My Photo
Buy Your Copy Now!
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 12/2003

« CuriOdyssey A San Francisco Bay Area Treasure of Science | Main | How Anti-vaccination groups misuse information from VAERS, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System »

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


LisaMaree Grace App

Yep a lie does spread dangerously quickly. Particularly when there is a silent population waiting to believe it - in order to justify their own sneaky prejudice. Now that's even more to be afraid of.


Thanks for this assessment of exactly why this is important and dangerous. Brilliant list of resources as always Liz.


And I have just looked into his pontificating about asthma here:

Devina Divecha (Autism & Us)

I totally agree that this is something that can be spread so easily. I live in Dubai but I came across his article as well, thanks to Twitter. People who already have prejudices against the special needs and autism community can take this as a reference point for more hatred towards us.


Gormless and not qualified?
On there are some comments - "I spoke with the Psychologists Society of Ireland this morning. They have been getting lots of phonecalls from people checking up on Tony Humphreys. He is not registered with them but there is no requirement at the moment for everyone acting as a psychologist to be registered with them. Basically anyone here in Ireland can call themselves a psychologist! Regulation is due but hasn't been enacted yet! No point in sending in a letter of complaint to them - they suggested sending letters of complaint to Tony Humphreys!! (as if we haven't done that already!)"
"just off phone with the secretary and apparently he is working out of UCC on consultancy basis and she said she's not at liberty to give out qualifications? Emmm makes u wonder! He's not registered in PSI, No details on website, nothing on internet, and secretary wont say??? Very suspicious!"

i a kerr

This man is a charlatan and always has been. He is not recognised by professional psychologists [I am one and have taken issue with him in the past on various topics-eg Dyslexia which he described as resulting from child sexual abuse- although he does not respond and appears to wish no contact with qualified psychologists] and the mystery is why UCC continues to allow him to trade on their name despite longstanding complaints of his behaviour by members of UCC Psychology Department.


The Tony Humphreys blame archive is available at in PDF form, but he also helpfully provides the text of his own articles at but without the date to cross-reference. (002stressing.html covers appendicitis while 045newyear.html covers "recurring headaches, enduring back-pain, insomnia, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, persistent fatigue, abdominal pain, hypertension, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis ... ‘living in your head’, ‘obsessional thinking’, ‘living in the future’, ‘living in the past’, depressive thinking, self-depreciating thinking, aggressive thought patterns"). One of the pdfs had a case study of woman whose IBS was "obviously" due to emotional neglect.


His comments are ridiculous and dangerous. I too fear that his 'arguments' could be selectively believed by our Government, in this era of Austerity, and even more cuts heaped upon the Autism community here in Ireland. The self -doubt and feelings of unearned guilt he can impose on vulnerable parents, especially those with new diagnosis is disgusting.

Thanks for including link to my blog post.

xx Jazzy


2010-05-21 Asthma - "The causes of asthma are not known and the suggestion of a genetic link is too remote to be seriously considered. Certainly, environmental causes have been posited — dust mites, pollution, over-heated homes — but these don’t ring true because most people who are exposed to these same physical environmental threats do not develop asthma. The environmental threats that are far more prevalent for children are emotional and social. The home is the most dangerous place for children to be — the threats they may daily encounter are physical, sexual, emotional, intellectual, behavioural and social — the greatest of all being the absence of unconditional love."

2010-06-25 IBS - "In my book, with co-author Helen Ruddle, The Compassionate Intentions of Illness, there is a case study of a woman in her early 40s who was sent by his medical general practitioner with a diagnosis of IBS. It emerged that she had several stress-related medical conditions, including gastric reflux, teeth grinding and an underactive thyroid. Her early experiences of harsh rejection by her mother and her unresolved dread of social situations in her current life are in keeping with the stress sources detected by Dr Cryan and Professor Dinan in their research of individuals with IBS. Long-term psychotherapy proved to be very effective in reducing the dis-ease symptoms and the client’s reliance on medication across all the presenting medical problems."

[Helen Ruddle, his wife, is also calls herself a "Dr", but does seem to have registered with the IACP]


Dr Tony Humphries PhD has a doctorate in Hypnosis (1983) from the University of Birmingham, UK.


Homsexuality is caused by punishing mothers and absent fathers: "There may be deeper emotional reasons why an individual develops a homosexual inclination. Sometimes, within families the relationship that works best is the same-sexed one – between father and son – or between mother and daughter. When you consider that one in two to one in three in heterosexual relationships experience breakdown, then the rising rate of homosexual relationships may be symptomatic of such failure. The situation of a mother having a very punishing relationship with her son can also lead the sexual drive of her son attaching itself to a male because closeness with a female would involve high-risk of the rejection experienced from his mother. Unavailable fathers may underlie homosexuality in that the child/teenager subconsciously wants to attract the male who has abandoned him."

(My guess is that no statistical study would support these quaint notions of an ex-priest).


ADHD caused by parents and teachers: "Furthermore, I am wondering why Dr. Kendall insists on sticking with the label of ADHD, when there is no such biological condition! There is no disputing that children can present with extremely difficult and challenging behaviours. There is no doubt too that when they do parents and teachers have a hard job trying to manage these troubling responses. However, what is urgently needed is a follow-up on Dr. Spitzer’s admitted serious oversight – the context of these children’s lives. The contexts that need examining are the children’s homes, schools and communities. So many parents and teachers become defensive when such an examination is proposed, as if they are going to be judged as ‘bad’ parents and teachers."

... and the drugs don't work "Over the span of the last thirty years, schoolyards have become populated by children diagnosed with mental disorders, most notably ADHD, depression and bi-polar depression. The parents of these children are told that there is something wrong with their children’s brains and that they may have to take psychiatric medications for the rest of their lives, just like a ‘diabetic takes insulin.’ However, what parents have not been told is that, in spite of fifty years of research, the chemical underpinnings of ADHD, depression, bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia remain unknown and that the prescriptions of drugs for these conditions has no basis in research."

Bad mothers cause ODD, ADD and ADHD: "This notion of a biologically defective gender is particularly prevalent in the epidemic labelling of boys, (three to one ratio in favour of boys) with ADD, ADHD, and ODD (oppositional defiance disorder). How is it that modern women are giving birth to so many biologically deficient boys, resulting in these syndromes? Or, is there another more logical and verifiable possibility – boys are reared differently to girls. One female professional friend asked me why do boys turn out the way they do, ‘after all, we their mothers cuddle them, love them, dote on them.’ I replied, ‘the reason some boys turn out the way they do is because mothers don’t ask for anything in return.’ It is for this reason so many women complain of men being ‘takers’, but women forget that these men’s mothers did not provide the opportunities on a daily basis for boys to engage in the multiplicity of ways of giving as well as receiving."

From PSI

Niamh O'Byrne on behalf of [email protected]
Thursday 09/02/12 15:06
The Psychological Society of Ireland's response to the Tony Humphreys article on in the Examiner

Psychological Society of Ireland disagrees with assertions made by Tony Humphreys

The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) does not support the assertions made by Tony Humphreys in his recent article in the 'Feelgood' supplement of the Irish Examiner in relation to Autism Spectrum Disorder. PSI President, Dr Michael Drumm, stated:
"Tony Humphreys' assertions made in the article are not supported by the vast body of research in the field of Autistic Spectrum Disorders and are unhelpful and likely to cause upset. It is hoped that the article would be retracted."

The Psychological Society of Ireland is the learned and professional body for psychology in the Republic of Ireland. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neuro-developmental condition that is characterized by impairment in social interaction, communication and repetitive behaviours. The condition affects one in every 100 children.


For further information/ comment, please contact:
Lisa Stafford,
PSI PR & Events Manager,
087 945 2801



The Irish Skeptic podcast, the Skeprechauns, had a very good rant about the article. One of the ladies, Finn, has a sibling with autism:

(it is an interesting podcast where Rebecca and Finn discuss Ireland, skepticism and feminism)


Schizophrenia caused by childhood trauma: "Schizophrenia is not a disease, not a mental illness, not an incurable condition! Whether it is psychiatrists or other mental health professionals or Schizophrenia Ireland or the American Psychiatric Association who claim that schizophrenia is a mental illness and is either hereditary or biological or biochemical in nature, there is no evidence to back up such an assertion."

"In the face of considerable pressure to conform, I refused to cooperate and gradually set up psycho-social clinics separate from those of psychiatry. Eventually, I left the psychiatric services and set up in private practice and continue to work with people who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia or bi-polar depression or personality disorder or endogenous depression or attention-deficit disorder (ADD) or attention disorder with hyperactivity (ADHD) and other such hypothetical conditions.
My experience is that I can always trace the origins of the person’s ‘problems in living’ back to childhood traumas which had continued unresolved into adulthood. Much of what underpinned such distressing behaviours as paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, bi-polar depression, obsessive-compulsive behaviours was buried in the unconscious mind of these distressed individuals, a necessary and creative hiding away of aspects of themselves that had been hugely violated and that would have been devastatingly threatening to bring to consciousness.
After thirty years of practice my conviction has deepened and I so often in awe of how individuals who have suffered harsh abandonments and overwhelming disempowerment managed to survive and find ways of not only reducing the threats to their wellbeing, but also, symbolically, through their presenting symptoms, communicated precisely their terror of exhibiting some or any aspects of their real self."


"Tonsillitis is a common condition in children and sometimes may be embodying a child’s fear of speaking out, perhaps due to bullying at school or problems at home."

And he cures cancer, diabetes, heart disease - "Indeed, it is now being recognised within medicine itself that conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease are psycho-somatic in nature and that a holistic therapeutic response is required to restore the person’s wellbeing! In America, fifty-one per cent of psychiatrists consider, what has been traditionally seen as mental illness, psycho-social conditions and that the primary treatment needs to be psycho-social in nature. Peter Breggin, the author of Toxic Psychiatry, a recent guest lecturer in Ireland, has carried the torch for a holistic understanding of human distress for a number of decades. In Ireland, there have been two strong voices that Mr O’Malley’s declaration echoes – Terry Lynch, General Medical Practitioner, Psychotherapist and author of Beyond Prozac and Michael Corry, Psychiatrist and Aine Tubridy, authors of Going Mad? Understanding Mental Illness.
In my own practice of thirty years, I have encountered every kind of human distress – depression, violence, paranoia, mood swings, hallucinations, delusions, chronic anxiety, anorexia nervosa, bulimia – and I never had any need to resort to a medical explanation for these individual conditions."


Great list Liz, thanks.
Mr Humphreys, sometimes a train going through a tunnel, is just a train going through a tunnel.


Dr Humphreys claims to be a Senior Fellow of the National College of Ireland - “The National College of Ireland, a private college located in the IFSC, has confirmed that Tony Humphreys is not a Fellow, Senior or otherwise. The NCI do award honorary fellowships but have not given one to him. He has shared delivery with some courses with the NCI, but is not a staff member.”

Annette Kenny

The message I got from Dr. Tony Humphries article is that there is currently no scientific evidence to prove that autism is a neurological or genetic disorder. I think the purpose of this article was to start a mature discussion surrounding autism, certainly I believe that it was never Mr. Humphries intention to hurt anyone. I have read a number of his books and he has always maintained that parents do the best they can with the knowledge and understanding that they have. (If you read the article carefully he has not blamed or critised parents for their children's behaviour or autism in any way)

My understanding of the article is that basically what he is suggesting is that people need to have a holistic approach to autism which takes the environment and relationships of the individual into account, before a final diagnosis is given. Surely this is not too much of a burden for Society to take on and if it is we need to ask the question why?

In my opinion a diagnosis says more about the person/doctor giving the diagnosis rather than the person being diagnosed. If this is true then the question we need to be asking is "how is it that we accept these diagnosis's so readily"?


Annette Kenny,
I don't think we are drawing a long bow to assume he is suggesting parents may be to blame for a child's autism. To quote him,

"After all, the deepest need of every child is to be unconditionally loved and the absence of it results in children shutting down emotionally themselves because to continue to spontaneously reach out for love would be far too painful.

Children's wellbeing mostly depends on emotional security - a daily diet of nurture, love, affection, patience, warmth, tenderness, kindness and calm responses to their expressed welfare and emergency feelings. To say that these children have a genetic and/or neurobiological disorder called autism or ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) only adds further to their misery and condemns them to a relationship history where their every thought and action is interpreted as arising from their autism."

The fact is autism is a neurobiological disorder. It is genetically based. And our children are dearly loved.

Digging with a shovel called Mammy

Full text of Tony Humphreys on the Marian Finucane Show yesterday is on Irish Autims Action's Facebook page -


Annette, you are a charitable reader. Only a sockpuppet could have responded to the article with more charity.

Dr Hyde

I would like to focus on some action. I have no hope for Dr Tony Humphreys acting. I would like the following:

1) The HSE, PSI, Department of Health - State whether Humphreys is entitled to use the terms "consultant clinical psychologist" or "clinical psychologist" or even plain "psychologist" to describe himself. He is not a registered psychologist and probably has not met the training requirements for clinical practice. Does his use of the titles comply with the Health & Social Care Professionals Act 2005 (
and the Psychological Society of Ireland ( accreditation of Clinical Psychologist guidelines? (

2) The Irish Examiner - Retract the article. The Examiner has removed the article without comment or explanation (and despite a defence of freedom of speech). Dr Andrew Wakefield's retracted paper on autism remains on the Lancet website with the word "RETRACTED" in large red type ( and accompanied by an editorial explaining precisely why it has been retracted (

3) The Irish Examiner (and all news outlets) - Do not permit "experts" to style themselves with unverified titles and expertise.

4) University College Cork - Restrict Dr Humphreys titles to those appropriate to an university psychologist, prevent his use of the university for advertising his private enterprises and ensure that he does not teach material in direct conflict with the Psychological Society of Ireland guidelines on diagnosis and treatment of autistic spectrum disorder (unless he wishes to formally state that has exited the psychological profession).


We did another full hour on the radio on Newstalk106
Father of Autistic Twins talks to Tom - via @Newstalkfm

Very positive Dad


Good article from P.J. Coogan in the Cork Independent today -,-Tony

"Even more baffling, however, was Tony Humphreys' reaction, in the only interview he has given since the article was first published in the Examiner. He told Claire Byrne – who in fairness to her, gave him a good 'going over', that “I thought this was a good news story, that parent don't have to worry about passing on their bad genes to their children...” That led me to see his third mistake. As a psychologist, one is surely supposed to have an insight into how people think, and how their minds work. Did he read over his article, and analyse for himself how a devastated parent, strapped into that emotional rollercoaster I referred to earlier, might react to it? Obviously not.

I'm not a psychologist or a psychiatrist. I'm not an academic. I'm just a Dad, but I'll tell you this much – I have forgotten more about my son's Autism and how it affects him, than Tony Humphreys will ever know. He owes me, and thousands of parents like me, a humble apology."


@Lizditz: Can you add the excellent Irish Times media review of the week (starting at the 7th paragraph) to your list please?

Nicole Gamble

Thanks so much for the post.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

Bill Domican
Here TH explains (in court) how he has cured a celebrity of viewing internet child porn despite only having been consulted weeks prior to the same man being caught in a police sting operation. The man had been an active user of this material for more than four years. TH described him as a rescuer and a man who had made a mistake and would not reoffend.


Horrifying as that paedophile "cure" is, I am much more horrified that Tony Humphreys is teaching parents with autistic children that they caused the autism. From the Marian Finucane show with Claire Byrne (CB):

CB: But is that what you teach parents in your classes, that if they respond differently to children in the family, that they will develop, that they will have developmental problems?
TH: That if they respond, how do I put it, if they respond to the communication that children make, because children never stop communicating - neither do adults, for that matter - if we respond to how children communicate and pick up the needs that they are trying to communicate in the behaviours they show, of course children then feel secure and they continue to communicate openly with us. If we miss what they communicate, very often the child, very cleverly and wisely and unconsciously, will shut down putting that need out there because they haven't been responded to.
CB: But what she heard from her course is ...
TH: But the whole thing is that when you realise it, if you now come to realise it, like Patricia did, and you now begin to attend, the child then begins to express the need again.
CB: So she now believes that her child has a developmental disorder because she responded to him in a way that wasn't supportive enough and was different to the way that she responded to her daughter, and that's what you taught her?
TH: No, no. I wouldn't have used the word "developmental disorder", because I don't think that children have disorders, right, I think that children, right, have ways of communicating and when a need is not met, they find a way to communicate about that need not being met and if we continue, if we then can pick up on that communication, then the child will come forward. I mean I have a situation there recently where a mother realised that she hadn't been making eye contact with her child. Now you know with babies, they make the most amazing eye contact with us, right, because they need us first to see them and to respond to them. But she had realised that she hadn't been making eye contact and she just picked it up during the lecture. When she went home - she was a lone parent - she began to make very strong eye contact with her child. She said within a week, the relationship between them was transformed.


His appearance on TV3 Ireland AM this morning (Friday) did not go spectacularly well! He is now known as Tony Autism-is-only-theory:


This is a great collation of everything that was said and will be a useful resource if anyone ever dares to spout such rubbish again - and thank you for including my piece x


Huffington Post 2 March:

While the refrigerator parent theory of autism was largely abandoned during the 1970s, there are still a few die-hard supporters across Europe and South Korea. Not surprisingly, parents of autistic children still react angrily to any suggestion that flawed parenting causes autism. In a recent statement, Irish Minister of Health James Reilly publicly attacked psychologist Tony Humphreys over a column in the Irish Examiner suggesting that children developed autism to "defend themselves against the absence of expressed love and affection and emotional receptivity." Dr. Reilly, the father of an autistic child, blasted Dr. Humphreys saying that his remarks were "utterly outrageous. The hurt that he caused people is absolutely astonishing."


Haven't read the linked alrtcie yet but have to say having heard the same Tony Humphries talk on parenting and emotional damage to children some years ago I have very little or no regard for his clinical psychology nor do any nurses I have worked with or known. The danger is that he is given credibility by those who take him at face value. I will read the alrtcie now. Don't be taken in by it, or waste your anger on ranting, just a measured response like you gave in your post. I can see where Gayle is coming from, her own experience can't be dismissed but she sees it as different from autism, this reactive attachment disorder.

The comments to this entry are closed.


What I'm Tweeting

    follow me on Twitter