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News From the Netherlands and Germany

FMSF News Alert - April 19, 2016

Dear Friends,

The following letters contain news from our correspondents in The Netherlands and in Germany.

Pam and J. Bean

News from Belgium and The Netherlands

March 5, 2016

Regretfully, I must tell you that the monster of memory recovery therapy is still rearing its ugly head in The Netherlands. Many of its most forceful proponents in the nineties, now hold important positions in Dutch professional associations. I am told that organizations that focus on "childhood trauma" are receiving important subsidies from the Dutch government, which means that they have political clout.

I am following one case in The Netherlands with particular interest. A relatively young couple (in their fifties) went to visit their 25-year-old daughter in May 2015. The daughter was in treatment at a hospital in Utrecht for Anorexia. During this meeting, the daughter accused the father of past child sexual abuse. The therapist, a licensed and registered psychologist, said immediately: "I have not suggested anything about child sexual abuse to your daughter." With no external corroboration of the daughter’s accusation, the therapist prescribed childhood trauma therapy. The parents continue to be devastated, but they are also full of energy and motivation to fight the accusation and to do whatever is necessary to get their daughter back.

There are some other cases of FMS currently active in The Netherlands. One of them is of a grown woman who was influenced by a "spiritual guide" to accuse her brother of past child sexual abuse.

In January of this year 2016, the Dutch Health Inspector’s authority to investigate therapists has been broadened. It now includes investigating not only licensed therapists but also alternative unlicensed therapists. This means that complaints can finally be brought against "spiritual guides" and "Christian therapists." I find this an interesting development. A few days ago it prompted the former spokesman of the Dutch FMS association to repeat his request to the Dutch Health Inspector for information about how his complaint against an alternative psychotherapist is going - a complaint filed about twenty years ago! He wrote a truly beautiful, crystal clear letter to the Health Inspector. Another family is also re-filing a complaint, after a previous complaint had been rejected on the grounds (legally valid at that time) that the therapist in question was unlicensed.

Best wishes from a friend in the Netherlands

Dutch FMS:

News from Germany

March 7, 2016

I am Hans Delfs, president or False Memory Deutschland, the German False Memory branch. I want to add some remarks about the situation in Germany.

Unfortunately, here too the recovered memory craze still subsists. The trauma therapists have a flourishing association and much influence and financial support. During the last 12 months we had about one request for help every one or two weeks. Not all of the requests are cases of recovered memory therapy. Some concern children who were interrogated by police in an inadequate and suggestive way. Other cases are just deliberate false accusations, most of them in the follow up of a divorce. But we had at least 20 false memory cases, all of them induced by psychotherapy. I can’t help but wonder if this is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are also hopeful signs: Since 2012, when False Memory Deutschland was founded and we were able to recommend capable lawyers to the wrongly accused persons, no case has been lost. All cases ended either with a not guilty verdict or were dropped by the state prosecutor, mostly after receiving an expert assessment.

We also note that the media have begun to be more interested in our cases. The recent books by Prof. Steller in Germany and Julia Shaw in England are most helpful. They received and still receive a lot of public echo.

We have organized a conference in Halle, Germany, a city in the former German Democratic Republic. Many cultural differences still exist between the former East Germany and West Germany and, therefore, we feel that it is important to have our conference there. The participants of the conference will be professionals of psychiatry and psychotherapy along with authorities in criminal prosecution. We think there will be media attention and thus will expose more people to the problem of false memories developed in therapeutic contexts.

Best wishes from Germany,

Hans Delfs

False Memory Deutschland: