• Google translate:  
Increase Font Sizesmallerreset
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

Why Recovered Memory Therapy is Bad Therapy

RMT purportedly is undertaken to help patients recover from the effects of sexual abuse from childhood; however, at the onset of RMT there is no evidence that such abuse ever occurred.  Thus, instead of a therapist having some evidence for a diagnosis and then adopting a proper treatment plan, RMT therapists use the "treatment" to produce their diagnosis.

Some RMT therapists over-attribute common psychological complaints as signs of forgotten childhood sexual abuse.  In their zeal to find memories, these therapists overlook any and all alternative explanations for the patient's complaints.

RMT therapists ignore basic psychological principles that all individuals are suggestible, and that patients in distress seeking psychotherapy are particularly likely to adopt beliefs and biases of their therapist.

Many RMT therapists have studied neither basic sciences related to memory, nor the diagnosis of actual diseases of memory.  Their knowledge is often based on a single weekend seminar, as opposed to years of formal training in any graduate program they attended to get their licenses.

Hypnosis and sodium amytal administration ("truth serum") are unacceptable procedures for memory recovery.  Courts reject hypnosis as a memory aid.  Subjects receiving hypnosis or amytal as general memory aids (even in instances where there is no question of sexual abuse) will often generate false memories.  Upon returning to their normal state of consciousness, subjects assume all their refreshed "memories" are equally true.

RMT therapists generally make no attempt to verify "recovered memories" by interviewing third parties, or obtaining pediatric or school records.  Some have explained that they do not verify the serious allegations that arise from RMT because their job is simply to help the patient feel "safe" and "recover."

Many patients who have known all their lives that they were mistreated or neglected by their parents, decide as adults to be friends with the offending parents.  By contrast, RMT therapists encourage their patients, on the basis of "recovered memories," to break off relationships with the alleged "perpetrators" as well as other relatives who disagree with the patient's views.  This is completely at odds with the traditional goals of therapists: to allow competent patients to make their own important decisions, and to improve their patient's relationships with others.

Patients undergoing RMT often undergo an increase of symptoms as their treatment progresses, with corresponding disruption in their personal lives.  Few therapists will seek consultation in order to clarify the problem, assuming instead that it is due to sexual abuse having been worse than anyone might have imagined.