"But along came Al Songden, who was a child psychiatrist, a very young child psychiatrist at Yale at that time... So what happened is, he trained us. And the training I thought, was particularly useful, and I was very interested. And he said that children are scared, and don't put rubber gloves on because they're going to think that you think they're dirty, and they're going to find that strange."
That got us thinking..... would a child psychiatrist really be advising an intern in pediatrics- a completely different specialty-- on the ins and outs of a physical exam and particularly on something as specific as the wearing of rubber gloves? And wouldn't Yale's own pediatric faculty be teaching Ayres - in his one and only year of pediatrics training- on how to conduct a physical exam?
So we decided to hunt down this "Al Songden" ourselves and get it straight from the horse's mouth. But it turns out there is no "Al Songden," according to a number of old time staffers at Yale. The child psychiatrist Ayres was actually referring to was Dr. Albert Solnit, a pioneering psychiatrist at Yale's Child Study Center. Dr. Solnit died in a car crash in 2002. Still, there are a number of people around at Yale who knew Solnit well and worked with him.
First we got the scoop on Dr. Solnit from the pediatrics side at Yale. We spoke with pediatrician Dr. Howard Pearson, a 1954 graduate of Harvard Medical School who has been on the staff of pediatrics at Yale since the 1960s. Pearson knew Dr. Solnit and his work very well.
We asked Dr. Pearson if Solnit or any other child psychiatrist in the history of Yale had trained pediatric interns on how to do physical exams.
Pearson shot that one down immediately and unequivocally. "Nonsense," he said. "Child psychiatrists like Solnit, who were from the Child Study Program at Yale have had historically a very minor role with pediatrics. Pediatric residents might hear a couple of lectures by a child psychiatrist, or once in a great while a psychiatrist may be called in for a consultation, but that's it. Solnit would certainly not have been brought in to teach pediatric interns about physical exams, because at Yale, child psychiatrists don't do physical exams. It's just nonsense!!"
Ok, so having cleared that up from the pediatrics side, we moved on to the child psychiatrist's point of view at Yale. For that we sought out child psychiatrist Dr. John Showalter, who was the first Albert J. Solnit Professor at the Yale Child Study Center. Showalter told us that he was very close with Solnit. "He was like a father to me," he said.
Although Showalter is a child psychiatrist, like Ayres, he did his first year of residency as a pediatric intern at Yale. We asked him if Solnit had either trained him or talked to him about doing physical exams when he was in pediatrics.
"Solnit never talked to me about rubber gloves or physical exams, ever," recalled Showalter. "He told us how to talk to children when they were anxious or depressed and how to talk to the families. The pediatric training was left up to the pediatric faculty. During the years I knew Solnit as a child psychiatrist, he never talked to me about giving physical exams to kids. Solnit was a famous child analyst, and he never did physicals on children in therapy."
Ok then. So now we know: Ayres was making this all up about Dr. Solnit. What's also very important, to note is that both Dr. Solnit and Ayres' old boss George Gardner at Judge Baker, were first trained as pediatricians and then as child psychiatrists.
These doctors had years of training in pediatrics, while Ayres had only one measly year of pediatrics before moving on to adult psychiatry.
But for decades Ayres has been using that one measly year of pediatrics as an excuse to give his own special brand of hands on therapy to boys.
But wait!! Drs. Gardner and Solnit - who were trained as both child psychiatrists AND pediatricians- with years' more experience than Ayres- never physically examined children in therapy. They knew how dangerous and damaging that would be to a child in therapy. They understood that the specialties of child psychiatry and pediatrics are SEPARATE specialties, and needed to be kept that way. They respected the boundaries between the two specialties and didn't- as Ayres did- get them all tangled and snarled up in their heads.
But then, as we have seen with Ayres and his victims, Ayres has never respected the boundaries between anyone or anything.
As Ayres can no longer blame either Judge Baker or Yale for his pedophilia, we wonder what excuse he's gonna come up with next. Whatever it is, we'll be there, ready to fact check it to kingdom come!