Articoli con tag bambini

25 Maggio 2015 Giornata internazionale dei bambini scomparsi. Più di 15 mila minori scomparsi in Italia

25 Maggio 2015

Giornata dei bambini scomparsi: oltre 15 mila minori scomparsi in Italia, Telefono Azzurro: numero 116.000 rischia la chiusura

Otto milioni nel mondo i minori di cui non si sa più nulla

Alcuni dei volti dei minori scomparsi in Italia © ANSA

Sono 15.117 i minori scomparsi in Italia e mai rintracciati dal 1974 al 2014. 13.489 sono stranieri, 1.628 italiani. In generale, tra tutte le persone di cui si è registrata la sparizione il 51,7% ha meno di 18 anni. Sono i dati diffusi dal Commissario straordinario del Governo per le persone scomparse del Ministero dell’Interno, Vittorio Piscitelli, in occasione della Giornata internazionale dei bambini scomparsi.

“I minori stranieri non accompagnati sono il problema dei problemi”, ha affermato Piscitelli, durante un incontro promosso da Telefono azzurro. In generale, la causa della scomparsa “è sempre il disagio, la povertà o la guerra” e nel “64-65% dei casi il ritrovamento avviene nelle prime ore dopo la scomparsa, soprattutto nel caso dei minori, i quali non hanno risorse e che quindi sono spinti a chiedere aiuto”.

Allarme Telefono Azzurro: linea minori scomparsi rischia chiusura – “Il 116.000, numero unico europeo per i bambini scomparsi, gestito in Italia da Telefono azzurro, rischia di chiudere a causa dei tagli della Commissione Europea”. E’ l’allarme lanciato dal presidente di Telefono azzurro, Ernesto Caffo, in occasione della Giornata internazionale dei bambini scomparsi. “Ogni anno nel mondo spariscono 8 milioni di bambini; in Europa 270 mila, cioè uno ogni due minuti – ha ricordato Caffo – in Italia dal maggio 2009 ad aprile 2015 il numero 116.000 ha gestito 610 casi di bambini spariti. Nel 38% dei casi si trattava di fughe da casa, nel 31% di fughe da istituti, nel 10% di sottrazioni internazionali, nel 6% di minori stranieri non accompagnati”. Nel 2014 in Europa la linea 116.000 ha gestito 6.119 casi di bambini scomparsi. Telefono Azzurro, in collaborazione con la federazione Missing Children Europe, ha lanciato oggi la campagna “#Salvail116.000, salva un bambino”, “per poter continuare a garantire un servizio essenziale”.

Cosa è la Giornata per i bambini scomparsi? Oggi, come ogni 25 maggio, è la Giornata Internazionale per i Bambini Scomparsi: cade ogni anno in questa data dal 1983, quando nacque per ricordare la scomparsa del piccolo Ethan Patz, rapito a New York il 25 maggio 1979, e per sensibilizzare l’opinione pubblica sul fenomeno un messaggio di solidarietà e speranza ai genitori che non hanno più notizie dei loro bambini.

Nel mondo esiste una rete Globale per i Bambini Scomparsi, un programma del Centro Internazionale per i Bambini Scomparsi e Sfruttati (ICMEC). Le cifre sono agghiaccianti: almeno 8 milioni di bambini scompaiono ogni anno, ossia 22 mila bambini al giorno.

Per celebrare la Giornata Internazionale dei Bambini Scomparsi le forze dell’ordine e le organizzazioni non governative di diversi paesi, tra le quali in Italia Telefono Azzurro, organizzano ogni anno eventi e convegni per sensibilizzare l’opinione pubblica sull’esigenza di sviluppare più efficaci forme di tutela dei bambini ed evitare scomparse e rapimenti e anche non condannare le vittime all’oblio.

 

Fonte: ANSA

http://www.ansa.it/sito/notizie/cronaca/2015/05/25/giornata-internazionale-dei-bambini-scomparsi-un-dramma-silenzioso_a3c1fb33-a301-482e-84ba-1e5149e5397f.html

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La scienza del lavaggio del cervello, spiegata da una neuroscienziata e da un professore emerito di psichiatria

21 Maggio 2015

Articolo tratto da Medical Daily

“The same tactics advertisers use to get people to buy products

have been used to inflict great psychological damage”.

“Le stesse tattiche che i pubblicitari utilizzano per indurre la gente ad acquistare prodotti,

sono state usate per infliggere gravi danni psicologici”.

The Science Of Brainwashing, Big And Small

By

Twenty-three years before terrorists sent two commercial airplanes ripping through the 77th and 93rd floors of the World Trade Center, 909 Americans were swallowing a mixture of Valium, cyanide, and grape Kool-Aid on the northwestern tip of Guyana in what was, at the time, the largest single loss of American life. To this day the Jonestown Massacre swirls with controversy. Was it a suicide, or should it rightfully be called murder?

The question matters. When Reverend Jim Jones launched the Peoples Temple in Indianapolis, roughly two decades prior to the devastation, he had visions of a flourishing socialist new religious movement. But in making a home in Jonestown, the 1,000 or so inhabitants quickly fell into what many now call a cult, and the incident still has scientists and historians studying its catastrophic complexities.

Within weeks of settlement, Jones began indoctrinating his members. People worked for eight hours a day and afterward they studied for eight more. Often, this included heated, heavily vetted lessons from Jones on Marxist and Maoist propaganda, including books and film screenings. He broadcasted anti-American news reports over the Jonestown tower speakers throughout the day, forced non-compliers to suffer through beatings and time spent in a slim plywood box called a “torture hole,” and, several months into settlement, was regularly referred to as “Dad” by both the settlement’s children and other adults. According to surviving journal entries, he routinely performed miracles.

But as the few Temple defectors in the U.S. gained ground in their fight to dismantle Jonestown, pressure mounted. Despite calling the U.S. intelligence operation a “grand conspiracy,” Jones, now in declining health, quickly and fearfully informed his residents the end was near. He gave them the option to flee to the Soviet Union, escape into the Guyanese jungle, or commit “revolutionary suicide.” The group decided on suicide.

And that’s how crewmen found the bodies, limp and together. The group’s leader lay next to two other bodies, his head resting on a pillow, a gunshot wound pouring from his temple. On Nov. 18, 1978, he, like the others, had finally stepped over.

1.What Brainwashing Is

The Jonestown Massacre is a famous example of brainwashing in psychology circles because it seems to capture the power of thought control in its most extreme, well-executed form. It offers psychologists a window into the human mind that, for obvious ethical reasons, can’t be recreated in a lab. For Kathleen Taylor, University of Oxford psychologist and author of Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control, Jonestown offers startling insights into how easily our brains can change, and how those changes actually happen on a daily basis.

Kathleen Taylor

 

“What I think’s going on,” Taylor said, “is that people are using techniques of social psychology that we use all the time, but they are applied in very extreme circumstances.”

These techniques are so commonplace they might be invisible. Advertisements and salespeople like to distract customers so they stay focused on the message, repeating certain phrases over and over, and, perhaps the most compelling, filling customers with doubt about their past choices. The principles hold whether the product is dish soap or religious fundamentalism.

“People tend not to think about things they believe in very much,” Taylor said. By exploiting that lack of analysis, someone interested in reshaping a belief could instill so much self-doubt in a person that eventually the new idea seems plausible, and even true. People’s uncertainty is seized, recast as new beliefs, and behavior follows.

Brainwashing sits at the far end of this manipulative spectrum, Taylor argues, but it relies on the same principles. Its aim is ultimately to control what information enters the brain, where the one doing the brainwashing can delete old associations and, indeed, form brand new neural pathways that cement new ones.

“Because the brain is so malleable, [the information] reshapes what’s going on inside the brain, thereby affecting what behavior comes out the other side.”

That change in behavior seems to come in two distinct forms. The first is brainwashing by force, the kind popularized by prison camps, in which people are tortured and starved and practically destroyed until the “new” reality replaces the old one. The person doing the brainwashing has complete control of the person’s psyche, stripping the victim of what he or she thought she knew and offering redemption through a new, seemingly better, alternative.

“But obviously advertisers can’t do that,” Taylor said, “so what they do instead is use, what I call, brainwashing by stealth.”

In this case, coercing involves changing the emotional associations people make without them noticing a change is taking place. It doesn’t have to be as sinister as subliminal messaging. For decades, advertisers have known that customers respond to emotional connections on an unconscious level. And that unawareness is important, Taylor says, because of a psychological phenomenon known as “reactance,” which states when people know they’re being emotionally manipulated, it tends not to work. So advertisers have a vested interest in being as discreet as possible.

“You’re not really concentrating on it,” Taylor said, “but you’re left with the impression that there is a positive emotion associated with this particular thing they want you to buy.”

2.Finding The Line

Consumption isn’t the only motivation that compels people to be psychologically coercive. Sometimes it’s spite. Dr. William Bernet, professor emeritus of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, has seen firsthand the true range of parents’ destruction when divorce leaves children caught in the middle of an ugly war for the upper hand. Confused and scared about who to trust, and sometimes plagued with fears of physical abuse, kids reject one parent in favor of the alienating one, exhibiting what psychologists call parental alienation syndrome (PAS).

“I would say that PAS is caused by brainwashing or indoctrination of the child,” said Bernet.

Wracked with resentment, the alienating parent tells the child how awful the other parent is, openly insulting them, forbidding the parent from visiting, and sometimes lying about cases of abuse, just so they can get full custody of the child. In children, the resulting effect is a warped view of the other parent, one that can last well into adulthood if contact is never reestablished.

PAS can combine both forms of brainwashing Taylor mentions, which makes it decidedly harder to pinpoint when alienation takes place, and therefore harder to measure when a child exhibits signs of the syndrome. What’s more, the line between emotional parenting and criminal activity is whisper-thin, and judges can’t monitor parents’ activity round-the-clock. The best evidence psychologists can use to prove a child’s PAS is his or her testimony, which is reliable, but first they have the difficult task of noticing a problem.

In this, Taylor points out a challenge inherent in studying brainwashing: The phenomenon is so insidious because it builds a web of false beliefs in which there is no one unscrupulous act. As a result, manipulating a person’s psychology is a serious gray area in medical ethics. At what point is the brainwasher morally, and legally, culpable? Brainwashing carves new neural pathways in the victim’s brain, but when those pathways form and which are most responsible for destructive behavior are mysteries science is helpless in solving.

In looking at cases of PAS, in which kids can’t reasonably think for themselves, the distinction is clearer. But in adults, whose brains are fully formed, emotional manipulation can proceed as silently as the victims’ dissent.

3.Staying Resolute

Day to day, our fragile psyches might never face the threat of brainwashing on the scale of parental coercion or Kool-Aid-drinking cults, but it may still be in our interest to stay keenly aware of when we’re being influenced to feel or think a certain way.

To counter these forces, people need to expose themselves to diverse ideas from disparate sources, Taylor says. She advocates a measure of self-assuredness, reflected in beliefs that are well-founded and defensible. With confidence in decision making — be it in buying a ring or forming an opinion — people can stay immune to outside deceit.

But sometimes that decision making is exhausting, if not downright paralyzing. With hundreds of salad dressings and countless world views to choose from, how can we possibly expend the energy to be rational consumers at all times? Living in the Information Age means wrestling with this dilemma, whether we recognize it or not, and accepting the consequences if we choose to submit.

“All of these things — exhaustion, distraction, fatigue, time, pressure — you can resist them if it matters enough to you,” Taylor said. “But for most people most of the time, it doesn’t. So we don’t.”

 

Fonte: http://www.medicaldaily.com/seen-tv-science-brainwashing-big-and-small-334280

 

 

NOTA: “Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control”, il libro della dott.ssa Kathleen Taylor, tradotto anche in lingua italiana con il titolo “Brainwashing. La scienza del controllo del pensiero” è acquistabile qui:

http://www.ibs.it/code/9788876152191/taylor-kathleen/brainwashing-scienza-del.html

 

 

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Bambini nelle sette. L’approccio dolce della studiosa Lorraine Derocher

20 Maggio 2015

I giovani che vivono in  comunità isolate come le sette, devono essere protetti, ma l’intervento in ambiente settario è difficile e molto più complesso di quanto si possa immaginare…

Enfants dans des sectes: vaut mieux opter pour l’approche douce

CLAUDE PLANTE

Intervenir auprès de sectes religieuses en protection de la jeunesse

Les jeunes vivant dans ces communautés isolées, comme des sectes, doivent alors être protégés, mais l’intervention en milieu sectaire est ardue et beaucoup plus complexe qu’on peut l’imaginer.

C’est la conclusion d’une étude menée par Lorraine Derocher, chargée de cours à la Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines et à la Faculté de théologie et d’études religieuses de l’Université de Sherbrooke.

Les sectes fermées peuvent constituer un environnement où des enfants subissent de mauvais traitements qui sont justifiés par une idéologie religieuse. On n’a qu’à penser à Jonestown en 1978, quand 918 membres d’une secte sont morts dans un suicide forcé. À la tragédie de Waco, où 82 membres d’une secte, dont 21 enfants, sont décédés dans un incendie après un siège de 51 jours en 1993.

« Ce genre d’événement est parfois suscité par un processus d’intervention de l’État qui s’est mal terminé. Ça m’interpelait, et c’est la raison pour laquelle j’ai pensé que les intervenants avaient besoin d’éclairage sur le sujet », dit Mme Derocher.

Pour éviter de nouvelles tragédies, elle a élaboré un modèle d’intervention dont plusieurs intervenants pourraient s’inspirer, selon la spécialiste qui prône l’approche douce. « Le mieux est d’intervenir directement auprès des parents, quand c’est possible. C’est surprenant comme certains d’entre eux peuvent collaborer même s’ils sont parties prenantes », affirme-t-elle.

Pour développer son modèle d’intervention, la chercheuse a mené plusieurs entrevues auprès de professionnels, d’adultes qui étaient enfants au moment des interventions et de parents qui font l’objet des mêmes interventions, affirme un communiqué de presse.

« Mon but était de me faire raconter la même histoire à partir de trois angles : celui des parents qui étaient à l’intérieur de la secte, celui des intervenants qui voulaient protéger les enfants et celui, bien entendu, des enfants », dit-elle.

Ces données sont au coeur de l’ouvrage qu’elle vient de publier aux Presses de l’Université du Québec, Intervenir auprès des sectes religieuses en protection de la jeunesse – Un défi.

 

FONTE: LA PRESSE.CA

http://www.lapresse.ca/la-tribune/actualites/201505/20/01-4871125-enfants-dans-des-sectes-vaut-mieux-opter-pour-lapproche-douce.php

 

NOTA: Sul metodo d’intervento dolce proposto da Lorraine Derocher, vedi anche precedente articolo, tradotto in lingua italiana, qui:

https://favisonlus.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/nuovo-studio-della-ricercatrice-lorraine-derocher-il-comune-denominatore-di-quasi-tutti-i-gruppi-settari-e-lisolamento-dei-bambini-trad-italiano/

 

 

 

 

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La Corte d’Appello di Norimberga stabilisce il ricongiungimento di due bambini con i genitori appartenenti alla setta religiosa Le Dodici Tribu’

19 Maggio 2015

LE DODICI TRIBU': DUE BAMBINI TORNANO IN FAMIGLIA

Il quotidiano tedesco Süddeutsche Zeitung, ha riferito che due bambini potranno ricongiungersi nel mese di giugno con i loro genitori affiliati alla controversa setta religiosa Le Dodici Tribù. Le autorità avevano deciso la separazione di 40 minori e giovani dalle loro famiglie nel 2013 quando era emerso il sospetto che i bambini della comunità subissero ripetuti maltrattamenti con verghe.  Tali punizioni sarebbero state finalizzate, secondo i seguaci dell’organizzazione, alla disciplina dei piccoli, in rispetto del testo biblico. Nei giorni scorsi avevamo postato un video con alcune inquietanti immagini delle punizioni corporali inflitte ai minori.

https://favisonlus.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/cosi-il-controverso-gruppo-religioso-le-dodici-tribu-disciplina-i-bambini-video/

La decisione della Corte d’Appello di Norimberga, si è basata su circostanze particolari del caso. I genitori dei bambini pur condividendo le credenze della comunità religiosa, avrebbero riconosciuto il diritto dei figli a un’educazione non violenta. Inoltre vivono stabilmente in Spagna presso abitazioni indipendenti.  L’accordo prevede che il reinserimento dei piccoli avvenga con la massima cautela, senza mettere a rischio il benessere dei bambini.

Le stesse autorità spagnole, riferisce ancora il quotidiano tedesco, continueranno a prendersene cura.

 

Al link l’articolo pubblicato ieri da Süddeutsche Zeitung

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/bayern/zwoelf-staemme-kinder-von-sekten-mitgliedern-kommen-zu-eltern-zurueck-1.2485829

 

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Olanda. La Chiesa di Scientology utilizza i bambini come terapeuti.

19 Maggio 2015

L. Ron Hubbard il fondatore della Chiesa di Scientology con i suoi bambini (foto del 1950)

 

Dopo la messa in onda ieri sera dell’acclamato documentario Going Clear del premio Oscar Alex Gibney, gli olandesi questa sera faranno un nuovo tuffo nei segreti della controversa organizzazione americana, grazie a un servizio trasmesso dall’emittente pubblica NPO 3 nell’ambito di RamBam, un noto programma televisivo che lavora con telecamere nascoste.

Anche in questo caso una infiltrata è riuscita ad avere accesso alla filiale olandese di Scientology, dove si è recata 5 volte, sottoponendosi a un test psicologico e a successive sessioni per esporre e rivivere i suoi traumi. In una di queste sessioni è stata affiancata da un bambino di soli 11 anni. La Chiesa a ogni incontro ha stilato un fascicolo che si è poi rifiutata di consegnare all’operatrice di RamBam.

 

Ai link di seguito alcuni articoli della stampa olandese che riportano e approfondiscono la notizia

 

http://www.trouw.nl/tr/nl/5091/Religie/article/detail/4033168/2015/05/19/Nederlandse-Scientology-zet-kinderen-in-als-therapeut.dhtml?cw_agreed=1

http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/24056010/__Scientology_zet_kinderen_in__.html

http://www.tv-visie.be/inhoud/nederland/rambam-undercover-bij-scientology-nederland_72177/

 

 

 

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Così il controverso gruppo religioso “Le Dodici Tribu'” disciplina i bambini (VIDEO)

Maggio 2015

Guarda il video qui:

http://www.n-tv.de/mediathek/videos/panorama/Wie-die-Sekte-Zwoelf-Staemme-ihre-Kinder-misshandelt-article15100316.html

Bereits in der Vergangenheit ist die Sekte die “Zwölf Stämme” durch ihre brutalen Erziehungsmethoden aufgefallen. Nach einem RTL-Bericht schritt das Jugendamt ein und brachte die Kinder in Heimen und Pflegefamilien unter. Inzwischen sind die meisten wieder zurück bei der Sekte. Diese hat ihre Erziehungsmethoden jedoch nicht geändert, wie ein Video der “Zwölf Stämme” zeigt.

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MEDITAZIONE TRASCENDENTALE. Il prezzo dell’Illuminazione.

15 Maggio 2015

Oltre alla relazione genitoriale, probabilmente nessun rapporto umano offre una maggiore possibilità di benevolenza o di abuso di quello tra guru e discepolo. Non sorprende, quindi, che i fallimenti etici degli uomini e delle donne che assumono questo ruolo possano costituire alcuni dei più grandi esempi di ipocrisia e di tradimento.. “

Segue estratto dall’articolo “The Price of Enlightenment“, (illustrato e scritto da Cici Carmignani). L’articolo integrale in lingua inglese è consultabile cliccando sull’immagine, qui:

View profile at Medium.com

 

 

PREMESSA.

Gina Catena è stata una dei primi bambini a essere considerati “quasi-illuminati” dal movimento Meditazione Trascendentale (TM)  negli anni ’60, e ora condivide la sua storia nella speranza di informare la popolazione circa le sue preoccupazioni per quanto riguarda la tecnica meditazione trascendentale. Oltre alla sua dolorosa esperienza e a quella della sua famiglia, nel brano che segue, racconta, tra l’altro, di vari suicidi di cui è a conoscenza commessi da persone che seguivano il movimento. Nel suo racconto accenna a un studio pubblicato su Psychological Reports nel 1976 che afferma quanto segue: “Come molte procedure, Meditazione Trascendentale (TM) si dimostra estremamente efficace se applicata in casi correttamente individuati su praticanti informati. E non è una panacea. Se usata indiscriminatamente, indicazioni cliniche suggeriscono che la procedura può precipitare gravi problemi psichiatrici come depressione, agitazione e persino scompensi schizofrenici“. Gina Catena esprime anche preoccupazione per l’insegnamento della David Lynch Foundation che propone tecniche di Meditazione trascendentale per i bambini, in particolare a causa della mancanza di ricerca sugli effetti a lungo termine di queste tecniche meditative su cervelli in via di sviluppo. La maggior parte della ricerca è stato infatti finanziata dallo stesso Movimento TM.

 

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi il fondatore di Meditazione Trascendentale

 

LA STORIA DI GINA CATENA

Gina’s Story

On October 20, 2014, Gina Catena gave a personal account of her experience with the TM Organization at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Fransisco titled “Cult or Benign Cure-all? Life in Transcendental Meditation’s Hidden Society”. Catena was one of the first children to be deemed “quasi-enlightened” by the TM Movement during the 60’s, and is now sharing her story in hopes of informing people about her concerns regarding the TM technique.

“Many of my loved ones fell down a rabbit hole of self-induced trance,” says an emotionally distraught Catena during her lecture. Catena’s parents were part of the earliest phases of the United Nations in the late 1940s. She says that they were committed to creating world peace after experiencing the horrors of WWII. During the 50s, her father left the United Nations to pursue a career as an aerospace engineer and was transferred to a remote town in the Southern Californian desert. During that time, her parents met a defense contractor named Walter Koch, who was one of Maharishi’s followers. Koch told her father that TM could heal his early onset rheumatoid arthritis and took them to see the Maharishi in Beverly Hills.

A few months later, Catena’s parents brought her and her brother to Los Angeles to be initiated to TM. She says she was about eight years old when she was given her “word of wisdom”. During the puja, she was invited by her teacher to bow down in front of the altar. She remembers saying, “I don’t know who that is, I’m not going to bow.”

After her parents become more involved with the movement, she noticed that their language began to change. Instead of using the word “God” they used “mother nature, being, or the absolute”. Her mother told her what Maharishi had once said, “In a religious age we speak in religious terms. In a scientific age we speak in scientific terms.”

In 1971, Herbert Benson collaborated with Keith Wallace on a study about the effects of TM on the human body at the University of California. Wallace approached Benson claiming that he could lower his blood pressure by using TM. Benson proved these claims to be true after concluding the study. Benson later studied other forms of meditation and prayer and found similar results. He coined the term ‘relaxation response’ and referred to it as a “physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress”. This physical state involves a decrease in heart rate, metabolic rate, and breathing rate. Wallace and Benson went their separate ways after Benson refused to be initiated to TM. Wallace went on to continuing his research on TM and remains one of the most respected scientists within the Movement. During this time, Catena was asked to participate in one of Wallace’s studies because she was “functioning well”.

In 1974, Catena moved to the first campus for the Maharishi International University in Santa Barbara, CA with her mother. She says that she was “revered” for having learned TM at such a young age. At 16, she was offered to go to Seelisberg, Switzerland to be with Maharishi at his palace and become a TM teacher. She refused and said she didn’t want to go because she preferred to spend her time hiking in the hills and going to the beach. She thought the “TM people were fabulous” and really enjoyed living with them. However, she had noticed that some of the people who returned from longer courses had changed. “They didn’t laugh anymore.” She languidly imitates them, “Everything was like ‘Maharishi says this and Maharishi says that’,” and then briskly says, “I didn’t go for that.”

That same year, Catena moved to Fairfield, Iowa and became pregnant with an older student from Maharishi International University. She did not seek out medical care and had a miscarriage. She became pregnant again and gave birth, once again without even considering medical care.

Some followers of the TM Movement believe that TM and it’s associated healing modalities, such as Maharishi Vedic Vibration Technology, are superior to modern medicine and therefore do not seek out help from mainstream doctors. Catena had always been taught this growing up. She later came across a document published on Wikileaks containing details of a Governor Recertification Course(TM Teacher’s are also known as Governors) from 2005. It states the following: “We are not going to take help from medical Drs. as medical professionals give poison. So don’t engage any medical Drs. for anything — absolutely whatever it is — even if they are in our Movement family.”

As the years passed by, Catena became more and more disillusioned with life in Fairfield. She recalls being told by one of the leaders of the movement that she would “precipitate World War III” due to her lack of participation in more advanced meditations. She preferred to spend time at home with her children instead. Meanwhile, her father’s arthritis only got worse. He refused any medical treatment and instead opted for prayer ceremonies known as yagyas. Catena has boxes of receipts in her garage at home from some of these ceremonies. One of the receipts showed a yagya that costed $4,000. Her father died in 2005 in what she described as a “painful, prolonged” death with gems strung around his neck. He donated all of the money he had to the TM Movement, plus $80,000 in credit cards which Catena had to settle with her family.

Catena talks about various suicides committed by people she came into contact with during her time within the movement. She mentions a studypublished in Psychological Reports in 1976 that states the following: “Like many procedures, Transcendental Meditation (TM) proves extremely effective when applied to properly selected cases by informed practitioners. It is not a panacea. In fact, when used indiscriminately, there are clinical indications that the procedure can precipitate serious psychiatric problems such as depression, agitation, and even schizophrenic decompensation.”

An article posted Iowa City’s Little Village Magazine in 2014 reports that 20 people have committed suicide in the greater Fairfield area since 2008, according to the local medical examiner. A suicide prevention group, unaffiliated with the TM movement, called Fairfield Cares was created in response to this, particularly for those within the LGBTQ community. It is impossible to say whether or not all of the suicides were caused as a result of practicing TM.

Catena expresses concern about the David Lynch Foundation teaching TM to children, particularly due to the lack of research on the long term effects of TM on developing brains. Most of the research that does exist has been funded by the TM Movement. “Meditation is probably beneficial,” says Catena. “Those who promote TM are well intentioned. They are doing what they were taught to do. My opinion is that vulnerable people might fall for the promises of this society, and some might have severe reactions.”

During the Q&A in San Fransisco, Nat Goldhaber, one of the founders of Maharishi University of Management, comes up to the microphone to defend the TM Movement, “I’ve taught 1,000 people to meditate and had no devastating results in that entire time. My community of friends is largely made up of people who practice TM, some of whom do the vedic astrology stuff, and some of whom don’t.” Goldhaber then proudly lists his accomplishments, including his time as personal assistant to William Scranton III, who served as lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania from 1979 to 1987. According to Goldhaber, Scranton used the skills he learned from TM to calm down “panicked people” during a “tumultuous time” during his term at the Governor’s office. He then says, “There are nutty people in the TM Movement, just as there are nutty people everywhere,” and makes it clear that Catena was speaking from her own personal experience and did not represent the TM Movement in any way. She thanked him, and deservedly so, since he had just reiterated the point she had made in the beginning of the lecture.

Catena moved away from Fairfield 1988 with her husband (to whom she is now divorced) and three children. She earned a BA in Nursing, BA in Art History, and MA of Science from the Dominican University in California and currently works as a nurse practitioner and midwife at a large hospital in San Francisco. She tells me that there are many loved ones in Fairfield who still refuse to speak with her. Catena changed her last name in 1999 because she no longer wants to be associated with the person she used to be, who she says was “rather confused”.

You can listen to her entire lecture here.

 

 

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