Queensland antivax counselor reinforces vulnerable mum’s baseless fears about vaccines

One of the many harms the anti-vaccination movement inflicts upon the community is the harm done to parents who falsely blame themselves for the health conditions of their children. The most common of these blameless parents are the parents of autistic children. Antivax lies are reinforced, again and again, that these parents are somehow to blame for their child’s autism because they had their children immunised. It is a particularly despicable facet of the whole antivax movement.

Anti-Vaccination Australia is a closed Facebook group comprised of over 13,000 members. It is run by Belgin Colak-Arslan, most renowned in the media as the anti-vaccination liar who attacked and vilified a Byron Bay physiotherapist, and his family, and his workplace, because she and her fail-mates are convinced that he is Reasonable Hank.

On July 24 2017, Arslan posted a comment from a “devastated” anonymous parent:

ANONYMOUS POST

We have a developmental paediatrician appointment coming up for my child soon after doing many assessments which have come back with them pointing the concerns towards neurological.
He did have a traumatic birth but has also been pumped with every vaccine that’s been recommended.
I’m actually devastated!
But after researching so much could it be possible that vaccines contributed to the way he is?
Is there any amazing books I should read?
I’m very new to this still. I do have a 3 year old who isn’t vaccinated & huge difference in kids.
I just know at the last appt are putting it all on birth but I’m not convinced it’s actually making me feel sick.

Antivaxers quickly started posting comments promoting dangerous therapies such as chelation, antivax crackpots, and other misinformation, reinforcing the baseless concerns of the anonymous parent:

One particular commenter started offering more specific, professional advice.

Anne Thistleton calls herself The Baby Calmer. Running a business based out of Brisbane, Thistleton lists her qualifications on her website:

My name is Anne Thistleton (BEd; MREd; MCouns; Grad Dip. Nut Med (Mental Health); Cert EF & TTh; Cert SP & SW; CIME) aka The Baby Calmer.

As well as working with parents and their children in the home, I also provide an Individual, Family and Relationships Counselling Service – Anne Thistleton Counselling – which specialises in Emotional Release Counselling, Sandplay Therapy and Symbolwork for children (aged 18mths – 17 years) and adults.

I hold a Bachelor of Education (with a specialisation in Early Childhood Education), a Master of Education, and a Master of Counselling, along with a Graduate Diploma of Nutritional Medicine – Mental Health.   I have also completed formally recognised post-graduate study and training in the areas of Emotion Focused and Transpersonal Therapy, and Sandplay Therapy & Symbolwork.

I am a qualified Mediator, Certified Infant Massage Educator and registered ‘Circle of Security’ Parenting Educator.

Thistleton’s Facebook profile:

In Anti-Vaccination Australia, Thistleton offered the following advice to the anonymous member, that member later revealing herself as Kirsten Stewart:

Anne Michelle: I’m a clinical birth trauma therapist, and also a masters qualified counsellor, nutritionist – mental health, Somatic Experiencing practitioner, craniosacral practitioner and sandplay therapist. I have eight plus years experience working with and treating birth trauma. And almost a decade of specialised post grad training in this field. I’d be open to talking with you, and helping you decipher what would be typical presentations of birth trauma and what would not be. Feel free to PM me.

Kirsten Stewart: Anne, wow! Have questions about my 19yr old’s birth – my first born – was born “breathing up” after a posterior labour and I thought it was coz I squeezed his head coming out.. He was breathing too fast for his first 25 hrs.. He was whisked off after midnight (born 7.30pm) to be watched in a humidy crib.. They told me if his breathing didn’t slow down in 24 hrs he could have “problems”.. But they also gave him vitamin k..that I wasn’t happy about.. Not sure if it was the first few hours or first few days that this happened.. Have lost my records and my memory is hazy. Not knowing anything I then sadly gave him all the next shots at 2, 4, 6,12 and 18 months.. and 4yrs.. But he had showed signs of autism very early on, that the paediatrician didn’t take seriously. There are arguments now over whether his autism is hereditary or vaccine induced. My father is suspected asbergers and he was vaccinated even back then. He’s 86yrs old now! My mum was also vaxxed ((born 1940) and all my sisters and I were vaxxed (born late 60’s/early 70’s), and so if it’s hereditary, how do I know if its the VAX damage being passed on down the line from my parents or some ‘natural’ defects that came through from my dad’s side?

Anne MichelleKirsten Stewart I’m not qualified in professional areas to answer you question specifically. That would probably be something you’d probably be able to find out through genetic / DNA testing or something like that. But in relation to birth trauma, other types of trauma or significant stress during the pre and perinatal period – these can contribute to symptoms that show up in individuals, that indicate that the nervous system has been overwhelmed, and has not had an opportunity to discharge the way it needed to from an external threat. And so, what happens is, this charge is held within the body, and at a nervous system level, which is demonstrated through that the way in which that individual interacts with the world, and we see particular symptoms of trauma. If you google Peter Levine and symptoms of trauma, you will get an exhaustive list. In treatment / therapy, we gently discharge the high levels of nervous system arousal associated with trauma, and help client’s bodies return to a more manageable level of functioning. As we begin to reset client’s nervous systems, integration organically occurs. It is possible that intergenerational trauma is presenting within your family, or that your individual experiences of trauma have impacted on your individual nervous system functioning. Adding vaccinations to an already compromised / traumatised system, and adding further trauma in terms of the insult to the nervous system via vaccination, could all be contributing factors, along with the physiological issues relating to chronic gut health issues and nutritional deficiencies – which occur during times of extreme stress or after vaccinations and other mediations. Most of the time, it’s quite complex retracing the possibilities. Where there is nervous system dyreguation, sometimes, clients or parents report noticing small differences almost immediately. And in working with trauma, the work is slow, and over time.

Kirsten Stewart: Thank-you Anne, and I notice you have pm’d me so I will continue our chat there! X

Anne MichelleKirsten Stewart yes, I got your PM not long after reply to your comment. I’ve replied to your PM as well.

As an aside, the AVA thread finished with this recommendation:

“Dr Moulder” is actually Dr Andrew Moulden, a man who was so consumed by his own florid insanity that he took his own life to escape it. From his own sister, in 2013:

If you are concerned about the demonstrably flawed professional advice from Anne Thistleton, to a vulnerable person, done whilst citing her qualifications and her business, and continued with the potential client via private messaging, please lodge a complaint with the Queensland Office of the Health Ombudsman.

Update

Thistleton’s The Baby Calmer Facebook page makes this post even more dire. The following screenshots show hideous anti-vaccination posts, anti-fluoride, anti-psychiatry, Scientology, Burzynski and other cancer cure lies.

2011

David Wolfe:

CCHR is the cult, Scientology, which has a rabid hatred of psychiatry:

Anit-fluoride:

David Wolfe:

The hideous anti-vaccination lie that parents who have murdered their babies are falsely blamed for the vicious assaults; instead, the deaths are caused by the vaccinations received by the babies:

Homeopathy used as childhood infectious disease treatment and as a vaccination:

Mercola attacking psychiatric medications:

Anti-vaccination post from rabid antivax site, Health Impact News:

Promotion of US cancer cure charlatan, Burzynski:

Promotion of US cancer cure charlatan, Burzynski, followed by AIDS denialism in the comments:

Adrenal fatigue is not a real thing:

David Wolfe:

Accusations that doctors and midwives are committing “birth rape”:

Mercola attacking psychiatry:

2012

Cancer cure charlatanry:

Anti-fluoride:

Anti-vaccination homeopath Isaac Golden and his fake immunisation, followed by the hideous anti-vaccination lie that vaccines cause SIDS:

Post by actual baby-killer, Janet Fraser:

Crackpot anti-vaccination activist, Peter Dingle:

Anti-vaccination website Talk About Curing Autism, and apologist, Bob Sears:

Crackpot anti-vaccination activist, Peter Dingle:

Mercola and the autism epidemic, implicating vaccines as a cause:

Autism cure charlatanry:

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Update August 6 2017

In Anti-Vaccination Australia, Thistleton admits to filing false and vexatious reports with Facebook and the Australian Federal Police:

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About reasonable hank

I’m reasonable, mostly.

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