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Valerie Sinason is a British psychotherapist who, between 1979 and the early '90s, demonstrated that severely developmentally-disabled people could benefit by psychoanalysis. She also recognized early on that most developmentally-disabled people had been victims of sexual abuse, something not recognized at the time but now widely accepted. She saw her patients as having a secondary handicap resulting from their attempts to adapt to society's attitudes toward them.

She began work with the Subnormality Workshop at the Tavistock Clinic in 1979, under the direction of Neville Symington. She was an early user of the term "emotional intelligence", and focused on that rather than intellect in her work with her patients.

In 1998 she established the Clinic for Dissociative Studies, where she works with patients with dissociative identity disorder.

She is the author of ten books and over 60 papers. She is a registrant of the British Psychoanalytic Council.


  • Mental Handicap and the Human Condition: New Approaches from the Tavistock, Free Association Books, London, 1992
  • "Secondary mental handicap as a defence", in A. Waitman & S. Conboy-Hill (eds) Psychotherapy and Mental Handicap (pp. 46—58), Sage, London, 1992
  • Understanding Your Handicapped Child, Rosendale Press, London, 1993
  • "Working with sexually abused individuals who have a learning disability", in A. Craft (ed.) Practice Issues in Sexuality and Learning Disabilities (pp. 156-175), Routledge,London, 1994
  • Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse, Routledge, London, 1994
  • "The treatment of people with learning disabilities who have been abused", in J. Harris & A. Craft (eds) People With Learning Disabilities at Risk of Physical or Sexual Abuse (pp. 123-132), British Institute of Learning Disabilities, Kidderminster, 1994
  • "How hard can you kick a baby before it dies?: Psychotherapy in an Institution for Disturbed Children", in J. Pestalozzi, S. Frisch, R. D. Hinshelwood & D. Houzel (eds) Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in Institutional Settings (pp. 95- 108), Karnac Books, London, 1998
  • "Challenged bodies, wounded body images: Richard III and Hephaestus", J. M. Goodwin & R. Attias (eds) Splintered Reflections: Images of the Body in Trauma (pp. 183-194), Basic Books, New York, 1999
  • Attachment Trauma and Multiplicity: Working with Dissociative Identity Disorder ed. by Valerie Sinason, Routledge, London, 2002

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