I just want to thank you for that moving personal account of "Jim," and helping bring the death of that girl from "Attachment Therapy" to my attention. I'm suprised you didn't write about it in "Is Psychology a Science?" but the Advocates for Children in Therapy do a disturbingly good job of conveying the horror of the incident. What kind of people are we, that we'd let people press a child to death?
I played Giles Corey in a stage version of The Crucible, so it only made mention of my passing for my principles, but at least my character was allowed to have principles. This child was basically suffocated by a bunch of stupid fat women, pardon my ineloquence. What a way to die. What a stupid, stupid way to die.
I would suggest that people who practice these obviously quack therapies should be prosecuted or severely discouraged before they have the opportunity to inflict harm on others. Sure, as you've said, responsibility is in the hands of the individual, but how much responsibility was Candice able to take for herself? I'm "glad" that the parent was prosecuted even though the child was undergoing "therapy." An admission from your goverment that people ought to know better.
I guess it's a start.
PS: I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome too, and for a while I was letting myself live under that label. I had a horrible time in public school (I should say "grade school," as I did go to private school, and had a horrible go of it as well, as my involuntarily broken arm would attest), and it seemed like everyone just wanted to push pills at me. Eventually I found it so incredibly condescending that I quietly stopped taking the pills. And it worked, and I grew up.
I just got back from a youth exchange that took place in Poland. In high school, I would never have felt myself capable of being selected for anything like that. But I was, and I had an excellent time in the exchange country, and I want to write a short e-book about it. In high school I was convinced that my life would end, one way or the other, after it was over. I listened too well to my detractors, and I didn't know how to think independently, and my life was just one long reaction to everything.
To put it crudely, I wish "stop and think" advice could be given to more children. They're capable of much more independent thought than we give them credit for.
Time to sign off before I crash your web server. Again, thank you for your great content - I eagerly await "Alaska 2005." Or heck, sail around the world again in your better boat (do you still have Entropy?), and take digital pictures that won't be pilfered by the Sri Lankan Postal Service. Don't interpret me as thinking you don't have a life, but I have wondered why you haven't yet attempted a second circumnavigation.
Until then, clear skies!
- William Matheson, Halifax, Nova Scotia