Summary of the Novel
Post-Traumatic Stress and an Interview with the Author
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Children of CIA and Secret Service Operatives
The Dead are Dancing, a novel by William Lloyd Roller
Coming Attractions



Psychology, Law, and Torture:
  A Group Dialogue and Its Deeper Meaning for Us All

A Symposium at the XVIII Congress of the International  Association for
Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes, at the Hotel Caribe, Cartagena, Colombia

                 Friday, July 20, 2012, from 3:30 PM until 5:15 PM
                  The objective of the Symposium is to address the theme of how mental health professionals and lawyers have planned, carried out, and justified the practice of torture for the United States and other nations in the name of national security. The panel will be a continuation of previous international symposia that have addressed detention, interrogation, torture and the role of these professionals who contribute to the perpetuation of these abuses despite being a violation of international laws. In addition, we shall investigate the consequences of torture and political assassination on its victims and their families, as well as the psychological consequences for the the torturers and their families---across generations.

          The symposium will include a panel of specialists. Each panelist will present examples from his or her current practice as they relate to the theme of the Symposium. The panelists will engage in conversation among themselves and with the audience. The purpose of the dialogue is to deepen our understanding of how psychology, law, and torture form our identity as citizens. This Symposium will be bilingual, Spanish and English, with simultaneous translation.

The panelists shall be:

Ursula Hauser, Professor of Ethno-psychoanalysis, University of Costa Rica;
Instructor of Training and Supervisor for Psychodrama in Costa Rica, Cuba,
El Salvador, Switzerland, Gaza/Palestine; Didactic Psychoanalyst in Clinical Practice, San Jose, Costa Rica; Member of the Committee for Ethics and Professional Standards,  International Association for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes.

Gregorio Armañanzas Ros is a psychiatrist, group analyst, psychodramatist, and consultant for organizations, in private practice in Pamplona (Navarra), Spain.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes and chairs the Organizational Consultancy Section.  His professional focus is the transgenerational transmission of trauma.

This symposium has been organized by Bill Roller, Chair of the Committee for Ethics and Professional Standards of the International Association for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes ; President of the Berkeley Group Therapy Education Foundation, Berkeley, California; and Past-Chair of the Group Therapy Symposium of the School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco;   Email Address:




Boalt Hall Symposium on U.S. Law and Torture

Torture Symposium
A Symposium on United States Law and Torture took place November 4, 2010 at Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley. Look here for videos of the Proceedings to be posted soon.

Workshop in Richmond, Virginia

Vivian Nelson and Bill Roller presented a weekend workshop for the Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society the weekend of October 22-25, 2010, in Richmond, Virginia. The title of the workshop was "THE ETHICAL DIMENSIONS OF THE CO-THERAPY RELATIONSHIP."

Among other topics, our workshop addressed the benefits which clincians derive from the practice of co-therapy and the deep bonds that ensue from its practice. Co-Therapists learn from each other, they console each other in times of crisis and loss, and by their empathy and respect for each other, they can overcome the sense of loneliness that can envelope the practitioner who works alone. All of these considerations touch on the ethical dimensions of group therapy treatment.


Symposium: International Congress Rome 2009 ( )


Rome, Italy 24-29 August 2009 Ergife Palace Hotel


The mental health professions have been challenged by recent revelations that clinicians have participated in the planning, design, and execution of torture, both physical and psychological, by agents acting under the authority of the national security state. This symposium will elucidate some of the psychological processes which underlie the complicity of psychologists, group therapists, family therapists and other mental health professionals in these acts of torture.

We shall focus on three factors:

1. The intergenerational transmission of trauma by which traumatized parents transmit theirtraumatic stress disorder to their offspring which then can lead to acts of abuse.

2. The use of rationalization by clinicians to justify acts of abuse.

3. The application of projective identification by which clinicians see their own aggression in others, identify them as enemies, and fight against them by all means, including torture.

The title of our symposium, THE LUCIFER EFFECT, refers to a book by Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University. In this book, Professor Zimbardo recounts the outcome of the Stanford Prison Experiment in which students were divided into prisoners and guards and the way those in the role of guards quickly became abusers of those in the role of prisoners. The ease with which normal subjects abused their power and persecuted their peers became the subject of a film produced by Zimbardo, called “A Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment.” This film demonstrates the phenomenon of abuse quite shockingly. The findings of this experiment and the earlier experiments of Stanley Milgram (Obedience to Authority) and the studies of A.G. Miller (The Obedience Experiments) are the theoretical basis for exploring the psychological processes at work in the behavior of those who participate in torture. In this symposium, we shall focus on three of these processes.

Bill Roller, Chair, Berkeley Group Education Foundation, Berkeley, California

Howard D.Kibel, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York

Raymond Battegay, School of Medicine, Basel, Switzerland

Videos for sale at the International Congress Rome 2009
Two examples of how our own aggression can be projected onto others

Two Videos of Group Process


1. A Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment (50 minutes) was produced by Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University. The video recounts the group process and outcome of the Stanford Prison Experiment in which students were divided into prisoners and guards and the way those in the role of guards quickly became abusers of those in the role of prisoners. It documents the ease with which normal subjects abused their power and persecuted their peers. The projective identification by which guards projected their own aggression onto the prisoners partially accounts for this phenomenon.

2. The Promise of Group Therapy is a six hour video series of a time limited spontaneous group process. The third part of this 3 DVD series shows a 17 minute segment from the latter phases of the group process. This particular segment demonstrates the phenomenon of projective identification in which two members of the group mutually act out the aggression of their mothers---and also become frightened of the aggression they project onto each other.

For more information and to purchase DVDs please visit






The Psychological Cost of Condoning Torture Is Too High, an article in The Daily Californian

Read article here.



A Call for Governor Brown to stop abusive practices in prisons

Group therapy emerged as both a science and an art in the cities of Vienna and New York early in the last century. Its theory and practice reflected the core ideas of the Western Enlightenment: that human beings would be treated as equals and worthy of respect as they endeavored to change their lives by listening and learning from the lives of others. Participation in group therapy would be an act of personal liberation based on the development of trust and cooperation among its members.

These principles are all but obliterated by the techniques now foisted on some inmates by the California Department of Corrections under the guise of "group therapy." Prisoners are assembled in separate "cages" (euphemistically called “therapeutic cubicles”) to which they are individually brought in chains by guards. The cages are plexiglass boxes and ostensibly "protect" the prisoners from each other. The so-called "group therapists", who are not in cages, lead the assembly of caged prisoners in some activity. But whatever the activity, it in no way meets the criteria for group therapy defined above. What the citizens of California are paying for is a travesty of treatment, a form of degradation and humiliation that has no clinical justification whatever and has nothing to do with the goals of group therapy.

The mentally ill must not be locked away in isolation as is currently the practice in our prisons -- nor must they be locked in cages like animals. It does not matter if this technique is reserved for prisoners in administrative segregation or supermaximum security units which contain 6% to 8% of prisoners in the California Department of Corrections at any given time. No prisoner should ever have to endure such conditions and no judge should ever mandate such practices. If a prisoner is thought to be of danger to self or others, he is not a suitable candidate for group therapy and ought to be given an alternative form of clinical intervention.

We call on Governor Brown to stop this circus of caged prisoners immediately and undertake bona fide treatment of mentally ill prisoners in California.

Bill Roller, Fellow, American Group Psychotherapy Association

Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus Stanford University

Additional Petitioners please email Bill Roller at





Almost three years after his initial arrest, sociologist and rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim was declared not guilty of all charges by Egypt's highest appeals court.  To read more on Saad Ibrahim, visit:

"I will resume my fight for freedom and democracy," said an ebullient Ibrahim following the verdict, March 18, 2003.
Ibrahim said the verdict justified his supporters' assertion that the State Security courts that convicted him were politically motivated. "It shows that these courts must go," Ibrahim said in a brief interview. "They are a scandal in the face of the Egyptian judiciary."
But the prosecution of Ibrahim still had a chilling effect on political life in Egypt, he added. "People must be able to speak their mind without fear of prosecution and going to jail, and that right has been compromised."

Check the link above for further updates on Saad Ibrahim.