FMS Foundation Newsletter
December 1998 Vol 7 No. 10
ISSN #1069-0484. Copyright (c) 1998 by the FMS Foundation
The FMSF Newsletter is published 10 times a year by the False
Memory Syndrome Foundation. A hard-copy subscription is in-
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IN THIS ISSUE:
Peter Barach The next issue will combine
Allen Feld January and February 1999
FMSF Amicus Briefs
From Our Readers
Make a Difference
It's been another remarkable month for exposure of the recovered
memory/false accusation problems. Three television documentaries
exposed millions to the issues: "Dateline" (10/27/98, Burgus v Braun
case), "Frontline" (10/27/98, Snowden case), and "48-Hours" (11/3/98,
Amirault case). New articles and books significantly deepen our
understanding of memory, both true and false. For example, readers
will not want to miss "Smoke and Mirrors: The Devastating Effect of
False Sexual Abuse Claims" by Terence Campbell or "Believed-In
Imaginings: The Narrative Construction of Reality" edited by deRivera
and Sarbin. The criminal trial in Texas continues to expose the
therapy practices that have caused such harm, and a trial date of May
18, 1999 has been set for review of the license of Dr. Bennett Braun
More families report communication from formerly alienated
children. More retractors are contacting the Foundation. While newly
accused families are devastated and in crisis, the "recovered
repressed memory" phenomenon as a whole seems to have passed the
crisis stage. Most families tell us that they have moved beyond the
need for support groups and educational meetings. Proponents of
recovered repressed memories seem in retreat on professional,
scientific and legal fronts. The recovered repressed memory belief
system appears to be moving closer to marginal status.
After seven years of media and professional focus on whether false
memories can develop in therapy, on the "pathology" of patients who
developed false memories, on "dysfunction" in their families, it is
time to expand the focus. There is ample evidence of false memories
developed in therapy settings; there is ample evidence on the
suggestibility of all human beings especially when they are
vulnerable; and there is ample evidence that families have been
families since the beginning of time. Being human is not a pathology.
So what about the future? Will FMS happen again? Unfortunately, it
looks like this or some similar danger to consumers could pop right up
again because no fundamental changes have been made by the mental
health community to provide checks for a run-away belief system. The
FMS phenomenon did not happen in a vacuum. Where were all those in the
mental health community during the past decade of this cruel epidemic?
What are they doing now?
The Dateline program asked that question. The interviewers
questioned how Rush Presbyterian could have allowed Dr. Braun's
program to exist for so long. They wondered how 4- and 5-year-old
children could have been hospitalized there for almost three years to
protect them from a "cult" for which there was never any
evidence. They wondered about the use of the hospital laboratory to
test ground meat to see if it contained human flesh. They wondered
about using hypnosis and experimental doses of drugs to recover
"memories" after the American Medical Association had warned in 1985
that confabulations might be the result. They interviewed Dr. Jan
Fawcett, the head of psychiatry at Rush Presbyterian. Fawcett had
allowed Dr. Braun to start his program and it had been his duty to
Dr. JAN FAWCETT: I would remind you that Mrs. Burgus has had a very
good outcome to her treatment. I think she's got her life, the life
of her children, maybe the life of her husband.
DATELINE: The way she got that life was getting off the drugs and
looking for evidence and realizing that none of this had actually
Dr. FAWCETT: At some point in treatment everybody comes to question
different symptoms they've had.
DATELINE: You say she got better, OK, and that she started
disbelieving all these things.
Dr. FAWCETT: Mm-hmm.
DATELINE: But Dr. Braun went right on believing them. So what does
that say? Who's sick here?
Dr. FAWCETT: Well, I don't think that's a sign of an illness. I --
I don't think that -- I think that Dr. Braun's beliefs are another
DATELINE: And you don't think his beliefs are deleterious enough to
warrant looking into whether he should be working at this hospital
or working as a psychiatrist at all?
Dr. FAWCETT: Oh, I -- I've -- I've considered whether he should be
working at this hospital. And I've decided he -- that he was -- he
didn't do anything that wrong, and that he actually gave his
patient good care; he was there for her. There's no damages.
DATELINE: (Voiceover) Except that, last November, Rush Presbyterian
Hospital, Dr. Braun, and a psychiatrist for the children, settled
the Burgus lawsuit. They admitted no wrongdoing, but the hospital
and the doctors' insurance companies paid Pat and her family a
total of $10.6 million to keep the case from going to court.
Dateline NBC, October 27, 1998
It is time to focus on the steps that can be taken to prevent this
kind of tragic mischief from being spread in and by the mental health
community again. It is time to consider the conditions that fostered
the spread of this phenomenon and what factors might prevent a future
outbreak. For example, we have learned what a powerful influence the
media can be in driving fads in psychotherapy. The influences of
"Sybil" in the spread of MPD and of "Michele Remembers" in the spread
of SRA are highly significant. Are we satisfied to have the mass media
drive psychiatric practice? If not, what counter-balances can be set
in place both for the profession and for consumers?
There have been some constructive steps. Professional organizations
have issued guidelines for members in the area of memory. These have
been of great help, but they are not strong enough. Continuing
education programs are providing more accurate information about the
nature of memory. Unfortunately there is no significant oversight of
the overall professional education endeavor.
The lack of agreement between researchers and clinicians about the
fundamental nature of what constitutes scientific evidence is a
disaster. Are separate training programs for clinicians and for
researchers in the best interest of science and of consumers of mental
Monitoring boards are currently ineffectual in restraining "crazy"
therapies, and they are not protecting the public. That must be
corrected, but the ability to do so depends in part on effective
evaluation of new therapies. Can the resources and the will be found
for the professional organizations to forge ahead in that area?
The time is long overdue for the professional community actively to
help us reach our children and rebuild families.
There is no shortage of important tasks to be done if the public is
to be guaranteed mental health treatment that is safe and
effective. The FMS phenomenon has been a tragedy, but if it serves as
a driving force for corrections to the system, that in turn will serve
as an apology to those who were harmed.
Let's get started with the New Year!
Have you made your contribution to the Foundation's annual
fundraising drive? If not, please take a few minutes to think how
professionals now recognize what false memory syndrome is and how it
devastates families. Try to imagine what it would have been like if
there had been no one to call. Without your support, affected
families, former patients, professionals, and the media will have no
place to turn. Please be generous.
| SPECIAL THANKS |
| We extend a very special `Thank you' to all of |
| the people who help prepare the FMSF Newsletter. |
| EDITORIAL SUPPORT: Toby Feld, Allen Feld, Janet |
| Fetkewicz, Howard Fishman, Peter Freyd, August Piper |
| RESEARCH: Michele Gregg, Anita Lipton |
| NOTICES and PRODUCTION: Ric Powell |
| COLUMNISTS: Katie Spanuello and |
| members of the FMSF Scientific Advisory Board |
| LETTERS and INFORMATION: Our Readers |
In the November newsletter, "Accuracy of Reports of Recovered Memories
of WWII Experiences Questioned," we misidentified one of the authors
mentioned in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 1998, Vol
29, No 5.
The correct names are Bertram P. Karon and Anmarie J. Widener.
Karon, B.P. & Widener, A.J. (1997). Repressed memories and World
War II: Lest we forget! Professional Psychology: Research and
Practice, 28, 338-340.
Karon, B.P. & Widener, A.J. (1998). Repressed memories: The Real
Story. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 1998, Vol
29, No 5. 482-487.
| Last month we printed a short notice about "Fragments: Memories of |
| a Wartime Childhood (1995)." It is a holocaust memoir by Binjamin |
| Wilkomirski that appears not to be true. A news story by Martin |
| Arnold in the New York Times on November 12, 1998 had a familiar |
| message: |
| Mr. Wilkomirski's publisher, Arthur Samuelson, has come up with a |
| third possibility in the "Fragments" debate, should it turn out |
| the book is not true. It is the author as believer, not scoundrel. |
| "I believe he believes what's in the book, because it's largely |
| based on recovered memory, and it's possible he's wrong," Mr. |
| Samuelson said, adding a mantra typical of book publishing: "We |
| don't have fact checkers. We are not a detective agency. We are a |
| vehicle for authors to convey their work, and we distribute their |
| information with a feeling of responsibility." |
| His colleague Carol Janeway, who edited and translated the book, |
| said: "We don't vet books on an adversarial basis. We have no |
| means of independent collaboration." |
| As someone quipped: |
| FIRST THERAPISTS, NOW PUBLISHERS |
Letter from ISSD
Editor's Note: The initials ISSMP&D and ISSD refer to the same
organization. The name changed in 1995 from "International Society
for the Study of Multiple Personality and Dissociation" to
"International Society for the Study of Dissociation."
Dear Dr. Freyd:
The November 1998 issue of the FMSF Newsletter includes the
following statement that I believe is incorrect: "The members of the
ISSMP&D honored Bennett Braun for the practices that are now
questioned by the government." Dr. Braun, who was one of the founders
of ISSD, did not receive an award from ISSD for clinical work, as far
as I know. However, he *did* receive an award in October 1993 that
recognized his work in putting together the first ten conferences on
dissociation that were sponsored by Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke's
Medical Center. I was present at the award luncheon, and ISSMP&D's
newsletter confirms my memory of the event.
The newsletter for February, 1994 has a picture of Dr. Braun
receiving his plaque, and describes the award as follows: "A special
award of recognition was presented to Bennett G. Braun, MD, for
establishing and successfully conducting 10 conferences on MPD and
dissociative disorders. A special contribution award was given to Jan
Fawcett, MD [chair of Rush's Psychiatry Department], for his support
in establishing the fall conference." One of the PBS documentaries --
either "Searching for Satan" or "Divided Memories" -- shows video
footage of the award luncheon and mischaracterizes the purpose of this
award just as the FMSF Newsletter has done.
Although the FMSF and other people seem to characterize ISSMP&D as
standing for the practice of "recovered memory therapy," I believe it
would be more accurate to say that the various conferences organized
first by Rush, and then (starting in 1995) by ISSD, have included a
variety of speakers on dissociation and its treatment. Conference
speakers over the years have included Elizabeth Loftus (twice), John
Kihlstrom, Sherrill Mulhern (several times), George Ganaway (several
times), and Louis Jolyon West. Furthermore, in 1994 the ISSD adopted
treatment guidelines for adults with DID, guidelines that take strong
positions against the excesses that some therapists committed while
treating this population. The guidelines have been published, and are
also available to the public on the internet
(http://www.issd.org/indexpage/isdguide. htm). One of your Scientific and
Advisory Board members, Dr. Ganaway, was an active participant in
writing the guidelines.
I am intrigued by the statement about practices "now questioned by
the government." Which practices, and which part of the government is
Peter M. Barach, Ph.D.
International Society for the Study of Dissociation
Dear Dr. Barach:
Thank you for your letter. Neither we nor the PBS documentaries
mentioned an "award" for Dr. Braun. The word was "honored." (This is
how "Search for Satan" put it: "In November of 1994, Dr. Braun was
honored at the annual conference of the International Society for the
Study of Multiple Personality and Dissociation." It was the only
luncheon shown in any of the five hours of documentaries you mention.)
If this was misleading, I apologize and am happy to print your letter
as a clarification.
I am troubled, however, about your apparent unawareness that Dr.
Braun has regularly been honored, indeed lionized, by the ISSD and its
members, both at the event you mention, the event PBS mentioned, and
at many other forums. His work and theories have been frequently cited
by ISSD members in their publications. (See pages 4 and 5 of this
newsletter.) May I refer you to www.FMSFonline.org. There you will
find a copy of the complaint filed by the state of Illinois
(government) in reference to practices that are now questioned. The
trial of Dr. Braun is set for May 18, 1999.
The question of the FMS Foundation was once again articulated in
the very newsletter you complain about:
"The recovered memory phenomenon did not take place in a vacuum.
Where was the rest of the mental health profession? Where are they
Where is the ISSD now? What has been learned from this tragedy? What
research is underway to determine how so many members of an
organization could come to support a belief in that for which there is
no evidence such as SRA?
We appreciate the fact that members of the ISSD wrote treatment
guidelines. Such guidelines are important for preventing future harm
to patients and their families.
We note one thing with concern, however. The ISSD has not answered
the questions posed by the editorial about the therapeutic practices
exposed in the criminal trial in Texas nor the practices for which
Braun's license is in question. No representative of the ISSD has
stepped forward to say: "These practices were wrong."
Yours very truly,
Pamela Freyd, Ph.D.
Albany Psychiatrist Surrenders License
(Albany) Gazette Reporter
William F. Hammond, Jr., 10/24/98
Robert Rockwell, M.D. surrendered his license to practice medicine
after the state Health Department charged him with several ethical
breaches. Dr. Rockwell said he expects to continue seeing his patients
as a "psychotherapist." (In New York state no license is needed to be
a psychotherapist.) A spokesperson for the Health Department confirmed
that Rockwell can call himself a psychotherapist and be paid for
counseling patients. He does not need to tell anyone he has given up
his license and he can continue to put M.D. after his name. However,
the spokesperson also noted that many insurance companies are
unwilling to pay for treatment by unlicensed psychotherapists. The
spokesperson said, "He's still a doctor. We can't take away his
degree; he earned it. He just can't practice medicine."
Four years ago Dr. Rockwell sponsored a conference in Albany on the
topic of satanic ritual abuse. At that meeting several of Rockwell's
patients told about their memories of childhood torture and sexual
abuse by members of secretive cults. One of the complaints against
Rockwell was that having patients discuss their therapy in public
failed to meet acceptable standards of care.
Rockwell believes in the existence of secretive cults. He told
Gazette reporter William Hammond, "I've seen the actual stun-gun
blisters on the back of one of my patients... and the marks of the
electrodes from electroshock. Although it's extremely well-hidden,
it's something that's real."
Editor's Comment: How Do Therapists Come to Believe?
How do doctors learn about multiple personality disorder and come to
believe in satanic ritual abuse cults for which there is no credible
evidence? It appears that the books Sybil and Michelle Remembers
provided the ideas, that a handful of experts who founded the ISSD led
the way, and that the members of that group provided the consensus for
the belief in satanic ritual abuse conspiracies.
After reading legal documents, articles and books, we have been
impressed with the number of therapists who seem to have been
influenced by the ISSD and Dr. Bennett Braun. In documents related to
lawsuits, for example, Drs. Humenansky (MN), Stephenson (ID), Olsen
(WA), Sachs (IL), Peterson (TX), Mungadze (TX), Rice (WA) and
Fredrickson (MN) have all stated that they learned to diagnose and
treat MPD patients from attending ISSD conferences or by reading Dr.
Braun's books. Many therapists describe, in their own writings, how
they came to beliefs in satanic conspiracies. We look at excerpts of
from two: Dr. Rockwell, who is mentioned in the above article, and Dr.
Robert S. Mayer, author of Through Divided Minds and Satan's Children:
Shocking True Accounts of Satanism, Abuse, and Multiple Personality.
Dr ROCKWELL: "... I took the course on Multiple Personality Disorder
offered at the annual American Psychiatric Association Meeting in
Montreal in May of 1988, taught by Richard Kluft, M.D. and Bennett
Braun, M.D. It was an excellent introduction to the field of
dissociation. After the course I tagged along with Dr. Kluft and Dr.
Braun to listen in on their conversation and to learn what I could.
Dr. Braun mentioned that many of the patients that he was treating on
his Dissociative Disorders Unit at Rush Presbyterian Hospital in
Chicago were reporting to have been horrendously tortured and sexually
abused in what appeared to be well organized satanic cults. He
privately showed Dr. Kluft and myself video clips from a TV news
report of a mother and her son. The son had been physically and
sexually abused in a satanic cult that the father had participated
in. The father had disappeared immediately after the son's revelation.
Another video clip showed some murder victims who had been mutilated
with pentagrams carved in their bodies."
"I had thought that my patient had been the victim of an isolated
group of sado-masochistic pedophiles. I began to realize that her
story was not unique. I decided to attend the next annual meeting of
the International Society for the Study of Multiple Personality and
Dissociation in Chicago. There I met many other therapists from all
over the United States and some from Europe who reported similar tales
of their patients suffering ritualized torture, sexual abuse and
forced killings in apparent worship of Satan. I attended a workshop by
Chicago detective, Jerry Simandl, who reported his experiences and the
evidence that he had on the realities of Satanic Ritual Abuse. I began
reading some of the books on the subject, such as Michelle Remembers
by Michelle Smith and Lawrence Pazder and The Ultimate Evil by Maury
Terry. I was shocked and appalled to find that there was other
evidence indicating that Satanic Ritual Abuse is real and widespread"
One Psychiatrist's View of Satanic Ritual Abuse"
Robert B. Rockwell, M.D.
The Journal of Psychohistory
Vol .21 No. 4, Spring 1994, pages 443-460
Dr. MAYER: " I had never been taught about multiplicity in any of my
classes, nor was it mentioned in any of the texts I read during my
training. My only knowledge of the disorder came from Flora Rheta
Schreiber's best-selling book, Sybil, the story of a woman with 16
personalities, which I had read years earlier but did not take very
seriously" (p. 14).
"When I told my analytic supervisor about [my patient's] behavior,
he told me that she was undoubtedly faking as a way of resisting
treatment. I fired him -- I'm sure he thought I was resisting -- and
sought out others who had gone before me: Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, Sybil's
analyst; Dr. Ralph Allison, who wrote a wonderful book on
multiplicity, Minds in Many Pieces; Dr. Milton Erickson, who showed me
how hypnosis could be used to treat the disorder, and Dr. JudiAnn
Densen-Gerber, who founded Odyssey House, a treatment center for drug
addicts, many of whom were also multiples. I asked questions. I
studied. I came to believe that multiple personality disorder, far
from being rare, was distressingly common, a consequence of another
distressingly common problem, child abuse" (p. 14).
"Then, gradually, a different kind of multiple personality patient
began turning up in my office, reporting even more disturbing
experiences than the ones to which I had become accustomed. These
patients, usually, but not always young women, claimed to have been
abused ritually, by organized groups that practiced Satanism."(p. 15).
"Dr. Bennett Braun, of Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center
in Chicago, had a model of dissociation he calls BASK, an acronym for
the components of normal experience -- behavior, affect, sensations
and knowledge. Dr. Braun believes that any one of these can be split
off from the others and recalled separately" (p. 39).
"I thought about a workshop I attended given by Drs. Roberta Sachs
and Corydon Hammond at a previous meeting of the International Society
for the Study of Multiple Personality and Dissociation. The subject
was hypnotic techniques for patients with multiple personality
disorder, and one of their ideas was to have the patient create an
internal "safe room" within which she could let herself deal with
threatening issues. They suggested putting the patient in a trance,
then having her walk down an imaginary flight of stairs to the
basement, then down a hall to a door that was locked. Only the patient
had the key. She could go into the room and lock the door behind
her. No one could bother her there" (p. 113).
"Hypnotic subjects take things very literally. Believing that they
were safe in such a room, they could talk about episodes they would
not ordinarily discuss" (p. 113 ).
"It was the last day of the International Conference for the Study
of Multiple Personality and Dissociation in Chicago...In Chicago, I
was with my tribe -- 600 colleagues who believed, as I do, that
multiple personality disorder is far more prevalent than once thought.
In the hotel meeting rooms, at least, the diagnosis had finally
attained respectability (p. 147).
"I found some reassurances in a paper presented by George Greaves,
'A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach to the Treatment of MPD Ritually
Abused Satanic Cult Survivors.' Dr. Greaves, a psychologist who was
the founder of the International Society for the Study of Multiple
Personality and Dissociation, argued that the fact that patients have
been programmed to respond in a certain way made them better
candidates for treatment 'precisely because they have been
systematically conditioned.' 'Such systematic conditioning makes
possible a structured plan for deconditioning,' he concluded. What can
be conditioned can be deconditioned" (p. 148.)
"One of the final events of the conference was a day-long seminar
on ritual abuse. Such sessions had been held for several years, as the
profession struggled to come to terms with increasing reports of these
episodes. But this was the first one I had attended. I didn't know
what to expect."
"Finally, the session on ritual abuse ended. At first the audience
was silent. Then, gradually, I could hear a rustling as my colleagues
and I struggled to gather ourselves. The sense of shock in the room
"After a few more minutes, someone suggested that a poll be taken
of how many in the audience were treating patients who said they had
been ritually abused. I look around the room. There were perhaps 200
people in attendance, and all but a handful, I believed, were
therapists. Almost everyone had a hand in the air" (p. 156).
Shocking True Accounts of Satanism, Abuse, and Multiple Personality
Robert S. Mayer, M.D., Avon Books, 1991
| "Psychiatrists are advised to avoid engaging in any 'memory |
| recovery techniques' which are based upon the expectation of past |
| sexual abuse of which the patient has no memory. Such 'memory |
| recovery techniques' may include drug-mediated interviews, |
| hypnosis, regression therapies, guided imagery, 'body memories', |
| literal dream interpretation and journaling. There is no evidence |
| that the use of consciousness-altering techniques, such as |
| drug-mediated interviews or hypnosis can reveal or accurately |
| elaborate factual information about any past experiences including |
| childhood sexual abuse. Techniques of regression therapy including |
| 'age regression' and hypnotic regression are of unproven |
| effectiveness." |
| "Reported Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse" |
| Psychiatric Bulletin, 1997, 21, 663-665. |
| Royal College of Psychiatrists |
| 17 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8PG |
REACTIONS TO A PRIMER ON FMS
FOR MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS
Allen Feld, MSW
Stocks, J. T. (1998).
Recovered Memory Therapy: A Dubious Practice Technique.
in Social Work, 43, 5. 423-436.
NASW has finally published an article informing its membership of the
hazards inherent in FMS. This article is important for several
reasons: it addresses the scientific shortcomings of techniques used
to recover memories; it appears in the most widely available NASW
professional journal; it is well-documented; it was written by an
author with no affiliation to the FMS Foundation -- meaning that it
may be accepted as an objective commentary.
As a retired social work educator and a former 35-year-member of
NASW, I have some reactions to Dr. Stocks' article. For the past
several years I have been critical of NASW for not adequately
informing its membership of the problems and controversy surrounding
false memories. Although not all social workers belong to NASW, the
organization is still perceived as speaking for the profession. This
critical article, published in the flagship social work journal, has
two merits: it will prevent more clients from being harmed in therapy,
and prevent more families from being torn apart.
In the abstract Stocks writes:
Evidence suggests that true and false memories can be recovered
using memory work techniques, and there is no evidence that
reliable discriminations can be made between them. Similarly, there
is no empirical evidence that recovered memory techniques result in
improved outcomes for participating clients (p. 423).
Stocks cites more than 100 references to support these conclusions,
selecting authors on both sides of the controversy to determine the
A major contribution of this article is a brief review of 10
so-called recovered memory techniques or therapeutic activities that
some therapists claim validate memories: sexual abuse symptoms, body
work, hypnosis, dream interpretation; flashbacks; guided imagery;
journaling; "truth serum;" survivor groups; and disputing client
doubts. The review first describes each technique. Then it discusses
ways therapists might use that technique to "recover memories." Stocks
repeatedly reminds readers of an important fact: no empirical evidence
indicates that any of these techniques lead to accurate memory
For example, Stocks' review of guided imagery includes this
significant observation: Guided imagery is a form of psychodrama in
which the client achieves a relaxed state and then pictures scenarios
suggested by the therapist (p. 428). The hypnotic-like quality of this
technique will no doubt be readily apparent to readers of the
Newsletter, and of course, readers do not need to be reminded that the
risk of therapist's suggestion is increased under hypnosis.
Another contribution of Stocks' article is that it contains several
useful and timely admonitions: "This desire [to be viewed positively
by a therapist] creates a powerful incentive to tailor memories to the
therapist pattern" (p. 428). Similar statements are supported by
citing the research that allows the author to reach these
scientifically based conclusions.
Stocks also demonstrates the harm that comes to clients exposed to
therapy based on these techniques, and to the therapists who employ
A brief retelling of what I remember as my introduction to what is
now called guided imagery might be in order. This concept was not
considered important enough to be part of graduate education when I
was a student; I first encountered this notion in what was called a
professional development seminar. (Licensing had not yet come to
social workers, so there was no need to label these educational
experiences as continuing education.) Nothing was suggested, as I
recall, that warranted using guided imagery to address the past;
rather, the focus was on current and future problems. It was fully
understood that guided imagery was intended to be used to help solve
problems; it was believed that a client might use this technique to
reduce anxiety or stress, or to develop a scenario of ways to handle
distasteful life situations. No one expressed or implied that clients
might be able to determine the historical reality of their pasts, or
that the imagery was based in reality.
I am disappointed that NASW has been slow to respond to the crisis
and inform its members of the harm that may be done when therapists'
beliefs replace science in their practices. However, publishing
Stocks' article is an excellent effort to rectify this delay. I'm
pleased that the Social Work peer-review process recognized both the
soundness of the research and the important contemporary social
problem that Stocks addressed.
Allen Feld is Director of Continuing Education for the FMS
Foundation. He has retired from the faculty of the School of Social
Work at Marywood College in Pennsylvania.
| Hypnosis is not a truth serum, and the memories it uncovers are no |
| more reliable (but no less reliable) than any others. The risk is |
| that hypnotic memories may inspire greater confidence. No memory, |
| whether it is evoked with or without hypnosis, can be shown to be |
| true without corroboration by external evidence." |
| Harvard Mental Health Letter |
| September 1998 |
| David Spiegel, M.D. |
L E G A L C O R N E R
Criminal Trial Against Texas Therapists Continues
United States of America v. Peterson, et al.
U.S. Dist. Ct., Southern Dist., Texas, No. H-97-237.
A federal criminal trial continues in which five former employees of a
Houston private mental hospital are charged with insurance fraud. The
indictment alleges that from 1991 to 1993, the defendants used
hypnosis, drugs, isolation and other techniques as part of a
conspiracy to prolong their patients' treatment unnecessarily so they
could continue to collect insurance payments. The defendants are all
associated with the former Spring Shadows Glen mental hospital:
psychologist Judith Peterson, psychiatrists Richard Seward and Gloria
Keraga, therapist Sylvia Davis, and former hospital administrator
George Mueck. During treatment involving hypnosis, patients allegedly
recovered memories of participation in cult ritual abuse and torture.
During the 6th and 7th week of trial testimony, Sally McDonald, a
former nurse manager at the hospital, testified that the defendants
had deliberately exaggerated diagnoses of several teenage patients in
order to collect insurance payments. McDonald testified that books
describing electroshock, torture in lobster cages and rape by men in
black robes were readily accessible in the clinic and that eventually
the teens claimed to have experienced these things. McDonald also
described the pressure on the teenage patients to come up with
"alters." During one session, a therapist spoke for a teenage
patient's "mute alters" and described a supposed gang rape.
Susan Stalzer, a claims reviewer for an insurance company,
testified that at the time of her review, she was concerned that Mary
Shanley , a key prosecution witness, had been hospitalized for more
than a year with little improvement. Stalzer testified that most
patients, even those who are suicidal, can be stabilized in 30 to 60
days and discharged for outpatient care.
As the trial entered its 8th week, U.S. District Judge Ewing
Werlein Jr. told jurors that he had underestimated the length of the
trial; the trial is now expected to last until March with time off for
Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
During the 8th week, former patient Karen G., who is now 19
years old, testified. Karen was admitted to the mental hospital
shortly before her 13th birthday because it was feared that the cult
would rape, drug, and electro-shock her in initiation rites on her
13th birthday. Karen testified that she was told she had to remember
the cult abuse so that she could be reunited with her mother. The
prosecution played tapes of some of Karen's therapy sessions in which
defendants discussed her "progress" under hypnosis. According to
testimony from nurse Sally McDonald, Karen was a normal healthy child
whose medical records indicated no signs of abuse at the time of her
The defense has argued that the hospital provided appropriate
treatment to the patients because they had already been diagnosed with
serious mental illness before arriving at Spring Shadows Glen. But
Karen G. had never been diagnosed with a mental illness. The
defense has also argued that while hypnosis was used, it was only for
processing and healing memories that patients already had, not for
"retrieving" memories. However, Karen G. had no memories of cult
abuse before her admission.
During the 9th week of trial, testimony was heard from Dr. Gary
Miller, who had served from 1982 to 1988 as commissioner of the Texas
Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. Dr. Miller
testified that the duration of the hospitalizations in this case
"astonished" him. He said he has never seen a true MPD patient and
feels that the diagnosis has harmed patients and damaged the
reputation of psychotherapy.
Defense attorneys have maintained that their clients provided
appropriate care and did not conspire to defraud insurance
companies. They have also argued that the case is an attempt by
federal prosecutors to criminalize a form of therapy that government
Hearing Scheduled in Licensure Case of Controversial Psychiatrist
An Illinois regulation administrative judge set a trial date of May
18, 1998 in the case of Dr. Bennett Braun, a psychiatrist who faces
possible loss of his medical license. Evidence will be heard at that
time supporting allegations that he used drugs and hypnosis to
convince a patient that she and her family participated in ritual cult
abuse and suffered from multiple personality disorder as a result. The
judge also ordered a separate trial for Dr. Elva Poznanski, another
psychiatrist at Rush North Shore Medical Center who treated Burgus'
two young sons, also for MPD.
Braun's lawyer, Harvey Harris, has asked for independent
psychiatric evaluations of Burgus, her husband, and their two sons,
arguing that the evaluations may show that the treatment was correct.
Burgus told newspapers she would have no problem being evaluated. The
judge has yet to rule on the request. A year ago, the Burgus family
settled a civil case against Braun and Poznanski for $10.6 million.
Can expert testimony serve as corroboration
of a "repressed memory" claim?
Is psychological "corroboration" independently admissible?
The Barrett v. Hyldburg case (discussed elsewhere in the Legal Corner,
this issue) highlights a problem inherent in "repressed memory"
claims: what constitutes independent corroboration? The case was filed
early in 1994 by a 45-year-old woman who claimed she recovered
memories of two early childhood incidents approximately 40 years after
they allegedly occurred. The plaintiff acknowledged that she could
not present any evidence of the type normally considered
corroborative: witnesses, photographs, notes, letters, diaries,
confessions, or medical records. Her claim of childhood sexual abuse
allegedly beginning at age 2 1/2 was based solely on her "recovered
memory." The defendant denied all allegations.
Plaintiff sought to bolster her case with expert analysis of
something called "internal corroboration" of her "repressed memory"
claim. Plaintiff's expert, Charles Whitfield,M.D., proposed that
"internal corroboration" may establish a repressed memory as
reliable. "Internal corroboration" relies upon factors such as the
plaintiff's "credibility," her "abreaction" or strong emotional
reaction to the memory, the consistency of her story, and the
durability of the memory as measures of a memory's veracity. Dr.
Whitfield also maintains that characteristics of the memories are
useful in determining the reliability of recovered memories. During a
deposition, when Dr. Whitfield was asked to explain what he meant by
"characteristics of the memories themselves," he testified that he
believed the plaintiff had actually suffered sexual abuse and
repressed the memory in part because "just the way the memories came,
their consistency, the way they fit with my and others' understandings
with a natural history of child sexual abuse. She's just believable.
She comes across. She and her memory come across to me as being
Apart from the lack of any scientific support for the reliability
of the "internal corroborative characteristics" of the plaintiff's
repressed memory, we are struck by the complete disregard for the
necessity of any type of independent evidence to establish the
accuracy of a recovered memory. This innovative argument, whereby a
single accusation does double duty as a charge against a defendant and
as independent corroboration simply because of the way it is made, has
no standing in the law. As one expert on the subject remarked, "this
kind of evidence wouldn't even pass muster during the Spanish
Inquisition." This "analysis" amounts to a "judgment by an expert that
the individual is credible, that she is telling the truth, or simply
that it seems real to her. Expert opinion as to credibility,
especially where that opinion lacks a sound and reliable base, is
generally held to be inadmissible.
Plaintiff's expert also suggested that a family history of
alcoholism might provide corroborative evidence of the sexual and
physical abuse of a child, an assertion for which he did not provide
scientific support. He further based his premise of an abuse of
alcohol 40 years earlier on very questionable information. Dr.
Whitfield acknowledged that he had never met the defendant or had
knowledge of him during the 1950's. Instead of an interview with the
defendant, he asked the plaintiff to fill out a series of screening
questionnaires as though her father were answering them in 1951 when
she was 2 1/2 years old. During a regular session before the trial
judge, Dr. Whitfield testified, "I had not had the opportunity to
interview [the defendant] nor seen [sic] Dr. Bodkin's report of his
evaluation, but I did ask [plaintiff and two of her sisters] to fill
out the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test, the Cage questionnaire and
the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test Addendum to answer questions
for him [defendant] as though he were answering it honestly, and on
all three he scored clearly in the alcoholic range." (emphasis added)
(T., 5/19/98, p. 53-54)
The Barrett court also cited Dr. Whitfield's acceptance of
plaintiff's new memory that at age 2 1/2, she had had an out-of-body
experience. In court before the trial judge, Dr. Whitfield testified
(T., 5/19/98, p. 59) that he believes plaintiff's "awareness, her
consciousness..." left her body and was able to view an abusive
incident from a position up in the air in the corner of a room. When
questioned on how this could be, he acknowledged that, "This is a
tough area because we don't ordinarily think in this way. This is
beyond physical medicine..., but not exclusive of science." (emphasis
added) And when asked what scientific verification exists of the fact
that a person can be separated from their body and observe an event,
Whitfield referred to "a very small list of references" of
individuals' reports of out-of-body experiences and admitted that
"sometimes that's what we have to rely on." The Court did not find
this opinion of plaintiff's expert sufficient to show the reliability
of plaintiff's "repression" claim.
During court proceedings, the question of the proper standard to
assess the reliability or validity of scientific evidence came up in
another context. The scientific community generally focuses on how a
study was done and whether the results can be replicated when
evaluating the reliability and validity of scientific inquiry. Dr.
Whitfield was asked whether he would consider valid a study set up to
determine the level of consensus in the psychiatric community
regarding the wording of the diagnostic criteria for dissociative
amnesia as found in the DSM-IV. When asked, "Would you consider that
to be valid?" Dr. Whitfield's answer focused on somewhat different
factors, "Depends on who did it, how it was done, and what the results
were." (emphasis added)
The Barrett decision represents one more in a long series of
opinions which have been critical of the ability of expert opinion to
provide reliable testimony on the subject of repressed memory. Some
courts have expressed concern that expert testimony referring to
events years earlier relies only on plaintiff's statements about her
"memories" of the past and does not refer to records contemporaneous
to the alleged events. Such opinion, therefore, is not independently
verifiable. It is, in the words of one court, "mere conjecture." If
the subjective belief of a "repressed memory" claimant is given the
ring of truth simply by being repeated by an "expert," or based on
some "internal corroboration" claim, the danger of misleading a jury
is great. If, in addition, the basis of expert testimony is shown to
be neither generally accepted nor reliable, such testimony surely must
be held to be inadmissible.
| Charles L. Whitfield, M.D. is famous for his book, "Healing the |
| Child Within." He is one of the most ardent of those who defend |
| recovered memory therapy and one of the most vociferous of those |
| who attack the Foundation. |
| In a recent trial, he revealed his remarkable method for |
| diagnosing defendants as alcoholics: |
| "I had not had the opportunity to interview [the defendant] nor |
| seen [sic] Dr. Bodkin's report of his evaluation, but I did ask |
| [the plaintiff and her two sisters] to fill out the Michigan |
| Alcoholism Screening Test, the Cage questionnaire and the |
| Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test Addendum to answer questions |
| for him [defendant] as though he were answering it honestly, |
| and on all three he scored clearly in the alcoholic range." |
| (T., 5/19/98, p. 53-54) |
| In this connection it is worth recalling what Dr. Whitfield once |
| had to say about the FMS Foundation: |
| "clinical Nazis, memory Nazis...They're not as extreme as the |
| Nazis because they're not directly torturing and killing people |
| ...It's more indirect. They're much more subtle than the Nazis, |
| and that can make them much more insidious to deal with." |
| Quoted by Lee Krenis More |
| Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), June 11, 1995 |
North Carolina Court Excludes "Repressed Memory" Testimony
Barrett v. Hyldburg
Superior Court, Buncombe Co., North Carolina, No. 94 CVS 793.
On October 20th, Superior Court Judge Sanford L. Steelman, Jr. entered
a detailed 13-page written order to exclude all evidence derived from
alleged repressed memories. Plaintiff's counsel conceded that without
the repressed memory testimony, there would be insufficient evidence
to submit the case to the jury. The case was dismissed with prejudice
on the same day.
Following the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court, Daubert v.
Merrell Dow, 113 S.Ct. 2786 (1993) (the trial judge must act as a
gatekeeper, allowing only reliable and relevant matters into evidence)
and the North Carolina Appeals Court, Barrett v. Hyldburg, 127
N.C. App. 95 (1997) (repressed memory evidence is beyond the life
experience of the average juror and, if determined to be valid, must
be accompanied by expert testimony), a voir dire hearing was held
after the jury selection. The purpose of the hearing was to determine
whether repressed memory testimony is reliable and relevant. The court
considered testimony of Drs. Charles Whitfield and J. Alexander
Bodkin, numerous exhibits, pleadings, affidavits, and depositions.
The court concluded that "there is substantial debate within the
relevant scientific community about the validity of the phenomenon of
repressed memory." (The court used the terms "repressed memory,"
"dissociative amnesia," and "traumatic amnesia" interchangeably.) Two
types of research approaches were reviewed: retrospective studies
which rely on self-reporting and prospective studies which interview
individuals known to have been abused in the past. The court concluded
that "while self-reporting of alleged repressed memories may have
therapeutic value, or even suggest a possible phenomenon worthy of
scientific research, the retrospective studies hardly constitute
scientific evidence." Noting that self-reports of such things as alien
abductions and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories are clearly outside
the realm of scientific verification, the court concluded that using
self-reports alone is insufficient to prove the validity of the
phenomenon of repression.
The court then considered a group of prospective studies in which
subjects known to have been abused years earlier are interviewed. It
found that these attempts to test the theory of repressed memory have
not provided scientific verification of the theory for several
reasons: incidents of non-reporting of known abuse only occurred in
studies where the subjects were not specifically asked about the
experience. When people were asked directly about a past traumatic
experience, they consistently reported memories, suggesting that the
individuals may have chosen not to think of the painful memories, may
have forgotten about them, or simply may have chosen not to report
them. In addition, the court noted another fatal flaw of prospective
studies: they had not ruled out ordinary causes of amnesia, e.g.,
neurological injury or a victim too young to remember.
The court next considered whether the phenomenon of repressed
memory had gained general acceptance in the scientific community.
Plaintiff's expert Dr. Charles Whitfield testified that acceptance is
shown by the inclusion of the diagnosis "dissociative amnesia" in the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV). The court, however,
concluded that inclusion in the DSM (which is a diagnostic tool and "a
collection of statistical information and definitional reference") may
indicate some degree of acceptance but does not necessarily reach the
criterion of general acceptance in the relevant scientific
community. The DSM cannot be viewed as a scientific manual. The court
also agreed that none of the types of dissociative amnesia described
in the DSM include full amnesia for the traumatic event.
The court also considered the fact that there has been substantial
publication about repressed memory, but concluded that rather than
verifying the theory, these publications highlight the debate raging
in the scientific community about the validity of the phenomenon.
Based on these considerations, the court concluded there is no general
acceptance for the validity of the theory of repressed memory.
Even if repressed memory were to be accepted as a reliable theory,
the court concluded that no reliable corroborative evidence exists
which could distinguish between true memories and false memories. The
court also noted that the Royal College of Psychiatrists has
specifically advised against the practice of diagnosing childhood
sexual abuse through a checklist of symptoms. Therefore, the court
concluded that plaintiff's proposed "internal corroborative" evidence
does not have sufficient scientific reliability to establish either
the validity of the phenomenon of repressed memory or the accuracy of
alleged recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse.
Defense attorneys are John C. Cloninger and Robert Riddle of
Asheville, North Carolina. Copies of this important decision are
available from the FMSF Brief Bank.
| The emotional content of an image, the confidence a person has in |
| that image, or the consistency of a story do not prove the |
| existence or reliability of a repressed memory: |
| "Certainly a person can have a strong emotional reaction to a |
| nightmare, even though no one contends that the dream reflected a |
| factual event. Moreover, paranoids are convinced of the truth of |
| their conspiracy theories and act in accordance with their |
| suspicions. Indeed, a common feature of paranoia is a consistency |
| and durability in the belief of a perceived persecution. The fact |
| that plaintiff firmly believes and emotionally reacts to a |
| perceived memory does not prove the existence of such repressed |
| memory, nor does it show the reliability of the events supposedly |
| recalled by plaintiff...[T]he durability of the plaintiff's |
| alleged memory, one of the internal corroborating factors |
| identified by Dr. Whitfield, may be the result of support |
| plaintiff has received from others following her report of sexual |
| abuse...The court finds and concludes that the so-called "internal |
| corroborative" evidence does not have sufficient scientific |
| reliability to establish either the validity of the phenomenon of |
| repressed memory or the accuracy of alleged recovered memories of |
| childhood sexual abuse." |
| North Carolina Superior Court Judge Stanford L. Steelman, Jr. |
| Barrett v. Hyldburg, October 20, 1998. |
"Repressed Memory" Charges Dropped
as Prosecutors Conclude Allegations were Fabricated
Stearns, M. (10/27/98) "Rape charges dropped against schoolteacher"
Less than one month before a teacher accused of raping a former
fifth-grade student was to go to trial, prosecutors dropped all
charges and held a news conference to publicly state that they had
concluded that the accuser had fabricated the allegations. Michael
Gallagher, an elementary school teacher for 26 years, was arrested in
January after Margaret Powell, 23, told authorities that he had raped
her repeatedly during the 1985-1986 school year when she was a student
in his class.
During pretrial interviews with Powell, prosecutors said they found
discrepancies in her story. According to Assistant District Attorney
Mary Fittipaldi, as prosecutors found more discrepancies, Powell began
changing her story. "She began to add additional details," Fittipaldi
said. "It seemed to me she was trying to embellish the case and make
it better as we moved closer to trial, which raised my suspicions."
Then Powell failed a lie-detector test and admitted that she was "not
sure" whether sexual intercourse with Gallagher had taken
place. Prosecutors decided to drop the charges.
At the news conference, District Attorney Michael Marino described
Powell as a "bright young woman...with a proper demeanor...and every
indication of credibility and truthfulness." Marino said their
investigation uncovered a letter written by Powell in which she said
that she had "recovered multiple memories of sexual molestation" that
she believed occurred during her year in Gallagher's class. Marino
said that Gallagher would never have been arrested if prosecutors had
known that Powell's allegations were based on so-called recovered or
regressed memories. "Our office does not believe in that," Marino
said. He also referred to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court pronouncement
that repressed memory is an inappropriate basis for a rape charge.
Officials for the school district said that Gallagher was welcome
to return to his job and that the district would give him back pay.
Gallagher says he will work to make sure other teachers do not face
similar accusations in the future. "Right now, teachers hardly have a
chance to defend themselves."
Prosecutors said criminal charges against the accuser are now being
Georgia Supreme Court:
Expert Testimony on Proper Interview Procedures is Admissible
Barlow v. The States, 1998 Ga. LEXIS 802, decided 9/14/98.
The Georgia Supreme Court recently held that the "defendant in a child
molestation case is entitled to introduce expert testimony for the
limited purpose of providing the jury with information about proper
techniques for interviewing children and the possible effects of the
interviewing techniques actually utilized." The court explained, "A
major distinguishing aspect of a child sexual abuse case is how the
victim came to relate the facts which led to the bringing of criminal
charges. A defendant not only should be able to cross-examine
prosecution witnesses regarding how they obtained their information,
but also should have the chance to present expert testimony as to how
such information is ideally obtained."
"Of course, an expert witness for the defense cannot give an
opinion that the victim made false allegations of molestation, because
such testimony directly addresses the credibility of the victim.
However, the fact that limited expert testimony regarding proper
interview techniques indirectly involves the child's credibility does
not render it inadmissible." The court held that such testimony would
assist the jury in evaluating the weight to be given the child's
The Georgia Supreme Court also noted that the majority of
jurisdictions have allowed opinions of experts on improper or
suggestive techniques employed by individuals investigating
allegations of sexual abuse of children. The court cited several of
these decisions: State v. Sloan, 912 S.W.2d 592, 596 (Mo. App. E.D.
1995); State v. Kirshchbaum, 535 N.W.2d 462, 466 (Wisc. App. 1995);
State v. Gersin, 668 N.E.2d 486, 488 (Ohio 1996); State v. Michaels,
642 A.2d 1372, 1383 (N.J. 1994).
Prosecutor who Refused to File "Repressed Memory" Charges
Pengov v. Leffler, 1998 Ohio App. LEXIS 4942, decided Oct. 23, 1998.
An Ohio Court of Appeals found that a county prosecutor had acted
within his discretion when he refused to prosecute a "repressed
memory" claim. James Pengov, 27, claimed that he had repressed
memories of sexual abuse by his stepfather some 20 years earlier.
After a police investigation, the prosecutor declined to file criminal
charges, citing the age of the allegations, lack of corroborating
physical evidence, and substantial questions about jurisdiction and
statutes of limitations. Pengov then sought to remove the prosecutor
from office, but the appellate court affirmed that the prosecutor did
nothing to merit his removal from office.
Updates of Cases We Have Been Following:
WENATCHEE CIVIL RIGHTS TRIAL: On October 16th, Robert Roberson and
other plaintiffs in the unsuccessful civil damage suit against police
and social workers in the Wenatchee child sex investigation filed a
motion seeking a new trial. The motion cites errors and misconduct by
defense lawyers including "improper questions and inflammatory
statements not supported by the evidence permitted in the trial." For
example, in opening statements, defense attorney Patrick McMahon told
jurors that the plaintiffs "were actually guilty and they just got
away with it, having raped and sexually abused children as accused."
Because the comments were made in opening statements, they could not
be objected to. Several times the judge warned defense attorneys that
they were on the verge of causing a mistrial.
The civil trial centered on allegations that Wenatchee police
Detective Robert Perez, county officials, and state social workers
ignored regulations and violated the civil rights of people falsely
accused of child sex charges and ended in June 1988, when a jury found
for the defendants. The plaintiffs in the current case include Pastor
Robert Roberson and his wife, Connie, who were acquitted of multiple
sex charges; Honnah Sims, a Sunday school teacher at the Robersons'
church, who was also acquitted; and Donna Rodriguez, against whom
charges were dropped when accusers recanted.
On November 17, 1998 Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael
Donohue refused to grant a new trial.
 This report is taken from a series of articles by Mark Smith which
appeared in the Houston Chronicle. See also FMSF Brief Bank #176
and FMSF Newsletter December 1997, October 1998. For the latest
trial developments, check the website: http://www.FMSFonline.org
 Earlier in the trial, Mary Shanley spent 11 days on the stand
describing her years as a patient in Spring Shadows Glen.
 Most recently a Washington Superior Court, Mensch v. Pollard,
Super. Ct., Whatcom Co., Wash., No. 93-2-01427-5, Sept. 9, 1998,
rejected a technique proposed by a plaintiff's expert as a method
to determine whether or not a memory is true and accurate. The
court found expert testimony on the subject of Statement Validity
Analysis (SVA) to be inadmissible because the technique "is not
generally accepted within the relevant scientific community as
being a valid method by which an expert could be entitled to
render an opinion as to the credibility of a witness." The court
was careful to explain that its intention was only to exclude
opinions by experts that a restored repressed memory is valid,
that the methods of recovering memory are valid, and that SVA is a
valid method to determine the credibility of a lay witness -- not
to exclude expert testimony regarding the subject of memory
 The Washington Supreme Court, Tyson v. Tyson, 727 P.2d 226 (Wash.,
1986), was the first higher court to consider "repressed memory
claim. Though superseded by statute, the court rejected the
suggestion that the subjectivity of plaintiff's "repressed memory"
claim could be eliminated at trial through the testimony of
witnesses including treating psychologists. "However, none of
this testimony would provide objective evidence that the alleged
acts occurred...[T]he testimony of treating psychologists or
psychiatrists would not reduce, much less eliminate, the
subjectivity of plaintiff's claim...The fact that plaintiff
asserts she discovered the wrongful acts through psychological
therapy does not validate their occurrence. Recent studies by
certain psychoanalysts have questioned the assumption that the
analyst has any special ability to help the subject ascertain the
historical truth."); S.V. v. R.V., 933 S.W.2d 1 (Tex., 1996);
State of Rhode Island v. Quattrocchi, 681 A.2d 879 (R.I., 1996);
Pritzlaff v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee, 533 N.W.2d 780 (Wisc.,
1995); State of New Hampshire v. Hungerford, 697 A.2d 916.
 See, FMSF Brief Bank # 82. The history of this case began in
1994. Just prior to the case coming to trial in 1996, Superior
Court Judge Ronald Bogle granted defendant's motion in limine to
exclude all evidence regarding plaintiff's alleged "repressed
memories" of sexual abuse. On appeal, in August 1997, a North
Carolina Court of Appeals, Barrett v. Hyldburg, 1997 WL 434876
(N.C. App., 1997), affirmed the portion of the trial court's
ruling that held that plaintiff's testimony regarding recovered
memories of abuse may not be received at trial absent accompanying
expert testimony on the phenomenon of memory repression. The Court
of Appeals remanded the case back to the trial court for further
proceedings on defendant's motion to exclude all such evidence
regarding plaintiff's alleged repressed memories due to the lack
of proven reliability of the phenomenon. Following the hearing in
May, Superior Court Justice Stanford L. Steelman, Jr. gave an oral
ruling which was reported in the October 1998 FMSF Newsletter.
 See, FMSF Brief Bank #163.
| "An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by |
| gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely |
| happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its |
| opponents gradually die out and that the growing generation is |
| familiar with the idea from the beginning." |
| Max Planck |
| The Philosophy of Physics (1936) |
FMS FOUNDATION AMICUS CURIAE BRIEFS
Since 1995, the FMS Foundation has submitted 13 amicus curiae
briefs to appellate courts in 10 states and to one United States
Court of Appeals. The briefs sought to provide courts with the
latest mainstream scientific literature available on issues related
to the development of recovered memories.
Alabama Supreme Court, McDuffie v. Sellers-Bok
No. 1940524 submitted May, 10, 1995.
Brief argues that under the principles of special relationships and
circumstances, foreseeability, direct victims and public interest
considerations, mental health professionals may owe a duty to third
McDuffie v. Sellers-Bok, 676 So.2d 1359, (Ala. Sept. 29, 1995).
The Alabama Supreme Court without comment, affirmed the decision of
the Alabama Circuit Court, Montgomery Co., No. CV-94-1772 (Dec. 1,
1994), which had dismissed two counts dealing with malpractice and
breach of fiduciary relationship.
Rhode Island Supreme Court, Heroux v. Carpenter;
Kelly v. Marcantonio, No. 95-39; 94-727, submitted August 30, 1995.
Brief addresses questions certified to the court concerning accrual of
claims under state discovery statute and alleged inability to recall
related to the disability statute. It also presents a review of the
current scientific understanding of the theory of repression and
relevant case law.
Kelly, v. Marcantonio, 678 A.2d 873, (R.I., July 11, 1996).
The Rhode Island Supreme Court held that the reliability of repressed
memory theory must first be determined prior to extending the statute
of limitations. The court instructed trial judges to hold an
evidentiary hearing reviewing "the entire scientific theory of
repressed recollection and the scientific method through which such
recollections are recovered" to determine whether the specific
"repressed recollection" is "sufficiently relevant, reliable, and
scientifically and/or medically established." The court held that the
claim may be brought only if the trial judge determines that the
theory is "scientifically accepted and valid" and the evidence shows
the Plaintiff to be of "unsound mind."
Texas Supreme Court, S.V. v. R.V.
No. 94-0856, submitted February 6, 1995.
Brief reviews current scientific understanding of the reliability of
"recovered repressed memory," including the lack of any reliable test
to determine the accuracy of a repressed memory. It also considers
the applicability of discovery exception set forth by petitioner.
S.V. v. R.V.
933 S.W.2d 1, 39 Tex. Supp. J. 386, (Tex., March 14, 1996).
The Texas Supreme Court held that in order to apply the discovery rule
to toll the statute of limitations under any set of facts, including
repressed memory claims, the wrongful event and injury must be
"objectively verifiable" and inherently undiscoverable. After a
thorough review of expert testimony and scientific literature, the
court concluded that the scientific community has not reached
consensus on how to gauge the truth or falsity of "recovered"
memories. Therefore, the court held that expert opinion in this area
does not meet the objective verifiability requirement for extending
the discovery rule.
U.S. District Court, 5th Circuit, Knode v. Hartman
No. 94-11120, submitted June 3, 1996.
Brief reviews the scientific literature regarding "repressed memory,"
indications of the scope of the problem from various sources, and
recent decisions concerned with the reliability of repressed memory
Knode v. Hartman, U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Cir.
No. 94-11120, Sept. 9, 1996, unreported.
The U.S. Court of Appeals found a "repressed memory" claim barred by
Texas' two-year statute of limitations. The court concluded that
"recovered" memories of Complainant's sister were not sufficient to
establish the objective verification of the claims as required under
S.V. v. R.V., 933 S.W.2d 1 (Tex., 1996).
Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Dalrymple v. Brown
055 E.D. App. Dkt. 1996, submitted Nov. 1, 1996.
Brief considers the applicability of the discovery rule and disability
tolling exceptions to the statute of limitations under the
Pennsylvania standard of reasonable diligence to "repressed memory"
claims. Brief also reviews the current scientific understanding of
"repressed memory" and the judicial response to these claims in sister
Dalrymple v. Brown
1997 WL 499945 (Pa., Aug. 25, 1997).
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court refused to apply the discovery rule to
cases involving "repressed memories." The court held that repressed
memories do not provide the kind of objective evidence required to
invoke the discovery rule or to demonstrate an undiscoverable injury.
The concurring opinion noted that, "the validity of repressed memory
theory is subject to considerable debate in the psychological
community and some courts have rejected its admissibility."
Illinois Supreme Court, M.E.H. v. L.H.
No. 81943, submitted February 12, 1997.
Brief argues that the unproven reliability of repressed memory claims
is an insufficient basis to apply "discovery rule." Brief also reviews
factors leading to the development of false memories, the repressed
memory debate, current scientific findings, and relevant case law in
M.E.H. v. L.H.
1997 WL 562001 (Ill., Sept. 4, 1997), slip copy.
Affirmed dismissal, holding that even if the discovery rule were
applied, this case was not filled in a timely way. "Whether plaintiffs
have acted within a reasonable time turns on the particular facts and
circumstances presented to the court." The Illinois appellate court,
M.E.H. v. L.H., 669 N.E.2d 1228 (Ill.App.2nd Dist., 1996), had earlier
declined to apply the discovery rule, citing Tyson v. Tyson with
approval, "If we applied the discovery rule to such actions, the
statute of limitations would be effectively eliminated and its purpose
ignored. A person would have an unlimited time to bring an action,
while the facts became increasingly difficult to determine. The
potential for spurious claims would be great and the probability of
the court's determining the truth would be unreasonably low."
New Hampshire Supreme Court, State v. Hungerford and State v. Morahan
No. 95-429, submitted February 14, 1997.
Brief argues that under either a Frye or Daubert analysis, the theory
of repression clearly fails to meet the criteria for admitting
scientific evidence. It also reviews factors leading to the
development of false memories, the repressed memory debate, current
scientific findings, and relevant case law in other jurisdictions.
State of New Hampshire v. Hungerford
1997 WL 358620 (N.H., July 1, 1997).
The New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's ruling that
the party offering repressed memory testimony of either an expert or
complainant has the burden to prove it sufficiently reliable to be
admitted. The question of reliability is to be considered on a
case-by-case basis, but "tempered with skepticism" according to
factors based on Daubert and the availability of any direct
corroboration. The court concluded that the phenomenon cannot
currently be considered reliable nor has it gained general acceptance
in the scientific community. The court noted that if the phenomenon
were ever able to satisfy the court's objections and be found
reliable, then additional inquiry into the circumstances of memory
recovery (especially any therapeutic process) may be called for. See,
State v. Hungerford, 1995 WL 378571 (N.H. Super., May 23, 1995).
Second Appellate District, California, Engstrom v. Engstrom
No. VC016157, submitted March 17, 1997.
Brief argues that under the Kelly/Frye rule, testimony regarding and
derived from repressed memories does not meet the "general acceptance"
standard and is therefore per se inadmissible. It also reviews factors
leading to the development of false memories, the repressed memory
debate, current scientific findings, and relevant case law in other
Engstrom v. Engstrom, No. B098146
(Cal. App., 2nd App. Dist., Div. 2, June 18, 1997) unpublished.
In an unpublished opinion, a California Court of Appeal affirmed a
Superior Court's judgment of non-suit since appellant had no memories
of childhood abuse other than those generated during the period he was
in therapy and "compelling" evidence showed that those memories did
not meet the Kelly-Frye standard of admissibility. The court ruled,
therefore, that appellant was "rightly precluded from testifying to
any recovered repressed memories." The court also noted that even
were an appellant to meet the "delayed discovery" provision of
California statute of limitations, an additional evidentiary hurdle
must be surmounted before that appellant could actually testify to any
claimed recovered repressed memories. See, Engstrom v. Engstrom,
Superior Ct., Los Angeles Co., California, No. VC-016157 (October 11,
Tennessee Supreme Court, Hunter v. Brown
No. CV-00070, submitted April 15, 1997.
Brief considers the reasonable person standard for application of the
discovery rule in "repressed memory" cases. It also reviews factors
leading to the development of false memories, the repressed memory
debate, current scientific findings, and relevant case law in other
Hunter v. Brown
955 S.W.2d 49, (Tenn., November 10, 1997).
The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed an earlier ruling by a Tennessee
Appellate Court, Hunter v. Brown, 1996 WL 57944 (Tenn.App. 1996), but
declined to rule on the question of general applicability of the
discovery rule in "repressed memory" cases because it found that under
the facts of the case, the claim was time-barred. The earlier
appellate decision had noted that the "inherent lack of verifiable and
objective evidence in these cases distinguishes them from cases in
which Tennessee courts have applied the discovery rule [previously]."
New Hampshire Supreme Court, Hungerford v. Jones
No. 97-657, submitted January 14, 1998.
Brief argues that in order to provide a meaningful remedy to injured
third parties, access to the courts by such third parties must be
allowed. Brief discusses the theory of repression, repressed memory
therapy and techniques, professional organizations response, lawsuits
against therapists, third party suits involving repressed memory,
suits involving misdiagnosis of sexual abuse in minors, legislation
and public policy considerations.
This case has been fully briefed and oral arguments were heard before
the New Hampshire Supreme Court on May 6, 1998. The court is
considering two questions referred by a U.S. District Court,
Hungerford v. Jones, U.S. Dist. Ct., N.H., No. 96-C-599: Does a mental
health care provider owe a legal duty to the father of an adult
patient to diagnose and treat the patient with requisite skill and
competence of the profession when the diagnosis is that the father
sexually abused or assaulted the patient? Does a mental health care
provider owe a duty to act with reasonable care to avoid foreseeable
harm to the father of an adult patient resulting from treatment or
other action taken in relation to mental health conditions arising
from the diagnosis of past sexual abuse or assault?
Illinois Supreme Court, Doe v. McKay
No. 83094, submitted January 23, 1998.
Brief argues that in order to provide a meaningful remedy to injured
third parties, access to the courts by such third parties must be
allowed. Brief discusses the theory of repression, repressed memory
therapy and techniques, professional organizations response, lawsuits
against therapists, third party suits involving repressed memory,
third-party suits involving misdiagnosis of sexual abuse in minors,
legislation and public policy.
Doe v. McKay
1009 Ill. LEXIS 913 (Ill., 1998).
The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed a trial court's dismissal of a
third party claim, holding that to allow the suit would improperly
enlarge physicians' duty of care and could be inconsistent with a
therapist's duty of confidentiality to his or her patient. A strongly
worded dissent noted that the plaintiff was not a "random member of
the general public," but was a relative of the patient, was accused of
sexual abuse, and was used as a tool in plaintiff's treatment program.
Concerns about compromising patient confidentiality make no sense, the
dissent wrote, where the therapist chose to make that third party an
integral part of a patient's treatment and did so with the patient's
Wisconsin Supreme Court, Sawyer v. Midelfort
No. 97-1969, submitted July 17, 1998.
Brief argues that a therapist employing negligent "memory recovery"
practices which lead to allegations of criminal sexual abuse owes a
duty to the accused individual. The false allegation gravely injures
the accused person in a direct and foreseeable way. Professional
organizations have set forth guidelines for practice in this area
which do not place undue burden on therapists.
This case has been fully briefed and argued before the Wisconsin
Supreme Court. Defendants appeal an appellate court ruling, Sawyer
v. Midelfort, 217 Wis.2d 795, March 17, 1998, which reversed dismissal
of a third-party malpractice claim. The court held that under the
facts of the case, a duty was owed to the parents, that public policy
does not preclude recovery, and that summary judgment had been
improperly granted on grounds of laches and the statute of
Georgia Supreme Court, Kohout v. Charter Peachford Hospital
No. S98C1773, submitted Sept. 17, 1998.
Brief argues that the severe injury to patients and society due to
unsafe repressed memory therapy merit allowing malpractice actions
brought by former patients of therapists practicing repressed memory
therapy. It also describes therapeutic techniques shown capable of
fostering and reinforcing false memories, clinical challenges to the
MPD diagnosis, the current scientific understanding of the theory of
repression, and summarizes recent legal action against repressed
Appeal pending. Plaintiff appeals a decision by an appellate court,
Engstrom v. Kohout, 1998 Ga. App. LEXIS 995, July 15, 1998 which
refused to extend the statute of limitations in this malpractice
claim. The appellate court rejected plaintiff's argument that the
two-year clock on her malpractice suit should have started only after
she realized the nature and extent of her injuries from the false
memories when she left treatment and began therapy elsewhere in May
1995, six months before the suit was filed.
F R O M O U R R E A D E R S
Opening Our Hearts
I want to thank all the retractors who have had the courage to tell us
their stories through this newsletter. Many of us have had real
trouble understanding both how this could have happened and why it is
impossible to talk sensibly to the accusers. Explanations from
retractors are a real help.
While, I am a "non-accusing sibling" myself, I can really see how
my twin sister got into this. All it takes is a period of crisis, The
Courage to Heal and a "supportive" therapist. I was in crisis when my
sister gave me The Courage to Heal. For a few days I dabbled on the
fringes of this quicksand into Hell. By the grace of God (and I mean
this seriously) my therapist was not supportive. In fact, she was the
kind of therapist survivors are warned against. She told me it was
rare for people to forget abuse.
But I am surely as suggestible as my identical twin. I was in a bad
way. If my therapist had suggested abuse, I would have believed
her. This therapy not only tells you you were an abused, neglected
lump of misery as a child, it "empowers" you to experience first-hand
agony and terror often far exceeding what genuinely abused children
suffer. Michael in the last Newsletter spoke of nightmares. For my
sister there were the voices -- voices she identified as our parents
telling her to cut herself, to burn herself, to kill herself. She
tried all three. Only when she broke off contact with my parents was
she able to still those voices. And all the logic, all the pleas for
simple justice, at this point cannot convince her that these voices
were of her own making, not of our parents.
To the victim of this kind of therapy, it must seem a travesty to
suggest that all this pain was totally unnecessary, was for nothing.
Our lost children, brothers and sisters did not become accusers out of
spite, malice or stupidity. These are intelligent vulnerable people.
The only rope we can throw them is our unending love. It may well be
that in some cases "tough love" -- requiring apologies and
recantations -- is best. It may be that this kind of stout-hearted
sticking to principles is the way love is shown in your family. It may
be this is exactly the kind of rope your family needs. I think it is
essential that families not perjure their honest feelings.
But it is equally important to realize that our children and
brothers and sisters are trapped in pain. If we can ease this pain by
opening our hearts in unconditional forgiveness and love, then we
"He drew a circle that shut me out --
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win;
We drew a circle that took him in."
It Would Be Easier to Forget
It would be much easier for me not to tell my story, but instead to
try to forget all the bizarre and unreal things that have happened to
me. But I cannot forget. I must tell. I am one of the lucky ones. I
now realize that my memories were false. After five long, tortuous
years, I "escaped" from the hands of the mental health professionals
who had helped me "recover" my repressed memories and led me down a
path of lies, deceit, and darkness from which there seemed to be no
return. Now I am compelled to do everything within my power to help
families and victims alike understand the complex nature and severity
of this phenomenon and somehow find a way to stop the therapists and
doctors that are tearing families apart. It is my prayer that other
victims will realize that there is hope and reach out for help as I
There are now many stories of how therapists are destroying
people's lives with false memories. Sadly and much to my regret, my
story is one of those. Although there are many similarities in every
story, each one is unique and heartbreaking, a nightmare beyond
belief. No human should have to endure such torture, no families
should have to defend themselves against such accusations. It has been
said that understanding is the beginning of knowledge. I hope that my
first-hand experience and knowledge of this subject will bring about
understanding for the many innocent people who have in one way or
another been affected by the recovered memory movement.
Another Happy Ending
Thank you for all you persistent and wonderful work. Over the past
several years whenever I read the letters in the newsletter about
uniting families, I always hoped someday it would be our family. We
are senior citizens and time has become important to us.
I want you to know that "another happy ending" has finally happened
in our family too. Our daughter has written telling her dad how much
she loves him and they now spend hours talking on the phone. We are
taking the first steps toward a wonderful future. Through all this, we
never gave up hope.
Mom and Dad
Food for Thought
I continue to distribute many up-to-date articles about FMS to
professionals. The other day after I gave information (Houston and
Braun update) to a new psychologist, he made an interesting comment.
He said that everything that I gave him is about ethics. He agreed
with me when I replied: "What was done to our daughter was not
Here's where your daughters are probably "stuck." I could not face the
horrible thing I had done to my parents, so I HAD to believe the
memories were true. In other words, even though I got away from that
horrible therapist, I could not go back to my entire extended family
(parents, brothers, cousins, grandmother) and say that I was
temporarily insane and nothing had happened.
Unfortunately, my mother initially made that a condition of my
re-joining the family...I had to clear my father's name. I was not
capable of doing that, because, of course, I had real problems at that
point. It was easier for my self-esteem to pretend that I had been
sexually abused by someone and it was still my parents' fault because
they should have protected me.
Over the years, my mother and I talked first about every year, then
every 6 to 8 months about trivial stuff, then were able to meet 7
years after the "incident." She implicitly dropped the condition that
I needed to clear my father's name, which helped a lot. I wasn't as
embarrassed and ashamed. And by that point I was correctly placing
responsibility on the therapist's doorstep as opposed to blaming
| PSYCHOLOGY ASTRAY: |
| FALLACIES in STUDIES of "REPRESSED MEMORY" and CHILDHOOD TRAUMA |
| by Harrison G. Pope, Jr., M.D. |
| Upton Books |
| This is an indispensable guide for any person who wants or needs |
| to understand the research claims about recovered memories. A |
| review by Stuart Sutherland in the prestigious Nature magazine |
| (July 17, 1997) says that the book is a "model of clear thinking |
| and clear exposition." The book is an outgrowth of the "Focus on |
| Science" columns that have appeared in this newsletter. |
| B O O K S ! B O O K S ! B O O K S ! |
| In the July/August 1997 newsletter we listed some books that had |
| appeared since the Foundation began in 1992 that might be of |
| interest to newsletter readers. Following is an update to that |
| list. It is far from exclusive. |
| Appelbaum, Paul. S., Uyehara, Lisa & Elin, Mark (Eds.) |
| TRAUMA and MEMORY: CLINICAL and LEGAL CONTROVERSIES |
| Oxford University Press, 1996. |
| Bowman, Marilyn |
| INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES in POSTTRAUMATIC RESPONSE |
| Lawrence Erlbaum, 1997. |
| Campbell, Terence |
| SMOKE and MIRRORS: DEVASTATING EFFECT of FALSE SEXUAL ABUSE CLAIMS |
| Insight Books, 1998. |
| Crews, Fred |
| UNAUTHORIZED FREUD: DOUBTERS CONFRONT a LEGEND |
| Viking, 1998. |
| deRivera, Joseph & Sarbin, Theodore. R. (Eds.) |
| BELIEVED-IN IMAGININGS: NARRATIVE CONSTRUCTION of REALITY |
| American Psychological Association, 1998. |
| Esterson, Allen |
| SEDUCTIVE MIRAGE: An EXPLORATION of the WORK of SIGMUND FREUD |
| Open Court, 1993. |
| Feldman, Mark & Feldman, Jacquline |
| STRANGER than FICTION: WHEN OUR MINDS BETRAY US |
| American Psychiatric Press, 1998. |
| Goodwin Jean & Goodwin, Ken |
| MEMORY MAYHEM in AUSTRALIA |
| 1998. (Personal stories) |
| Haaken, Janice |
| PILLAR of SALT: GENDER, MEMORY, and the PERILS of LOOKING BACK |
| Rutgers University Press, 1998. |
| Knapp, Samuel & VanderCreek, Leon |
| TREATING PATIENTS with MEMORIES of ABUSE: LEGAL RISK MANAGEMENT |
| American Psychological Association, 1998. |
| Kotker, Zane |
| TRY to REMEMBER |
| Random House, 1997. (novel) |
| Laurence, D.M. & Titus, R. |
| SKELETONS WITHOUT BONES |
| Wine Press, 1998 (personal account of sister) |
| Lynn, Stephen, J. & McConkey, Kevin (Eds.) |
| TRUTH in MEMORY |
| Guilford, 1998. |
| Oliphant, B. J. |
| DEATH SERVED UP COLD |
| Fawcett, 1994. (Mystery) |
| Prager, Jeffrey |
| PRESENTING the PAST: |
| PSYCHOANALYSIS and SOCIOLOGY of MISREMEMBERING |
| Harvard University Press, 1998. |
| Read, J. Don & Lindsay, D. Stephen |
| RECOLLECTIONS of TRAUMA: |
| SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE and CLINICAL PRACTICE |
| Plenum, 1997. (NATO Conference Papers) |
| Rossman, Mark & Craig, William. |
| YOU the JURY |
| Seven Locks, 1997. (Legal) |
| Sandler, J. & Fonagy, Peter. (Eds.) |
| RECOVERED MEMORIES of ABUSE: TRUE or FALSE |
| International Universities Press, 1997. (Conference Proceedings) |
| Schacter, Daniel |
| MEMORY DISTORTION: |
| HOW MINDS, BRAINS and SOCIETIES RECONSTRUCT the PAST |
| Harvard University Press, 1995. |
| Walker, III, Sydney |
| DOSE of SANITY: MIND, MEDICINE, and MISDIAGNOSIS |
| Wiley, 1996. |
| Webster, Richard |
| GREAT CHILDREN'S HOME PANIC |
| Orwell Press, 1998. |
| Pamela Freyd and Eleanor Goldstein |
| SMILING THROUGH TEARS |
| Upton Books * ISBN No 9-89777.125.7 * $14.95 |
| Over 125 cartoons by more than 65 cartoonists lead the way through |
| a description of the complex web of psychological and social |
| elements that have nurtured the recovered memory movement. Ask |
| your bookstore to order the book or call 1-800-232-7477. |
M A K E A D I F F E R E N C E
| When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall |
| one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. |
| Edmund Burke |
| Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontent Vol. i. p. 526. |
This is a column that will let you know what people are doing
to counteract the harm done by FMS. Remember that six years ago,
FMSF didn't exist. A group of 50 or so people found each other
and today more than 18,000 have reported similar experiences.
Together we have made a difference. How did this happen?
Excerpt from Talk Presented at Indiana FMS Conference 4/18/98 by
Mother of a Retractor:
Even though our daughter is a retractor, my husband and I are not
giving up this fight against False Memory Syndrome. We want to
continue to educate others about the dangers of Recovered Memory
Therapy. It breaks my heart to know that there are so many still whose
families are not back together yet.
I wish I could give you the secret as to how to be reunited with
your son or daughter. I can only give you suggestions, most of which
come from the writings of retractors. What do you say or not say? What
do you do or not do? What is the key to unlocking our daughter's
From the many stories I have heard from retractors I believe that
deep down inside, your daughter or son continues to love you and
sincerely misses being with the family. She or he longs to see you but
is being told that in order to heal must separate from her family. (Or
being told similar anti-family and other anti-Christian statements.)
In a recent newsletter from Ohio a retractor wrote her story. In it
she writes: "I distinctly remember my point of revelation. I was
sitting at the edge of a pool after a night swim, writing in my
journal. It was as if the truth that had been in my heart for all
those years was finally free. I wept at the joy I felt for feeling the
freedom of speaking to my parents, and seeing them again."
The retractor from Ohio had a list of suggestion for parents that
are included in the following:
* At any opportunity, send a note to your children, write from your
heart. Let your children know that you love them and miss them. It is
a good idea to send notes on plain stationary. Flowers and colors are
used by some therapists to help "realize" or "remember" hidden
meanings, and can be used against you.
* Try in as many ways as you can to show your children that you
love them and would never hurt them. Call as often as you think you
can. Write a note every couple weeks. Send no items though. They can
be used against you. Keep everything plain, simple and clear.
* Send a friendly post card at the very least. Many therapists will
tell their patients that if they get mail from home not to open it,
but to bring it into therapy and they will help "interpret" the
letter. Not many people can go to the mail box and pull out a post
card and resist just turning it over and looking at it.
* Get FMS information in any library your daughter may visit. One
retractor said that she had gone into the library looking for
information on "False Memory Syndrome" and could not find any. Ask
your librarian to start a file on the new articles about FMS. My
husband has been very successful in getting our local library to add
many of the new books on FMS. The tragic part though is they still
have nineteen copies of The Courage to Heal out on their shelves. Buy
one of the many good books out about FMS and place it in your church
* Keep the doors open for your children. There is no way to know
how hard your children have tried to resist the therapist's
suggestions or how much they have even doubted their own memories.
Your child's therapist has an answer and excuse for every thing, and
interprets things anyway he wants. When our daughter returned home
she said she had wanted to come home and see her parents, but nobody
would let her. The first thing our daughter did when she came home was
to give us a big hug and say she had always loved us. But how in the
world were we to know that?
* Don't ask your children why they fell for the brainwashing of the
therapist; they will probably not know. Only after they start to heal
and learn more about false memories will they begin to understand what
* Encourage and support your children. Listen to their stories even
if it hurts. They need you and other compassionate friends to listen
while they cry. Don't deny your children the opportunity of talking
about their ordeal.
The best medicine for your children is to spend time with parents
and family. We all would love that! Some parents want to work out all
details or have a complete retraction and apology before contact.
Don't wait that long. Start the process now. Don't throw up road
blocks. Give it a try. Welcome your children with open arms.
I challenge each and every one of you to go out and educate others
about FMS. I encourage each and everyone of you to do something to
reach your children.
Do something! Never give up!
God be with all of you as you work through this process of being
reunited with your precious family.
Mother of a Retractor
| "But, of course, once again these are victims who don't know they |
| are victims. The recovered memory scandals have shown us there is |
| one very good reason why such people don't realize they are |
| victims, and that is that they are not. But victimology teaches |
| that the fact that someone doesn't realize they are a victim makes |
| them even more of a victim." |
| Melanie Phillips, July 2, 1998 |
| The Observer News Page; Pg. 27 |
* N O T I C E S *
* EXPLORING THE INTERNET *
* A new web site of interest to FMSF Newsletter readers: *
* http://www.StopBadTherapy.com *
* Useful information on this site includes: *
* * Phone numbers of professional regulatory boards in all 50 *
* states. *
* * Links for e-mailing the American Psychiatric Association, the *
* American Psychological Association, the American Medical *
* Association, and the National Association of Social Workers. *
* * Lists of online and printed resources: links, articles, books *
* http://www.FMSFonline.org *
* is the address of the website that FMSF is developing. *
* The site currently has background information on the *
* U.S.A. v Peterson trial in Houston, Texas. *
* AREA CODE CHANGE? *
* Please help us save time trying to call you! *
* IF YOUR AREA CODE HAS CHANGED, PLEASE LET US KNOW. *
* ADDRESS CHANGE and SNOWBIRD ALERT! *
* Please remember, we need your address change every time you move. *
* THANK YOU FOR HELPING US TO SERVE YOU BETTER. *
* Any FMSF parents of retractors visiting *
* Champaign-Urbana, Illinois *
* are invited to stay free at our house. *
* Carole Ann and David P. Hunter, *
* 2511 Bedford Drive, Champaign, IL 61820 *
* 217-359-2190 *
* firstname.lastname@example.org *
* ESTATE PLANNING *
* If you have questions about how to *
* include the FMSF in your estate planning, *
* contact Charles Caviness 800-289-9060. *
* (Available 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time.) *
* Another MPD Movie Planned *
* "The Crowded Room," based on the real-life story of *
* William Milligan is to be produced for *
* New Regency Productions and Warner Brothers. *
* PBS Frontline documentaries *
* "DIVIDED MEMORIES" and "SEARCH for SATAN" *
* are available from PBS. *
* Call 1-800-828-4PBS for information. *
* The Golden Baton award for four programs, *
* including the repressed memory expose, *
* has been given to Frontline. *
F M S B U L L E T I N B O A R D
Key: (MO)-monthly; (bi-MO)-bi-monthly; (*)-see Notices above
Contacts & Meetings:
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San Francisco & North Bay - (bi-MO)
Gideon (415) 389-0254 or
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Indiana Assn. for Responsible Mental Health Practices
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NEW JERSEY (So.)
See Wayne, PA
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Bob (513) 541-0816 or (513) 541-5272
Bob & Carole (440) 888-7963
Dee (405) 942-0531
HJ (405) 755-3816
Paul & Betty (717) 691-7660
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John (717) 278-2040
Wayne (includes S. NJ) - 2nd Sat. (MO)
Jim & Jo (610) 783-0396
Wed. (MO) @1pm
Kate (615) 665-1160
Jo or Beverly (713) 464-8970
Mary Lou (915) 591-0271
Keith (801) 467-0669
Judith (802) 229-5154
Sue (703) 273-2343
Pat (304) 291-6448
Katie & Leo (414) 476-0285
Susanne & John (608) 427-3686
BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
Vancouver & Mainland - Last Sat. (MO) @ 1- 4pm
Ruth (604) 925-1539
Victoria & Vancouver Island - 3rd Tues. (MO) @7:30pm
John (250) 721-3219
Joan (204) 284-0118
London -2nd Sun (bi-MO)
Adriaan (519) 471-6338
Eileen (613) 836-3294
Toronto /N. York
Pat (416) 444-9078
Ethel (705) 924-2546
Ken & Marina (905) 637-6030
Paula (705) 692-0600
Alain (514) 335-0863
St. Andre Est.
Mavis (450) 537-8187
Irene (03) 9740 6930
FMS ASSOCIATION fax-(972) 2-625-9282
Task Force FMS of Werkgroep Fictieve
Anna (31) 20-693-5692
Colleen (09) 416-7443
Ake Moller FAX (48) 431-217-90
The British False Memory Society
Roger Scotford (44) 1225 868-682
Deadline for the January/February Newsletter is January 15
Meeting notices MUST be in writing
and should be sent no later than TWO MONTHS PRIOR TO MEETING.
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The False Memory Syndrome Foundation is a qualified 501(c)3 corpora-
tion with its principal offices in Philadelphia and governed by its
Board of Directors. While it encourages participation by its members
in its activities, it must be understood that the Foundation has no
affiliates and that no other organization or person is authorized to
speak for the Foundation without the prior written approval of the Ex-
ecutive Director. All membership dues and contributions to the Founda-
tion must be forwarded to the Foundation for its disposition.
Pamela Freyd, Ph.D., Executive Director
FMSF Scientific and Professional Advisory Board, December 1, 1998
AARON T. BECK, M.D., D.M.S., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia,
PA; TERENCE W. CAMPBELL, Ph.D., Clinical and Forensic Psychology,
Sterling Heights, MI; ROSALIND CARTWRIGHT, Ph.D., Rush Presbyterian
St. Lukes Medical Center, Chicago, IL; JEAN CHAPMAN, Ph.D., University
of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; LOREN CHAPMAN, Ph.D., University of Wiscon-
sin, Madison, WI; FREDERICK C. CREWS, Ph.D., University of California,
Berkeley, CA; ROBYN M. DAWES, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University,
Pittsburgh, PA; DAVID F. DINGES, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia, PA; HENRY C. ELLIS, Ph.D., University of New Mexico,
Albuquerque, NM; FRED H. FRANKEL, MBChB, DPM, Harvard University Medi-
cal School, Boston MA; GEORGE K. GANAWAY, M.D., Emory University of
Medicine, Atlanta, GA; MARTIN GARDNER, Author, Hendersonville, NC
ROCHEL GELMAN, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, CA; HENRY
GLEITMAN, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; LILA
GLEITMAN, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; RICHARD
GREEN, M.D., J.D., Charing Cross Hospital, London; DAVID A. HALPERIN,
M.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY; ERNEST HILGARD,
Ph.D., Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA; JOHN HOCHMAN, M.D., UCLA
Medical School, Los Angeles, CA; DAVID S. HOLMES, Ph.D., University of
Kansas, Lawrence, KS; PHILIP S. HOLZMAN, Ph.D., Harvard University,
Cambridge, MA; ROBERT A. KARLIN, Ph.D., Rutgers University, New
Brunswick, NJ; HAROLD LIEF, M.D., University of Pennsylvania, Phila-
delphia, PA; ELIZABETH LOFTUS, Ph.D., University of Washington, Sea-
tle, WA; SUSAN L. McELROY, M.D., University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati,
OH; PAUL McHUGH, M.D., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; HAROLD
MERSKEY, D.M., University of Western Ontario, London, Canada; SPENCER
HARRIS MORFIT, Author, Westford, MA; ULRIC NEISSER, Ph.D., Cornell
University, Ithaca, N.Y.; RICHARD OFSHE, Ph.D., University of Califor-
nia, Berkeley, CA; EMILY CAROTA ORNE, B.A., University of Pennsylvan-
ia, Philadelphia, PA; MARTIN ORNE, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsyl-
vania, Philadelphia, PA; LOREN PANKRATZ, Ph.D., Oregon Health Sciences
University, Portland, OR; CAMPBELL PERRY, Ph.D., Concordia University,
Montreal, Canada; MICHAEL A. PERSINGER, Ph.D., Laurentian University,
Ontario, Canada; AUGUST T. PIPER, Jr., M.D., Seattle, WA; HARRISON
POPE, Jr., M.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; JAMES RANDI,
Author and Magician, Plantation, FL; HENRY L. ROEDIGER, III, Ph.D.,
Washington University, St. Louis, MO; CAROLYN SAARI, Ph.D., Loyola
University, Chicago, IL; THEODORE SARBIN, Ph.D., University of Cali-
fornia, Santa Cruz, CA; THOMAS A. SEBEOK, Ph.D., Indiana University,
Bloomington, IN; MICHAEL A. SIMPSON, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., M.R.C,
D.O.M., Center for Psychosocial & Traumatic Stress, Pretoria, South
Africa; MARGARET SINGER, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley,
CA; RALPH SLOVENKO, J.D., Ph.D., Wayne State University Law School,
Detroit, MI; DONALD SPENCE, Ph.D., Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center,
Piscataway, NJ; JEFFREY VICTOR, Ph.D., Jamestown Community College,
Jamestown, NY; HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD, M.A., Institute of Psychological
Therapies, Northfield, MN; CHARLES A. WEAVER, III, Ph.D. Baylor Uni-
versity, Waco, TX.
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