CEASE Therapy: A disgusting manipulation of parental fear & anxiety

Let’s start with a very simple statement: CEASE Therapy offends me. Not just because the hypothesis which underpins it is simply an unproven assertion. Not just because it goes against the consensus view and makes unsupported claims to be able to completely ‘cure’ Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Not just because its protocol uses either useless (Isopathy, Classic Homeopathy) or potentially dangerous (Orthomolecular) interventions. These are of course all valid reasons, but are subjects for other posts. What really offends me is the way CEASE Therapy is marketed to prey upon the worst fears and uncertainties of parents whose children have ASD and how it encourages them to engage in fallacious reasoning about the causes, in the search for a ‘cure’.

Firstly, let’s look at the the creator of CEASE Therapy – Homeopath Tinus Smits’ – hypothesis which forms the continued rationale for propagating CEASE as a miracle ‘cure’ for autism two years after his death

“According to my personal theory and experience, autism is caused by an accumulation of stress factors in the cerebral cortex (neocortex)…[…]…stress levels reach a breaking point whereby the brain gets locked or enters a sort of standby mode. Important functions of the cerebral cortex shut down”

by specific stress factors he meant

“…tropical vaccines of the future parents, use of allopathic drugs, application or removal of amalgam fillings, bacterial or viral infections, premature birth or a difficult delivery…[…]…anaesthesia…[…]…, insufficient nutrition with too much sugar, hydrogenated fats and food deficiencies, insufficient water supply, use of microwave oven, various environmental factors (e.g. plastics and heavy metals)…[…]… MMR and Meningococcal vaccinations…[…]…“

and seemingly any of the parents, or childs illnesses or medical interventions

“Even illness, medication and vaccination in the energetic field of the father and mother before pregnancy can be transmitted to the child by energetic transfer.”

Absolutely no supporting evidence is provided by CEASE to demonstrate a verifiable link to any of the above specific factors, or that these can be passed onto a child to cause ASD. It is unsupported assertion based on anecdote, mixed with laughable fairy tales. However what is particularly worthy of note is that in contrast to the position statement of say The National Autistic Society, CEASE seems to conspicuously exclude a genetic role in the development of ASD. This is nonsense designed to establish a very clear and disturbing narrative. Lets summarise it.

The list of ‘factors’ CEASE claim can cause ASD are so numerous and wide that it is impossible for any parent buying into the therapy to totally exclude all of them. This gives a seemingly endless list of possible cause which will buy time while CEASE attempts to ‘treat’ the child (i.e. wait for a perceived positive change and take the credit). The hypothesis CEASE is based upon excludes any significant reference to possible genetic causes, and instead emphasises the main cause to be environmental issues such as vaccination (particularly MMR), antibiotics and toxic chemicals. This ‘theory’ is designed to do one thing: to convince parents that they are responsible for causing ASD because of the health choices they made for either themselves, or for their child.

But the awful truth about CEASE is that it doesn’t just blame the parents. Its approach also seem to use the parents to identify ‘factors’ which CEASE then purports to ‘treat’. In one anecdote on the website it seems clear that a parent had identifed that she used a nasal spray during pregnancy. This is taken as a factor in her child developing ASD by Smits, who then claims he ‘detoxified’ this using Isopathy. The validation of all of this – Smits’ own reporting of an ‘improvement’ in the child.

The CEASE website also makes this seemingly innocuous statement

“So far the main obstacle to cure seems to be the lack of information about the causes of this disease. When important events in the life story of these children and their parents are overlooked or unknown, an essential key to the healing can be missed”

But when they talk about a lack of information on the cause of ASD being a barrier to treatment, they are not talking about information from robust research. Let me spell it out for you. They are suggesting that it is the parents who have overlooked something in either their own, or their childs history which caused ASD. Or they are deliberately withholding that information. The implication is that without the parents buying into the therapy and providing this information on possible causes, they cannot expect to find redemption for the bad health choices they made and ultimately they are preventing their childs miraculous ‘cure’.

It is a call to embrace the therapy and requires them to commit to a way of thinking that involves subjectively identifying unproven or implausible causes of ASD in relation to their own child, whilst encouraging uncritical reporting of perceived improvements to validate efficacy.  Its a horrible piece of manipulation which will potentially drag parents down numberous blind alleys in their search to give their child the best quality of life possible.

I think that is unforgivable.


Update 9/9/12

CEASE Therapy continue to scaremonger via twitter by listing some of the ‘protocol detoxes’ such as: Anesthetics, Pfeiffer, hormonal contraceptives, cortisone, Pregnyl, solvents,antacids, Prepar, Otrivin

They also list the following as ‘contributors to autism’: vaccination, xylometazolin, antibiotics, antiepileptics, smoking, anaesthesia, glutamate, phthalates.


2 thoughts on “CEASE Therapy: A disgusting manipulation of parental fear & anxiety

  1. The reason are spelt out above. CEASE is based upon a totally unproven series of assertions, and the interventions have no evidence of efficacy.

    Whether I have tried CEASE or not is irrelevant, because individual anecdotal cases are simply not objective measures of whether it works or not.

    Demonstrating that a particular intervention has efficacy requires proper well designed trials. CEASE is built entirely on very unconvincing anecdotes.

    Have you used CEASE? If so what evidence convinces you it works?

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