Exorcism, Gender Dysphoria and NHS funding

An anonymous commenter just put the following on the Livejournal copy of my blog. I thought it was worth sharing and probably doesn’t need much comment…

Thank you for this post. There is, however, at least one psychiatrist, Dr Alan Sanderson, who argues that exorcism or “spirit release therapy” is “crying for funded research on the NHS” in cases of “gender dyphoria”.

The following “paper” is hosted on the website of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (PDF link) and it is some comfort that he found some resistance to performing NHS exorcisms.

The relevant case study, “Roger the Physician” shows how it isn’t just politicians who are clueless.

And here’s an extract from the case study:

An internationally known 41-year-old physician with severe gender dysphoria, Roger was already being prepared for surgical gender re-assignment. He came at the insistence of his wife, who had read Fiore’s book.

…Three years later, Roger’s orientation was fully heterosexual. His marriage was happier than for years…

Gender dysphoria is a condition of particular interest for the assessment of spirit release therapy, since there is no known curative treatment. Surgery is the only available treatment in severe cases. The situation cries out for funded research within the NHS.

The paper is from 2003 and cites a 1977 paper co-authored by Blanchard, titled Gender identity change in a transsexual: an exorcism. It’s cited in turn by two other papers, but it appears that NHS funding for this research was not forthcoming.

Edited to add: Zoe Brain points out that it’s not the same Blanchard as the Bailey-Blanchard-Lawrence one.


  1. “…it appears that NHS funding for this research was not forthcoming.”

    Cripes! I should hope not! As was universally acknowledged when the BCA presented its laughable “evidence” in the Singh case, a case study of an individual does not consitute evidence for effectiveness of a clinical intervention.

    This post by David Allen Green might be of interest re exorcism: http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/2011/01/exorcism-and-mental-health-troubling.html

    1. Hi, whilst NHS funding was not forthcoming, according to Sanderson on the website of the “Spirit release foundation”:


      “Case histories, however dramatic, will never convince the doubters. We need clinical trials. It is necessary to study conditions of long-standing, which do not respond to any known treatment. Persistent auditory hallucinations, gender identity disorder and paedophilia are examples……Fortunately, the climate is changing. The Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/college/specialinterestgroups/spirituality/publications.aspx formed in 1999, has a membership of more than 2000. Under its aegis, research, though not yet research on spirit release, is under way. Prospects are improving steadily…..

      The case study of “Roger the Physician” by Edith Fiore, is obviously fraudulent in that “Roger” has not undergone any kind of social transition but is apparently being prepared for surgery regardless.

      Apart from writing “The Unquiet dead”, Fiore has also written a book on possession by Aliens from outer space with a self-test so that you find out whether you are possessed or not!

      The alleged “case” of Roger can be viewed on http://www.spiritrelease.com and it is claimed that “after only 30 minutes, a female spirit left[Roger]. Fiore had persuaded her she would have a better wardrobe in the spirit world! The man’s sexual orientation instantly returned to normal and was maintained over a 5-year follow-up.

      Sanderson refers to transsexualism as “sexual deviation” which is extremely pejorative and doesn’t know the difference between gender and sexual orientation….

      Thank you, Zoe, for taking up my original comment on your other blog ….This does need sharing; imagine if Sanderson was writing about gay men like that?

  2. “…Three years later, Roger’s orientation was fully heterosexual. His marriage was happier than for years…”

    Fully heterosexual? Big deal! Was she still trans?

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