|Title||False Memory Syndrome - Repressed Memory Debate|
The Leadership Council
The Debate over Recovered Memories
Welcome to the Taubman Center
Jennifer J. Freyd
PTSD and Worry
The Wounded Healer Journal
Statement from Linda Chapman
The Awareness Center
Website of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation - Memory and Reality
Website of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation
|Founder||Loftus, et al|
Please read the following statement from Steven Hassan on the issue of False Memory Syndrome and Repressed Memories:
One of the most controversial issues to hit the mental health field concerns the phenomenon of people either falsely being programmed to have false or confabulated memories (usually of childhood sexual abuse), or legitimately recovering repressed memories of abuse. I squarely believe that both phenomena can and do occur. Therefore, I am sometimes attacked by both proponents of False Memory Syndrome as well as by some of its critics.
If you are reading this and have come to believe that you were a victim of child sexual abuse and have cut off contact with your family and friends for many years, I implore you to make the effort to get a second opinion from an expert who is not an ideologue, but a trained therapist experienced with trauma issues. If you are currently in therapy, your therapist should support your desire to get a second opinion. If not, then there is reason to be concerned. Get a referral for another therapist from someone other than your therapist. Take a look at the credentials of the individual (people) who were part of your process of "remembering", and as objectively as possible try to see how directive they were. Did they tell you in the first few sessions that they thought you were an abuse victim by your symptoms? Did they quickly encourage you to let them use hypnosis to go back and "remember"? If so, there is a chance that the abuse never took place. It is my understanding that most people remember childhood abuse, but I am looking for any data that supports or refutes this proposition.
I come across cases of non-therapists "helping people to remember." Some are involved with cult groups, some are well meaning survivors of sexual abuse, some have ulterior motives. If you are an adult who came to believe you were sexually abused in recent years, I do believe there might be reason to reevaluate how your memories came to your consciousness. It is entirely possible that you were sexually abused. It is also possible that you were not, but have believed that you were.
Of course, I also believe that trauma can cause people to repress memories and that these memories can spontaneously surface, or surface as a result of life experience and good therapy. The bottom line as a therapist is helping clients live happy, fulfilling, productive lives. If a person seeks treatment, and the person's quality of life continues to worsen, it is time to reevaluate the treatment orientation. I do not believe that a person needs to relive trauma in order to be healed, and I believe such treatment orientations can actually re-victimize the person. I do not believe that a person needs to relive trauma in order to be healed, and I believe such treatment orientations can actually revictimize the person. Of course, if you suffer from PTSD symptoms, or other problems relating to the abuse, then good therapy will be of enormous help. I also do believe in therapeutic forgetting, particularly if the danger is long since past. However, it can be very upsetting if someone who has suffered abuse is told to "forget about it." It can be a put down and a turn off to invalidate personal suffering.
If you are no longer speaking with anyone from your past because you were encouraged to cut off contact, I am concerned. Rarely, if ever, do trained therapists (in the last few years) ever encourage their clients to cut off contact with all of their family and friends. They will encourage their client/patient to avoid putting themselves into situations where they can be further abused - physically as well as emotionally. This rarely includes everyone.
I welcome articles, testimonials, and resource links that can help the public.
Steven Hassan - M.Ed., LMHC
Remembering True and False TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES
'Retractor' helps others find answers
Also....please see our recommended reading list on this topic.
(articles, videos, information)
Diane RussellĂ˘€™s book, The Secret Trauma: Incest in the Lives of Girls and Women
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