The Press
Tuesday August 27, 1991

Satanic ritual abuse in NZ - US therapist
by Sarona Josefa

Satanic ritual abuse is occurring in New Zealand, says a visiting American specialist in child sexual abuse.

Mr Mitchell Whitman is a sexual abuse therapist who is noted for his work, as a Christian, in raising child sexual abuse awareness within United States churches.

He says society has to believe victims in order to stop abuse.

Satanic ritual abuse posed as great a threat to children as sexual abuse, he said in Christchurch yesterday. It was up to society to uncover the practice.

Mr Whitman claimed that seven victims of satanic ritual abuse had approached him during his visit to New Zealand. They had told him of being drugged by satanic worshippers in their homes, and being subjected with their children to rituals of brainwashing.

A child said he had been made to eat faeces during a particular ritual, Mr Whitman said.

The victims feared that no one would believe them if they spoke out publicly.

"Most people say It does not happen, but I know for a fact - from talking to the parents and children involved - that it does exist here.

"And I am not afraid to say It publicly."

Mr Whitman said it bad been found in the United States that the usual damage caused to children by satanic ritual abuse was a multi-personality disorder. Research showed that about half the children suffering multi-personality disorders had been victims of satanic ritual abuse, be claimed. -

The Commissioner for Children, Dr Ian Hassall, said there was a world-wide phenomenon of satanic worship, but whether It related to abuse of children or just mass hysteria, was another matter.

Some cases of young heavy rock fanatics dabbling in the occult to scare their parents were brought to his attention, but none concerning ritual abuse.

"Often when you look into it, the evidence for something happening is flimsy, but . . . 20 years ago people did not believe that child abuse within families was as common as it now appears," Dr Hassall said.

He cautioned that becoming too carried away with satanic ritual abuse had the potential to cause similar hysteria to that which occurred In Cleveland, in northwest England, in 1987. There the diagnosis of a local pediatrician caused the mass withdrawal of children from their homes by the local social welfare authority.

Mr Whitman was in Christchurch yesterday, as a guest of the Open Home Foundation, after taking workshops on child sexual in Auckland for Youth With a Mission.


D. Mitchell Whitman, M.Ed.
Clinical Psychology Intern

Professional and Educational Background

Mitch Whitman, a Certified Mental Health Counselor, has worked in the mental health field for 12 years. He comes to Bayside Associates after 5 years in private practice in Bellingham at Discovery Christian Counseling. He holds a Masterís Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of British Columbia, the graduate diploma in Christian Studies from Regent College in BC, and is completing a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Seattle Pacific University. Mitch is a National Certified Counselor, and is a Clinical Member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers.

Mitch enjoys working with couples as well as individuals, in both short-term cognitive and behavioral therapy as well as longer-term psychodynamic therapy. He worked for two years with Child Protective Services, six years at Skagit Discovery with severely behaviorally disturbed children and youth, and six years at the Burnaby Christian Counseling Group in British Columbia where he developed a sexual offender/sexual addictions treatment program.

Mitch is conversant in German and has experience in a wide range of cross-cultural counseling and training contexts. He has written the book Challenging the Darkness: Child Sexual Abuse and the Church, published in the U.S., New Zealand, and in Germany in German Translation. Mitch consults locally and in Canada in professional sexual misconduct situations and conducts training on child abuse and sexual offender treatment topics in Canada, Western and Central Europe, and New Zealand on a regular basis.

Areas of Specialization
Mitch works with adolescents and adults in individual, couples, family and group therapy. He specializes in:
∑ Emotional, physical and sexual abuse
∑ Depression
∑ Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
∑ Relationship Issues: marriage, parent-child, etc.
∑ Sexual addiction, sexual deviance and sexual identity confusion
∑ Ongoing menís therapy group focusing on sexual compulsivity
∑ Psychological testing and assessment
∑ Christian Counseling

Personal Information
Mitch is married and has two young children. He enjoys traveling, mountain biking, and skiing and is learning how to paraglide.