People often ask FMSF questions about therapy, many questions beyond our scope. There are two general points about which we do comment, however.
The mental health professional organizations agree that there is no way to tell the truth or falsity of a memory in the absence of external corroboration. See Statements.
Unfortunately, there is a tremendous gap between what science has shown about recovered-memories and many therapists’ beliefs about recovered-memories. Although there is virtually no credible evidence that memories can be repressed and then accurately recovered decades later, many practicing therapists continue to believe that this can happen.  In fact, ordinary memory processes can account for the phenomenon of recovering a memory.  A therapist’s beliefs about recovered-memories will likely be reflected in any treatment plan.
 Patihis, L. et al. (2014). Are the "Memory Wars" over? A scientist-practitioner gap in beliefs about repressed memory. Psychological Science, 25, 519-530. Link
 McNally, R.J. & Geraerts, E. (2009). A new solution to the recovered memory debate. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4(2), 126-134. Link
Evidence Based Treatment
Increasingly, therapy treatment is moving in the direction of evidence-based treatment. Evidence-based therapies, are those that have been tested and shown to be safe and effective for certain problems. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, for example, has been demonstrated to be effective in a number of areas. The National Institutes of Health provides a list and description of evidence-based therapies.
Unfortunately not all clinicians practice evidence-based therapies. When selecting a therapist, it is important to understand the therapists’ treatment methods, philosophy and beliefs about memory.
 Lilienfeld, S.O., et al., Why many clinical psychologists are resistant to evidence-based practice: Root causes and constructive remedies, Clinical Psychology Review (2013).
Often questions are general. For example: "How can I find a therapist?" or "What can I expect in therapy?" or "What is borderline personality?" Professional organizations have the answers to many questions, especially those about diagnoses and treatment, topics beyond the scope of the FMS Foundation. If your questions are in this area, try the following websites:
Following are some therapy-related topics about which the FMSF and its Scientific Advisory Board have written:
Psychotherapies Validated and Not (August Piper, 1994)
What is the Purpose of Informed Consent? (Alan Feld, 1999)
What Can a Person Expect in the Therapeutic Relationship? (Margaret Singer & Janja Lalich, 1996)
Hiring and Firing a Therapist (Terence Campbell, 1994)
What Are Examples of Suggestion in Therapy? (Transcripts from the trial of USA v. Peterson et al.)
Last Updated: April 29, 2014
Except where noted, all material on this site is copyrighted © 2006-17 False Memory Syndrome Foundation.
PO Box 30044 • Philadelphia, PA 19103 • Telephone (215) 940-1040
Email: Send an e-mail to FMSF