IPT Book Reviews

Title: Breaking the Circle of Satanic Ritual Abuse  Neutral Review
Author: Daniel Ryder
Publisher: Comp Care Publishers, 1992

Comp Care Publishers
2415 Annapolis Lane
Minneapolis, MN 55441
(800) 328-3330


The author of this book, who is writing under a pseudonym, claims to have been a victim of satanic ritual abuse in his childhood and has spent years in therapy and twelve step programs recovering from this trauma.  His 265-page book consists of 23 short chapters and 4 appendices, including a chapter entitled "Twelve Step Ritual Abuse Groups."  The book is simple, easy to understand, written in large, easy to read print.  It presents many case histories from "survivors," drawings of cult symbols, and lists of symptoms to aid in diagnosing ritual abuse.  These symptoms are extremely inclusive i.e., fear of circles, overreaction to violent films, problems with sex, fear of authority rebellion against authority, exaggerated codependency characteristics, use of alcohol, avoidance of alcohol, sleep disorders, eating disorders, allergies, phobia about snakes, using red and black in art therapy, fear of one's birthday, childhood bed wetting, depression, and black and white thinking.  Behaviors engaged in by the alleged cults are described in detail, along with the recruitment practices.  Treatment strategies are discussed, including the twelve step program that has been adapted for ritual abuse survivors.

At the end he presents a list of therapy resources for ritual abuse along with an extremely limited and one-sided bibliography.


The author presents no corroborating evidence of the existence of these cults and completely ignores the ever-growing skeptical literature.  All of the allegations in the case histories are accepted uncritically and Ryder assumes that ritual satanic cults are widespread and that many satanists are lawyers, judges, police officials, and other community leaders.

At several points, Ryder's beliefs and claims appear frankly paranoid.  For example, he accepts the claim that satanists are in high positions and thus can influence public policy.  He notes that the fear of infiltration by cult perpetrators is a constant concern for the members of the twelve steps groups.  He believes that cult members follow survivors to trigger the "code of silence" programming.  He thinks that cult members infiltrate the case loads of the survivors' therapists in order to file trumped-up malpractice suits.

This book is not useful for any professional except as an example of just how farfetched are the beliefs of those who believe in the satanic cult conspiracy.

Reviewed by LeRoy Schultz, Professor of Social Work, West Virginia University.

Order this book: Hardcover Paperback

Visit our Bookstore

  [Back to Volume 5]

Copyright 1989-2014 by the Institute for Psychological Therapies.
This website last revised on April 15, 2014.
Found a non-working link?  Please notify the Webmaster.