False Memory Syndrome: A False Construct

November 6, 2014 Comments Off on False Memory Syndrome: A False Construct

False Memory Syndrome: A False Construct

Research

The term False Memory Syndrome was created in 1992. Research has shown that most delayed memories of childhood abuse are true. In general, it has been shown that false allegations of childhood sexual abuse are rare, with some studies showing rates as low as one percent and some studies showing slightly higher rates. It has been found that children tend to understate rather than overstate the extent of any abuse experienced. http://childabusewiki.org/index.php?title=False_Memory_Syndrome
http://goo.gl/t1oTue

Dallam, S. J. (2002). Crisis or Creation: A systematic examination of false memory claims. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse,9 (3/4), 9-36. “A review of the relevant literature demonstrates that the existence of such a syndrome lacks general acceptance in the mental health field, and that the construct is based on a series of faulty assumptions, many of which have been scientifically disproven. There is a similar lack of empirical validation for claims of a “false memory” epidemic.” http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/res/dallam/6.html

Memory, Abuse, and Science: Questioning Claims about the False Memory Syndrome Epidemic
Kenneth S. Pope http://www.kspope.com/memory/memory.php

False Memory Syndrome Facts Website http://fmsf.com/media.html

Memory & FMS https://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/

Recovered Memory Data https://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/recovered-memory-data/

Hall, J., Kondora, L. (2005) “True” and “False” Child Sexual Abuse Memories and Casey’s Phenomenological View of Remembering American Behavioral Scientist, 48, 10 p. 1339-1359 DOI: 10.1177/0002764205277012 “The notion of false accusation is often raised in cases where physical evidence is not available and a period of time has passed or when there has been a delay in recall of the events by a survivor of child sexual abuse. This is not to imply that false memories are not possible. This article outlines how rare they must be, however, based on historical factors and a phenomenological analysis of memory itself….Most scientists investigating traumatic memory doubt that memories of abuse could be planted.”
http://abs.sagepub.com/content/48/10/1339.full.pdf+html

“The hypothesis that false memories can easily be implanted in psychotherapy…seriously overstates the available data. Since no studies have been conducted on suggested effects in psychotherapy per se, the idea of iatrogenic suggestion of false memories remains an untested hypothesis.  Brown, Scheflin and Hammond (1998).” Memory, Trauma Treatment, And the Law” (W. W. Norton) ISBN 0-393-70254-5

False Memory Syndrome : A False Construct by Juliette Cutler Page “The concept of “recovered memory”, that is, memory of a traumatic event that had been forgotten for some period of time, has been variously explained by such mechanisms as repression, amnesia, and dissociation. However, there are over 100 years of reports and descriptions of recovered memory in the literature, including instances from times of war, torture, bereavement, natural disasters, and concentration camp imprisonment. (HOROWITZ) Many corroborated cases have been documented in instances of recovered memory of sexual abuse…”

Legal Information

Ground Lost: The False Memory/Recovered Memory Therapy Debate, by Alan Scheflin, Psychiatric Times 11/99, Vol. XVI Issue 11, “The appearance in the DSM-IV indicates that the concept of repressed memory is generally accepted in the relevant scientific community. This satisfies courts following the Frye v United States, 293 F.1013 (1923) or Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceutical, 113 S. Ct. 2786 (1993) rules regarding the admissibility of scientific testimony into evidence in court.” And “Although the science is limited on this issue, the only three relevant studies conclude that repressed memories are no more and no less accurate than continuous memories (Dalenberg, 1996; Widom and Morris, 1997; Williams, 1995). Thus, courts and therapists should consider repressed memories no differently than they consider ordinary memories.” At http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/p991137.html

The “False Memory” Defense: Using Disinformation and Junk Science in and out of Court
Charles L. Whitfield, M.D., F.A.S.A.M. “This article describes a seemingly sophisticated, but mostly contrived and often erroneous “false memory” defense, and compares it in a brief review to what the science says about the effect of trauma on memory. Child sexual abuse is widespread and dissociative/traumatic amnesia for it is common.” http://web.archive.org/web/20070914163211/http://childabuse.georgiacenter.uga.edu/both/whitfield/whitfield1.phtml

Commonwealth vs. Paul Shanley.
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, decided Jan. 15, 2010
The Leadership Council submitted an amicus brief in to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court advising the court on scientific knowledge regarding dissociative memory loss. On February 7, 2005, Paul Shanley was convicted of sexually abusing a child. The abuse occurred between 1983 and 1989 when the victim was attending classes at the church where the defendant served as a Catholic priest. Shanley appealed his conviction saying that it was based on recovered memory. His defense team contended that “…’repressed memory’ is a pernicious, unreliable, junk science notion without scientific verification.”

The LC submitted a brief explaining why this position regarding scientific acceptance of dissociative memory loss is inaccurate, and why the Court’s determination that testimony on dissociative memory loss and recovery is admissible was correct. The Court affirmed the conviction and held that ” the judge’s finding that the lack of scientific testing did not make unreliable the theory that an individual may experience dissociative amnesia was supported in the record, not only by expert testimony but by a wide collection of clinical observations and a survey of academic literature.”
http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/docs/ShanleyBrief.pdf

Silencing the Victim: The Politics of Discrediting Child Abuse Survivors
As a victim of child abuse who proved my claims in a landmark civil suit, there have been many attempts to silence and discredit me. This article provides an overview of my court case and its effects.
DOI: 10.1207/s15327019eb0802_3  Jennifer Hoult  pages 125-140
http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a918444285
http://www.fmsf.com/ethics.shtml

Ralph Underwager….Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Anna Salter, Et Al., Defendants-Appellees., 22 F.3d 730 (7th Cir. 1994) http://vlex.com/vid/36092881


Media and Information

Originally published in Moving Forward, Volume 3, No. 3, pp 1, 12-21, 1995. The Highly Misleading Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health Practices Act: The “False Memory” Movement’s Remedy for a Nonexistent Problem by Judith M. Simon “Over the past few years, the “false memory” movement has manifested primarily as a media presence that discounts sexual abuse survivors as first-hand witnesses to their own experiences.” http://web.archive.org/web/20050906011329/http://members.aol.com/conch8/antiTRMP1.html

False memory syndrome proponents tactics – False memory syndrome proponents have done the following to try and ensure that only their point of view is in the public view. Harassing debate opponents, misrepresenting the data in the field and controlling the media.
http://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/false-memory-syndrome-proponents-tactics/

U-Turn on Memory Lane by Mike Stanton – Columbia Journalism Review – July/August 1997
“Rarely has such a strange and little-understood organization had such a profound effect on media coverage of such a controversial matter.”  http://web.archive.org/web/20071216011151/http://backissues.cjrarchives.org/year/97/4/memory.asp

Confessions of a Whistle-Blower: Lessons Learned Author: Anna C. Salter DOI: 10.1207/s15327019eb0802_2  Ethics & Behavior, Volume 8, Issue 2 June 1998 , pages 115 – 124
http://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/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. http://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/notes-from-a-practice-under-siege/
http://goo.gl/vvNq6f

Battle Tactics
http://www.newschool.edu/nssr/historymatters/papers/NoelPackard.pdf

Disinformation and DID: the Politics of Memory Brian Moss, MA, MFT
https://ritualabuse.us/research/did/disinformation-and-did-the-politics-of-memory

Featured Post: The Incredible Distortion of Johnson v. Rogers Memorial Hospital

February 5, 2011 Comments Off on Featured Post: The Incredible Distortion of Johnson v. Rogers Memorial Hospital

Featured Post: The Incredible Distortion of Johnson v. Rogers Memorial Hospital

reprinted with permission

February 4, 2011

In an unusual and highly controversial lawsuit by Charles and Karen Johnson against the therapists who treated their adult daughter, a jury in Wisconsin recently awarded the parents $1 million. Their daughter Charlotte was not party to the suit, and her lawyer successfully moved to quash a subpoena that would have forced her to testify at trial.[1] Three therapists were named in the suit; the jury found one non-negligent, and they apportioned liability between the other two on a 70-30 percent basis. The False Memory Syndrome Foundation has cast the case as a victory against therapists who, according to Executive Director, Pamela Freyd, ”use a variety of dubious techniques, including hypnosis, to try to excavate supposedly repressed memories.”

But that is an incredible distortion of the case. The case did not involve hypnosis—even though the parents used the spectre of hypnosis as an argument to obtain access to their daughter’s confidential medical records. Indeed, the case did not involve any of the other “techniques” mentioned by Pamela Freyd. Hollida Wakefield, the primary expert for the Johnsons, admitted that the therapists “didn’t actively try to get her to recover memories,” that they did not use hypnosis, that there was no “digging for memories,” and that there was no evidence that the therapists planted any memories of abuse.[2] In short, there was no evidence that the memories in this case were caused or created by therapy.

Wakefield also blamed the book The Courage to Heal, listing it first on her list of “Sources of Suggestion that came into play with Charlotte.”[3]  But, as Wakefield admitted under oath, there was no evidence that The Courage to Heal was actually part of Charlotte’s therapy or that anyone at Rogers Memorial ever suggested that she read it.[4] How did the book “come into play”? Charlotte owned it and recommended it, on her own, to her mother.

So, what was this case actually about? The plaintiffs claimed that the therapists should have “disabused” Charlotte of her of memories, even her most plausible memories of abuse. The plaintiffs also claimed that the therapists should have investigated Charlotte’s claims, even though she explicitly prohibited them from talking to her parents. That is leaving aside the fact that therapists cannot possibly be private investigators.

If this verdict stands, it is unclear how therapists can provide treatment to someone with memories of childhood sexual abuse without fear of an intrusive and inappropriate third-party lawsuit. That is why Mertz and Bowman argued, in an important 1996 Harvard Law Review article, that such lawsuits should not be allowed. It is also why Justice Ann Walsh Bradely, in a dissenting opinion at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, concluded that the Johnson case represents an unwarranted expansion to modalities of therapeutic treatment far beyond issues of recovered-memory therapy, and that it ”undermines the confidentiality that is essential to the patient-therapist relationship.”[5] The jury verdict in this case bears out those concerns in full.

The question that remains is, why is the False Memory Syndrome Foundation misrepresenting this case as being about “recovered-memory therapy,” when the facts of the case clearly demonstrate that it was not?

Footnotes
[1]. The Johnsons have tried to portray this lawsuit as an effort to, as their lawyer said in this article, let their daughter know that they love her and “want her to come home.”  That explanation is inconsistent with their dogged effort to force her to testify against her will. Faced with medical assessments that forcing her to tesify at trial could cause their daughter to become suicidal, the Johnsons continued to press the issue. It took an order from the trial judge, who agreed that Charlotte’s health was at risk, to quash their subpoena. The jury was not informed of these facts.

[2]. Wakefield deposition (January 20-21, 2010), pp. 172-174, 217, and 233.

[3]. Exhibit 6, Wakefield deposition (January 20, 2010).

[4].  Asked what proof she had that The Courage to Heal was part of the therapy at Rogers Hospital, Wakefield testified: “I don’t know whether it was discussed or not.” In other words, even though she reviewed all of the therapy records,  she had no actual evidence for this claim. (Wakefield deposition, p. 239.)

[5]. Johnson v. Rogers Memorial Hospital, 283 Wis. 2d 384 (2005) at 448.

http://blogs.brown.edu/recoveredmemory/2011/02/04/featured-post-the-incredible-distortion-of-johnson-v-rogers-memorial-hospital/

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