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Home arrow False and "Recovered" Memories arrow False Memory Syndrome - Articles arrow Recovered Memory Therapy and False Memories

Recovered Memory Therapy and False Memories

Article Index
Recovered Memory Therapy and False Memories
Initiation of Patients into RMT
Generating False Memories
The Dark Side of Recovery
The Care and Maintenance of False Memories
How Memory Really Works
Why Recovered Memory Therapy is Bad Therapy
Other Kinds of FMS
A Word About the Future

Initiation of Patients into RMT

A woman consults a psychotherapist for relief of various emotional complaints.  The therapist informs her that she may have been molested as a child and does not know it, and this could explain her symptoms.  Some patients think this idea is absurd and go to another therapist; others accept the therapist's suggestions and stay on.  More than a few women have heard about repressed memories from talk shows or tabloids even prior to coming to the therapists office, and may even make the appointment believing they too could be "victims."

Though the patient has no memories of abuse, she becomes motivated for "memory recovery" since she is told this will cure her symptoms.  The therapist will offer encouragement that "memories" will return.  Suggestive dreams or new pains are interpreted by the therapist as proof that repressed memories are lurking.

The therapist may refer the patient to a "survivor recovery group."  There she will meet women who further encourage her to keep trying to remember.  Attendance at these support groups, as well as assigned reading in self-help books, surrounds the patient with validation for the therapist's theories.

The vast majority of women with FMS are white, middle class, and above average in education.  This corresponds to the profile of a typical woman who enters long term psychotherapy, and who perceives such activity as an important way to solve life's problems.