Another Psychiatrist Named in Repressed-Memory Probe
The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation has added Dr. Elva Poznanski to its probe into doctors charged with misusing repressed-memory therapy. An eight-count gross-negligence complaint alleges that Poznanski helped John and Michael Burgus come to believe that they had multiple personalities and had been both abused by and engaged in satanic cult activity. Already charged is psychiatrist Dr. Bennett Braun, with whom Poznanski worked at as chief of child psychiatry at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago. Both Braun and Poznanski were involved with the treatment of the Burgus family and both were involved in the settlement of the $10.6 million lawsuit with that family.
In describing the therapy given by Poznanski, Patricia Burgus said, "She brought real guns into therapy with my children, supposedly to see if indeed my children had been trained to use real guns. She allowed my son John to handcuff her as part of his therapy. He was told this was part of his cult activities."
Poznanski’s attorney is Scott Hammer. Neither Poznanski nor he have commented on the charges but Harvey Harris, Braun’s attorney, said that Poznanski is a well-respected leader and practitioner in her field.
According to the chief of medical prosecutions for the Department of Professional Regulation Tom Glasgow, Poznanski "is just as responsible as Dr. Braun with regard to the two children. It’s questionable even if a diagnosis for multiple personality disorder can be made for children that age [4 and 5 years]. She knew - or should have known - inpatient therapy for them would be far more damaging than helpful. This really is the most egregious part of the Burgus case." The Burgus children were incarcerated in Rush’s child psychiatric ward for three years.
Both Braun and Poznanski treated Patricia Burgus who became convinced that she had recovered memories that she possessed more than 300 personalities, that she was a satanic high priestess of the Midwest, and that she ate more than 2,000 humans a year.
According to DPR officials, more psychiatrists and psychologists are being investigated for egregious and damaging cases of recovered memory therapy. The next hearing is scheduled for November 9, 1998.
This summary is based on an article by Cornelia Grumman in the Chicago Tribune, "2nd Complaint Filed in Memory-Therapy Case" 9/30/98.