Valerie Sinason

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Valerie Sinason
OccupationPoet, writer, psychotherapist
Known forTreatment of the developmentally disabled; advocacy for the existence of satanic ritual abuse

Valerie Sinason is a British poet, writer, psychoanalyst and psychotherapist who is known for promoting the idea that people with a developmental disability can benefit from psychoanalysis and that satanic ritual abuse is widely practiced in the UK. She ran the workshop dealing with intellectual disability at the Tavistock Clinic for twenty years[citation needed] and also worked for 16 years as a consultant research psychotherapist at St George's Hospital Medical School.[citation needed] She is a Trustee of the Institute for Psychotherapy and Disability.

Psychoanalysis and the developmentally disabled[edit]

Since 1979, Sinason has claimed that severely developmentally-disabled people benefit by psychoanalysis.[1] She saw her patients as having a secondary handicap resulting from their attempts to adapt to society's attitudes toward them.[2]

Satanic ritual abuse[edit]

In 1994, Sinason edited a collection of essays entitled Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse that claimed satanic ritual abuse existed in the United Kingdom and that she had treated victims.[3] Satanic ritual abuse is now considered to be a moral panic.[4] Despite this and a three-year Department of Health inquiry by the anthropologist Jean La Fontaine into 84 alleged cases of ritual abuse that found no evidence to support such claims,[5] Sinason claimed in 2001 and 2002 she had clinical evidence for the widespread practice of satanic ritual abuse in the United Kingdom.[6] Her own report on the topic, prepared with colleague Robert Hale, was funded as a pilot study by the Department of Health.[7] It was released to the public under the Freedom of Information Act,[8] and the Department of Health stated in response to an inquiry by a reporter that they do not believe the Sinason-Hale report rendered LaFontaine's report invalid.[9] LaFontaine commented on the story saying "It is not surprising to me that patients who are having treatment by Valerie Sinason would produce stories that echo such topical issues as the recent trial for receiving internet pornography and the publicity for the film Hannibal. There is good research that shows the "memories" of abuse are produced in and by the therapy."[9]


  • Sinason, Valerie (2011). Attachment, Trauma and Multiplicity: Working with Dissociative Identity Disorder. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-49179-2.
  • Sinason, V (2010). Mental Handicap and the Human Condition: An Analytic Approach to Intellectual Disability (2nd ed.). Free Association Books. ISBN 978-1-85343-202-6.
  • Memory in dispute, 2018.
  • The truth about trauma and dissociation: everything you didn't want to know and were afraid to ask, Confer books, 2020.
  • Mental handicap and the human condition: an analytic approach to intellectual disability, Free association books, 2010.
  • Mental handicap and the human condition: new approach by the Tavistock, Free association books, 1992.
  • Understanding your handicapped child, firefly books, 1997.
  • Night shift: New poems by Valerie Sinason, 1995.


  1. ^ Sinason V (2010). Mental Handicap and the Human Condition: An Analytic Approach to Intellectual Disability. London ; New York: Free Association Books. ISBN 978-1-85343-202-6.
  2. ^ Miller, Lynda; Simpson, David W. (2004). Unexpected Gains: Psychotherapy With People With Learning Disabilities (Tavistock Clinic Series). London: Karnac Books. ISBN 1-85575-964-0.
  3. ^ Sinason, V (1994). Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-10543-9.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Lafontaine, JS (1994). Extent & Nature of Organized Ritual Abuse. Department of Health. ISBN 0-11-321797-8.
  6. ^ Thompson, D (22 March 2002). "The people who believe that Satanists might eat your baby". The Daily Telegraph.
  7. ^ Brindle, David (10 February 2000). "Satanic abuse row erupts". The Guardian.
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b Laurance, J (1 March 2001). "I was wrong about cannibalism". The Independent. via HighBeam Research. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. (subscription required)

External links[edit]

  • Article discussing Sinason's involvement with a satanic ritual abuse patient