"My Experience of presenting at Colin Ross' Seattle Conference"
Article posted by Fiona Barnett
I would like to first clarify that this article is about the "2016 Trauma and Dissociation Conference" hosted by Ivory Garden Nonprofit Corporation, where Fiona Barnett was given the privilege to present.
I do not make it a habit to respond to negative, slandering articles such as this one. They abound on the internet where freedom of speech is just that - freedom to say anything as well as influencing people negatively with clear and self-serving intentions.
I became aware of this article today when others who spoke at the conference, those who volunteered their time and expertise to support and educate survivors and professionals in better understanding and treating trauma and dissociation, were unfortunately targeted in Fiona's article and Facebook sites where she posts. Despite the fact that she agreed to Ivory Garden terms of service, I can do little, but clarify the facts. The internet gives her full access to do as she pleases regardless that Ivory Garden Speaker 'terms of service', which she agreed to, included this clause:
"Bashing, flaming, or disrespect of any participants, speaker, or other agencies is prohibited previous to, following, and during any Ivory Garden event."
As I read her article, it was clear that the intention was to do exactly what she agreed NOT to do when she decided to present at the 2016 Trauma and Dissociation Conference. Her behavior has also evidently brought up many questions for folks, including whether her reported history is factual or factitious. In most cases, these sorts of gossiping/bashing behaviors on Facebook and elsewhere are, in my humble opinion, unprofessional and do not warrant my attention. Though, it does seem that she has tried to influence folks that all Ivory Garden Conference speakers are 'pedophiles', according to discussion on social media. These type remarks create a situation that I cannot simply ignore.
First, I want to clarify that all Trauma and Dissociation Conferences hosted by Ivory Garden are educational in nature. We expect that sponsors and exhibitors are professionals in their field providing resources that are approved by the board of directors of Ivory Garden as being appropriate for attendees. We do not often have presenters who are survivors telling their personal stories, especially in the area of Satanic Ritual Abuse and/or Mind Control. Fiona did fall into this category, and we took a chance when we approved her presence. But, we certainly would never approve of such a speaker being a 'plenary speaker', and for good reason. Ivory Garden, for the past decade, has avoided ongoing dissension that is alive and well within the 'SRA/MC online community'. Ivory Garden has also avoided interaction with the 'DID online community'. Within these two online communities are people attacking, bashing, and gossiping about each other to the point of damaging survivors emotionally as well as physically.
Our mission has clearly stated:
Ivory Garden is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization which provides programs and resources that support survivors and those who support survivors of childhood trauma, as well as raising public and professional awareness of the effects of childhood trauma:
1). Provide international forums, and chat rooms where folks who live with the effects of childhood trauma, as well as families, friends, mental health professionals, educators and other supporters can meet, share experiences, and find valid resources in safe and respectful environments.
2). Provide educational materials and opportunities to survivors of childhood trauma in order to further understand and promote healing.
3) Provide educational opportunities to those who support survivors of childhood trauma including: family, friends, mental health professionals, educators, and other interested parties.
Since the last conference that we hosted, we have heard nothing from Fiona. The Ivory Garden conference committee has written her thanking her for her participation - though she has not responded. Instead, she has written this article with falsehoods and complaints about how badly she was treated during the conference. This is not a responsible and/or professional way to behave. We have heard only positive reports from other speakers and attendees. Toward the end of this response, I will share at least one testimonial so that you gain a clear perspective from another speaker who was present at the conference.
For now, I would like to respond to her article.
First, she was referred to us by another survivor as a person who wanted to speak. While corresponding with her, we made it clear that we do not 'pay' speakers or cover their expenses. They volunteer their time and expertise. Ivory Garden is a nonprofit corporation who hosts conferences as fundraisers. This is also clearly written in all correspondence and on website disclosures. Fiona did make it clear that she intended to cover her expenses as any other speaker. I do not know why she assumed her presentation would be filmed. That was never an arrangement. If it were, it would have been in a contract for her. She, of course, was not a plenary speaker. Comparing herself and/or her presentation to a speaker with the qualifications of any other speakers who presented in the main ballroom is ludicrous. All attendees were given a full page acknowledgment of her presentations, with her biography, within the program. It was clearly explained to her that she would be presenting in a classroom where there would be no podium and/or audio visual capabilities. She was okay with that. The audience that she drew was small, and their feedback clearly written on evaluations: her "presentation was disjointed", especially that terms were not defined, thus leaving people confused as to what she was talking about (taken from written evaluations).
Moving through the second half of her article, I become confused why anyone would come up to her following her talk and tell her gossip about Colin Ross, M.D. unless she had brought him up in her talk. We have conference planners sit in on every presentation. I will investigate this interaction that Fiona is describing. Had this sort of gossip been taking place during an Ivory Garden hosted conference, the folks involved should have been asked to leave. Neither, am I understanding Fiona using the term 'victims' in her article. She does not explain. Who are the 'victims' she is discussing?
I can only conclude, from her tone, that she wrote this article in anger and pain of being overwhelmed, which can happen at conferences with nearly 200 attendees and some 20 professional speakers. She was obviously and clearly threatened by Colin Ross, M.D., understandably for someone who thought she should have been showered with gifts and expecting to speak as the 'main attraction'. Many did notice that she did not take the time to attend any presentations, stop by the exhibit tables, or interact with anyone who she didn't feel admired her. Thus, she would not know anything about the other presentations or what was being offered at exhibit tables. She expresses disappointment that Colin Ross, M.D. and other speakers did not invite her for dinner. I think it possible that she does not understand the work that goes into actually presenting/speaking in front of a huge and diverse audience all day being much different than speaking in a classroom for a couple of hours to some 20 people. Colin Ross, M.D. and others who presented are renowned and respected as professional speakers.
Unbeknownst to Fiona, speakers were not all local though, they may have known each other and taken the evening to get together for dinner. Why did this threaten Fiona so much that she wrote an entire paragraph following it up with gossip she gathered from an internet article about suicides at a hospital, which had nothing to do with Colin Ross, M.D.? I have now spoken to attendees whom she misquoted in her article and those who witnessed much of what Fiona describes. According to witnesses, her presentation was a tirade of complaints, bashing of other speakers - similar to what what is written in her article. Those who heard this presentation were offended and surprised that she had little respect for those who, not only took time to attend, but also that she was given the privilege of speaking at all. I have now gathered summaries of what was witnessed to be someone who came with the intention of sabotaging.
Fiona mentions Alison Miller in her article, whom is an intricate part of the SRA/MC online community and also presented at the 2015 Trauma and Dissociation Conference. She, as well, was nearly asked to leave and warned twice about disrespecting other speakers, especially Colin Ross, M.D. Last year, Alison attempted to flood the internet with articles, mostly posted on an online forum, berating conferences and stating that professional speakers and other attendees were programming people with hand signals as well as hypnotizing attendees by looking at them. I did write an article concerning Alison's behavior before, during, and after our conference. She reportedly told many attendees, during the 2015 Trauma and Dissociation Conference, that speakers were using hand signals to program attendees.
I am also well aware of both Alison and Fiona's behavior while they were in Alaska, which Fiona talks about in her article. I will be there within this month to investigate exactly what happened there. I know that the Alaska 'conference' Fiona is discussing had little more than 15 attendees. It cannot and should not be compared to the Ivory Garden conference.
I am sorry for Fiona's disappointment, and I am deeply discouraged that my early warnings that she would be lucky to draw 20 people to her presentation were not taken seriously. I warned Alison of the same, but she didn't listen either. Alison and Fiona do have a very serious agenda. They both want to be the 'experts' on Satanic Ritual Abuse and Mind Control, but they simply don't have the education, background, expertise, or speaking experience to provide quality, professional presentations to a large audience. And, neither behave professionally out in the world. Bashing others, calling them names, and misrepresenting facts is simply unprofessional and inappropriate. Their efforts to sabotage the very people who have spent their lives to support survivors is telling as is their behavior to influence others to follow their lead, believe their tales of woe, and shower them with the attention they so desperately crave.
The 2017 Trauma and Dissociation Conference is already being planned. Neither Alison Miller nor Fiona Barnett will ever be invited back. I have received many emails from folks who ask for assurance that they will not return.
I want to apologize to all who have been so deeply offended by both of these women's comments. We do appreciate our speakers, supporters, and exhibitors who so kindly donate their time and expertise for survivors and clinicians. The speakers who present at the Trauma and Dissociation Conferences are carefully chosen for their expertise in the area of trauma and dissociation as well as the unique ability and experience presenting to large and diverse audiences. They are professional and regard everyone with respect and kindness. You will never read articles such as has been written by Fiona and/or Alison by professional speakers.
We did give Alison Miller and Fiona Barnett the chance to present in a smaller room. They took their chance and used it to do their bidding. We trusted their abilities, as we have done for a few others in the past. I do not know why Fiona or Alison decided to bash other speakers or the conference in general. I can only concede that they are seeking attention and feel slighted that they were not showered with admiration during their time at the conference. Speaking at a major conference is a huge responsibility and privilege, and we do understand that this was their first time attemp to speak at such an important event. It was obviously daunting for them when they were not cast as the stars they viewed themselves to be. Funds donated by Ivory Garden supporters and attendees financed both Alison and Fiona's lodging expenses. They were not able to pay their own expenses, which was not so for other speakers. Their demanding attitudes and belief that their appearances were what drew attendees is completely false. As far as I am aware, most attendees had never heard of them, but rather attended in order to learn from professionals and experts in the field of trauma and dissociation and/or to be a part of something special where attendees, speakers, and exhibitors are all treated with respect.
I can't help but wonder why two women, who advertise themselves as being survivor advocates as well as professional speakers, have the time to sit on the internet, bash other professionals and events that have proven to be supportive to survivors. They are clearly threatened by Colin Ross, M.D. whom has done a lifetime of work helping survivors and clinicians better understand trauma and dissociation. By bashing the conference, they have also offended the some 40 professional speakers who gave their time and actually helped to finance both women's one-time chance to show their ability to behave as professionals during an international and credible event. They are the only two speakers and/or attendees who have written negative experiences. I hope that all understand that their behavior does render the reality that Trauma and Dissociation Conferences hosted by Ivory Garden have been highly successful events.
Clearly, the professional speakers and the conferences in general will tend to threaten anyone who has a personal agenda to promote themselves rather than support survivors in their quest to heal and/or give a care about truth, honesty, and respect for others. That is human nature, I regret to say. Though Ivory Garden does it's best to choose professional speakers who adhere to their convictions of professionalism and support for survivors and clinicians, we also try to give newer speakers a chance to prove themselves worthy. Fiona and Alison had their chance and simply will not be asked to return. I think all would agree with this decision.
Here is another speaker's experience from the 2016 Trauma and Dissociation Conference:
I wanted to say goodbye to you Saturday night, but you were in a long discussion during a forum with Dr. Colin Ross about his courage for being out front for so long in the efforts to treat dissociation and recovered memories. I agreed with you. Dr. Ross is extremely courageous. But my brother had sent a car for me and I had to leave while you two were talking.
I just got home to Chicago late last night.
Thank you for allowing me to speak -- and twice! -- to the Ivory Garden annual conference. The audiences were extraordinarily good, interested, wide eyes, great questions, great comments throughout and generous comments afterward. You couldn't ask for better, smarter or kinder people in an audience.
The audience was so enthusiastic with questions and personal observations, I could have talked for 2 1/2 hours or more, although I wound it up at the appropriate time. I had expected normal skepticism and doubts and “prove it to me.” I was ready to respond. Instead, the audience understood what I spoke about right from the start, both doctors and survivors. My golly, was I surprised.
Your speakers were great. You yourself did a fantastic job of organizing this conference. I could hear in your comments to Dr. Ross how difficult it was to organize. But you persevered and made it a big success. Congratulations.
And thank you.
Chicago" (Shared with permission from Jerry Crimmins, speaker, 2016 Trauma and Dissociation Conference).
Again, I apologize to all who were unaware of this article. Like I said, Fiona's article did not have the desired effect to bring attention to herself. I did not even know it existed until today. I don't like bringing attention to such garbage that we find on the internet. But, I did feel that I should clarify the misinformation that is being spread in mostly SRA/MC communities by Fiona Barnett and Alison Miller. I also want to mention that Trauma and Dissociation Conferences are not 'about' Satanic Ritual Abuse and/or Mind Control at all. They are about trauma and dissociation. Please visit the conference site to view the theme, speakers, topics, and schedule. Ivory Garden members do not have an agenda, but host the conference for survivors and clinicians to learn more about the affects of trauma - all types of trauma.
Thank you for taking the time to read. We do appreciate everyone's continued support of Ivory Garden Nonprofit Corporation and the Trauma and Dissociation Conferences.
If you have questions or would like further clarification of anything about our conferences or organization, please contact me directly.
Patricia Goodwin, M.A.
President, Ivory Garden Nonprofit Corporation
Ivory Garden Conference
Ivory Garden Nonprofit Corporation Website
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