Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Undocumented: Beth Thomas

Below is a transcript taken from the actual therapy tapes of Dr. Ken Magid. Magid specialises in the treatment of severely abused children, children so traumatized in the first years of life that they do not bond with other people.

In this transcript, Magid is interviewing a six-and-a-half year old girl named Beth.

Dr.Magid: Are people afraid of you, Beth?
Beth: uh huh
Dr.Magid: Who's afraid of you, Beth?
Beth: John
Dr.Magid: Your brother?
Beth: *nods head*
Dr.Magid: Why's your brother afraid of you?
Beth: Cus I hurt him so much
Dr.Magid: And at night time, what do your parents do to your door?
Beth: Lock it shut
Dr.Magid: Why do they lock it shut?
Beth: cus they don't want me to hurt John
Dr.Magid: Right, and they're kind of afraid of you hurting john
Beth: mm hm
Dr.Magid: OK, are they afraid that you might hurt them?
Beth: Yep
Dr.Magid: Would you, Beth?
Beth: mm hm
Dr.Magid: When would you do it?
Beth: Night time
Dr.Magid: OK, why would you do night time?
Beth: cus I don't like them seeing me do it, but they can feel me do it
Dr.Magid: And what would you do to them, Beth?
Beth: Stab them

Tim and Julie Tennent

Tim, a minister of small methodist church, and his wife, Julie, were unable to have children themselves. On tape, Tim states that he and his wife didn't need children to maintain a stable relationship, but wanted to share the security in their relationship with somebody else.

In February 1984, the couple received a call from the department of social services telling them they had two children available for adoption. They were told that Beth, 19 months old, and her brother Jonathan, 7 months old, were normal and healthy.

Social services had lied. Beth and Jonathan had endured severe emotional and physical abuse from their blood parents and the couple's dream had turned into a sickening nightmare.

After a few months, Tim and Julie began to discover that something wasn't right. The back of John's head was completely flat and the front of it had bulged down. At 7 months, he was unable to raise his head.

The aggression Beth exhibited made their lives a living hell, but what had made her this way? 

Beth's nightmare

(Beth's drawing of her nightmare)

The truth about Beth's past became apparant through frequent nightmares she would suffer involving a man repeatedly falling on her and hurting her with a part of himself.

In therapy, Beth revealed the repulsive facts about life before being adopted:

Dr.Magid: Tell me about your birth father, what was that nightmare like?
Beth: When he touched my vagina, until it bled. Hurted a lot until it bled and erm wouldn't feed me a lot. He'd hit on me, wouldn't be very nice to me
Dr.Magid: How old were you?
Beth: One
Dr. Magid: And, in your nightmare what happens?
Beth: I get real scared
Dr.Magid: Where are you in the nightmare? What happens in the dream?
Beth: I'm in the house, upstairs
Dr.Magid: And then what happens, Beth?
Beth: When he comes upstairs and erm hurts me

In this section of the interview, Beth displays some emotion that is absent in most other parts. She is visibly terrified and upset and the fact that she remembers the ordeal so vividly (something that happened 5 years prior to the interview) is extraordinarily distressing.

Beth Thomas: A History

Beth's birth mother died when she was only one year old. As a result, Beth never developed a sense of conscience, love or trust for anyone. 

The neglect and abuse she suffered at the hands of her father caused her to exhibit inappropriate sexual behaviour especially towards her brother, Jonathan. In therapy, Beth admitted to hurting her brother's genitalia by pinching, squeezing and kicking it. Beth also stated that she'd like to do the same to other boys. 

Her adoptive mother, Julie, told Dr.Magid how she once caught Beth molesting her brother. She had pulled her brother's penis and put her finger up his anus; Beth was two years old at the time.

Beth's desire to hurt her brother's and other boy's genitalia stems from her birth father's sexual abuse. She associates the penis with fear and pain, and therefore wants to eradicate it completely from her life.

Even more disturbingly, Beth's abusive childhood caused her to masturbate at a very early age:

Dr.Magid: Have you ever rubbed your private parts?
Beth: mm hm
Dr.Magid: Do you do it a lot?
Beth: A lot
Dr.Magid: How much do you do that?
Beth: About every single day and night. I did it every single day until it got real bad and  messed up and I had to get to the doctor and I did not want to

Julie explained how she would masturbate at inappropriate times and places including a public parking lot.

Beth also enjoyed causing harm to her four pets who she would prick with pins. When she was told to stop, she turned her attention to a nest of baby birds outside. Julie told Dr.Magid how one morning she found the birds lying on her lawn with their necks broken. Beth admitted to squeezing them to death.

The repurcussions of Beth's tragic childhood led to uncontrollable rage. Despite the love and nurturing of her adoptive parents, she took this rage out on herself, on her brother and on them. Her acts of violence became more and more cruel and frightening.

The Knives
Tim and Julie immediately thought of Beth when a set of knives went missing from their kitchen. In the aftermath, Beth asked her adoptive mother what the knives looked like, however, there was no way of her knowing about their disappearance unless she had taken them as Tim and Julie had not yet asked her where they were. Fears for Jonathan's safety rocketed.

Dr.Magid: Tell me about the knives, where did you get them?
Beth: From the drawer
Dr.Magid: And, where else?
Beth: I got them from the dishwasher
Dr.Magid: What kind of knives?
Beth: Erm, big sharp ones
Dr.Magid: And what do you want to do with those knives?
Beth: Kill John and Mommy with them, and Daddy

Beth had openly admitted to trying to kill her brother on numerous occasions. On one occasion, Beth had pushed Jonathan down the stairs into the basement and began hitting his head against the cement floor. Julie heard John's screams and ran into the basement where she had to literally pull Beth from her brother. John had to have stitches in his chin.


Following this interview, Dr.Magid recommended that Beth should spend some time apart from her adoptive parents for the wellbeing of the family. 

In April 1989, her parents took her to a special home that specialised in raising children with early attachment disorders, especially children who are a danger to themselves and others.

The home's principles are based on strictness and control. Because the children sent to the home do not have the ability to trust, they don't allow anyone to be in control of them and so workers at the home ensure that the children control absolutely nothing. The children are required to ask before they do anything. This includes going to the bathroom, eating and leaving their sight. Because of the damage these children have done in the past, workers at the home are unable to trust them and therefore the need to ask before they do anything is absolutely necessary.
According to workers at the home, the children actually believe they are evil and have no value. The home aims to change the way these children think and render them into loving, normal people who believe they have some sort of value. When the children do a chore well they are praised and little by little, praise builds confidence. 

After treatment, Beth began to show signs of affection. Her therapist loosened some controls on her and she attended public school where she met friends and even sang in a choir. Beth Thomas currently works at Family's By Design which promotes Attachment Therapy and its parenting methods through lectures and materials sales. 


  1. what happened to her brother?????

  2. Her brother still was raised by Tim & Julie after they gave Beth up and they also have another daughter Bethany. Jon, the brother, works as the Office Manager for Okaya, a Japanese company

    1. Thanks I wondered how he was I always felt he was neglected in public interest on did he survive

    2. Thanks I wondered how he was I always felt he was neglected in public interest on did he survive

    3. How do you know about the brother? Is there any pictures of him?

  3. Her brother still was raised by Tim & Julie after they gave Beth up and they also have another daughter Bethany. Jon, the brother, works as the Office Manager for Okaya, a Japanese company

    1. why did her parents give her away? do you konow this? she has recovered, how do you know about her brother?

    2. why did her parents give her away? do you konow this? she has recovered, how do you know about her brother?

  4. When is Beth Thomas birthdate

  5. Is there a therapist that can help adults now due to suffering from this?
    No one seems to be able to help my daughter who is tormented and a danger to others and herself. She has been through several counselors, therapist (group and indivisual), meds, admitted for days/nights in psych ward, she can't be around people, can't work, has no friends, never been in a relationship. She is 25 now and I don't want to die never seeing her happy and able to live a normal life.
    PLEASE HELP! Sorry but I have no money to send her places that could help. I don't know how much longer it will be before she acts on her need for violent acts bloodlust or to act on suicidal thoughts.

    1. Are you sure that's what she has? It's very difficult to treat that kind of stuff in adults, but I'm sure not impossible.

  6. Did Beth have a older sister?

    1. Yes Beth has older sister who also was sexually abused by their father

  7. Okay so how does she remember this she was 19 months old? super confused