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Letters to the Editor Issue 100

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 100 - June 2004

AIDS: Scientific or Viral Catastrophe?

by Neville Hodgkinson – www.altheal.org

Abstract

Despite more than $100 billion spent on AIDS by US taxpayers alone, scientists have not been able to ascertain how HIV causes the AIDS syndrome. Predictions about the course of the epidemic have proved inaccurate. While millions are said to be infected and dying in Africa, AIDS deaths have fallen in Europe and the USA and now total fewer than 250 a year in the UK, which has a population of nearly 60 million. Claims that cocktails of antiviral drugs are responsible for a decline in Western AIDS are unsupported by clear evidence. On the contrary, the US Government has reversed a policy of "hit hard, hit early" in HIV-positive people, citing "unexpected toxicities" from the drugs. The HIV theory of AIDS causation has fulfilled certain social and public health needs, but the scientific community has not acknowledged or addressed serious flaws in AIDS theory and medical practice, in particular a failure to validate "HIV" diagnostic tests against isolation of virus. Genetic and chemical signals produced by disordered immune cells may have been misinterpreted as evidence of the presence of a lethal virus. There is vast over-diagnosis of AIDS and "HIV disease" in Africa and other countries where malnutrition and grossly impoverished living circumstances, with associated infections, are the real killers. The harmful consequences of these mistakes and omissions are increasing now that the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS, convinced of an African pandemic, are urging finance ministers of African countries to devote more domestic funds to HIV/AIDS activities. On the other hand, if debt relief and other emergency aid for which UNAIDS is also campaigning are used appropriately, enormous relief of human suffering will be possible. A reasoned response from the scientific community to the full range of evidence challenging the HIV theory is overdue.

Further Information
www.altheal.org/overview/scivircatastrophe.htm
Source: Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 17 (1): 87-120. 2003.
Via: Sepp (Josef) Hasslberger sepp@lastrega.com www.hasslberger.com www.newmediaexplorer.org/sepp

No Freedom, Thank You, We're French! The Proposed French Legislation to 'Medicalize' and Ban Psychotherapy

by Jacques Valentin

Translation: Emma Holister

France is getting ready to adopt the most restrictive law in the world to regulate the practice of psychotherapy. This article expresses the individual opinion of Gestion Santé. Although it defends the free practice of psychotherapy, it does not claim to represent the position of psychotherapists or of their representatives regarding the current plans for regulation.

The context and current situation

For at least the last ten years, a large media campaign has been trying to persuade the French that going to see a psychotherapist puts the security of patients at considerable risk. The reasons given are that many people without qualifications take up the practice of psychotherapy, that the sector has been infiltrated by sects, and finally that many of the methods are not scientifically valid.

It is for this reason that an amendment put forward covertly by the deputy, Doctor Accoyer, vice-president of the UMP group at the assembly (president Chirac's party), was unanimously voted by the 13 deputies present, in accordance with the well-polished technique for passing the sensitive dossiers through without debate, scorning universal and workers' suffrage and the work of a parliamentarian. It still has to go before the Senate in January 2003 according to the letter from the psychotherapy journal SNPPSY. He not only reserves the TITLE but also the PRACTICE of psychotherapy exclusively to psychiatric doctors (see text in French), general practitioners and clinical psychologists, by dispensation and by jury, according to function, qualifications and experience, to psychotherapists who have practised for the last five years.

The text offers no guarantee as to the quality of future psychotherapists, quite the opposite.

No guarantee and no precision are offered by the text as to the minimum training of this new caste of psychotherapists who will benefit from virtually no education in psychotherapy throughout their studies. Furthermore, hardly any training in clinical psychology is envisaged for general practitioners and even psychiatrists.

The different categories of psychotherapy are fixed by decree of the Minister of Health. Their application can only be undertaken by psychiatric doctors, general practitioners and psychologists with the required professional qualifications stipulated by this same decree.

The text is quite as elusive on other major points. For any other text pertaining to law, regulating a title, and that is furthermore the practice of a profession as in the current case, it would be stipulated that the professionals concerned must have followed training in official schools for a minimum period of so many hours and years, of which the course must have a certain minimum theoretical content. Likewise, the text does not allude at all to the necessity of supervision and continual training, whilst all professionals recognize and agree that this is absolutely indispensable.

We here witness the magic that a medical diploma yields (reluctantly extended to psychologists), conceived by some sort of priesthood that magically bestows upon its recipients as much intrinsic competence as a common mortal would have who has undergone the most scrupulous training and who has much personal experience.

Essentially, the proposed legislation represents the management of privilege, very far indeed from a real management of competence. We are therefore heading towards having professionals who benefit from the title, are trained at a discount, and towards major problems of competence for the patients who are being exposed to risk, all whilst claiming to protect them with a title and a reserved right of practice.

The list of the authorised forms of psychotherapy is fixed by decree!

As if that weren't enough, the cherry on the cake is that Dr Accoyer has proposed that, incredibly, the list of the authorised methods of practice in psychotherapy should be set by the State. No other country in the world has ever proposed such measures, not even totalitarian and communist states, but that which the 'father of the people' had not considered, Dr Accoyer thought up and dared to write into law. In fact on reading the text we discover that: "The different categories of psychotherapy are fixed by decree, by the Minister of Health. Their application can only be undertaken by psychiatric doctors, general practitioners and psychologists with the required professional qualifications stipulated by this same decree." Thus, by putting into effect or proposing either a form of psychotherapy (if one does not have the title of psychotherapist) or a non State-authorised form of psychotherapy (if one has the title of psychotherapist) it will constitute, de facto, in the first case the illegal practice of psychotherapy and in the second an infraction in the practice of a non-authorised therapy.

This essentially repressive text is clearly inspired by the measures used for the illegal practice of medicine.

We rediscover with this amendment, practically word for word, the measures within the field of medicine that permit the harassment of healthcare professionals who are not doctors (nutritionists, healers, naturopaths, osteopaths et al.) for the illegal practice of medicine. Let us not forget that these measures already make France, in the domain of medicine, a completely backward country compared to other developed countries.

But the measures used for psychotherapy are, on examination, even more suicidal with regard to freedom than those used for medicine.

In the medical world, the pursuit of charlatanism is initiated by the Councils of the Order, bastion of medical conservatism and of "all medicine". Despite the scandalous arbitrary power of the Councils of the Order, the scope of what constitutes a proven practice remains, at least in theory, open, and is not pre-defined, which is normal, as the field of medical science is in perpetual evolution.

On the contrary, for psychotherapy they want what is proven or not, to be fixed at the State's discretion, without consulting those involved, and without any possibility of an appeal. In future, psychoanalysis or any form of psychotherapy can therefore be forbidden by this procedure.

Situation in February 2004 after the Senate's Vote

From December 2003, to February 2004, a strong and unexpected reaction swept across French society. Users of psychotherapy, open-minded psychoanalysts, psychologists and psychiatrists came together to warn of the dangers of the proposed Accoyer Law and projects aimed at bringing psychotherapy under State control via a "medicalised" psychiatric system.

Shortly before its passing through to the Senate, reports in the mainstream media, on radio and television, allowed opponents of the project to send out an alert, especially on the Internet. It was the biggest public reaction the Senators have seen in years, such was the anxiety amongst voters caused by the Accoyer project.

The government came under pressure and finally decided to abandon the initial Accoyer amendment. However, they did not really have any alternative project to put forward and remain very hostile to psychotherapists.

The most ardent and determined opponents came together very quickly and formed the group Coordination Psys, thus regrouping psychotherapists who are not psychoanalysts and also bringing together the Freudian Jacques-Alain Miller school of psychoanalysts, all of which are represented by JAM.

The government sought to divide people by negotiating separately with the psychoanalysts who were not within Coordination Psys. They satisfied the psychoanalysts by excluding them from the initial ruling.

Finally, the result was a vote by the Senate of an amendment originating from the Government, which is particularly badly written and no longer relates to the Accoyer project. It foresees the obligatory registration of psychotherapists at the Prefecture, that psychoanalysts will be sought via their profession's directories, but that general practitioner doctors and psychologists are relieved of any registration at all! Absolutely no qualifications in psychotherapy will be required. Application requirements are foreseen although it's difficult to see upon what they will be based. Basically it's a text that is as confused as it is useless.

In reality the informed observer will understand that this improvised and circumstantial text will be replaced again once it passes before the National Assembly in April. Dr Accoyer's supporters, harshly shaken as they were by this unexpected resistance to their manoeuvres, are trying to reorganize in order to support a new version of the Accoyer project. So vigilance remains more than ever necessary.

Coordination Psy supported, unsuccessfully, an amendment in the Senate by Mr Gouteyron who was suggesting the creation of a governmental organisation divided into four departments (psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy) that would have dealt with ethical questions in the domain of psychotherapy. It would have been the mouthpiece and council to the government for all proposed legislation.

Coordination Psy has decided to create an association based on this idea. It already brings together all psychotherapists and attempts to link up with as many psychoanalysts as possible, as well as psychologists and psychiatrists.

In fact, just having one recognized non-governmental public interest organisation that brings together the maximum amount of professionals and gets them used to talking to one another, would be acceptable.

It is essential to reject any public organisation where the representatives are nominated by the State (as in the Gouteyron amendment) which could once again be vulnerable to manipulation. It would appear that Coordination Psy has understood this problem and is heading in the right direction by creating this association.

Further Information

Jacques Valentin: gestionsante@caramail.com http://gestionsante.free.fr
Emma Holister: emma.holister@9online.fr

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