“The argument between the field of child sexual abuse and the backlash against survivors is not an academic debate between two well meaning groups equally invested in ascertaining truth. It is not an academic debate at all; it is a political fight.” P. 121 “What wins political fights is organization and stamina and a refusal to be intimidated.” P. 122 – Anna Salter (Confessions of a Whistle-Blower: Lessons Learned)
Calof, D.L. (1998). Notes from a practice under siege: Harassment, defamation, and intimidation in the name of science, Ethics and Behavior, 8(2) pp. 161-187. Abstract: I have practiced psychotherapy, family therapy, and hypnotherapy for over 25 years without a single board complaint or law suit by a client. For over three years, however, a group of proponents of the false memory syndrome (FMS) hypothesis, including members, officials, and supporters of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, Inc., have waged a multi-modal campaign of harassment and defamation directed against me, my clinical clients, my staff, my family, and others connected to me. I have neither treated these harassers or their families, nor had any professional or personal dealings with any of them; I am not related in any way to the disclosures of memories of sexual abuse in these families. Nonetheless, this group disrupts my professional and personal life and threatens to drive me out of business. In this article, I describe practicing psychotherapy under a state of siege and places the campaign against me in the context of a much broader effort in the FMS movement to denigrate, defame, and harass clinicians, lecturers, writers, and researchers identified with the abuse and trauma treatment communities. http://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/notes-from-a-practice-under-siege/
Confessions of a Whistle-Blower: Lessons Learned Author: Anna C. Salter DOI: 10.1207/s15327019eb0802_2 Published in: Ethics & Behavior, Volume 8, Issue 2 June 1998 , pages 115 – 124 Abstract – In 1988 I began a report on the accuracy of expert testimony in child sexual abuse cases utilizing Ralph Underwager and Hollida Wakefield as a case study (Wakefield & Underwager, 1988). In response, Underwager and Wakefield began a campaign of harassment and intimidation, which included multiple lawsuits; an ethics charge; phony (and secretly taped) phone calls; and ad hominem attacks, including one that I was laundering federal grant monies. The harassment and intimidation failed as the author refused demands to retract. In addition, the lawsuits and ethics charges were dismissed. Lessons learned from the experience are discussed.
U-Turn on Memory Lane by Mike Stanton – Columbia Journalism Review – July/August 1997
The FMSF builds much of its case against recovered memory by attacking a generally discredited Freudian concept of repression that proponents of recovered memory don’t buy, either. In so doing, the foundation ignores the fifty-year-old literature on traumatic, or psychogenic amnesia, which is an accepted diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association. In his 1996 book “Searching for Memory,” the Harvard psychologist and brain researcher Daniel L. Schachter — who believes that both true and false memories exist — says there is no conclusive scientific evidence that false memories can be created….The foundation and its backers “remind me of a high school debate team,” says the Stanford psychiatrist David Spiegel, an authority on traumatic amnesia. “They go to the library, surgically extract the information convenient to them and throw out the rest.”….Many therapists, like their patients, hesitate to speak out.Recently, though, they have begun to make a more concerted effort to mobilize a response. One of the most outspoken critics of the false-memory movement is a Seattle therapist, David Calof, editor until last year of Treating Abuse Today, a newsletter for therapists. He has identified what he calls the movement’s political agenda — lobbying for more restrictive laws governing therapy and promoting the harassment of therapists through lawsuits and even picketing of their offices and homes. Calof himself has been the target of picketing so fierce that he has been in and out of Seattle courtrooms over the last two years, obtaining restraining orders. He was spending so much time and money fighting the FMSF supporters’ campaign against him, he says, that he was forced to stop publishing the newsletter last year. He recently donated the publication to a victims’ rights group in Pennsylvania, which has resurrected it as Trauma. The new publisher says that views part of its mission as reporting on FMSF, since the mainstream media don’t.
Among journalists, perhaps the most relentless critic of the foundation is Michele Landsberg, a Toronto Star columnist. In 1993, she says, an Ontario couple, claiming to have been falsely accused, contacted her and asked her to write about their case. Unconvinced, she declined, and eventually started writing instead about the foundation.She attacked its scientific claims and criticized the sensational media coverage. She described how a foundation scientific adviser, Harold Merskey, had testified that a woman accusing a doctor of sexual abuse in a civil case might in fact have been suffering from false memory syndrome. But the accused doctor himself had previously confessed to criminal charges of abusing her. Landsberg also challenged the credentials of other foundation advisers. She noted that one founding adviser, Ralph Underwager, was forced to resign from the foundation’s board after he and his wife, Hollida Wakefield, who remains an adviser, gave an interview to a Dutch pedophilia magazine in which he was quoted as describing pedophilia as”an acceptable expression of God’s will for love.” Landsberg also wrote that another adviser, James Randi, a magician known as “The Amazing Randi,” had been involved in a lawsuit in which his opponent introduced a tape of sexually explicit telephone conversations Randi had with teenage boys. (Randi has claimed at various times, she said, that the tape was a hoax and that the police asked him to make it.) “Why haven’t reporters investigated the False Memory Syndrome Foundation?” she asks. “It’s legitimate to examine their backgrounds –here are people who really do have powerful motivation to deny the truth.” http://backissues.cjrarchives.org/year/97/4/memory.asp
Battle Tactics of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation – Noel Packard – New School for Social Research, N.Y. History Matters Conference April 23-24, 2004 Censorship is also a tactic that FMS Foundation adherents use to silence voices they don’t agree with. Katy Butler, published a critical review of Ofshe’s and Watter’s book, Making Monsters (1994) in the Los Angeles Times. Later the newspaper’s book review editor received a vague threat of a lawsuit from Ofshe’s representative (K. Butler personal communication with Lynn Crook January 28, 2000). Later Butler was asked to write a story for Newsweek examining the uncritical acceptance of Foundation claims and to provide documented cases of recovered memory and traumatic amnesia. Upon learning of this assignment Foundation Advisory Board members Richard Ofshe and Fredrick Crews, as well as Peter and Pamela Freyd, wrote strongly worded letters of complaint to Newsweek which effectively canceled Butler’s assignment (Stanton 1997). Although these censorship activities were reported in Mike Stanton’s article “U-Turn on Memory Lane” (1997) Nevertheless, Newsweek editors confirmed that the FMS Foundation letters helped kill Butler’s article. Butler said at a national conference of investigative reporters and editors in Rhode Island in 1996: “I’ve worked hard very hard to tell both sides of the story. What’s interesting to me about all of this that telling both sides has started to seem like a risky act.” (Stanton 1997: 49)….In 1994 the editor of the Journal of Psychohistory Lloyd DeMause wrote to many professional subscribers to inform them that he feared a lawsuit by the FMS Foundation for publishing a special issue of his journal on cult abuse. Dr. Jean Goodwin a psychiatrist at University of Texas Medical Branch responded with a letter that conveys the overall feeling among the mental health community in the early 1990s. Goodwin: From a Psychohistorical viewpoint it is fascinating to watch this organization systematically limit freedom of speech in this area. Their suits of publishers have driven many books out of print. Board members have prevented publication of many articles. As far as I know you are the first journal editor they have targeted. The slander suit stopped the audio-tapping of many presentations in this area. The licensing attacks and the malpractice suits threaten freedom of speech in the psychotherapy consulting room, which is where it is supposed to be most free. Silence still is the priority for the perpetrator (Goodwin 1994) Goodwin’s letter captures the effect that Foundations’ tactics had on the therapy community in the early 1990s. Today the overall effect of the Foundation’s court cases and tactics is more muted. One newly graduated MFT told me that as far as she knows the Foundation has had no impact on the practices of MFTs at all. A social worker who teaches a certification class on mandated reporting includes the Foundation topic in her lectures, saying that the Foundation “made us clean up our act.” I’ve also heard a seasoned MFT who teaches a class titled, “Counseling as a Career Option” lament that practicing psychotherapy is becoming a profession only for the rich (both as practitioners and clients). Perhaps this is due to recent constrictions and costs associated with lawsuits, training programs, licensing and insurance policies? It appears that the Foundations’ efforts to drive non-cognitive therapy beyond the grasp of un-wealthy clients are having some success. Kondora’s and Beckett’s studies indicate that the Foundation has been successful in many of its efforts to manage public perception of child abuse victims, therapists and the people accused of child abuse. Kondora and Beckett show that not only has public perception of victimized children become skeptical, but in fact, the press often goes beyond the Victorian custom of neutrality on all fronts of the issue, to out-right sympathy for accused molesters. What began in the 1960s and 1970s as a child welfare movement has arrived today as an accused sex-offender welfare movement (Goldsmith 2003); and right in time for an era when people are having more babies, less birth control and have easier ways to create home based child pornography than ever before….The Foundation’s efforts in and out of the court room have provided reasons for health insurance companies to reduce insurance payments for mental health care and have tied those payments generally to mental health diagnoses. Training programs for clinical therapists have become more like the clinical training programs of the cold-war years, more science oriented, more stringent, more biologically and drug oriented, and less theory and talked based. Many of the support groups, networks, newsletters, journals, and even significant names in the child welfare movement of the 1980′s and 1990′s have faded, vanished or been displaced by on-line and other services of the FMS Foundation. Kondora, Lori L. 1997. A Textual Analysis of the Construction of the False Memory Syndrome: Representations in Popular Magazines; 1990-1995. Ph.D. diss. University of Wisconsin, Madison. – Beckett, Katherine. 1996. Culture and the Politics of Signification: The Case of Child Sexual Abuse. SOCIAL PROBLEMS, Vol. 43, No. 1, February: 57-76. http://www.newschool.edu/nssr/historymatters/papers/NoelPackard.pdf