Attachment Therapy survivor Katrina: adoptee and former child patient of convicted child molester Thomas Gill speaks out publicly for the first time

Day 624. Survivors found: 9

I was adopted when I was four years old.

Over the years, I was treated by attachment therapists: Nonie Bruce Wilson in Portland, Oregon; Kathie Leah Bishop in Eugene Oregon; Tom Gill Beverly Cuevas in Washington.

The first time it happened I was about 7 years old. No one told me what was going on.

It was a Saturday and we all went to my dads office and the adults went upstairs. After a while, they called me up there and there were 8 adults sitting cross-legged around my California Raisins comforter.

They told me to lay down.

When I asked why, the didnt answer. So I laid down. Things began to happen very quickly.

Someone grabbed my foot and pinned it down, someone grabbed my other foot and did the same. Another adult grabbed an arm, someone else grabbed another arm, and this big lady put my head in her lap as my mother proceeded to lay down on top of me (facing me) and my dad laid down on top of her. Then some big burly man sat on my dads back.

The weight and the pressure were incredible I could not breathe!

I was confused and asked what was going on. No one replied.

I told them it hurt, and I couldnt breathe. No one responded.

I tried to move. They kept me pinned down.

At that point, my small body launched into full panic mode as I screamed and writhed and wiggled and tried to get free. I was terrified, and in the confusion and struggle I fully believed that I was being murdered by my own parents, slowly being suffocated to death.

I remember trying to turn my head towards the window and screaming at the top of my lungs for help, hoping that someone, anyone would pass by and rescue me or call the police.

No one came.

I knew I was dying. I did not know why they were killing me, or why they were doing it so slowly.

I begged to get up and pee. They did not let me. So I peed on myself.

I became very thirsty. I remember this like it was yesterday I said, dont dying people get a last request? For my last request, may I please have a glass of water?

They all laughed like it was the funniest thing in the world. I did not understand.

Finally, after what seemed like 2 or 3 hours, I stopped fighting and just caved in. My little body was wracked with sobbing and crying. Miraculously, they let me go and got off of me. I was so relieved that I wasnt dead, but very confused. I will never forget the feeling of sheer bliss as all that weight was removed from my body and I could move my arms and legs again.

They made me sit in my moms lap while I cried. And they explained something about attachment that I didnt understand at the time.

All I understood was that I wasnt dead, but my mom was responsible for the events of the last couple of hours. I hated her for it.

That was the beginning of a long, long, long hard road for me. (I still suffer from panic attacks and PTSD from this).

My parents took me to Portland once a week for this treatment where I eventually learned to just shut down mentally and physically and lay there for literally hours at a time while I peed on myself, threw up on myself, had my face wrapped in towels, and had big ants put on my face.

My parents switched therapists when I was about 12 years old and I began seeing Kathie in Eugene. Kathie worked in conjunction with Tom Gill and Beverly Cuevas.

I dont know if I am ready to talk about that part yet. I went through a lot of psychological torture, physical abuse, brainwashing and kidnapping during those 2 years.

I was treated like a loved child for days at a time (to gain my trust?) and then suddenly thrown into all manner of crazy therapeutic scenarios that left me very heartbroken, angry, terrified, and confused. I was locked in bare rooms for days at a time, starved, forced to sleep in a shower stall, wrapped head to toe in sheets and sat on, thrown in showers fully clothed and sprayed in the face with cold water, accused of molesting children, accused of beating children, accused of trying to kill children, exorcised (yes, exorcised by two priests), and countless other crazy things that these people thought were therapy.

I watched other kids go through the same thing a 5-year old Chinese girl whose adoptive mother was cold and blamed the little girl for their lack of a bond, a 14-year old Russian boy who could speak no English, a silent 8-year old girl who was accused of trying to kill her siblings, a vulnerable 16-year old girl who spoke nothing but Spanish.

I watched them and several other children all go through this nightmare with me. I am still haunted by these memories.

I have a lot to share, but I will need some time to get it all out. This site kind of snuck up on me.

It feels good to talk about it after all these years.

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Comments 12

  1. Theresa wrote:

    Thank you Katrina. What was done to you is so horrible I dont even have the words.

    Posted 12 Nov 2009 at 05:30
  2. Eastern Sky wrote:

    Ants?! OMG! All these techniques are horrible, but this one is new to hear about.

    Katrina, thank you so very much for sharing your story. Cheesey as this sounds, you really have helped more than you know. I cannot give public details, but if I could, you would know just how much you have helped.

    I wish you nothing but the absolute best as you move through the rest of your life. If you choose to share more (if or whenever that might be I understand that it is very difficult to go back to that place), you will help many.

    Again, I am so very, very grateful that you put this out there. Thank you.

    Posted 12 Nov 2009 at 12:51
  3. Jean Mercer wrote:

    Thanks so much for disclosing these very important and disturbing details. We depend on brave people like you to counter the therapists who deny that they do such things.

    Gratefully,
    Jean

    Posted 13 Nov 2009 at 13:09
  4. Linda Rosa wrote:

    Katrina, thank you so much for coming forward to tell some of your story, and for mentioning the other unfortunate children, as well.

    Amnesty International is now researching Attachment Therapy as a form of torture. Im going to refer them to your story, as well as the other survivor stories on this site. I think the accounts here are the most compelling evidence against these monstrously sadistic practices.

    I wish you all the very best.

    Posted 13 Nov 2009 at 14:03
  5. Fainites wrote:

    Good news about Amnesty International. It really cant be easy to publicise such personal and traumatic memories but its heartening to know recognised bodies are going to investigate.

    Posted 13 Nov 2009 at 16:12
  6. Adelaide wrote:

    Katrina:

    Good for getting your full history out, or the substansive portion of it.

    Five to eight years of this therapy after your adoption.

    I can see why: All I understood was that I wasn’t dead, but my mom was responsible for the events of the last couple of hours. I hated her for it.

    That must have been an enormous, atrocious double bind for a small girl and the adult you now are.

    Was surprised to think it was in the Pacific Northwest. I had a research lead on that coast back in 2001, and someone said Attachment Therapy was then popular in California (and only in that State).

    Most of my reading before and since suggested the Midwest of America.

    The part about Tom Gill and his helpers/assistants is chilling.

    I was locked in bare rooms for days at a time, starved, forced to sleep in a shower stall, wrapped head to toe in sheets and sat on, thrown in showers fully clothed and sprayed in the face with cold water, accused of molesting children, accused of beating children, accused of trying to kill children, exorcised (yes, exorcised by two priests), and countless other crazy things that these people thought were “therapy.”

    Yes, all this, separately or together, is torture. Especially probably beating, killing and molesting. Now I dont doubt that some children do these things, but they probably would not be diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder that implies the severe early impairment of reactive attachment disorder as represented in the DSM-IV (or earlier documents of same).

    I watched other kids go through the same thing… a 5-year old Chinese girl whose adoptive mother was cold and blamed the little girl for their lack of a bond, a 14-year old Russian boy who could speak no English, a silent 8-year old girl who was accused of trying to kill her siblings, a vulnerable 16-year old girl who spoke nothing but Spanish.

    Well, thats a lot of diversity, considering that they were all there in the same reason. Brothers and sisters in torture.

    And I notice that Bishop is on Facebook. There are phone numbers and everything. I will look up Cuevas and the two Wilsons. Cuevas is the one who wrote up Considerations for choosing an attachment therapists, and she seems to have quite a lot to do with politics, or political donations at the very least.

    If you have seen this list of questions before, or one similar, could you comment on it, please?

    http://www.attach.org/choosingatherapist.pdf

    And I hope were clear about Kathie (Leah) Bishop, because there is a Kathie Bishop who was involved in Scientology in the past.

    Fainites and Linda:

    Just a quick note about Amnesty International and the investigation of Attachment Therapy. I think it will probably be fasttracked due to the adoption of African kids, specifically the ones from Ethiopia. Attachment therapy affects the Majority World as much as it does the first.

    Posted 13 Nov 2009 at 20:55
  7. Eastern Sky wrote:

    Those currently working at the Attachment Center Northwest/Attachment and Trauma Speicalists are Rebecca Perbix Mallos and Mark Coen. It is my understanding that they worked with Tom Gill and Beverly Cuevas for years. All of them have been associated with the center over the last few years, at least.

    Posted 14 Nov 2009 at 09:51
  8. Eastern Sky wrote:

    The current address for Beverly Cuevas is the same as the Attachment Center Northwest/Attachment and Trauma Specialists. She must still work there and be associated with them. The only reason Tom Gill seems to not be there is his child molestation conviction.

    Posted 14 Nov 2009 at 13:14
  9. BMW Princes wrote:

    That is really disgusting!
    I cant see how any childs parents could fall for that ruse. I cant see how anyone would perpatrate that on a child. Disgusting!

    Posted 14 Nov 2009 at 16:25
  10. one stupid parent wrote:

    why parents fall for this:

    currently throught the land of the USA just about every foster and adoption agency says attachment and bonding is the root of all the problems adoptive children have and will have (funny because most foster children are attached to the parents social services removes them from)

    in many times foster/adoptive parents are REQUIRED (I was required to take any foster child over 3, and my children during the adoption process to therapy)

    when my son presented with significant issues I was told there was no hope; give him back basically get him out of your home

    one therapist heard a self proclaimed attachment expert speak about his 100% cure all rate of his new treatment (the guy was no expert on anything, just a con with very little training, etc)

    I was also told by local DSS this would help they only thing that would

    we go: I was belittled and told when I wanted to stop that this was all that would help; I was neglecting my child by not following through; He would call CPS on me (which he did when I left the cult) ; this would help my child if only I followed through (looking back I can see how stupid it was)

    they also have many on line resources that say this is the only answer

    they have social services paying for this stuff all over the country

    they have social services requiring this specific stuff all over the country

    they have 20/20 and HBO doing specials on this stuff and helping to sell this as real treatment

    how does a parent buy into this ruse?

    because that is all they are sold

    other mainstream mental health providers say their is no help for some of these kids

    one simple thing that would help would be if the state and federal government would stop paying for it. if it was discouraged in all the foster and adoptive trainings throughout the country

    in my point of view, it is the government funding and support of it that keeps it going

    Posted 15 Nov 2009 at 06:02
  11. R.Pennington, PsyD wrote:

    Katrina-

    Thanks for sharing your story. I hope you will find comfort in knowing that there are many who are disturbed by this and are willing to support courageous people like you. This type of therapy is child abuse, plain and simple.

    Posted 15 Nov 2009 at 07:32
  12. Linda Rosa wrote:

    Dear One Stupid Parent (sorry to address you as that its not how I think of you. I have heard before how parents are pressured.)

    Can you tell us what county this was and how long ago you were involved with this? It is great for activists to not only learn through horrific story like that of Katrina, but to understand what gets parents into Attachment Therapy, as well. Do tell more if you like.

    Thanks for writing this.

    Posted 16 Nov 2009 at 16:18

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