GrassRoots RA/MC Collective Gives Me Such Joy!

Three Fun Survivor-Led Workshops for RA/MC Survivors

All these free events are held over ZOOM. Register for them at https://grassroots-ra-mc-collective.org/events/

Slow Flow Yoga with Toshia

An hour of gentle movement, breathing techniques, and guided relaxation to create mental clarity and increased body awareness. It can be done in a chair, on the floor, or on a couch or a bed.

Let’s approach our body, mind, and spirit with curiosity. This is a safe way for us to befriend our bodies, where past trauma is stored.” 

Sunday, November 13, 4:00 – 5:00 PM Pacific Time 

Come join Chris as she shares how to make  “paper dolls” for each of your others. This has been a very helpful tool for her because it encourages her parts to come forward. It is then easier for them to talk, tell their stories, and get to know you. Making the dolls is easy! Chris says she is not an artist and anybody can do this.

Saturday, November 26, 1:00 – 3:00 PM Pacific Time 

Heart and Soul Cards of Hope For the New Year  – Creative Arts Workshop

Soul Affirmation Cards Jen will show you how to create a personal “Heart and Soul’” affirmation card for the New Year. What are your hopes and dreams? What is that one word or phrase that opens up your heart and gives hope to your soul? How is that word or phrase held in art form? Celebrate the closing of this year with Jen as they teach us how to create a personal heart and soul card of hope for the year to come.

Saturday, December 31, 1:00 – 4:00 PM Pacific Time 

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GrassRoots is such a joy! In the beginning, there were just three of us, Rivers, Leni, and me. We put on a couple of poetry readings, starting on July 2021. We asked everybody who came to them to tell their friends about GrassRoots. We told our own friends, and I guess their friends told some other people. Those of us who have a blog wrote about it. Word spread. Only sixteen months have passed, and look at all that is going on!

On October 15, 2022, we hosted our first workshop. Until then, everything had been much-needed and much-appreciated ongoing groups. Drop-in support groups, plus art and writing groups. Now we are branching out, growing like a healthy tree.

Shana Dines was the trailblazer. She is a watercolor artist – you can see a couple of her paintings on our webpage. She also, in 3-D life, teaches watercolor techniques. I always assumed that watercolors were unforgiving because once they were on paper, you couldn’t change anything. Shana taught us how to layer color and how to paint one thing and then place another thing over it. She gave us some basic theory, like how to use complementary colors. We all worked on a scene of the sun setting over the ocean, and, toward the end, some of us did our own thing. I painted my fear and added these words from Litany Against Fear from “Dune:” 

“I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.” 

Shana was the first. Now three more survivors are giving workshops on very different subjects this year. They don’t conflict with anything else GrassRoots offers, so you can go to all three without missing anything. Who knows how many will happen during 2023!

Looking to the future, we’d like to have a speaker series. Once a month, a survivor would give a talk about some aspect of their life – healing, activism, whatever interested them. We are the experts because we have lived through ritual abuse and mind control.  We know what was done to us and how it has affected every corner of our being and every moment of our lives. 

It’s easy to record ZOOM sessions, so we could post the talks on the resource page. (Don’t automatically think “I can’t.” Think “I can’t…yet.”) If anybody is interested, contact me or, better yet, post in the comment section so you can inspire others. 

GrassRoots makes me so happy! I feel like a little rabbit hopping around in a field of wonderful ideas. There are lots of other rabbits to play with, and I like each of them more than all the others. The sun is warm, the breeze is soft on my fur, and there are lots of yummy things to eat. Bliss.

But it hasn’t always been like this. When I first realized what my childhood had been like, I thought I would die from the pain. I could hardly breathe. It was a huge struggle to get through each day, but I did. I sure wasn’t happily hopping around; I was slogging through molasses at midnight. Slowly, all too slowly, the days turned into weeks, months, and then years. I finally became able to feel more than numbness or pain.

I was very lucky to be able to suffer in the company of other survivors. Some were deeper in pain and fear than I was, some had come to a place where they could feel a little hope, a little love, a tiny bit of pleasure. Being among survivors gave me instant perspective. I was not the only one who had been tortured and used, then tossed aside, as a child. Others had escaped enslavement, then gotten through tsunami waves of pain and despair. There was hope of something different in life, after all. What I was feeling would not necessarily last forever.

I cannot imagine what it would have been like if I had not been able to meet and talk to others like myself. Nobody would have understood me the way other survivors do. I would have been alone, doubted and doubting, confused, with no idea of what to do, where to turn, or how to manage. There were only a couple of books on ritual abuse available in those days, and not a whole lot written about trauma or childhood abuse. I doubt if those books were available in small-town libraries. There was no Internet.

And, sadly, that is what it is like today for innumerable survivors.

When I first remembered, though, it was very different. In the late 80s, we were not afraid to speak to each other. There were feminist bookstores that sold books, journals, and zines about RA and conferences to go to. Many cities had 12-step meetings just for RA survivors, and some had a meeting almost every day of the week!  

Then the False Memory Syndrome Foundation came along. The members made up pseudo-scientific theories, claiming that children do not forget traumatic events. The stories they told had been suggested to them, and they had fallen for them. If one child disclosed, that child was mentally ill and disbelieved. If a group of children all told the same story, it was a case of mass hysteria. All their memories were false.

The FMSF also claimed that children were coached to tell false stories about one parent, usually the father, to please the other parent. This they called “the parent alienation syndrome.” One parent, usually the mother, was painted as manipulating and vengeful, willing to use an innocent child as a weapon against the other. 

They hired lawyers to go after therapists who “implanted memories” in clients to get their money. (Never mind that survivors are disproportionately unable to work, unemployed, or underemployed.) They provided lawyers to parents accused of sexually or ritually abusing their children. They even sued Ellen Bass, author of “Courage to Heal, claiming she put ideas into countless people’s heads. Ellen is reputed to have said, “Gee, I read a book about plumbing, but I never thought I was a plumber.”

The FMSF hired excellent public relations people and articles were published in respected journals and newspapers. In the 27 years of its existence (1992 – 2019), their disinformation campaign successfully swayed a large number of people. We are understandably reluctant to believe the worst of others, especially of people like ourselves, our neighbors, or our friends. It is more comfortable to believe that atrocities happen in other countries and not in our own backyards.  

And so survivors and their helpers became once again isolated and silenced.  

I was very lucky to have had support and a sense of community for four or five years before the FMSF turned the tide. I’ve always been sad that those times didn’t last longer. I want to recreate that atmosphere, both for others and for myself. I can’t change world opinion, but I can try to carve out a little green field in my own corner of the world.

That is what GrassRoots means to me – a return to belief, trust, and love in our relationships with our fellow survivors.  Watching GrassRoots, and the people who make up GrassRoots, grow and blossom makes me very, very happy.

 

An interesting Article on Elizabeth Loftus

Want to hear my excuse for this late blog post?

I was out having fun! I have no guilt, none at all.

A friend took me to a small Asian district that I have shopped in and eaten in and loved for years. I hadn’t been there for 14 months. My favorite small supermarket had my favorite fish and staples like bok choi and fish sauce and I was in heaven. We lunched together on take-out Banh Mi. 

She also took me to a small garden center, another shop I have loved for ages. I bought six-packs of lettuce and white cosmos and white stock. Also, three tomatoes, even though I have no idea where I can put them in the garden. Worst comes to worst, I can give them away in trade for some tomatoes when they ripen.

And I went to the doctor. He’s better in person than on Telemed! What’s more, I went all by myself. First time I took Lyft since early March 2020.

I took these places for granted when I could go any day I wanted to. Now they are as much a treat as a tropical vacation. 

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I have subscribed to the New Yorker for years. Although it is pretty poor on issues such as child abuse, DID, and memory, I love the cartoons, the poetry, most of the fiction, and many of the articles.

The April 5 issue had a long article on Elizabeth Loftus by Rachel Aviv. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/04/05/how-elizabeth-loftus-changed-the-meaning-of-memory I read it out of curiosity, expecting to be annoyed. To tell the truth, I was not disappointed.

When I initially heard of Loftus’ research and her connection with the False Memory Foundation (she was on their Scientific Advisory Board), there was little criticism of her work. Gradually, people started critiquing her often-cited early experiments on memory. I had hoped that pointing out the flaws in her reasoning would make a dent in her growing prestige, but I was mistaken.

Loftus started studying the malleability of memory in the ’70s. She questioned eye-witnesses about car crashes, using different verbs – hit, smashed, collided, etc., and found that, when the subjects were later asked about the speed of the cars, the more vivid verbs were correlated with higher estimated speeds. This led to more studies on the shaping of descriptions of events by the use of leading questions.

Her most famous experiment is widely known as “Lost in a Shopping Mall.” The formation of false memories; Loftus, E. F., & Pickrell, J. E. (1995) Psychiatric Annals, 25(12), 720–725. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1996-29546-001)

From the abstract: “ 24 Ss (aged 18–53 yrs) were provided with a brief description of 3 true events and 1 false event that they had supposedly witnessed with a close family member between ages of 4 and 6 yrs. Ss were required to record details of their memories concerning these events. This was followed by 2 successive interviews over 2 wks, in which Ss were asked to rate the clarity of their memory and confidence they felt regarding memory for events. Ss were then debriefed and asked to identify the false events. Ss were able to recall 68% of true events and used more words when describing true memories. During the 1st interview, 75% resisted suggestion about being lost in false events, and continued to resist during 2nd interview. 19 Ss correctly identified false events.”

The False Memory Syndrome Foundation used the article to “prove” that memories of childhood sexual abuse had been “suggested” by therapists. The fact that 75% of the subjects could identify which was the false event was overlooked.

Although the False Memory Syndrome Foundation ceased to exist in December of 2019, it continues to cause immeasurable harm to survivors, their therapists, and other supporters. Their views were widely disseminated by the media and are still held by many, many people. Our accounts of abuse (especially ritual abuse) are disbelieved, discounted, or minimized. 

Dr. Loftus became sought after as an expert witness on memory for the defense of many men accused of sexually assaulting women. She testified in the trials of Harvey Weinstein, O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Ted Bundy, and about 300 others. Among her many books are “The Myth of Repressed Memory: False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse.”

I do understand that memory can be inaccurate, that it can change over time, and that it can be shaped by leading questions. I do not understand how research that shows that some memories are accurate can be discounted or how inaccuracy of some memories can be generalized to “prove” inaccuracies of all memories. I have always been irritated by the way the results of Loftus’ research were used in the world outside academia.

This article in the New Yorker, though, gave me a different perspective on Loftus’ work and life and opened my heart. I now feel compassion for her as a person, even though my opinion of her work has not changed.

According to the article, Loftus’ kept a daily journal for six years during middle school and high school. Over and over, she wrote about how happy she was. Yet her father was aloof and emotionally unavailable and her mother was depressed and emotionally unavailable. When she was fourteen, her mother spent six months in a psychiatric hospital. Elizabeth kept writing in her journal about how happy she was and never mentioned her mother’s absence. Five days after her discharge, her mother was discovered dead in a pool at a family vacation house where she and her sister had stopped on the way home. 

Elizabeth and her brothers believed it was an accident, but her father believed it was suicide. In any event, her diary continued recording how happy she was. She did, though, write about her mother on scraps of paper which she paper clipped into the diary. They indicated she regretting not watching TV with her mother when asked, saying she was busy. She also records a long conversation about her mother’s childhood on the day she died, which Elizabeth treasured, saying that was the only time they had been close. She never said she was unhappy, but wrote of things that would have made most children guilty and unhappy.

She married but was unable to have much-wanted children. Elizabeth threw herself into her work, and the couple spent less and less time together and then divorced amicably. They are still good friends. From that time on, her life consisted almost entirely of work.

Throughout the article, she is quoted about wondering whether her mother’s death was a suicide or an accident, which version of her death was false, and which true. Quotes also indicated how unconnected the mother and daughter were. Both Elizabeth and her brother said they had next to no memories of their mother – only one or two hazy ones. 

And once, on the witness stand, she revealed that she had been molested by a male babysitter when she was six. Later she wrote, “the memory flew out of me, out of the blackness of the past, hitting me full force.” She had never forgotten the incident, but apparently, she had not remembered it is this way before.   

She also did not realize that she had misinterpreted what had happened until she worried that it had made her pregnant when she got her period later than her classmates. (She remembers that there was no penetration.)

It seems, that in her personal life as well as in her research, she can never be sure whether a memory is accurate or not, and that she has never been able to resolve her doubt about the cause of her mother’s death. 

Now I can feel compassion for that sad and brave child, doing such a good job of putting on a good front. I truly believe that she meant no harm and that her research might have taken a different turn had it been conducted today, now that we have information about the neurological storage of memory and the difference between implicit and traumatic memory.

In the next post, I will share something I wrote about memory in back in 1992.

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Upcoming Holidays

April
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/26 Full Moon
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

May
5/1 Beltane
5/9 Mothers’ Day
5/12 (?) Armed Forces Day
5/23 Pentecost
5/26 Total Lunar Eclipse 
5/26 Full Moon
5/31 Memorial Day

June
 6/10 Annular Solar Eclipse
 6/20 Fathers’ Day
 6/21 Summer solstice
 6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
 6/24 (?) St John’s Day
 6/24 Full Moon

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
5/8 V-E Day (Victory in Europe, WW2) 
5/17 Shavuot (Festival of Harvest, Festival of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)

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* You can find more information on the following holidays at:
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/walpurgisnacht/
Beltane: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/
Mothers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
Fathers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/
Summer Solstice: (corrected text) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/ 
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2 https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-ii/
Fall Equinox: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/ Halloween: (personal) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/ 
Halloween: (background) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
Thanksgiving: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
Yule/Winter Solstice: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/ 
Candlemas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
Valentine’s Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/
Spring Equinox: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-spring-equinox/

Easter: personal (for background, see Spring Equinox) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/easter-blues/

 

 

 

Internal Family Systems Therapy Workshop

There are two announcements after the main part of this post.

I attended a 12-hour Workshop on Internal Family Systems Therapy. It was on ZOOM, and I am pretty comfortable using ZOOM now. I wasn’t triggered by being on video, and there were so many people attending that I just faded into the background. 

I noticed that I have the world’s messiest bookcase as background. I have no desire to tear it apart, find new places for all the papers and vases and other miscellaneous items, nor do I wish to subject myself to the frustration of not being able to find stuff when the bookshelf beautification project is complete. I have some lovely ZOOM virtual backgrounds, which I use on occasion. I do get spooked by seeing parts of me disappearing and reappearing as the software tries to catch up with itself. I shall therefore offer my bookcase, as a kindness, to make many people proud that their offices are tidier than mine. 

I wasn’t triggered by being in a large group, either. I didn’t have to interact with anybody. I also was under no pressure to remember anybody’s name or what we talked about. Actually, there was no pressure to remember anything, come to think about it. That was a treat because when I attend an in-person workshop, I’m expected to spend breaks and lunchtimes with others, to join email groups, and to remember all sorts of things, whether I am presenting or not.

I didn’t know anything about Internal Family Systems Therapy when I signed up for the workshop. Years ago, I had looked at their website and decided that it was pretty complicated and I didn’t have the time to study it. That was the sum total of my knowledge of the subject.

The workshop was well-organized, the slides were clear, and the presenter was knowledgeable. The content was interesting, and I learned a lot. I’d like to share a very brief summary with you all.

IFS theory postulates that everybody has a Self, everybody has experienced trauma to some degree, and everybody has developed parts to deal with the trauma. These parts came into being to protect the Self from being overwhelmed. Now the person has everything inside themselves that they need to heal. The therapist doesn’t have to give suggestions or advice or teach the client anything. All he/she has to do is guide the internal process of the client. Here’s an example:

T: “Is there a part of you that has thoughts or feelings about X?”
C. “There’s a part that’s mad.”
T. “What’s that like?”
C. Describes how the mad part makes things more complicated, how it would be better if that part went away.
T. “What’s the worst thing that could happen if that part of you stopped making things more complicated?”
C. “I would get overwhelmed and couldn’t cope.”
T. (to client’s Self, sense of “me”) “That mad part of you is doing a very good job of trying to protect you by distracting you.
T. “I wonder what would happen if, just for a second, that part stopped protecting you. If it stepped back, just for a moment, what would that be like?”
C. “I would okay for a short time. I know I would.”
T. Asks both the Self and the part if they are willing to try it. After getting permission, coaches them on how to step back and leave a quiet space between them. Then asks what it was like for each.

See how everything happens internally? Each time the client works with a part, the Self gets stronger, and the part does less and less protecting. Since the protective behavior (cutting, eating or not, worrying, criticizing, etc.) is a distraction to help the Self not deal with the trauma, symptoms diminish. The therapist doesn’t address the symptoms, just guides the client through the process of experimenting and negotiating with the parts.

Once the protectors are all on board and have faith that the Self really is strong enough to deal with the trauma, the healing phase of therapy begins.

There are parts, called “exiles” in IFS therapy, which hold the memories and feelings from the trauma. The therapist guides the client through the process of meeting an exile and learning about the age and the trauma in general terms. The next steps are finding out what the part would have liked to have happened, determining that the adult Self can give what is needed, and then providing it through guided imagery. At that point, the exile part is able to release the trauma and stops being stuck in the past. The trauma becomes a memory and does not have the overwhelmingly intense images and feelings of a flashback.  

I like that the client is not pathologized and that, from the start, the therapist conveys that the client has all that is needed to heal inside themself. I like that all parts of the person are treated with respect and always given freedom of choice. I like that the purpose of a symptom, not the symptom itself, is the focus of attention. It is a gentle, compassionate approach to trauma treatment.

I don’t like that IFST would take a long time for many therapists to learn because of the difference in approach and language and the number of protocols for different processes. (It’s sort of like EMDR in this respect.) Although from reading their website I gathered that it could be blended with other modalities of therapy, it would take much thought and time to do so.

Here is The Internal Family Sytems Institute’s website. https://ifs-institute.com

Browse through the News section for free Webinars and the Resources section for articles, videos, and podcasts. The bibliography in the Research section has a wealth of books, which you can sample at Google Books, Amazon, or Questia.


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Upcoming Holidays

April
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/1 Maundy Thursday (commemoration of the Last Supper)
4/2 Good Friday
4/3 Holy Saturday
4/4 Easter Sunday
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/26 Full Moon
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve


May
5/1 Beltane
5/9 Mothers’ Day
5/12 (?) Armed Forces Day
5/23 Pentecost
5/26 Total Lunar Eclipse 
5/26 Full Moon
5/31 Memorial Day

June
 6/10 Annular Solar Eclipse
 6/20 Fathers’ Day
 6/21 Summer solstice
 6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
 6/24 (?) St John’s Day
 6/24 Full Moon

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
4/4 Hitler’s alternate birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday, 4/20, and Easter of the current year. This year, Easter falls on 4/4.)
4/8 Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)
4/15 Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day)
4/20 Hitler’s birthday
4/15 Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day)
5/8 V-E Day (Victory in Europe, WW2) 
5/17 Shavuot (Festival of Harvest, Festival of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)

* You can find more information on the following holidays at: 

Spring Equinox: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-spring-equinox/

Easter: personal (for background, see Spring Equinox) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/easter-blues/

Walpurgisnacht/May Eve: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/walpurgisnacht/

Beltane: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/

Mothers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/

Fathers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/

Summer Solstice: (corrected text) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/

Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2 https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-ii/

Fall Equinox: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/

Halloween: (personal) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/ 
Halloween: (background) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
 
Thanksgiving: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/ 
Yule/Winter Solstice: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/
Candlemas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
 
Valentine’s Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/

 ~~~~~~~~~~

*Highlights of a New York Times article


The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are proving highly effective in preventing coronavirus infections under real-world conditions, the C.D.C. found.

Troubling variants were circulating during the time of the study – from December 14, 2020 to March 13, 2021 — yet the vaccines still provided powerful protection.

The C.D.C. enrolled 3,950 people at high risk of being exposed to the virus because they were health care workers, first responders, or others on the front lines….

Among those who were fully vaccinated, there were .04 infections per 1,000 person-days, meaning that among 1,000 persons there would be .04 infections in a day.

There were 0.19 infections per 1,000 person-days among those who had had one dose of the vaccine. In contrast, there were 1.38 infections per 1,000 person-days in unvaccinated people.

 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/29/world/pfizer-moderna-covid-vaccines-infection.html?campaign_id=60&emc=edit_na_20210329&instance_id=0&nl=breaking-news&ref=headline&regi_id=112647142&segment_id=54428&user_id=c9efd3687ea12eec8e32e61a5b86de7d

 

* Survivorship Regular Conference – Saturday and Sunday May 22 – 23, 2021
Clinician’s Conference – Friday May 21, 2021
Information on the speakers, topics, and registration is at https://survivorship.org/the-survivorship-ritual-abuse-and-mind-control-2021-conference/