainly provide clues about
 >researcher influence in the overall abductee picture.

I agree, and in fact I think we need full transcripts (and if
possible audio and video tapes) of researchers' interviews with
abductees. There are serious privacy issues, though. Many
abductees would never talk to researchers if they thought their
material would be shown to others.

 >>What does he mean by "archetypal structure of an abduction"?

 >I believe this is just a fancy way of saying "the abduction
 >experience."

But what aspect of the experience? John does have his fancy ways
of talking, but it's important here to know, again, if he means
the things abductees say happen to them, or the overall meaning
they give to those things.

 >All true, but remember, contrary to what has been reported in
 >other quarters, we did interview Hopkins and Mack on video tape.
 >Not to mention listening to their lectures, listening to their
 >radio appearances, watching them on documentaries and reading
 >their books. And while it is true that we all look at the
 >material through our own filters and put our own spin on the
 >material, it is also true that Mack and Jacobs, in their
 >writings and lectures, have seen this "matching" of experiencer
 >to researcher.

In the end, I think there's no substitute for knowing the
abductees who work with a given researcher. You need to spend
time with them, and spend time watching the researcher work with
them, both one on one and in groups. That way you begin to see
what the relationships might be, in a way you never can from
interviews or any of the other sources Kevin mentions.

For instance, I've known abductees who've worked with Budd for a
number of years, and still disagree with him on the meaning of
the phenomenon. They'd be in what's perceived as John Mack's
camp, even though they keep going to Budd's support group
meetings (very rare these days) and public seminars. I've known
a couple who went both to Budd's events, and to those of a more
new-agey abduction group in New York. Some have worked with both
Budd and John Mack. Lately, he may have burned his bridges with
some of them -- but that, it's interesting to see, wasn't by
trying to change their opinions of abductions. It was by
criticizing Stephen Greer, who some of these more new-age
abductees apparently revere.

Of course, this is just anecdotal reportage on my part. But I
really think you have to be there -- to observe these things
first hand -- before you can even begin to grasp what's going
on. I wouldn't doubt, for instance, that Budd influences the
views of many of the abductees he works with. But how, exactly,
does that occur?

Last night I was at one of the monthly seminars the Intruders
Foundation holds. "Seminar" is maybe not quite the right word --
these are informal lectures, open to the public, where someone
speaks about UFOs or abductions. On this occasion, an abductee
who'd worked with Budd many years ago was talking about his
experiences. He was a very grounded man in, I'd guess, his early
sixties, very factual in the way he described what he said were
his experiences.

Budd stood near the lectern with him, in a perfect position to
dominate the proceedings, had he wanted to. At one point someone
from the audience asked this abductee, "Do you think the aliens
have our interest at heart, or their own?" "I don't know," said
the man, in a completely relaxed, impartial tone. "Maybe a
little of both"

Budd didn't say a word, and that was all we heard about the
subject. Budd's only major intervention in the proceedings was,
at another point, to tell a perfectly awful joke. (Anyone who
knows him won't be surprised to hear that.) Obviously, the
abductee's answer I've quoted didn't reflect his own views, but
he didn't jump in to "correct" the answer, or to establish what
he felt to be the truth.

For whatever it's worth, that's how I've observed him almost all
the time I've watched him work with abductees. In my experience,
he discourages discussion of the aliens' motives, because he
feels it's only speculation. At his support group meetings
(there might, in the time I've known him, have been three or
four a year, at most), he mostly encourages abductees to express
their feelings, and often their doubts (even about the reality
of the phenomenon). That's what he seems to think the support
groups are there -- to help abductees deal with their feelings
about abductions, and not to develop any ideas about what the
phenomenon really means.

How, then, does he influence abductees' opinions? The process is
clearly much more subtle than any theories or assumptions about
it I've ever read. I'd suggest one way in which it might work --
abductees who feel angry or frightened about their abductions
are more likely to get a hearing than those who feel positive.
This is because anger and fear are, apparently, much more common
than awe or delight when abductees first explore their
experiences. I've even heard John Mack and people in his group
say that. They'll explain that abductees have to work through
negative feelings before they can accept what Mack and his
people believe is the truth.

Besides, abductees who feel angry or frightened have raw
feelings, easily understood. They don't have to theorize about
what's going on. They just say, "I felt frightened because I was
helpless. And I was angry because I felt used." Abductees who
feel positive usually feel that way because they have theories.
"Yes, I was frightened, but I thought the aliens were here to do
us good." And as I've said, that kind of discussion is
discouraged. Equally, abductees wouldn't be encouraged to say,
"I felt used, and that's because the aliens only care about
themselves." That, too, would be speculation, and wouldn't be a
popular line of thought at Budd's groups. (Believe it or not,
but that's what I've observed.) The point, in any case, is that
you don't have to theorize to explain why you feel negative
emotions, so those are easier to express.

Thus, you tend to hear and express unpleasant memories of the
experience when you work on abductions with Budd. That,
conceivably, could influence you to form a negative opinion of
what's going on -- though I have to say that I didn't observe
that going on. A cautious, balanced "who knows?" opinion seemed
more common among the people I've known. (The man from last
night's seminar is a pretty typical example.) We'd be
underestimating these abductees, in any case, if we thought they
weren't capable of forming opinions on their own, away from Budd
and his sessions. Which is exactly what many of them have done,
and the opinions might be nothing like Budd's. They just don't
regard Budd's sessions as a place for figuring out what it all
means.

 >So, what you're suggesting is that we are getting the spin of
 >the researchers and not necessarily what the abductees say
 >during their sessions. That we need access to all the raw data
 >so that we can learn what all has been said.

Absolutely!

 >However, it has been my experience that abduction researchers
 >are not as open with their records as we would like. When, for
 >example, we attempted a survey to find out how many abductees
 >reported a precipitating event that mirrored sleep paralysis, we
 >didn't even receive the courtesy of a response to the question
 >from the various researchers that we queried.

 >Yes, I know that some of these records must be protected, and
 >that some of the data are gathered in confidence, but to
 >understand the whole, we need to see the pieces. In the end,
 >we're left drawing the information from their books, their
 >lectures, their TV and radio appearances, and the video taped
 >sessions that they provided for us.

This is unfortunately true. I think Budd and Dave Jacobs should
each write one book in which the raw material is more faithfully
preserved. One alternative, as I suggest, is to spend a lot of
time with the abductees in question. But there are also big
questions of privacy there, and of course questions about
access. I only got access because I was seen as friendly,
supportive, and discreet. That hasn't stopped me from being
critical, but a proclaimed skeptic would probably have a harder
time getting access, no matter how open-minded and honest he or
she truly was.

On the other hand, people from one of the big cable networks
have been spending a lot of time at Budd's events lately, and in
the past other TV shows were able to (including NOVA, which
didn't use the access very intelligently). I know a therapist
who's an abduction skeptic, and still came to at least a few
support group meetings. So it may be that an outsider who was
sympathetic -- without necessarily believing abductions are real
-- could get much of the access I had. Trust is the key issue,
and in my experience it's not necessary to be a believer to earn
that trust.

 >Which is all well and good, but doesn't answer the point that
 >Mack and Jacobs have made... that there is a matching of
 >experiencer with with investigator. Instead, we are presented
 >with a flawed argument for the reality of abduction rather than
 >provided with all the data to make an informed decision.

 >And by flawed arguments, I mean that if the researcher is
 >eliminating the information that doesn't conform to his or her
 >beliefs, then any conclusion we draw from the published body of
 >evidence, from the lectures and interviews will be flawed. Not
 >that the abduction experience itself is flawed, only the
 >conclusion drawn about the work of a specific research is
 >flawed.

I'd put it a little differently -- that we're not in a position
to know whether it's flawed or not. the presentation is flawed;
the research may not be. (Though Sue Strickland has a very good
point about research and support to some extent contradicting
each other, which Kevin also makes later in his post.)

 >Actually, when we move into some of the therapeutic arenas, we
 >do see that the therapists belief structures begin to take over
 >and that allegations of abuse, for example, might be more
 >consistent with the therapist's view of the world than the
 >client's. That is not to say that all therapists implant their
 >views on their clients, but to say that some do. The
 >psychological literature is full of examples and both "He Who
 >Shall Remain Nameless" and Edith Fiore lost their licenses
 >because they did implant their belief structures on their
 >clients.

Yes, of course it goes on, and the history of the past decade or
so with allegations of sexual abuse (some of them prompted by
incompent therapists) demonstrates how true this is.

On the other hand, I think it's easy to overstate how common
this is. The standard experience in psychotherapy is that people
learn what their feelings really are. You don't need to be
facing something gigantic like sexual or spousal abuse for this
to happen. All you need is to be unhappy. Very likely you're not
facing up to what you feel in some everyday situation like your
job or your marriage. In the process of therapy, you begin to
straighten yourself out. It's not yet proved that what abductees
do with Dave Jacobs is essentially any different from that.


Greg Sandow

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