FMSF NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE - July 3, 1993 - Vol. 2, No. 7, HTML version

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3401 Market Street suite 130,  Philadelphia, PA 19104,  (215-387-1865)

This address and the phone numbers have changed as of July 15, 2000

Dear Friends,

  The tension surrounding FMS is increasing as more articles and
television shows increase awareness of the issues. Many therapists
seem to feel that FMSF is attacking them. Many families, especially
parents in their 70s and 80s, tell us that FMSF is not acting quickly
or strongly enough. Misconceptions and misunderstandings surely
contribute to the problem. How can we reconcile different views
quickly and calmly?
  As we have had the opportunity to speak to groups of therapists in
the past month, we have been able to learn of some areas of concern to
them: "How is FMSF funded?" How do we know that the parents have not
forgotten their abuse and are in denial? Is there really such a
syndrome as FMS? Is FMSF suing therapists? When we have been able to
talk with professionals about these and other questions, we have found
that there are more points of agreement than there are differences. We
will address some of these questions and other concerns in this
  We will start by separating questions into various categories.
Perhaps by categorizing problems, solutions that once seemed
impossible will begin to emerge. It seems to us that the issues
related to FMS are scientific, political, legal, therapy and maybe
economic. Perhaps others will suggest better categories.

  The scientific issues involve the nature of memory and this is the
fundamental concern of FMSF. Is there any scientific evidence for any
process for memory of events other than that in which fragments are
reconstructed and reinterpreted? Is there any other way to think about
memories of events other than that some memories are true, some a
mixture of fact and fantasy and some false?
  Speakers at the Memory and Reality Conference held in April 1993
included the most prestigious memory researchers in the world. Their
collective opinion is that there is no conclusive scientific evidence
to the contrary. Their collective opinion is that childhood amnesia
exists (although there is lively debate on the ages) and that people
can be influenced to remember events that did not happen.
  There are three papers that have been widely cited as providing
evidence for a process of repression that would explain forgetting
many different events over a period of many years (Herman and
Schatzow, 1987; Briere and Conte, 1989; Williams, 1992). When examined
critically, it is clear that these papers support the notion that
people forget many things, a point that is not at issue. That does not
mean that these are not important or valuable papers to help us
understand the long-term effects of child abuse. It only means that
they do not provide conclusive evidence for a memory process that
could explain a process of "repression" of many repeated events that
took place over many years.
  Therapists have chided us for neglecting to discuss current trauma
research. We were advised to examine papers by Van der Kolk and by
Schacter and Kihlstrom. It is our understanding that the work of Van
de Kolk is concerned with some classic Janetian concepts of
dissociation but aside from clinical cases, there is no claim to
provide conclusive evidence for repression of the memory of many
events over many years. The work of Schacter and Kihlstrom argues that
infantile and childhood amnesia is a normal psychological phenomenon
that has nothing to do with trauma. Work in this area is important,
especially in feminist therapy and to our understanding of the long-
term effects of trauma. It does not contradict the weight of
scientific evidence that memories of events are reconstructed and
reinterpreted and that some memories are true, some a mixture of fact
and fantasy and some false.
  Another paper that therapists have told us offers evidence for
repression of repeated events taking place over many years is that of
Lenore Terr, 1991, "Childhood traumas: An outline and overview",
American Journal of Psychiatry 148:1. Terr argues that a single
traumatic event will be remembered but that a series of traumatic
events will be repressed. She claims that the recovered repressed
memory of these events will be more pristine. This is a theory. The
weight of current scientific evidence is that memories of events are
reconstructed and reinterpreted.
   What type of evidence would support such a theory as Terr's? That
is being discussed and argued and weighed in professional forums right
now. There is a division between clinicians and researchers on what is
to be taken as evidence. The task forces that have been formed by the
major professional organizations will have to resolve the confusion
within the professional community. Will they hold to traditional
standards of science or not? This is the concern of FMSF.
  The question of whether the parents could have forgotten the abuse
and are in denial is an empirical question. Of course it is possible.
But is it probable? Evidence should be weighed in terms of
probabilities and possibilities. People who contact FMSF ask to have
an objective body examine the evidence to determine if they are in
denial and guilty of the terrible crimes with which they are accused,
or if they are falsely accused. The question FMSF asks the
professional community is what would constitute evidence that the
parents are not guilty.
  One person told us that she was sure that the 18% of the families
accused of satanic ritual abuse were not guilty. She said that if they
had really done it, they would turn to the cult for support not FMSF.
This is interesting logic, but it does not answer the question: what
is the evidence that would be accepted that an accused person was not
  Judith Herman, M.D. and others have said that we are dealing with
political issues. The vocabulary adopted by the media supports this.
Whether there is proof or not, accusers are called "survivors" and the
accused are called "perpetrators." This month, we were on a panel in
East Hartford, CT that was sponsored by a private clinic, much of
whose work involves survivors. When we arrived, there were six pickets
outside. An organizer of the conference spoke to the pickets and
invited a spokesperson to participate in the meeting, but the offer
was politely declined. Why? A complaint of the pickets was that there
were no survivors at the conference. Had they come in, they would have
noted that survivors constituted a significant portion of both the
panel and the audience. When people picket, it is confirmation that
political issues are at stake. But what are those issues?
  There is a tremendous fear that by raising the question of whether a
memory could be false, FMSF will set back the clocks to a time when
women and children who tried to say that they had been abused were
ignored or often made to feel that they were to blame for the abuse.
We are very concerned about that possibility. No one that we know
wants a return to a situation that was wrong and was not good for
women and children. The question we have asked is, "Can an accusation
of abuse be wrong?" If even one accusation is false, then there must
be criteria for examining such accusations. False accusations do
indeed raise the possibility that it will be more difficult to believe
any accusations. Therefore, it is important to have consistent and
reliable procedures for dealing with this issue.
  One therapist suggested to us that the FMS phenomenon and the
picketing was really a "metaphor for the devaluation of women in our
society." That same day we read that Susan Herrick, a singer who
claims she is abused, reported that "Some of my memory is literal,
some is metaphoric. To me, what is more important than what really
happened is what I felt." (Philadelphia Inquirer, June 16, 1993)
  Is the FMS phenomenon a metaphor? To accuse as a metaphor? Making
criminal accusations based on metaphor rather than historical fact
will trivialize the sexual abuse of children and women? A recent
article in the New York Times Magazine, by K. Roiphe, 6/13/93, made a
similar observation, "In their claims of a date-rape epidemic on
campus, feminists subvert their own cause."
  Is the survivor movement a political movement? At least one claim
for this is found in survivor literature.

| The 50,000,000 survivors in the United states shall join forces as |
| a moral, educationa, and politial power.                           |
|                                                                    |
|               The Chorus, V,3, May-June 93, Survivor Proclamations |

  Where does the political aspect come from? Is the figure 50 million
survivors accurate? Where does it come from?
  During the past decades, women have pointed out that medical
research, treatment and diagnostic criteria neglected the concerns of
women. That is just beginning to change as a result of the active
lobbying of women It has been hard work to change the
institutionalized biases. During this period, feminist therapy
developed for the same reason. Some women felt that traditional
orientation classified women as pathological when their symptoms were
really the result of a cultural experience that was different from
men's. A particular point of feminist therapy is that "trauma," which
has classically been defined as something outside of normal
experience, is an integral part of the life of women in a society
controlled by white male Christians. The statistic that one out of
three women has been sexually abused before the age of 16 is cited as
evidence that women have been unwitting victims of a rape-accepting
culture. The claim is that rape is so common in our society that,
"many women who have never been raped have symptoms of rape trauma."
(Laura Brown, "Not outside the range: One feminist perspective on
psychic trauma," American Imago, 48, 1.) The political aspect formed
as this branch of feminist therapy moved to a "social change"
orientation. For women to be better, society must change. Survivors
seem to believe they are working for a 'cultural revolution,' and that
therapy is the means to bring about this change.
  To understand the current FMS phenomenon, we can study other such
movements and the way they often take on a life of their own. This is
what seems to be happening with FMS. Robert Jay Lifton in "Thought
Reform and the Psychology of Totalism," U of N. Carolina Press, 1961
provides a starting point for understanding the current 'cult-like but
not a cult' behavior of people who identify themselves as survivors.
Cult-like behaviors such as "confession", (the exposure and
renunciation of past and present evil) and the "reeducation" (remaking
the person in the survivor-victim image) are characteristics of
movements that become totalistic in their thinking, i.e. view the
world in terms of totally right or totally wrong. Even the
"confrontations" in the therapists' offices begin to make some sense
as mock trials within a political/cultural revolution. This
interpretation meshes with parents' comments that their children have
been "brain washed." We have not been able to make sense of the cruel
behavior and senseless destruction of families in terms of "therapy."
This is behavior that can be found in political movements.
  When FMSF questions the reality of some claims of "repressed
memories," it is viewed as a challenge by the political movement. The
FMSF issue, however, is scientific: what is the scientific evidence
for memory of events.

  When we spoke to one group of therapists this month, they told us
that they had worked hard for their credentials and their licenses,
and they assumed that the boards that had certified and licensed them
were monitoring their profession. They were surprised to learn that it
was possible for almost anyone to get a small business license and to
promote themselves as a therapist. At the conclusion of the meeting
these therapists commented that they must see to it that simplistic
"check lists" of symptoms of abuse are abandoned and that more careful
monitoring of many aspects of the profession were needed. The
therapists at this meeting suggested that FMSF could serve a valuable
function as a group concerned for consumers of mental health care.
  We understand that some therapists may feel threatened when we raise
the question of measuring the effectiveness of various therapies and
defensive at the thought that we are suggesting that they are
implanting memories. Our concern is with the profession, not
individual therapists. We are working with professionals. We ask that
therapists reflect on their assumptions and on their practices. Should
therapy be political and if so what are the boundaries? If some
therapists use age regression hypnosis in space alien abduction
therapy and in past life therapy then it is a fair and honest question
for consumers to ask for the evidence of benefits of this therapy,
especially since their insurance is paying for it. We ask that
professionals demand the most accurate and scientific information
possible when they attend continuing education workshops. We ask that
they act with great care in the extremely complicated issues that
arise with an accusation of abuse. We ask them to remember to do no
  We know all too well that there are unfortunate situations in which
parents neglect and harm their children. We know that most therapists
are doing their best to stop such deplorable actions. That is what we
want too.

  Critics accuse FMSF of encouraging lawsuits. That is not correct.
FMSF does not encourage or discourage lawsuits. It does not provide
legal advice per se. As part of the educational goals, it does make
resources available to accused persons and their counsel. It documents
cases based on repressed memories, especially cases of persons in
direct contact with the Foundation. Most of these persons are accused
parents or family members. Some are accused teachers, mental health
professionals or others in trusted positions. Others are former
clients of therapists and they now believe that their memories were
implanted. One out of seven reports to FMSF involves some stage of
legal action taken against a person identified in "memories" elicited
in therapy. Information about these cases is available in the Legal
Survey that can be ordered from FMSF.
  It seems odd that FMSF is accused of pursuing lawsuits at a time
when suing has been established as a therapeutic process. "Courage to
Heal," for example, has been advising clients to get strong by suing
since 1988 and lists lawyers who will take these cases. A sufficient
number of cases have been brought that at least one insurance company
has sent notices stating, "Your policy was never intended to cover
injury and medical expenses resulting from alleged, threatened or
actual sexual, mental or physical molestation or abuse of children."
No professional organization has said that suing is not established or
recommended therapeutic practice. At a recent meeting we attended, a
lawyer suggested to therapists that they have clients sign a release
form if they use hypnosis. This recommendation was made so that
clients could not later sue therapists because "memories" recovered in
this fashion would not be admissible in court by the client who was
suing her parent perpetrators. The National Organization for Women
has a book entitled, "How to Sue Your Parents." This is not to say
that people should not sue perpetrators or anyone else. Suing may
indeed be one of the most effective therapeutic practices in use. What
do the outcome studies show?
  The Franklin case in California in November, 1990, was the first
time in our country that anyone was ever convicted and sent to prison
solely on the basis of uncorroborated recovered repressed memory.
Since then, there has been an explosion of repressed memory cases.
George Franklin, in a precedent-setting case, was convicted of
first-degree murder of Susan Nason on the testimony of his daughter
Eileen who claimed that she had a flashback of a scene twenty years
earlier. According to Harry MacLean, a lawyer who has researched this
case, the only major facts that Eileen presented were those that
appeared in the newspapers at the time. (Harry MacLean, "Once Upon A
Time: A true story of memory, murder, and the law," Harper Collins,
1993. )
  This case has been cited to us as proof of repression. According to
MacLean, (p 106) Eileen told her mother "that she had visualized the
killing while under hypnosis." After learning that hypnotically
enhanced evidence was not admissible, she then said that she had not
told the truth, that she had retrieved the memory in a dream. Later
she said that she had retrieved the memory in therapy. The final
version was that she had retrieved the memory when she had a flashback
looking at her own daughter.
  The expert testimony about memory was presented by Leonore Terr,
M.D., David Spiegel, M.D. and Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D. Spiegel and
Loftus presented testimony that reflects the mainstream view of memory
researchers. Terr presented testimony that was believed by the
jury. Terr testified as a psychiatrist who was an expert in this area.
She claimed that a Type I trauma, a single "blow", will be remembered.
A Type II trauma caused by multiple incidents will be repressed. She
also testified that true memories are rich in detail and emotional.
  This Franklin case started a debate in the legal community, the
legislative community, the therapy community, the media and the
public, but memory researchers have remained consistent in stating
that memories of events are reconstructed and reinterpreted. Yet in
state after state, legislatures have made "repressed memories" a
matter of law as they have extended the statutes of limitations and
written into law that repression exists.
  "Repression" is becoming defined by the legal system and is no
longer many different theories for which researchers have been
searching for evidence for more than sixty years. At the same time,
therapists have introduced the practice of using the legal system as a
part of therapy. Psychology and law have merged.  

 /                                                                  \
 |         Excerpt from "Entire Lives" by Albert Goldbarth          |
 |                     New Yorker, May 17, 1993                     |
 |                                                                  |
 | That afternoon, in her therapist's office, several questions     |
 | backtrack to her childhood. A part of her is five and half-      |
 | remembering / no, inventing / no, remembering / now there isn't  |
 | any difference / monstrous things.                               |

                        RECENT LEGAL DECISIONS                         

  The following decisions and related information were sent to the
FMSF office in the past month.
                   Milwaukee Journal, June 23, 1993                  
A woman, 54, accused father of childhood abuse that she didn't
remember until therapy after a 1986 car wreck. The request was
dismissed because suit was not filed within two-year limit. Supreme
Court's majority said, "We do not discount the psychologist's
perception that shifting the blame is therapeutically significant, but
we think it inappropriate to tailor statutes of limitation to
therapeutic goals."
                 Illinois Daily Herald, May 26, 1993 
A DuPage County judge dismissed a $12 million lawsuit filed by a woman
who claimed her father had sexually abused her from 3 to 18 years old.
She said she had blocked the abuse out of her mind until treatment
with sodium amytal. In the lawsuit the woman claimed hat she had been
in psychotherapy since age 14 and that the abuse had caused so much
damage that she was unable to work. The therapist who administered
the amytal said that the use oF sodium amytal often draws out fantasy-
based feelings and thoughts, along with actual recollections.
  The judge is quoted: "When the only evidence the plaintiff has are
recollections which her own treater (psychotherapist) says may be
fantasy, then there's nothing for the court to do but dismiss the
             United States District Court in Connecticut                
 An Appellate Judge ruled in limine on the defendants request to
exclude testimony of the plaintiff. "Since the plaintiff concedes by
admission that she has no pre-hypnotic recollection, and post-
hypnotic recall is inherently unreliable, prejudicial, non- probative,
and is not based on personal recollection, as a matter of law and
science, this Motion should be granted."
       Detroit News, Detroit Free Press  May 28, 1993  Michigan
  An Oakland Circuit Court judge dismissed a sexual abuse lawsuit
filed against a father by his 37-year old daughter. The daughter
claimed that she remembered during therapy in California when she was
33 that her father had performed sexual acts on her for about eight
years starting when she was four. She remember that he sodomized her
with a screwdriver and performed oral sex at age 9 during a family
trip to Niagara Falls. The judge ruled that there was inadequate
psychological support for the "repressed memory" theory.
  (Although the statute of limitations on personal injury claims in
Michigan is generally three years, the time limit can be extended if
the person bringing the claim can show his or her memory has been
  The defense attorney contended that the therapist had denied using
age regression therapy. The therapist said she merely used relaxation
techniques to help the client feel comfortable.
  The judge noted that the therapist was a marriage and family
counselor who was qualified only as a $5 an hour intern, and had
failed an oral examination for certification. The key psychological
witness testified she was unaware that plaintiff had taken
hallucinogenic drugs before therapy that could have affected her
  The father, 61 years old, said "I've always said it did not happen,
but what did I win? The other side is still saying I'm guilty."

                   Santa Ana, California, June 1993
  Lawyer William B. Craig, J.D. informed us that in Orange County
Superior Court, a jury took just two hours to return a defendant's
verdict. The trial had lasted for two weeks. Seven incidents over a
twelve year period of time were alleged. The jurors stated that based
on the evidence that was presented, they simply did not believe that
the defendant performed the alleged acts. They found that the events
either could not have happened or they were such trivial acts that
they could not have constituted a sexual abuse incident.
  Witnesses statements and other contradictory information showed that
the events could not have happened. Craig said that he used a chart in
his final argument that he felt made the issues clear. The jury also
said that they did not even have to consider the question of
"repressed" memory because they were so convinced that the events did
not happen.

                       Dallas, Texas, June 1993
  A Dallas lawyer reported that several therapists who induced false
memories ended up paying substantial six-figure settlements to his
client. The settlement resolved the case brought by a former client
against her therapists. The settlement was sought for inducing
memories and for the fact that their conduct fell below the standard
of care.

                  Minnesota and Texas, October 1992
  The ABA Journal (February, 1993) reported in an article called
"Liability for spouse's abuse: New theory holds mothers accountable
for failing to protect children" that although homeowners' insurance
policies exclude coverage for intentional wrongdoing, they do cover
claims for negligence. In cases that did not involve "repressed
memories" a Scott County Minnesota District Court jury and a Texas
County Court Judge awarded multi-million awards for compensatory
damages to children now in their late teens because their mothers had
not protected them from the abuse.

                    Seattle, Washington, June 1993
  A Superior Court case involving alleged abuse taking place 17 to 23
years ago in which plaintiff requested 3.4 million dollars was
dismissed with prejudice. The judge wrote,"The court is concerned in
this case with historical fact: what actually occurred between
plaintiff and defendant in the years 1970-76. Plaintiff has the
burden of proof. She must show, by a preponderance of the evidence,
that the abusive conduct she now recalls in fact occurred. The issue
the court must resolve... is whether it is more probably true than not
true that the defendant sexually abused plaintiff...In deciding this
case the court cannot rely on intuition or decide the case based on
sympathy or prejudice. It must limit itself to the testimony and
exhibits admitted into evidence...Because the court has concluded that
plaintiff has not shown that it is more probable than not that
defendant abused her, judgment will be entered in favor of defendant
dismissing plaintiff's claim with prejudice."

             Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer  June 19, 1993
  A group of 40 parents were invited to speak to the Ohio State Board
of Psychology. The parents asked the Board to establish guidelines for
therapists who suspect their patients were molested as children.
"Board members agreed that the huge increase in the number of
repressed-memory cases is disturbing and said enactment of new
standards is being discussed at state and national levels."

 Concord, New Hampshire - reported in Providence Journal, 
       June 23, 1993
 "State regulators stripped a psychologist of his license after he
convinced a patient and her husband that she was in danger of being
killed by satanic forces...regulators said that allowing him to keep
practicing poses a threat to the safety of potential patients." The
patient complained to the board about the therapist, Roland Spencer,
last year. "According to the board, Smith told the client's husband to
keep her at home to prevent her from falling victim to a satanic

     Boston, MA, reported in Philadelphia Inquirer, July 3, 1993
  In U.S. District Court in Boston, an MIT researcher was ordered to
pay his daughter, now 31, $500,000. The daughter claimed her father
raped her hundreds of times from age 4 until 16 but that she did not
remember it until she was in therapy in 1985. The mother, who divorced
the accused in 1984, testified she did not witness any rapes but
remembered seeing him on top of another daughter in bed when she was
14 and once saw him grab a baby sitter's breast. During the seven-day
trial, the father argued that the suit was void because of the statute
of limitations. The father is quoted as saying, "She said she was
raped 3,000 times and no one saw anything. It seems to me her mental
problems would fit the criteria of borderline personality disorder. I
never did anything."
/                                                                    \
| "Strange as it may seem for such an exacting discipline with such  |
| potential to influence people's lives for good or ill,             |
| psychotherapy is not a licensed profession. Therapy is an          |
| "unregulated field." No regulatory body at any governmental level  | 
| oversees certification and maintenance of professional standards   |
| for the practice of psychotherapy as such, though standards exist  |
| for psychiatry and the other professions most psychotherapists     |
| belong to. Legally, anyone can call him or herself a               |
| "psychotherapist."                                                 |
|              p 73 The Consumer's Guide to Psychotherapy            |
|              by Jack Engler, Ph.D. and Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.       |
|              published by Simon & Schuster, 1992.              |

                        HOW THE BRITISH SEE US

  "The spate of adults "recovering memories" of childhood abuse which
has swept America owes not a little to the expensive encouragement
meted out to distressed young women by psychiatrists of one sort or
  "A client who comes to the conclusion that she has been sexually
abused is, after all, likely to need far more intensive treatment over
a far longer period of time than one who is merely found to be
suffering from a few easily-worked through fantasies..."
  "America is presently riven between self-proclaimed incest survivors
and skeptics who range from those extremists who deny the prevalence
of child abuse at all, to moderates who merely think the matter has
got out of hand..."
  "Never mind Freud's integrity -- was he right or was he wrong?"
                                               Claudia FitzHerbert    
                                            London Daily Telegraph
                                                      May 21, 1993


 In the June newsletter under the section "How the British See Us" the
date of the article should have been May 2, 1993.
/                                                                    \
| "We do not discount the psychologist's perception that shifting    |
| the blame is therapeutically significant, but we think it          |
| inappropriate to tailor statutes of limitation to therapeutic      |
| goals."                                                            |
|               Wisconsin Supreme Court majority opinion, June 1993. }

/                                                                    \
|             Where do 4,631 families live?  July 1, '93             |
|   AK(9)   AL(18)  AR(14)  AZ(132) CA(767) CO(73)  CT(48)  DE(16)   |
|   FL(192) GA(56)  HI(6)   IA(33)  ID(22)  IL(199) IN(45)  KS(46)   |
|   KY(18)  LA(18)  MA(124) MD(76)  ME(22)  MI(150) MN(85)  MO(88)   |
|   MS(2)   MT(33)  NC(62)  ND(6)   NE(22)  NH(19)  NJ(115) NM(34)   |
|   NV(21)  NY(207) OH(152) OK(41)  OR(109) PA(249) RI(13)  SC(19)   |
|   SD(12)  TN(31)  TX(171) UT(156) VA(64)  VT(20)  WA(214) WI(146)  | 
|   WV(8)   WY(8)   DC(6)   VI(3)   PR(1)  Canada:  AB(18)  BC(50)   |
|   MB(39)  NS(8)   ON(142) PQ(4)   SK(7)   PE(1)   Australia(3)     |
|   England(150)  France(2)  Germany(1)  Ireland(1)  Israel(2)       |
|   Netherlands(1)  New Zealand(1)                                   |
|                Each family represents many people.                 |


  Although we do not know the truth or falsity of any report, nor can
we know what transpires in therapy sessions, we can learn what
therapists believe, what they expect, and what they practice from what
they publish in the literature. In the absence of professional
statements to the contrary, we must assume that what we read is what
the profession approves. This month we read an article published by
the Mental Health Association in Tompkins County, NY, Spring 1993.
"Helping Sexually Abused Clients to Remember: The Use of Forceps in
Psychotherapy" (Mitch Bobrow, MSW, States of Mind).
  Readers should obtain the original and not rely just on these
excerpted passages to document the practice advocated by an
established mental health agency. This article appears to state that
(1) therapists believe that clients' problems are due to past abuse
not issues of the here and now, (2) therapists expect that clients
will not remember this abuse and so the therapists' job is to help
clients find memories, and (3) suggestive and invasive techniques are
necessary and appropriate for this purpose.
  Because a cultural healing is beginning, the taboo against talking
about sexual abuse is slowly lifting. Many abuse victims are heading
into therapy not realizing at first that underneath their daily
difficulties and hang-ups lies a buried memory of sexual abuse.
Trained therapists can often spot the signs indicating an incestuous
  The healing process can not be completed until the childhood
memories that were stuffed into the subconscious during the abuse are
remembered, talked about and openly acknowledged. "The truth shall set
us free" remains the basis for all deep psychotherapy...
  This process of regaining one's memory requires that the therapist
be both focused and directive. The first stage of the process is the
relaxation phase. I usually begin by conducting a five or ten minute
relaxation process asking the client to concentrate meticulously on
the sensations associated with breathing. By creating a formal period
of relaxation, the client often feels a detachment from day to day
life which makes it easier to access the subconscious. The
disadvantage of this formal relaxation is that clients sometimes
distrust the material that the subconscious divulges because it didn't
emerge in the normal manner...
  Part II of the process I call the 'affirmation stage.' Now that the
client is relaxed, I introduce an affirmation which may be a simple
sentence like 'I'm ready to remember everything' or 'I'm ready to talk
about what happened to me as a child.' I ask the client to say the
sentence out loud...
  Usually, more probing is necessary as a willingness to remember must
be supplemented by some direct digging. If no memories begin surfacing
and while the client is still deeply relaxed I begin asking simple
questions like "What happened to you?" over and over again...
  If the client remains frustrated and wishes to continue the
therapist can up the ante by asking the client to say certain key
phrases loudly. For example, "Take your hands off me!" repeated
vehemently will often penetrate the subconscious and allow memories to
  The therapist must be alert to the client's needs. "Take your hands
off me!" might not work as well as "Stop choking me!" for example.
Ask the client what phrase he or she suspects might evoke the
strongest sensations. Then stay open to where the client intuitively
  As clinicians we must stay rooted in an abiding faith that the truth
does indeed set us free. Because it is human nature to bury traumatic
childhood memories, therapists must gently but consistently support
their clients to remember...
  The body remembers what has happened to it. A repressed memory is
never erased completely. To cope with pain, children leave a part of
themselves during abusive episodes. Nevertheless some part remains and
records everything. Repressed memories often emerge as fleeting
pictures or staccato and mysterious memory fragments. It is difficult
at first to make sense of how the images fit together. In time as more
images surface an intuitive distinction between memories and fantasies
arises helping the client and therapist piece together the whole
picture of abuse...
   The gradual wearing down of a victim's defenses can occur more
rapidly and thoroughly when the therapist uses directive and focused
methods. In childhood, a forceps delivery gets the child unstuck so
that life can begin. When working with sexual abuse survivors, using a
directive and forceful psychotherapeutic tool may help shorten a
client's recovery process by months or years...

                        CONTROVERSIAL ARTICLE

  We were questioned recently about an interview that was given by
Hollida Wakefield and Ralph Underwager for a Dutch journal concerned
with pedophilia, (Paidika, 1993). Dr. Underwager believes that parts
of this interview could be misinterpreted to mean that on occasion he
might be supportive of pedophilia when he definitely is not. Given
that possibility of misinterpretation, he believes it in the best
interest of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation if he step aside from
the Scientific and Professional Advisory Board.
  Dr. Ralph Underwager and Hollida Wakefield have said that they will
discuss the article and clarify their statements with anyone who is
interested. Their number is 507-645-8881.


  The FMS Foundation as well as psychiatrists and psychologists who
work with children and understand the nature of childhood are adamant
that sexual contact between adults and children is reprehensible and
appropriately punished by law. The FMS Foundation soundly supports
such laws. It sees them as enforcing that which is given in life and
as protecting a vulnerable group of people -- children -- from adults
who would hurt them.
  The issue of concern to the FMS Foundation is false allegations and,
consequently, the establishment of criteria that can help prevent
false accusations from occurring or that can help resolve disputes if
they do occur. The domain of our concern is allegations that arise on
the basis of "recovered memories." To that end, we try to present
accurate information about memory and alert people to the fact that
false accusations are a growing problem.
/                                                                    \
| "Medicine women and medicine men from native cultures usually      |
| became healers because of their own wounds which was part of what  |
| "qualified" them for the healer's journey. In western medicine to  |
| have "problems" tends to disqualify one from preparation for the   |
| healing arts. Two exceptions exist: those who work with addictions |
| and those who work with the survivors of trauma. "                 |
|                                              Conference brochure.  |
|               "Building Bridges: Sexual Recovery and Restoration,  |
|                                        June 9-12, Scottsdale, AZ.  |

                           FROM OUR READERS
The Confrontation
  "The daughter told her father that she discovered in therapy that
she had been repeatedly abused as a teenager, that she had had two
abortions, both of which the parents arranged. She gave considerable
detail about these abortions, which she had no awareness of until she
was well into therapy...One of the abortions was supposedly performed
by the father and mother but botched, requiring treatment in the
emergency room. The second was supposedly done in a physician's
office. When the father suggested that the records be checked, the
daughter insisted that he had used an alias to protect himself. The
father suggested that he could not have afforded paying for these
services without using his insurance, but this was passed off by the
daughter. The session ended with the daughter announcing that she
would leave town and that their relationship would not continue unless
the father confessed."  
  "What I don't understand is the reason for psychologists believing
this. Is it because there is a new trend in treatment, new proven
therapies? Or is it like amateur or newly trained graphoanalists -
knowing everything and nothing? Or is it just money?"
                                                         A Mom
The Restraining Order
  "Our daughter had a restraining order issued against her father. The
charges were incest, rape, and murder. She claimed she was molested
from the age of three months on. She also accused him of murdering
three women, one of which he was to have cut up and put through a meat
grinder and made her watch. She even drew pictures of the three women.
My husband was thoroughly investigated by investigators in two
counties. We were unaware of the investigations until we were called
down to the Sheriff's office. They interviewed us separately and at
the conclusion agreed that something was definitely unstable about our
daughter. They were upset at the cost involved in the investigations
and seemed to think that her psychologist and psychiatrist were at
fault. My husband had to take a lie detector test which he did very
willingly and passed with flying colors. Absolutely nothing turned up
in the investigations.
  "We went to the Courthouse to respond to the restraining order. My
husband was not allowed to be present at the hearing. Our other
children were present. I had an opportunity to speak to my daughter
who appeared very pale, puffy and waxy-looking. She spoke as though
she was a robot and accused me of being in denial. She requested that
the restraining order be extended and upon advice of our attorney and
concern for our daughter, we agreed. In the restraining order, she
threatened further action against her father. All of the conversation
at the courthouse involved the two attorneys. None of the family
  "Since that time my daughter informed me that I would never be able
to see the grandchildren. I continue to write her little notes but
receive no response. We are continuing our prayers for a resolution to
this bizarre situation."  
                                                          A Mom
My Wife
  "My wife is a "survivor" and a MPD. I don't believe her memories or
her illness but I have tried to support her and understand the
influences that have brought her to this point. In that attempt, I
have attended many survivor meetings and for a while a spouses group.
I intend to work for years to come in exposing the fraud the
therapeutic community has wrought on my wife, our family and so many
other people."
                                                          A Husband
My Sister
  "My sister called to say that she was beginning a year's 'leave of
absence' from the family, meaning my mother and father. She asked
whether I would be her conduit of information about their wellbeing so
that she would be able to know when and if something 'happened' to
them. I declined to take on this role. I also advised her that I
thought it would be decent if she were to let them know what her plan
was so that they wouldn't be surprised or baffled by her sudden
disappearance from their lives. She was initially resistant to this
suggestion and the question was left unresolved. I said I thought it
was cruel and cowardly to sever contact with no notice or
  "My sister has become for me an example of the dangers of coming to
regard oneself as a victim. It seems self-enslaving, allowing her to
postpone indefinitely the challenge of going forward and taking
responsibility for and control over events; it also seems to provide
justification for a surprising degree of cruelty. The saddest thing I
realized during the year of her declared withdrawal was that I didn't
miss her and that I didn't trust that she bore goodwill toward me or
my family."  
                                                         A Brother
>From  Parents Who were Sued
  "We are sure that our daughter dropped her legal action against us
because all three of our other children resisted her hints and
insinuations and suggestions that they enter therapy, too, to find
their memories. They also did this in their depositions by her lawyer.
  "We think that it is very important for families who are accused to
obtain written statements from siblings and other family members as
soon as possible after the accusation is made. In report after report
that we have heard stories keep changing with time. We think that it
is important to establish what others believe at the time of the
accusation. With only the accuser's statements and no corroboration by
siblings or others, people might be less likely to sue and the
attorneys who want to get a reputation at the expense of innocent
families might think twice before taking such a case."  
                                                       A Mom and Dad
  "My homeowners insurance paid my attorney as well as paying a
settlement fee (which they originally said they would not do) because
my attorney convinced them if we pursued the case, the cost would be
in excess of $100,000. This in no way is an admission of guilt and I
am relieved to have it over with. The case against her father was
settled months ago."  
                                                             A Mom
Letter from a parent about FMSF finances
  I urge you to return to the time when you initially learned of being
falsely accused and the lonesome helpless feeling that followed. Where
could we look for any kind of help for this defenseless situation? We
thought we were alone after being pushed into a bottomless pit by our
accuser, aware of the stigma attached to such an accusation, yet
resisting calling out for fear of further scarring of our troubled
loved one.
  Awareness of FMSF presented our first opportunity for hope and even
then we reached our with caution to contact FMSF. (In these times of
scams, schemes, etc. could FMSF have a false front for falsely accused
and really have a money seeking orientation?) FMSF has more than lived
up to its objectives by bringing us together as a united voice,
meeting other families and qualified professionals in the mental
health field, and through the newsletters informing us about the
issues and keeping us advised about the media.
  My concern is that there are families who have received the benefits
of FMSF but have not financially contributed. It takes money to
maintain the 800 number, to phone each new family (usually 30 to 60
minutes) when they first contact FMSF.
  If you don't think FMSF yearly membership of $100 isn't one of the
best bargains you've ever received, then disregard this message. Send
your 1993 membership dues (if you have not already done so) and
consider an additional contribution if possible.
                                            A Very Concerned Parent 
My Story
  "My daughter called her brother to come up to her house which is 100
miles away because she was going to the therapist and felt a
breakthrough coming. The breakthrough was the memory that her father
had molested her 20 years earlier from the age of 5 to 9. It was
supposed to have taken place in the small room she shared with her
sister who is five years older. Her brother went with her when she had
this revelation but he was not allowed to talk to the therapist. Her
sister, two brothers, grandmother and I are all supposed to be in
denial. She doesn't have any details. Maybe if she can see another
movie like "Not in My Family" she can find some more details!"
  "I called her on the phone and asked her to talk to me but that has
to be approved by the therapist and of course the answer was 'No.'"  
                                                             A Mom 
A Returning
  " A year after 'the LETTER' our daughter, who had never totally
broken off contact with her mother, said, when arranging a visit with
her, 'Why don't you bring Dad?' And we went and had a totally normal
and comfortable full afternoon with the daughter and her children. She
offered genuine hugs and kisses which we received gratefully and
returned in kind. She said twice to me, 'I love you Dad. Always have
and always will.' Our son-in-law also comported himself in his former
warm and caring way. But of course, not a word or a hint of anything
from the past year."
  "Obviously, we're in the group who have accepted contact under any
condition - retraction was not a requisite. We, however, are confused
and I am very reluctant to instigate a probing conversation with this
daughter. Our hope is that she will provide a verbal opening sometime
in the next few months."  
                                                              A Dad 
                        TEARING FAMILIES APART

  "Some days I want to go to my sisters and hug them and tell them I
love them," she said. "Other days I want to scream at them and choke
them. Most days I am just numb. When two people you love say two
different things, and only one of them can be right, you have to
choose the one you believe. You do this knowing you will lose the

  Reported in Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 19, 1993 from testimony
given by families. The person quoted has been a therapist for 10
years, and said her two sisters have accused their father of molesting
them. She said she knows the incidents are untrue, but has trouble
dealing with the situation.


"Dear Mom and Dad,
  Let's just forget what happened and be a family again. 
  Love, your daughter"

  The person who wrote this note was a sister of a woman who had
memories. She believed her sister and then she herself "recovered
memories" and accused and cut off from her family. The dad who
received this note sent his daughter money so that she could take the
bus home. He told us that he was "suspicious about what was under her
hat. We were apprehensive. How do we deal with her now. It's
amazing. She was so nice. But at the same time she asked her mom one
morning, "Does dad still come home and beat you up?" So we are not
over the hump. She is as nice as she can be. She seems to want to
pretend that nothing happened during the last three years. The problem
is the extended family. They are not ready to pretend anything. They
are very angry with her for the hurt she has caused.
  "What triggered her return home? The dad said that he thought it was
because she needed support after her grandmother's death. They had
been very close."


  Barbara said that the turning point for her was a friend who pointed
out that she was not dealing with something very painful. Barbara had
lost a baby and suffered severe depression. She went into therapy and
"recovered memories." She accused and cut off her family and worked
on her memories for three years.
  What did her friend say that could have had such an effect? "I
understand what you are saying is very real. What I am saying doesn't
mean I don't believe you." I got very defensive and said, "Are you
saying I'm a liar?"
  Barbara told us that, "I apologized to my parents. Sometime after
that, I picked up an FMSF newsletter in my parents' home. I was so
scared of FMSF. I thought Mom had joined a cult. But after what my
friend said, I could really relate to the things that were in the
  Barbara said that she went to talk to her therapist about this,
about the terrible hurt that she had caused her family by accusing
them of abuse. The therapist told her that "hurting yourself and your
family was all a part of your recovery process." Barbara said, "I
wanted no part of that." 
                                                           A Retractor

Casting Out Demons
  I recently heard a mental health professional describe therapists as
the "secular high priests of our society." That started me thinking.
Given that religious metaphor, could recovered memory therapy be
interpreted as a casting out of demons or exorcism? It seems that
patients are told that in order to get better they must find the
memories that are repressed (demons ?) so that they can be brought to
the conscious mind to be expelled.
                                             A Professional Too Late

  "I confronted my mother. She told me that she had nothing more to
live for, and she drove her car off a bridge. She is dead. Now I'm not
sure about the memories."  
                                 Left on FMSF Answering Machine
/                                                                    \
| "I will never forget what it meant to grow up during a time I      |
| don't remember!"                                                   |
|                                   Gary Trudeau, June 1993.         |

                    Daniel Goleman, June 11, 1993
              Copyright 1993, The New York Times Company 
                      Reprinted with permission.

   The testimony of small children has usually been considered
truthful unless proved otherwise. Over the past decade such testimony
has led to convictions in many child-abuse cases, and the younger the
child, the less likely psychologists have thought it was that
information could have been fabricated. But now a series of recent
studies has turned this conventional wisdom on its head.
  Researchers have found new evidence that persistent questioning can
lead young children to describe elaborate accounts of events that
never occurred, even when at first they denied them.
  The research is at the center of a continuing scientific debate over
the vexing question of how much judges and juries should rely on a
child's word when that is the only evidence of abuse.
  While earlier research raised questions about the reliability of
small children's accounts of sexual abuse, the new experimental
studies are the first ones based on the methods commonly used to
question children in legal cases.
  These methods are used by investigators in cases like that of
Margaret Kelly Michaels, the preschool teacher whose 1988 conviction
on 115 counts of sexually abusing 19 children was overturned in March
by a New Jersey appeals court. The charges against Ms. Michaels were
based solely on assertions made by the 3- to 5-year-old children after
they were extensively interviewed by investigators.
  "Many people who specialize in these cases have a preconceived
notion of what happened, and in the course of questioning suggest it
to the child who then reports it as though it were true," said
Dr. Maggie Bruck, a psychologist at McGill University. She and
Dr. Stephen Ceci, a psychologist at Cornell University, published a
review of scientific studies of children's suggestibility in the
current issue of Psychological Bulletin.
  Some researchers fear that the new findings will be used to muzzle
investigators, leaving them unable to get children to report sexual
abuse when it has actually occurred.
  "It may take a certain amount of leading questioning to get a
sexually abused child to disclose it," said Dr. Gail Goodman, a
psychologist at the University of California at Davis who was
co-editor of "Child Victims, Child Witnesses: Understanding and
Improving Testimony," published last year by Guilford Press.
  An estimated 20,000 children testify in sexual-abuse trials each
year, and as many as 100,000 are involved in investigations, many of
which never go to trial.
  The new research focuses on children 6 years old and younger. A
recent study of nearly 800 children identified as probably victims of
sexual abuse in New York State found that close to 40 percent were in
this age group.
Children Concoct Stories
  Certain techniques often used by investigators with young children
increase the likelihood of false reports, the findings show. One is
persistent, repeated questioning over periods of several weeks. When
sexual abuse is suspected, children are typically asked the same
questions by case workers, police investigators and lawyers, as well
as parents, before they testify in court.
  But that repetition may lead some young children to concoct stories,
according to results of a study by Dr. Ceci and colleagues reported
last month at a meeting on emotional memory at the University of
  In the study of children from 4 to 6, parents helped researchers
make a list of two events that had occurred in each child's life and
eight that had not. In weekly sessions, the researchers reviewed the
list with the child, asking for each event, "Has this ever happened to
  One 4-year-old boy, for example, answered truthfully, "No, I've
never been to the hospital," the first time he was asked if he had
ever gone to the hospital because his finger had got caught in a
  But the next week, in response to the same question, he volunteered,
"Yes, I cried." And by the 11th week of questioning, he was offering
an elaborate tale about his ( brother's pushing him into the
mousetrap, near where his father was getting firewood.
  Such accounts were common. By the 11th week, 56 percent of children
reported at least one false event as true, and some children reported
all the false events as true, Dr. Ceci said.
  "The more often you ask young children to think about something, the
easier it becomes for them to make something up that they think is a
memory," he said.
  What is more, the accounts of those false memories are often quite
believable. Dr. Ceci has shown videotapes of children recounting both
true and false "memories" to more that 1,000 professionals who
specialize in cases of child abuse, including lawyers, social workers
and psychiatrists.

Use of Dolls Criticized
  "The experts are correct about whether the child's account is
accurate about one-third of the time," Dr. Ceci said. "That's worse
than chance." Anatomically detailed dolls, which are often used in
investigations of child abuse, have also been called into question by
recent research findings. At the University of Chicago meeting,
Dr. Ceci and his colleagues reported preliminary results from a study
in which they questioned 3-year-olds who had just been given a
physical examination. Half the exams included a standard inspection of
the child's genitals, half did not. Of those children who received no
genital exam, 38 percent answered, "yes," when a researcher pointed to
the doll's genitals and asked, "Did he touch you here?"
  When the question was posed in a leading fashion, using the child's
own word for genitals, 70 percent of children who had received no
genital exam indicated incorrectly that the doctor had touched their
Skewing of Memories
  The children are not being intentionally misleading, Dr. Ceci said,
but are simply very poor at recalling and explaining what happened.
  That uncertainty may partly explain why adults who have a fixed idea
of what has happened to a child can often get the child to agree. In
another study by Dr. Ceci and his colleagues, interviewers were misled
about details of a game played by preschool children. The interviewers
eventually got a third of 3- and 4-year olds to corroborate at least
one of the things the interviewers mistakenly believed had happened.
  The very stressfulness of an event like sexual abuse can make
children give false reports. "If the original situation was very
stressful, it can narrow a child's perception so that later memories
won't be as accurate," said Dr. Douglas Peters, a psychologist at the
University of North Dakota, whose research shows that distressing
situations increase the mistakes children make in recounting them.
  Earlier studies of young children's suggestibility led to the
conclusion that they could be swayed only about minor details, not the
main facts of what had happened to them. But his review of the recent
data has led Dr. Ceci to a different conclusion.
Changes Recommended
  "We find nothing in a child's memory is impervious to being tainted
by an adult's repeated suggestions," Dr. Ceci said. "We find from
reading transcripts of investigations that in many sex-abuse cases the
adults not only pursued a hypothesis about what happened, but were
sometimes even coercive in getting children to agree. They went far
beyond anything we could do ethically as researchers."
  Dr. Ceci and Dr. Bruck, in an article to appear in the fall in a
report by the Society for Research in Child Development, recommend
that people investigating possible cases of child abuse change their
procedures, for example, by avoiding repeated suggestions or putting
much emphasis on evidence from anatomical dolls.
  "The bottom line is that even very young children can give accurate
accounts if the interviewers haven't usurped their memory through
repeated suggestive or leading questions," Dr. Ceci said.
"Interviewers ought to safeguard against this by testing at least one
alternative plausible hypothesis about what happened. If they fail to
do this, they're in danger of confirming their own bias by unduly
influencing and distorting the child's memory."
  But other researchers feel that the cautions are misplaced.
"Research that focuses only on children's suggestibility gives only
part of the picture," Dr. Goodman said. Sexually abused children are
often "very reluctant to admit it," she said, adding, "If your
recommendations are based only on avoiding suggesting things to
children, it runs the risk of tipping the balance too far, so you get
many fewer disclosures of abuse.

A Sense of Urgency
  Citing a study in which 43 percent of young children diagnosed with
sexually transmitted diseases denied having been sexually abuse,
Dr. Lucy Berliner, director of research at the Harborview Sexual
Assault Center in Seattle, said: "Sometimes your sense of urgency with
kids you know are victims makes you feel you need to do whatever is
necessary to help the child tell what happened. If that leads to a
coercive approach, it's motivated by concern."
  Dr. Berliner added: "If you've ever tried to interview a 4-year-old
about a sensitive topic, you'll see it's rarely productive just to
ask, "Is there anything you want to tell me about?" That's what police
or caseworkers' face. They argue that we'll never find out anything
if we can't ask specific questions.  

(Steven Ceci whose research is described in the above article is one
of the six members of the American Psychological Association Task
force to examine issues related to FMSF.)

 Correction In the June newsletter we incorrectly named Robert
Ornstein as a member of the APA Task Force on false accusations. The
correct member is Peter Ornstein.

/                                                                    \
|             How the Question Can Become the Answer                 |
|                                                                    |
| Excerpts from interivews of a 4-year-old boy to whom the           |
| interviewer said each week for 11 consecutive weeks: "You went to  |
| the hospital because your finger got caught in a mousetrap. Did    |
| this ever happen to you?"                                          |
|                                                                    |
| First interview: "No. I've never been to the hospital."            |
|                                                                    |
| Second interview: "Yes. I cried."                                  |
|                                                                    |
| Third interivew:  "Yes. My mom went to the hospital with me."      |
|                                                                    |
| Fourth interview: "Yes, I remember. It felt like a cut.            |
|                                                                    |
| Fifth interview: "Yes." [Pointing to index finger.]                |
|                                                                    |
| Eleventh interview: "Uh huh. My daddy, mommy and my brother took   |
| me to the hospital in our van. The hospital gave me a little       |
| bandage and it was right here. [Pointing to index finger.]         |
| The interviewer then asked: "How did it happen?"                   |
| "I was looking and then I didn't see what I was doing and it       |
| [finger] got in there somehow. . . . The mousetrap was in our      |
| house because there's a mouse in our house...The mousetrap is down |
| in the basement next to the firewood...I was playing a game called |
| "Operation" and then I went downstairs and said to Dad: 'I want to |
| eat lunch,' and then it got stuck in the mousetrap....My daddy was |
| down in the basement collecting firewood...[My brother] pushed me  |
| [into the mousetrap.]...It happened yesterday. The mouse was in my |
| house yesterday. I caught my finger in it yesterday. I went to the |
| hospital yesterday."                                               |


We are collating methods FMSF members use to maintain contact with
their grandchildren. Have you found a way to keep in touch, to help
them understand the separation, or to leave a non-judgmental message
for them if reconciliation does not ensue? Please tell us. These
suggestions will appear in a future FMSF Newsletter. Thank you.
Jeanne Conway, 13415 Shaker Blvd, Cleveland, Ohio 44120 216-921-6130

The London Ontario Free Press Wednesday, May 3, 1993 Reprinted with
permission of M.A. Harris

Misguided therapy as bad as abuse
  The disparagement conveyed by representatives of London's Sexual
Assault Centre, Syndrome advocates symbolize resistance (Feb. 6),
against the feature, Memory: real or imagined (Dec. 28) sharply
contrasts with my own reaction of tremendous relief. The truth was
finally emerging about some of the so-called "victims of abuse."
  For seven long years of my life, I labored under the diagnosis of
multiple personality disorder. It began simply enough with bulimia
but, after seeking psychiatric help, I was told that all eating
disorders evolve from sexual abuse in childhood. In order to get
better, I would have to uncover all the repressed memories of this
abuse. Hypnosis yielded drastic fables of the past which were related
to me in detail.
  The proponents of false memory syndrome are not attempting to negate
the all-too-real existence of genuine sexual abuse. What they are
doing is exposing the invalid results of overactive imaginations
combined with low self-esteems and high desires to please therapists.
  My psychiatrist was understandably fascinated with my various
personalities, however fictional. A book was being written. Videos
were made. My intermittent cries of denial about the abuse were
rejected as "an unwillingness to co-operate." The interpretation that
"she must be hiding more of these repressed memories" led to even more
intensive psychotherapy and hypnosis.
  Seven year later, including lengthy stays in hospital and countless
emotional crises, brought about loss of job, husband, children and any
feelings of self-worth I had ever possessed.
  Five years later, I am still in the process of rebuilding my
shattered life. Your original article was valuable confirmation that
my case has not been so unique and that misguided therapeutic
adventurism can be every bit as damaging as primary sexual abuse.
                                             M. A. Harris

Many families tell us that the following book is very helpful.
Combatting Cult Mind Control:
Protection, rescue, and recovery from destructive cults
Steven Hassan,  a former cult member 
Park Street Press
P.O. Box 388
Rochester, VT  05767
$12.95 plus $2.50 shipping

                            FMSF FINANCES

  The False Memory Syndrome Foundation came into being on March 14,
1992 and the fiscal year runs from March 1 to February 28. This first
year, we employed an external auditing firm, Rudolph, Palitz, to
prepare a financial report. The audit began the day after the Memory
and Reality Conference ended. As of the writing of this newsletter, we
have approved the draft report and are awaiting the final report.
  Income for the fiscal year that ended February 28, 1993 was
$365,485. Of that amount, $30,000 was received from Foundations, and
the balance from dues and contributions which included the unpaid
service of the Executive Director. The Foundation meets the criteria
of a 501C-3 category foundation
  Program services accounted for $210,379 worth of expenses and
supporting services were approximately $74,00. Most of the money spent
was for printing, telephone and postage. We have graphed expenses in
these categories from January through May of 1993 to give an idea of
the operation. During this period, we have averaged 50,000 pages of
copying and 100,000 pages of printing each month. We have never
employed a PR firm although several agencies have contacted us to
offer their services. FMSF currently has 10 telephone lines, a staff
of 8 dedicated employees and hundreds of hard-working volunteers
across the country. Visitors to the office usually comment, "You need
more help." They are right. We do.
  Audited financial statements for fiscal year ending 2/28/93 are
available for inspection in the Philadelphia office.

                           January-May 1993
                             in thousands
     25 |
        |                                   ##
     20 |                                   ##
        |                 ##                ##
     15 |                 ##       ##       ##
        |                 ##       ##       ##       ##
     10 |        ##       ##       ##       ##       ##
        |        ##       ##       ##       ##       ##
      5 |        ##     XX##     XX##   OO  ##   OOXX##
        |    OOXX##   OOXX##   OOXX##   OOXX##   OOXX##
      0 +------------------------------------------------
            January  February  March    April     May

                OO Telephone   XX Postage  ## Printing


Letters to Editor
Washington Post
Washington, DC 20071

Dear Editor,

  I read the article by my colleague Dr. Keith Ablow on "Recovered
Memories" and write with counter concerns. No one is denying that
child abuse occurs, nor that patients who were sexually abused as
children need treatment. Where the argument arises - and where
psychiatrists must demonstrate professional skills - is in
differentiating misbeliefs about the past from the real thing.
Dr. Ablow is dubious that psychotherapists "can create detailed
scenarios of abuse out of nothing."
  However, false beliefs were the source of the 17th century episode
of hystero-epilepsy in the Salpetriere hospital of Paris in the
1880s. Contemporary examples include the many in Boston and New York
persuaded by therapists and hypnotists to remembered how they were
carried off by extra-terrestrial aliens onto spaceships and the
elaborate, therapy generated, false beliefs over a satanic cult in
Washington state reported in last month's New Yorker. These are
occasions when therapists and counselors did, with all deference to
Dr. Ablow, "persuade vulnerable patients to believe that events
occurred in their lives when they did not."
  Just as there is epilepsy and pseudo-epilepsy (and the treatments
are different), so there are memories and pseudo-memories. It is up to
psychiatrists tell the difference and demonstrate how they do so.
  This is one reason for coining the term "false memory syndrome."
Dr. Ablow believes it may be employed "to silence real victims.. by
defining accusers as unreliable." But surely the unvalidated diagnosis
"incest survivor" can equally and unjustly silence innocent family
members fearful of the public shame of the charge itself. The term -
false memory syndrome - forces on all of us an exercise in evaluation
before therapy.
  Dr. Ablow and I agree when he says "every case of reported abuse,
even those remembered long after the fact, needs to be taken
seriously." "Seriously" means that a scrupulous search for
corroborating evidence must be launched on every occasion. However,
therapists committed to the recovery of lost sex abuse memories in
their patients seldom make a systematic effort to seek evidence.
Attempts to give contradictory information to them prompts no
cooperation. Instead one is accused of being in league with abusers!
  Dr. Ablow implies, from the research of Dr. Judith Herman, that
corroborating evidence is available in most cases. It, therefore, is
not too much to demand that it be sought. If not found, then a
therapist should reconsider the diagnosis and weigh the possibility of
a false memory syndrome. Those patients who suffer from the effects of
actual abuse will be confirmed and properly treated. Those patients
who have been inadvertently swept into a world of fear and suspicion
will be reunited with their family and therapy directed towards their
actual problem.  
                   Yours sincerely,
                      Paul R. McHugh, M.D.
                      Department Director
                      Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
                      Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

In response to many questions -- The committee that is working to
revise the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual III R., the book that
provides standard criteria for making mental health diagnoses, and is
the basis on which insurance companies make their payments is headed

Allen Frances, M.D.
Chair of the Work Group to Revise the DSM-III-R
American Psychiatric Association
3/12 Stoneybrook Drive
Durham, NC  20775


  How could this happen to my child? This is the question parents ask
themselves over and over and over. "None of this makes sense," they
say. "We were a close family." And that's what the survey data
indicate. That's what the "pre-memory" letters to parents confirm. How
then could this happen? A possible explanation was presented by
George Ganaway at the Memory and Reality conference. His paper,
"Dissociative disorders and psychodynamic theory: trauma versus
conflict and deficit" is now available. Following is an excerpt.
  "This is what I believe is happening in MPD and related 'survivor"
therapies that involve considerable suggestion, manipulation and
education directed toward externalizing the cause of the patient's
symptoms. The problem is that in some cases neither the patient nor
the therapist is aware that symptom substitution is the actual process
by which the patient appears to be making progress in treatment and
sometimes feeling better. Both may mistakenly believe that they are
getting to the true cause of the problem. Here is a clinical
illustration to demonstrate this point:
  An unmarried 25 year-old woman for various complex psychodynamic
reasons has unresolved early separation and individuation conflicts
with her parents, leaving her with a feeling of hostile dependence on
them -- a kind of "love-hate" relationship that she is unable
consciously to understand or reconcile to her satisfaction. She has a
history of a high level of achievement both in her personal and
vocational life, but a low level of self-confidence and constant need
for approval and validation from others to maintain her self esteem.
   Through transference she may displace her dependency onto the
therapist, who becomes in the patient's unconscious fantasies (and
perhaps consciously as well) an ideal substitute mother figure who
will be all-accepting, all-believing, and all-approving, offering the
patient a mechanism by which she finally can separate from her
   However, to do this she must develop a new symptom with the
permission and possibly the encouragement of the therapist, in the
form of a belief that her parents committed such heinous crimes
against her during childhood that her previously unacceptable and
troublesome anger toward them now is logically explained and totally
justified. Additionally, she now also has a good excuse literally to
"cut the umbilical cord" or life-line to her parents by severing all
ties with her family or origin based on her new beliefs about what
they "did" to her.
   The problem, of course, is that this new symptom is hardly a benign
one if, in fact, the newly recollected childhood abuse experiences
never actually occurred. Further complicating matters is the
probability that the patient now is enmeshed in a dependent
relationship with her supportive therapist instead, which could result
in the patient becoming what is referred to in the psychoanalytic
literature as a "therapeutic lifer" (Bavvard, 1990).

  Parents have said this explanation makes a lot of sense to them.

                            FMSF MEETINGS
             Families & Professionals Networking Together

Notices for meetings scheduled in September and October must reach us
by August 25th in order to be included in the August/September
newsletter.  Please mail or fax your announcement to Attn: Nancy.


Statewide Organizational Meeting
Saturday, July 17, 1993 - 10 am
"Perspectives on Recovered Memories"
on tape with Paul McHugh, MD
Contact Kathleen (907) 333-5248

Sunday, July 18, 1993 - 12 noon - 4 pm,
 Hospitality Center, Roth's Salem West
425 Glen Creek Drive, NW,Salem, OR
Contact Rosemary (503) 362-1301

Greater Los Angeles Area
1st and 3rd Mondays, 7:30 pm
Contact Marilyn (909) 985-7980)

Saturday, August 14, 1993 - 11:45 am
Luncheon Meeting ($16.00)
California Cafe, Yountville
Please reply before August 5
Contact Bill or Danielle (707) 944-1892

*Notices will be sent by area for other groups

Saturday, August 21, 1993
time & location to be determined
Guest: Pamela Freyd
Contact Dr. Cannell (406) 721-5600

4th Saturday each month - 1:00 pm
Cherry Creek Branch, Denver Public Library
3rd & Milwaukee, Denver
Contact Roy (303) 221-4816

Saturday, July 10, 1993 - 9:30 am - 3:00 pm
West Des Moines
For information & location, call
Gayle or Betty (515) 270-6976


"We need your help to educate professionals"
2nd Sunday each month, Kansas City
For details, call
Pat (913) 238-2447 or Jan (816) 276-8964


Tuesday, August 3, 1993 - 7:30 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church of Pittsford
21 Church Street, Pittsford, NY
Contact Loni (716) 385-4873

2nd Saturday of each month
1:00 pm  same place
 Call (215) 387-1865 for details

Sunday, July 25, 1993 - 1:00 pm
Howard Johnson's, Chelmsford, MA
Contact Jean (508) 250-1055


Saturday, August 21, 1993 - 1-8 pm
Holiday Inn South, Charlottesville
Contact Nina (703) 342-4760
or Maryanne (703) 869-3226

The Michigan Information Newsletter
P O Box 15044, Ann Arbor, MI 48106
(313) 461-6213
Notices about meetings and state related topics 
appear in this newsletter.

Attention Wisconsin!
We want to start a telephone tree.
If you wish to participate,
 please call Katie or Leo (404) 476-0285.

Adult Children Accusing Parents
Parents with relatives in the UK can contact
Roger Scotford at ACAP on (0) 225 868682

Fall Meetings

Thursday, September 16, 1993
Guest Speaker:  Eleanor Goldstein
Contact Barbara (602) 924-4330 

Saturday, September 18, 1993
Guest Speaker:  Eleanor Goldstein
Contact Jim (602) 860-8981

Connecticut/New York/New Jersey
Sunday, September 19, 1993 - 1:00 pm
West Side Jewish Center, Manhattan 
Speakers:  Richard Gardner, MD & an attorney 
Contact Renee, (718) 428-8583
 Grace (201) 337-4278 or Barbara (914) 761-3627

State-wide Meeting - Orlando
Saturday-Sunday, October 9-10, 1993
 Best Western Buena Vista Hotel
For information, call Esther (407) 364-8290
Rose (305) 974-0095   Jackie (813) 273-3246

FMSF Organizational Meeting
Kansas City
 October 2 & 3,  1993
Call Nancy for information.

                            AGE OF ACCUSED
                    (from FMSF Family Survey Data)

"I'm 78. I don't want to die with a question over me."

   The chart below shows the age of the people who contact FMSF. To
accuse people, to find them guilty with no evidence or opportunity to
defend themselves, to sentence them to "shunning"-- is this civilized
behavior? This is 1993 and this is really happening.  

                         ACCUSED PARENTS AGE

              300  |
              250  |                XX   
                   |                XX   
              200  |                XX   
                   |                XX   
              150  |                XX   XX
                   |                XX   XX
              100  |           XX   XX   XX
                   |           XX   XX   XX
               50  |           XX   XX   XX   XX
                   |      XX   XX   XX   XX   XX
                0  +--+---------------------------+--
                     90   80   70   60   50   40


Emon       Occult Cop  4.00
Ganaway    Dissociative Disorders: Trauma
              vs. Conflict and Deficit  4.00
Loftus    Women who remember too much  4.00
McHugh    Historical Perspective on Recovered Memories  4.00
Singer    Therapist Zeal and Pseudomemories  4.00

Other  recent magazine or newspaper articles available:

Gardner, Martin  Skeptical Inquirer ,  Summer 1993
         "Notes of a Fringe Watcher)   2.00
Hochman, Gloria, Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine 6/6/93 
         "Prisoners of Memory"**  2.00
Meacham, Andrew, Changes, April 1993
         "Presumed Guilty"   2.00
Nufer, K.W., The Post-Crescent, May 23, 1993
         "Devastated by a false accusation"   1.00
Safran, Clair  McCalls,  June, 1993
         "Dangerous Obsession"  2.00
Sharkey, M. A. Plain Dealer, Feb 28, 1993
         "Abused on the Therapist's Couch"   1.00
Taub, P. Syracuse Herald American, May 30, 1993
         "Remembered abuse  foster problems   1.00
Watters, Ethan, Mother Jones, Jan/Feb, 1993
         "Doors of Memory"   2.00

** Permission to reprint requested but not granted yet. 

|                   TRUE STORIES OF FALSE MEMORIES                   |
|               by Eleanor Goldstein and Kevin Farmer                |
|                   available soon from SIRS Books                   |
|           (Includes stories from siblings and recanters)           |
|                        $14,95 plus shipping                        |
|                     Call 800-232-7477 to order                     |
|      FMSF will receive 40% of the cover price for all orders       |
|                   mentioning the FMS Foundation                    |
                     (From the issue of August 30)
  In the July FMSF Newsletter, an announcement appeared on page 15
about SIRS new book, True Stories of False Memories, by Eleanor
Goldstein and Kevin Farmer.  Due to the length of the book--517
pages--the publisher increased the price to $16.95.
   To order, call 1-800-232-7477 or Fax 1-407-994-4704. MasterCard and
VISA orders accepted. Mention FMSF and 40% of the cover price will be
contributed to the Foundation.

The FMSF Newsletter is published 10 times a year by the False Memory
Syndrome Foundation.  A subscription is included in membership fees.
Others may subscribe by sending a check or money order, payable to FMS
Foundation, to the address below.  1993 subscription rates: USA: 1
year $20, Student $10; Canada: 1 year $25; (in U.S. dollars); Foreign:
1 year $35.  Single issue price: $3.

FMS Foundation
3401 Market Street, Suite 130

This address and the phone numbers have changed as of July 15, 2000
Philadelphia, PA  19104-3315
Phone 215-387-1865
ISSN # 1069-0484

Pamela Freyd, Ph.D., Executive Director

A combined August-September newsletter will be mailed soon after Labor