Post-Trauma: Reclaiming a Child

Was Elizabeth Smart brainwashed, as her father insists? Does she need to be deprogrammed like some runaway Moonie or Hare Krishna? Or is she simply a victim of the famous Stockholm syndrome, named for a 1973 Swedish bank robbery in which the hostages began to identify with their captors?

The first step in helping this 15-year-old recover, say psychiatrists, is to recognize that snap diagnoses of brainwashing and programming aren't much help. "Terms like these don't have any real clinical definition," says Dr. David Fassler, a professor at the University of Vermont and a psychiatrist who works with traumatized kids....

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