Tuesday, 24 October 2017

More on CEASE Therapy

The nature of CEASE Therapy was discussed in a previous post. There was also a post listing some UK practitioners and also another post listing Irish practitioners.

Whilst the latter two posts were not intended as "name and shame", it is disappointing to note that none of the mentioned practitioners seem to have amended their claims. Of course, it is entirely possible that they are unaware of these posts.

This will be a short post for this blog.

This website was analysed in quite some depth in the first linked post, so it makes little point repeating here. However, it is important to note that linkage to this website does have repercussions in the degree to which a practitioner's website is in compliance with their trade association's Codes of Ethics, advertising regulation, consumer protection law and even medicines regulation.

The Stichting Reclame Code (SRC) is the Dutch Advertising regulation, very much like the UK ASA. It recently published a ruling against the website - unfortunately in Dutch but in summary -
The complaint refers to a website on which the CEASE-therapy is proposed as a "very effective way to treat autism with amazing results". This is explained by saying that the CEASE-therapy ‘detoxes’ all causes of autism with a homeopathic prepared substance. On the website, there’s a possibility to order books about the CEASE-therapy and to take a course about this therapy. Also the nearest “Cease therapist” is shown. Because of this all, the website has to be considered as an advertisement for the CEASE-therapy and falls therefore within the meaning of article 1 of the Dutch Advertising Code (NRC). Not relevant is that, according to defendant, there is no financial or commercial interest in the website nor that the website is only meant as an opinion about the CEASE-therapy.

Defendant has not substantiated that the CEASE-therapy is an effective way to treat autism and that the CEASE-therapy can treat autism with "amazing results". The average consumer will perceive this as 'Healing'. Therefore, defendant is falsely claiming that the product may cure illnesses, ailments or malformations as referred to number 16 of annex 1 to article 8.5 NRC.

Further, the defendant didn’t substantiate that autism can be caused by vaccinations of children or their parents. As a causal link between vaccination and autism is not proven, the advertisement appeals without justifiable reasons to feelings of anxiety as referred to in article 6 NRC.
The SRC has instructed the owner of the website to make amendments to comply with the Dutch advertising code. Amendments have yet to be made. If they are not, the SRC can contact the Autoriteit Consument & Markt (ACM) - which has the legal powers to enforce consumer protection legislation.

It's not clear how the website can comply. The links promoting the book, training courses and the practitioner directory would have certainly have to be removed but even then much of the content could well be considered advertisement.

It's problematic enough for UK and Irish practitioners to link to the CEASE therapy website but some have quite detailed entries on the practitioner lists which would place them in breach of regulations etc even if their own websites are compliant.

Given that in several jurisdictions it has been established that promotion of CEASE therapy is question able to say the least, the practitioner lists do potentially provide a list of people to be reported to regulators, trade associations, etc. Assuming anyone was motivated to do that.

As seen in previous posts, promotion of CEASE therapy on a website is often associated with other non-compliance. Any reporting of CEASE therapy could well result in scrutiny that would bring that to light.

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