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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

The Dark Side of "Recovery"

Patients start out RMT with the hope that things will be better once they recover their repressed memories.  But usually life becomes far more complicated.

The FMS patient will often become estranged from the "perpetrator" (most often her father).  If the patient has small children, they will be off limits to "perpetrators" as well.  Relationships with other family members becomes contingent on their not challenging the patient's beliefs.

Therapists may urge parents to come for a "family conference" in order to allow the patient to surprise the "perpetrator" with a rehearsed confrontation.  Family members are usually too shocked and disorganized to coherently respond to accusations.  The rationale for this scenario is that since "survivors" feel powerless, they need "empowerment."

FMS patients may file belated crime reports with local law enforcement agencies and may go on to sue "perpetrators."  Such lawsuits demand compensation for bills from psychotherapists and possibly other doctors who treated adult medical problems that therapists somehow link to childhood traumas.  Of course, there may be demands for "punitive damages."  Spouses of "perpetrators" (usually the patient's mother) may be sued as well for being negligent, thus making householder's insurance into a courtroom piggy bank.  Since FMS patients sincerely believe they have been victimized, more than a few juries have given verdicts sympathetic to them.

Preoccupied with the continuing chores of "memory recovery," the FMS patient may come to ignore more pressing problems with her marriage, family, schooling, or career.  Often the time demands and expense of the therapy itself become a major life disruption.

Some patients during the course of RMT develop "multiple personality disorder" (MPD).  RMT therapists have claimed that they need to not only recover repressed memories, but also to uncover repressed personality fragments; some women come to believe they are repositories of dozens of hidden personalities ("alters").  "Alters" have their own names and characteristics, and may identify themselves as men or even animals.  An increasing number of psychiatrists and psychologists are coming to view MPD as a product of environmental suggestion and reinforcement, since the diagnosis was hardly made prior to ten years ago.  One area where there is no controversy: once MPD is diagnosed, therapy bills become astronomical.

Some FMS patients become convinced that their abuse was actually "satanic ritual abuse" (SRA), due to participation by relatives in a secret satanic cult.  Some therapists believe SRA is the work of a vast underground cult network in these United States.  No evidence beyond "recovered memories" has ever been offered as proof that satanic cults exist at this claimed level of frequency.  Therapists who lecture on the topic have explained away the lack of evidence that such cults exist by claiming that no defectors speak out due to iron-clad secrecy via brainwashing and terror.