Anne Speckhard, Ph.D., Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Georgetown University Medical School and author of Talking to Terrorists: Understanding the Psycho-Social Motivations of Militant Jihadi Terrorists, Mass Hostage Takers, Suicide Bombers & “Martyrs” is a world-renowned expert on the psychology of terrorism. In the last decade she interviewed over four hundred terrorists, suicide bombers, terrorist supporters, family members, close associates and hostages investigating what puts individuals on the terrorist trajectory and what might take them back off it. She also conducted interviews with the hostages of Beslan and Nord Ost about the Chechen mass hostage takers and conducted psychological autopsies (with a Chechen colleague) on over half of the 112 Chechen suicide bombers trying to learn what motivated them to explode themselves. Dr. Speckhard has been working in the field of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since the 1980’s and has extensive experience working in Europe, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union. She has provided expert consultation to European and Middle Eastern governments as well as to Canada, Australia, NATO, OSCE and the U.S. Department of Defense regarding understanding terrorism and the prevention and rehabilitation of individuals committed to political violence and militant jihad. In 2006-2007 she worked with the U.S. Department of Defense to design and pilot test the Detainee Rehabilitation Program in Iraq for a program that served over 20,000 detainees, eight hundred of them juveniles. An internationally renowned speaker she has lectured to security experts the world over.
Dr. Speckhard is also a psychological researcher, clinician, author and forensic expert witness with over twenty-five years experience dealing with fascinating issues and tough cases. Dr. Speckhard has appeared on NPR, MSNBC, Fox, ABC, al Jazeera English, and many other news outlets discussing a variety of intriguing psychological topics. She also writes for the Huffington Post. Her other books are: Fetal Abduction: The True Story of Multiple Personalities and Murder; and Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy SEAL’s Journey to Coming out Transgender (coauthored with Kristin Beck), Psycho-Social Stress Following Abortion, and Home-Grown Terrorism: Understanding and Addressing the Root Causes of Radicalization among Groups with an Immigrant Heritage (co-edited volume).
Talking to Terrorists: Understanding the Psycho-Social Motivations of Militant Jihadi Terrorists, Mass Hostage Takers, Suicide Bombers & “Martyrs”
For over a decade, Anne Speckhard, Ph.D. traveled through the West Bank and Gaza, into the prisons in Iraq, down the alleyways of the Casa Blanca slums, inside Chechnya, into the radicalized neighborhoods of Belgium, the UK, France and the Netherlands, and sat with the hostages of Beslan and Nord Ost…Talking to Terrorists... In this talk, Dr. Speckhard gives us an account of what puts vulnerable individuals on the terrorist trajectory and what might also take them back off it. One of the only experts to have such a breadth of experience – having interviewed over four hundred terrorists, their friends, family members and hostages – having visited, and even stayed overnight at times in the intimate spaces of terrorists’ homes, interviewing them in their stark prison cells and meeting them in the streets of their villages and cities, Dr. Speckhard gives us a rare glimpse of terrorists within their own contexts. From the mouths of terrorists, their family members, comrades—and even their hostages, we learn of the manipulation of human weakness that can lead to their evil acts. Through careful research of culture and religion, a genuine desire to understand the factors that motivate individuals to embrace terrorism, Dr. Speckhard deftly defines the lethal cocktail that leads to the creation of a terrorist. An internationally recognized expert on the psychological aspects of terrorism and an expert in the area of posttraumatic stress disorder, Dr. Speckhard’s studies also produce a knowledge of how to disengage, deradicalize and rehabilitate a terrorist, reversing his or her trajectory. TALKING TO TERRORISTS reveals the humanity in us all—especially in those we least expect—and offers possibilities for achieving a safer world.
Fetal Abduction: The True Story of Multiple Personalities and Murder
This is the story of Annette Morales Rodriguez, a hard-working single mother of three.
It is also the story of Lara, a psychopathic killer who abducted another woman’s fetus, killing both mother and baby.
Unbeknownst to Annette, Lara is a part of her: a dissociative identity, or split personality, formed to help Annette deal with the sexual abuse she endured as a child. Highly protective and driven to act solely in Annette’s interests with no regard for the consequences to others, Lara lacks the moral judgment and remorse of a fully-developed personality. It is she who saw Annette’s desire for and inability to have another baby and plotted to cut one from another woman’s belly to give to her.
Lara confessed in gruesome detail. Annette, entirely amnesic throughout the course of events, has no recollection of the behavior Lara carried out. Dr. Anne Speckhard’s jail interviews with Annette—and Lara—offer a fascinating glimpse inside a woman torn in two.
Dr. Speckhard’s analysis of Annette’s behavior and her treatment once in police custody beg the questions: How do you separate the guilty from the innocent when they share the same body and when is it acceptable to violate one’s rights in the interest of public safety? Annette’s story brings Dissociative Identity Disorder and the shortcomings of the American justice system to shocking light.
Dr. Speckhard also served on the defense team for Lorena Bobbitt helping to finally deliver her from the husband she had attacked after years of domestic abuse and his threats to continue raping her even after their divorce. As an expert in trauma, loss and dissociation Dr. Speckhard has brought her expertise to understanding criminal behavior and is able to tell us how abuse often is the precursor to dissociative disorders and criminal acts. A riveting account of how criminal act are often borne out of responses to childhood and adult traumas and can also be prevented.
Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy SEAL’s Journey to Coming out Transgender –
Chris Beck played high school football. He bought a motorcycle, much to his mother’s dismay, at age 17. He grew up to become a Navy SEAL, serving our country for twenty years on thirteen deployments, including seven combat deployments, and ultimately earned a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. To everyone who saw him, he was a hero. A warrior. A man.
But underneath his burly beard, Chris had a secret, one that had been buried deep inside his heart since he was a little boy—one as hidden as the panty hose in the back of his drawer. He was transgender, and the woman inside needed to get out.
This is the journey of a girl in a man’s body and her road to self-actualization as a woman amidst the PTSD of war, family rejection and our society’s strict gender rules and perceptions. It is about a fight to be free inside one’s own body, a fight that requires the strength of a Warrior Princess.
Kristin’s story of boy to woman explores the tangled emotions of the transgender experience and opens up a new dialogue about being male or female: Is gender merely between your legs or is it something much bigger?
Dr. Speckhard met Chris Beck as a man, but then helped Kristin Beck write her story. In addition Dr. Speckhard has been interviewing transgender military personnel both in the United States and abroad about their service to country—service that is elsewhere officially recognized and but in the U.S. still goes unrecognized and continues to be a basis for discharge.
Energy Healing – Narrative Medicine
Increasingly hard scientists from the fields of physics, biology and psychology are beginning to understand that intention and emotion may be far more important for the body than we previously realized and that the barriers in time and space that we take for granted may not be as impervious as we think. For instance scientific studies carried out by researchers affiliated with top universities (Princeton, Stanford, etc.) and supported by U.S. government funding establishes that remote viewing, telepathy, intuitive knowledge, clairvoyance, healing intention, and even remote healing may all be within our reach.
Just as the mind body and spirit constitute a highly complex energetic system, there are are myriad of access points to shift the energy within the body and accomplish significant healing. The techniques of healing with energy are many and there is an entire spectrum of practice and techniques that are beginning to be accepted as complementary medicine and also into the mainstreams of standard medical treatment.
The mind, body and spirit comprise a unique confluence of energy and neither is separate from the other. Indeed the mind often gives rise to pain and illness and quieting the mind to access the energy channels within the body can often bring true and lasting healing to both the mind and the body. Likewise the narratives that accompany illness often give unique clues to how to interrupt the disease process and also to activate natural healing systems within the mind and body. Dr. Speckhard maintains a keen academic interest in energy healing, medical intuition and narrative medicine.
Psycho-Social Stress Following Abortion
Dr. Speckhard has extensively studied pregnancy loss and abortion here in the U.S. and also internationally. She can speak on the complicated grief and trauma that sometimes occurs when a pregnancy ends unexpectedly, as in abortion.