DYING FOR LOVE (MOURIR D’AMOUR)
Valerie Sinason [Vsinason@aol.com]
Psychologue, psychanalyste, St-Georges hospital, Clinic for Dissociative Studies, Londres
Children and adults with a learning disability are more likely to be victims of sexual and physical abuse and
violence than other citizens. Sometimes, their disability is in itself a result of violence to the pregnant mother. Indeed,
in the USA there is a term VIMH-Violence-Induced Mental handicap-referring to physical violence as a cause of
disability. Lack of support for parents with a baby with a disability leads to insecure attachment which makes the baby
more vulnerable to abuse of all kinds both in childhood and later in adult life. In a survey of 200 child and adult
patients with a learning disability who had been referred to therapy, Valerie Sinason found that over 75% had been
abused. Adults with a learning disability who behaved violently to others were also shown to have a traumatic
background. In a group for adult men with learning disabilities who had committed sexual offences against children,
all had been physically and sexually abused themselves both in childhood and in their adult longstay hospitals. Long-
term therapy reduces violence and sexual acting out and provides a chance of a better quality of life.
• Hollins, S. & Sinason, V. (2000). Psychotherapy, learning disabilities and trauma: new perspectives. British Journal of
Sinason, V. (1996). From abused to abuser. In Cordess, C. & Cox, M. Forensic Psychotherapy: Crime, Psychodynamics
and the Offender Patient. Vol. 2. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Sinason, V. (1997). The learning disabled (mentally handicapped) offender. In Welldon, E.V. & Van Velsen, C. (eds), A
Practical Guide to Forensic Psychotherapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.