FMSF NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE - June 3, 1993 - Vol. 2, No. 6, 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,
  "How many people have been affected by this phenomenon? How do you
know what stories to believe? What about the retractors? Has the
situation changed?" These are the questions we are asked over and over
again. To answer the first question, we ask people to imagine a
Thanksgiving family dinner. How many people would be there? Each of
the more than 4,000 families that we report includes all those people
who would care deeply about the empty place.
  To answer the second question, we reply that we know that far too
many people have been abused and that the effects can be devastating.
Child abuse is an outrage, it is unconscionable, and victims deserve
our compassion and should be helped in whatever ways are appropriate.
At the same time, we must assure that we don't create new victims
through ignorance or overzealousness or, as one survivor who never
forgot wrote, "media hucksterism and the sure-fire appearance of lots
of folks looking to cash in and get rich quick." We cannot determine
the truth or falsity of any story. We can, however, expect that the
accusations will be investigated. If the accuser never had any memory
of abuse, if the life patterns were not indicative of abuse, if the
beliefs were elicited in a suggestible environment such as a therapy
setting or a survivor group setting, if the accuser and the accuser's
therapist refuse to meet with the accused in a neutral setting, if the
accusor severs all family contact in a cult-like manner, we argue that
a prudent person should investigate the allegations.
  People who contact FMSF say that family members or friends are being
given radical treatment, the severing of their family, for a condition
they never had. The families who have contacted FMSF do not deny the
existence of adult victims. They simply say that they have been
accused of something, they believe that the accusation is wrong, and
they ask that the accusations be investigated. To accuse people and
then to deny them reasonable means of defending themselves is a "witch
hunt." We believe that under the conditions that have been described,
it is prudent to believe that the accused are innocent unless proven
guilty. That has always been the law of our land.
  In response to the third question, we reply that we were called by
two people this month who say that they had false memories. We have
had more reports of people resuming contact with their families. The
pattern of a resumption of contact with no mention of the accusations
is almost universal in these reports.
  The great number of articles about FMS that have appeared this month
is testimony to a changing climate. It reflects an increased
understanding of the issues surrounding memory, influence and
"repression" and recognizes the blurring of the boundaries between
politics and science on this topic. More attention is being given to
the problem of FMS by professionals. It is encouraging that there were
three sessions about false memories at the recent American Psychiatric
Association Convention in San Francisco, May 22-27, and that this
organization has, like the American Psychological Association, formed
a task force to study the problem.
  Unfortunately, all this is little comfort to people worried about
family members who act like cult members when they rewrite their past,
when they refuse to consider alternative explanations and when they
suddenly cut off all contact with anyone who questions. It is of
little comfort to people in their 70's and 80's who would like to see
their children or their grandchildren before they die, even if
resolution of the problem is impossible. The ordinary mechanisms for
dealing with issues such as these within the system seem painfully
slow to those whose time is limited.
  But compared to the usual speed for dealing with issues such as
these, events are moving like lightning. The problem has been
recognized and professionals are now asking for guidelines so that
they can do a better job of distinguishing truth from fantasy in these
very sensitive cases. They are looking for guidelines for helping
families who believe they have been falsely accused and for helping
those who have made a false accusation. There are more areas of
agreement than disagreement. There is agreement that sexual abuse
victims should be given all the support they need for healing, and
there is agreement that greater care should be taken to avoid false
accusations. There is agreement that memories are not stored like
pictures in a camera or data in a computer for later perfect recall.
There is agreement that memory is reconstructed and reinterpreted.
There is agreement that some memories are true, some confabulated,
some false. Yet there still seems to be controversy. What is it all


  Some insights into the controversy can be found in one of the
sessions at the American Psychiatric Association Convention -- a
debate in which one side, represented by Briere and Herman, argued for
the reality of massive repression while the other side, represented by
Guze and Loftus, argued for the fallibility of memory.
  According to a front page story by Carol Ness in the San Francisco
Examiner on May 27, the debate "dramatized psychology's sharp splits
on the most basic questions: how does memory work? Does science
support the theory of massive repression? How can a therapist tell the
difference between memories, fantasies, delusions and lies? And how
big a problem is false memory anyway?" The Examiner story noted that
"The answers made clear that the controversy is as much political and
social as it is scientific."
  The debate within psychology to which Ness refers is between
clinicians and researchers. Researchers agree that memory does not
work like a video tape recorder. Researchers agree that memories are
reconstructed and reinterpreted and that there is no scientific
evidence for any other type of process for memory of events.
Researchers agree that some memories are true, some memories are
confabulated and some memories are false. Researchers agree that
misremembering is the norm.
  There are only three studies that are generally cited as evidence
for the existence of massive repression. "Massive repression" is the
term used to describe the forgetting and inability to access memories
of many different events over a period of many years (e.g., abuse from
age three to sixteen). The studies that have been claimed to support
massive repression are Herman and Schatzow, 1987, Briere and Conte,
1989 and Williams, 1992. We presented a critique of Herman and
Schatzow in the March newsletter and a critique of Williams in the
February newsletter. A critique of Briere and Conte can be found in
Loftus, American Psychologist, May 1993. Although these studies are
interesting and research in this direction should be encouraged, these
studies simply do not provide evidence for "massive repression." The
studies add to the body of research showing that people can forget
even traumatic events. The three studies are not designed to test the
question of massive repression and the conclusions about massive
repression that have been attributed to these studies are not
warranted. The Examiner article noted that "Briere acknowledged that
the studies aren't definitive, but said they're enough to 'suggest
that something is going on there.'"
  There are decades worth of studies, on the other hand, that show the
fallibility of human memory. The supporters of massive repression
discount these controlled laboratory studies. As reported in the
Examiner, Briere and Herman argued that lab experiments don't apply to
traumatic situations. Both sides agreed that memories can be distorted
but clashed sharply on whether distortion undermines their essential
truth. About the only thing that the four could agree on was "the need
for more studies."
  "The issue of false memory boils down to a social backlash against
women's recent success in holding their abusers accountable" said
Briere and Herman, according to the Examiner. We ask if such a
statement is not an attempt to deflect the issues. That statement is a
political interpretation imposed by our critics and does not reflect
the motivations of people connected with FMSF in any way -- either
professionals or families. This is a scientific issue. Either there is
"massive repression" or there is not. Either people have been abducted
by space aliens or they have not. Either there is an intergenerational
conspiracy of satanic abuse cults or there is not. Either the families
who claim they have been falsely accused are criminals or they are
not. We agree with Guze who said, "I plead with everyone not to think
you are going to settle this thing by a political debate or appeals to
one or another ideology. What we should all be pushing for is
systematic studies that are well controlled and carried out by
observers who are neutral. This is an area where presuppositions can
so affect the results."
  We are forced to conclude that our critics attempt to turn the
concerns of FMSF into a political issue because they do not have
scientific evidence. Dr. Judith Herman was quoted in the San
Francisco Examiner, May 27, "There is no evidence that these memories
are false, just that they are disputed." She neglected to say that
there is no evidence that the memories are true. But in the very next
paragraph she is quoted as saying that "We are beginning to see the
perpetrators fighting back." If the memories are "disputed," how is it
that Dr. Herman knows that "perpetrators" are fighting back? The very
use of the term "perpetrators" assumes that the memories are true.
  Apparently Dr. Herman and her supporters do not consider the
possibility that there are families who are desperately concerned that
someone they love is being given a radical and unvalidated treatment
for a condition he or she does not have and that a potentially serious
problem is overlooked. We are now aware of more than 4,000 families
who are begging to have their cases investigated. They have written to
Representative Schroeder's offic, to governors, to newspapers, to the
AARP, to professional ethics boards, to licensing boards. They have
been told that they are not the patients and so nothing can be done.
To date the only cases that have been investigated are those that
involve legal action or those that have been written about by
reporters. Meanwhile, without any evidence, mental health
professionals such as Briere and Herman assert that "perpetrators are
fighting back." They are saying that people associated with FMSF are
criminals and that the members of the FMSF Advisory Board are
protecting criminals. These charges and then refusal to investigate
are the reasons that more and more people refer to the current
situation as a "witch hunt."
  "Massive repression" is not a political issue. It is a theory and
it is subject to scientific study. To date there appears to be no
scientific evidence to support it.
/                                                                    \
|                      How the British See Us                        |
|              from the Sunday Telegraph, May 4, 1993                |
|                                                                    |
| Today stars do not talk to priests, they talk to the people, via   |
| the high priests of TV talk-shows. And the high priestess of them  |
| all is Oprah Winfrey, the celebrity confessor. Comedienne Roseanne |
| Arnold and pop stars Axl Rose and Sinead O'Connor all confessed to |
| Oprah. They confessed how they have been "victims" of child abuse. |
| Only they did not know they were victims, because they had all     |
| been "in denial".  (Denial is a state of mind, peculiar to         |
| Americans, in which you think you are happy until your analyst     |
| tells you that you are not.)                                       |
| If you become a victim, you can do anything you please, and blame  |
| it all on someone else.                                            |
|   If you want to be someone in America today, you have to be a     |
| "victim"; a victim who is coming to terms with a problem, a victim |
| who is "in recovery."                                              |

 In the June newsletter under the section "How the British See Us" the
date of the article should have been May 2, 1993.


  The Minnesota Psychological Association Meeting was held on May 7th
and 8th in Minneapolis. We share a few observations from that meeting.
On the one hand, these may seem "trivial," but on the other, they are
likely significant for documenting the climate of the survivor
  There were two sessions that focused on the issue of false memories
and repressed memories. In the first session, papers were presented
and then the discussant commented on them. The unusual aspect of this
session was the nature of the comments of the discussant, Erickson. He
began by reminding the audience that snickering was not appropriate
behavior in a professional meeting. He then went on to say that
several of his non-psychologist friends had asked him why he would get
involved in this session. He said that this question made him wonder
what his friends knew that he didn't. "What they knew," he said, "was
that this is a political issue, not a scientific issue. Scientists
know that memories are reconstructed and reinterpreted," he said.
"That is not an issue."
  Comments in another session also seemed out of the ordinary at a
professional conference. The session, which immediately followed the
one described above, was introduced by Dr. Renee Fredrickson who
noted that she had been asked to chair this session but had not wanted
to do it. She stated that she had asked several other people to chair
but that they had refused because they were afraid. She said that it
was unfortunate that things had polarized to the point where
professionals were afraid to speak at such a meeting. There were three
speakers including Dr. Fredrickson. One of the speakers presented as
evidence for "massive repression" the following papers: Herman &
Schatzow, 1987, Briere and Conte, 1989 and L. Williams, 1992. When the
talks were finished, the audience was informed that there would be no
  We have never attended a professional session in which no questions
were permitted. Because we could not ask questions in that session, we
have sent the following questions to Dr. Fredrickson: What fears
prompted people to decline the honor of chairing this session? Why
were there no questions permitted? What is your response to the
methodological critiques that have been made on the three studies
cited in the session? Is it intellectually honest to present evidence
without mentioning its shortcomings? We thought that this was covered
in Code of Ethics for Psychologists. We hope to print her reply in the
FMSF newsletter. We hope to receive a reply.


  Several people have written to ask what "facilitated communication"
was all about. Facilitated communication is a technique to help
retarded and autistic kids communicate. It is not new. It has been
around since the 1960's but seems not to have been adopted until
children using it began to write stories of being sexually abused.
According to Kim Boatman in the San Jose Mercury News, April 12, 1993,
"In facilitated communication, a teacher or another helper usually
rests a hand beneath a student's hand, providing support as the
student's fingers move toward letters on a keyboard or alphabet card.
The technique is used primarily with autistic people in the United
States, and proponents say physical support is needed because people
with autism may not be able to ask their body to do what their mind
wants. Critics say that many autistic people demonstrate fine motor
skills and that facilitators influence the communication."
  In San Jose there have been four cases in recent months of parents
accused of abusing their autistic children because of the stories that
were written using this technique. In March in Kansas a person was
convicted of abuse based on this technique. Cases are being
investigated across the United States, Australia and Canada.
Psychologist Bryna Siegel who runs an autism clinic at UC San
Francisco is critical and commented that "You might as well sit down
with a kid with a Ouija board and ask them if your father molested
  We had assumed that in their preparation of mental health
clinicians, universities included fundamental information about the
simple explanations for some well-know "anomalous" or "occult"
effects. Perhaps that was an incorrect assumption. As past newsletters
have shown, we were shocked at the misinformation about "body
memories" and the fact that the phenomena reported in the survivor
literature about body memories have a long history of study. Memories
of events are not stored in the cells of the body. The fact that
Teachers College Press would actually publish a book advocating
"facilitated communication" is perhaps an indication that a generation
of people have grown up who did not learn the story of Clever Hans.
  Clever Hans was a horse believed by many to be so smart that he
could count. His owner demonstrated over and over that Hans was able
to add simple numbers. No one has ever doubted the goodness or the
honesty of Hans's owner. But could the horse really count? It took
independent objective examination to see what was really taking
place. Without being aware of it at all, the owner of Clever Hans was
making systematic signals through the use of his body to the
horse. The horse was responding to his owner's body movements. He was
not counting.
  In the same vein, the burden of proof should be on those using
"memory enhancement" techniques or "facilitated communication"
techniques to show that they have not induced memories.

                          WHO IS MONITORING?

  This month an article appeared in US News & World Report, May 24,
1993, called "Does psychotherapy work?" The article made the point
that after a person receives a license, there is no monitoring.
"Quality control, once a therapist is licensed, is almost nonexistent;
in most states anyone can hang out a shingle and call himself a
'psychotherapist.' Moreover, therapists historically have resisted the
notion that they must prove the value of what they do. Individual
clinical judgment has been the standard for deciding what clients need
and whether they are improving, and some therapists have argued that
any attempt to dissect what happens in therapy is misguided."
  Many professionals have written to us this month to say that the
continuing education of therapists is not monitored. They enclosed a
brochure from a UCLA program to be held this summer featuring Corydon
Hammond, Ph.D., who will give workshops in age regression and satanic
abuse. They noted that Hammond was the therapist who was filmed on
Prime Time Live in January. In that interview, Hammond said that he
had no evidence of satanic ritual abuse and that therapists were not
responsible for getting evidence.
  Therapy techniques are not evaluated or monitored as evidenced by
the case of "facilitated communication." Nor are the therapists or
their continuing education monitored. For example, there are
documented cases of therapists who were licensed to work with children
and whose diagnostic skills were questioned by the licensing board.
Just one year later the therapists were found to be working with
adults and diagnosing over 70% of clients as incest survivors.
  Families write that they have been trying to work within the system.
They have been filing complaints by the thousands with state
regulatory agencies and professional ethics boards across the country
asking to have their cases examined. Sadly, most have written to us
that they found the experience at best frustrating. This is the type
of response they typically receive:
  "Confidentiality laws prevent me from disclosing any information
about your daughter's treatment or even if she was in treatment,
without her written permission It seems that one avenue to explore is
attempting to work through this process with your daughter perhaps in
the presence of a therapist."
  The state licensing and monitoring boards are the "emergency"
centers for the mental health field. Imagine if a person called a fire
department and reported that the house next door was on fire but the
fire department said, "Sorry, we cannot do anything without the
owner's permission. The owner of the house will have to notify us."
  The FMS crisis developed, it seems, because no one has been
monitoring the system. It appears that the mental health system is
unable to respond to the crisis now. If any other medical procedure
had documented over 4,000 complaints it would be taken off the market
and the cases examined. We have instead -- mental health professionals
calling the families "perpetrators in denial."
  Who will examine the more than 4,000 cases? Who will assure parents
that their children are receiving appropriate treatment?

                    OUR CRITICS -- ALIEN ABDUCTION

  We have received a number of letters criticizing us for taking a
"flippant" attitude about space alien abductions. Following is the
passage that has caused concern: "remembered" past lives, space alien
abuse, satanic ritual conspiracies or after-death experiences are
generally viewed by mainstream professionals as evidence that the
"disease of the month" is alive and well. Such practices are splinter
notions, nontraditional practices so silly that they do not dignify a
  We had no idea there were so many people who held convictions of the
reality of space alien abductions.
  We have also received some very thoughtful comments from those
studying "anomalous" experiences. David Gotlib, M.D. in an editorial
in the Bulletin of Anomalous Experience, Vol 4, No 2, April 1993
  "This offhand dismissal of anomalous experiences is particularly
regrettable because some of the concerns expressed above regarding
false memories of child abuse are worthy of consideration in the field
of abduction research and therapy. The all-encompassing symptoms
checklist for sexual abuse survivors has its parallel in the abduction
field (see "Healing Shattered Reality", discussed in our last issue,
for example). The admonition from The Courage to Heal that 'if you are
unable to remember any specific instances but still have the feeling
that something abusive happened to you, it probably did,' is
paralleled by the use of hypnotic regression, where few or no
conscious memories exist, to explore suspected abduction experiences,
and the expectation on the part of possible experiencers that they
will be regressed by the therapist or investigator. The question that
concerns us here is not whether the abduction experience is more than
simply false memories. The FMS people do not argue that sexual abuse
does not exist, or that it exists but no one is traumatized as a
result. Their concern is with iatrogenic abuse memories. In the same
way, while some in the abduction field continue to focus their
attention on proving the existence of UFOs and aliens, they may find
themselves shut down by a social and scientific backlash that argues a
different point: How many abductees has the field created in its
efforts to explore the phenomenon (however well-meaning those efforts
might be)? This backlash might be directed specifically against
UFOlogy, or it might be part of a general movement against therapy
based on uncovering of long-repressed memories -- especially those
predicated on fringe theories (the abduction phenomenon, whether you
subscribe to an Intruders, Imaginal, or Space Brothers hypothesis, is
still fringe).
  "The debate propelled by the FMS Foundation is going to change the
focus of the argument in abduction circles from the nature of the
abduction phenomenon to the scientific and social responsibility of
abduction researchers and therapists as they explore the question and
try to identify and help experiencers. FMS raises legitimate concerns,
with serious moral and ethical implications for the field of
abductions. The concerns are worthy of study, even if we do not care
for the way they are presented.
  "FMS, and the issues it represents, is like a locomotive coming down
the track, straight at us We can use the knowledge and insight
provided by this group to encourage a constructive dialogue and
improve our work, or we can fall into the trap of opposing FMS on the
grounds that it is another 'debunking' group."

                    OUR CRITICS -- THEIR SEMANTICS

  One of our members notes that our critics have a rather peculiar way
with words: "I have been sent a brochure advertising a conference they
are having about what to do about the FMS Foundation. The brochure
says, incredibly enough, that the Foundation 'claims that most
repressed and subsequently retrieved memories of abuse are in fact
false.' What a crazy claim that would be: no one with a modicum of
reason would claim that repressed and subsequently retrieved memories
are false. It seems that the Foundation's critics have become so
beholden to their favorite psychological theories that they are
blinded to the possibility of their theories being overruled by
fact. They are so sure that all those elicited memories are really
based on repressed memories that they think we are not only wrong but
downright unreasonable.
  "The keynote speaker at that conference was Ellen Bass, the creative
writer. She wrote a letter with Laura Davis to the New York Times
Book Review complaining about the article by Carol Tavris entitled
'Beware the Incest Survivor Movement.' They accuse Tavris of saying
'that substantial numbers of perpetrators are falsely accused.' Now
one of them must have written that line and the other must have read
it. Do they actually believe that Carol Tavris is worried about
perpetrators being falsely accused? Our critics never seem to use the
words accuser and accused but always victim and perpetrator. And some
say -- even while using those loaded words -- that they aren't making
any judgment about the real facts of the individual cases. After all,
they're not detectives, are they? -- just therapists trying to support
their clients. And I suppose that such therapists wouldn't mind a bit
that their notion of perpetrators allows for falsely accused
perpetrators (and, probably, falsely accusing victims). But Bass and
Davis don't have such qualms. They know that every woman with or
without memories really was abused by some evil male, probably her
father. They seem to know that any male suspected of being a
perpetrator is a perpetrator. So when they say that Carol Tavris is
worried about substantial numbers of perpetrators being falsely
accused they probably mean it. I wonder what else they think about
Carol Tavris."
/                                                                    \
|           Where do 4042 families live?  June 1, '93                |
|  AK(8)   AL(14)  AR(12)  AZ(126) CA(723) CO(65)  CT(46)  DE(13)    |
|  FL(170) GA(51)  HI(5)   IA(31)  ID(17)  IL(145) IN(37)  KS(39)    |
|  KY(16)  LA(15)  MA(115) MD(62)  ME(18)  MI(131) MN(83)  MO(80)    |
|  MS(2)   MT(24)  NC(56)  ND(5)   NE(19)  NH(18)  NJ(102) NM(32)    |
|  NV(19)  NY(165) OH(129) OK(38)  OR(102) PA(234) RI(10)  SC(17)    |
|  SD(10)  TN(27)  TX(149) UT(148) VA(58)  VT(19)  WA(204) WI(131)   |
|  WV(7)   WY(6)   DC(6)   VI(3)  Canada : AB(18)  BC(43)  MB(39)    |
|  NS(6)   ON(142) PQ(4)   SK(7)   PE(1)  Australia(3)  England(10)  |
|  France(2)  Germany(1)  Ireland(1)  Israel(2)  New Zealand(1)      |
|               Each family represents many people.                  |

                            ABUSE  EXCUSE

  Do some mental health professionals have a bias to find childhood
sexual abuse? In reports from families this month we were informed
that relatives had gone to a therapist for reasons ranging from
general malaise to stuttering and were diagnosed as abuse victims.
Following are some newspaper reports that passed our desk.
(1) Do false accusations happen? According to a report in the San
Diego Union-Tribune on May 16, 1993, there was a rape hoax at a
Nordstrom department store on New Year's Day. It seems that a La
Jolla, California resident reported that she had been raped but
investigation showed that the sperm used as evidence was her husband's
that she had brought from home. False accusations happen -- some
intentional such as this and others by mistake. Most of us would
assume that a person who would intentionally do such a thing is likely
disturbed. Most of us would urge that such isolated and bizarre
incidents should not be used to minimize the believability or the
seriousness of claims of rape. "This case triggered conflicting
emotions in many rape victim advocates -- anger at the woman for
damaging the credibility of real rape victims, yet, at the same time,
  We have included this report not because of the incident itself,
which is simply sad. We included it because a comment about the
incident seems further documentation of the cultural preconception
that childhood sexual abuse is an excuse for any unacceptable
action. "That woman is a victim of something. She's crying out," said
Sherry Arndt, Santa Cruz coordinator of California's foremost sexual
assault response program. "She probably was molested as a child."
  We reflect on a comment of an older woman who was active in the
early years of the Women's Movement. "How does it help women to
portray them as victims who are lacking the strength to take hold of
their own lives and actions."

(2)The Oregonian, May 7, 1993. 
"Why you should think twice before you decide to give up smoking." 
by Phil Stanford. 

  A woman named Pat Rice went to a counselor for help in giving up
smoking. After being hypnotized, Pat developed the belief that she
had been sexually abused and tortured by a satanic cult. She became
fearful that the cult was after her and went to Salem Memorial
Hospital for help. The staff in the emergency room called in an expert
on satanic cults whom Pat called the Good Witch. Pat later believed
that the Good Witch told her to drive east in the westbound lane of
the highway. A crash took place which killed one man. In the hospital
after the crash, Pat came to realize that it had not been the Good
Witch's fault and that she was not being pursued by satanists. She
told the jury at her trial that she now knew that she had not been
sexually abused as a child either. She said those ideas had been
implanted in her head by the counselor. The jury found Pat guilty of
manslaughter but temporarily insane.

(3)  Tampa Tribune, May 9, 1993
  A former Christian school principal moonlighting as a
psychotherapist was convicted of sexual misconduct in a counseling
session. The plaintiff testified that she went to this therapist
because she was having problems with her 12-year-old son and was told
her family problems were related to childhood sexual abuse. Detectives
used a tape recorder to obtain evidence. Besides attempted sexual
misconduct, he was charged with practicing without a license.

                           FROM OUR READERS

How to locate the therapist
  "My daughter had told me never to talk to, or call her husband. I
was never to speak to him while they were in this divorce mess. When
her letter accusing us arrived, the first thing I did was to call him
for the therapist's name and number. The therapist seemed very
surprised I could get it. I'm sure friends, neighbors and former mates
could be contacted to furnish information of this kind, too " 
                                                                 A Mom

Death from a Broken Heart?
  "Our case -- On April 4th our daughter wrote to her father (70 years
old) and me (67 years old). She accused her father of molesting her
over and over again and abusing her from ages 3 to 8. She accused her
older brother of knowing about the abuse because, she said, his room
was under the attic where it was supposed to have gone on. There was
no attic in that house. I asked her to go with me to that house to see
if there was an attic but she refused. On April 30th, my husband of 46
years, died of a ruptured aneurysm. I know he died of a broken heart."
                                                              A Mom
Close the door but don't lock it
  "The FMS newsletter gives some accounts of parents who are trying to
reestablish relationships with offspring, starting with mutual
agreement to ban any mention of the false accusations. I have some
doubts about how such an approach would help my family I guess a
parent can never completely abandon hope, no matter how hard we try,
but what I'm trying to say here is that continuing to allow this
painful item to be the center of my attention, after my best long-term
efforts have been exerted without desirable results, isn't good for me
Close the door, but don't lock it
  "I can't go on forever nursing an open wound; there has to be
closure at some point. I have never claimed to be a perfect parent,
not an ideal human being -- only that I am not guilty of incest."
                                                             A Dad
Therapy Cult 
  "This trendy fad of blaming parents for every character defect is a
facile copout -- the lazy way out for both the therapist and the
patient My daughter, in all her years of therapy, has had no
opportunity to have her real problems diagnosed and addressed.
  "How cult-like this 'therapy' is. Surely I am not the only one who
sees the parallels. There is the blind faith -- the hypnotic
acceptance of the teachings of the gurus -- the unquestioning and
uncritical incorporation of the far-out tenets into the personal lives
of the adherents -- no matter how outlandish the teachings -- no
matter who gets hurt, or how much. There is the missionary zeal and
closed-minded, narrowly focused, head-in-the-sand determination to
vindicate a social agenda ( a product of fuzzy emotional, convoluted
thinking) at any cost."
                                                         A Dad
How to explain to neighbors and friends
  "I have finally found a way that is comfortable for me to explain to
neighbors and friends who ask where my daughter is. I tell them that
she has joined a sort of therapy-cult that is obsessed with sexual
abuse. People seem to understand cults. "
                                                          A Mom

How do your feel about having contact with your daughter, but not ever
talking about the accusations?
  "We have mixed emotions. We cannot capture yesterday. Circumstances
change things and this trauma has changed all our lives. The pain will
always be with us. There is much we feel that we will never know or
understand of this, but we sincerely believe our daughter was the
primary victim of FMS. It would be nice to have some explanation, but
it is not hard for us to forgive and forget and push ahead. It is
acceptable on our part for our daughter not to talk about the
accusations when we have the opportunity to visit with her. We would
do nothing that might cause her to draw away again or that might cause
her to cut our grandchildren off again."
                                                          Mom and Dad
                       NEWS FROM WESTERN CANADA

  Each month, Canadians prepare their own supplement to the general
FMSF newsletter. This month they asked us to share a bit of their
  The outcome of a case in British Columbia was reported in an article
by D. Roche, in the Medicine Hat News, April 24, 1993. It was titled
"Lorenz not guilty." Lorenz was tried on two charges of indecently
assaulting his daughter 40 years ago. The comments of the judge and
the defense were interesting.
  The judge said, "I am of the view that the complainant truly
believed in her mind that the assault occurred. I also have concern
that her therapist may have unwittingly placed seeds of false memory."
He noted that he couldn't take into account the validity of the
testimony because it was based on memory that couldn't be
  The defense argued that "All we can say is there is a recollection
which may or may not be true, and a memory which may or may not be
illusory. We simply don't know Has the Crown proved beyond a
reasonable doubt that repressed memory exists and is always accurate?
In sex abuse areas, doubting one's client is harmful and those
(repressed) memories are not tested for veracity The Crown relies on a
theory of repressed memory that has not been proven."
  Writers from British Columbia tell us that in their province there
is an Ombudsman who will examine the complaints of families who say
that therapists are using radical treatments (e.g., encouraging the
severing of family connections) on their children for a condition that
the children do not have.
  The first person to be tried in the Martensville, Saskatchewan
day-care case, a 21-year old girl, has been found guilty of abusing
her young charges. The Martensville trial is not about "repressed
memories," but is another day-care situation like McMartin, Little
Rascals or the Kelly Michaels case. We think that it is important for
people in the United States as well as Canada to understand that there
has been a press "black-out" on this trial. The judge ordered that no
details, only decisions, of this case may be released until its
conclusion in about a year and a half. Many people in Canada and
throughout the world are questioning why such drastic action has been


"As we look forward to retirement, this is sort of a strange hobby."

"We used to go to confession and blame ourselves. Now we go to
therapists and blame others."

                         A FRIEND'S MARRIAGE

   "I have watched a very good person destroy her marriage through
what appears to be an example of FMS. She is now leaving her husband
primarily because he is not sufficiently supportive of her
"decade-delayed" memories of the male members of her household raping
her when she was a child under age 5. This highly suggestible
individual has reached these conclusions with input from: (1) a
psychologist who has an active practice in the area of helping people
with "repressed memories", (2) a counselor who has no academic
credentials in mental health, and whose analysis was based on typical
behavior of individuals who have recently recovered "lost memories",
(3) a priest who has encouraged her to continue with her actions
without ever even hearing the other side of these stories, and (4)
"support groups" for survivors of childhood sexual abuse."  

A Dad's Story
  "For 29 years my daughter had been the light of my existence. The
closeness we maintained from her early childhood to the birth of her
son was extraordinary.
  She had a normal childhood and excelled in school. Although she
moved away after graduation from college, she returned because she
said that she missed her family. She got a job and a boyfriend and
then got married. When she gave birth in 1990 to a terrific baby boy,
I was at the hospital right away. But things began to change.
  She complained that her husband was not helping her much. She always
seemed tired and down in the dumps and she indicated that there were
marital problems at home. She was depressed and anxious.
  In retrospect it is hard to believe, but I encouraged her to get
help. She went to see a counselor through the state Mental Health
agency. She and her husband went in for marital counseling and they
brought the baby to our house so that they could attend therapy
sessions together. Before long my son-in-law stopped going and my
daughter started going to a women's therapy group.
  In early 1992 she divulged that as a 7 year old child she had been
sexually assaulted by some man who came to our house, presumably a
friend of ours. She could not identify the man. She said that with the
help of her therapist who had been able to remember this attack which
she had "repressed." Needless to say I was very concerned, shocked and
horrified that this had happened to her without our ever knowing about
it, but I did not doubt her word. I wanted to help her, but I didn't
know how. My intentions were good when I counseled her to let the past
be the past, not to let an ugly incident of over 20 years ago ruin her
life. This was not what she wanted to here. There was a hostility that
I found strange and hard to understand. In March of 1992, I got a long
letter from her saying that she was angry at me for not believing she
had been sexual abused, for not protecting her at the time, for making
light of the trauma and for not trying to understand (the apparent
contradiction notwithstanding.) The letter was very hostile. It was
like a thunderbolt out of the blue. I cried like a baby. I did not
know what had happened to cause her to say these things.
  I wrote her immediately to explain that I had never disbelieved her,
and to offer my love and help.
  A few months later I received a short note from her advising me not
to call or come by or in any way to try to contact her. She said she
needed time to work out her problem (from the childhood trauma) and
that if I loved her like I said I did, I would respect her request. I
was utterly bewildered but I did respect her request. I felt very bad
not having any contact with her or my grandson.
  Basically, I still had no idea what was going on. I was blissfully
ignorant of the bandwagon victimology popularized by the book "Courage
to Heal" until I confided my misery to a friend. Upon hearing that my
daughter had been sexually abused, he told me to read the book, to be
very careful to "validate" her suffering and not to question any
aspect of her account.
  I read the book. I was hurt by the undisguised gender-based hatred
in the book. The object of their most venomous rantings was always
  Then a meeting was scheduled at her therapist's office. I had
requested the meeting and they scheduled it. Then I was told that I
was the one who had abused my daughter.
  That meeting has never taken place. I have never met the
therapist. At my request another meeting was discussed for March this
year and again it was indefinitely postponed by the therapist. To this
day I do not have any idea what it is that I am accused of doing. This
phenomenon, False Memory Syndrome, is being compared to witch-hunting.
And that is what it is like. The deal is set up to keep everything
secret. There is no opportunity to talk, confront accusers, cast light
on the charges. One is not even allowed to know what evil deed he is
guilty of or how this repressed memory was uncovered. Most of all they
seem locked into this belief system like members of a cult unwilling
to tolerate any open inquiry or discussing. It is this hiding in the
shadows that has been most frustrating.
  I have refrained from suing to get visitation rights by court order
because her therapist told me in the one conversation I later had with
him that I would lose any chance of ever having a relationship with my
daughter if I tried to exercise my recognized legal rights to a
relationship with my grandson. That is blackmail."

                          MEMORY ENHANCEMENT  

  One of the erroneous assumptions that has been made by many people
involved with the survivor movement is that it is possible to enhance
a person's memory through the use of hypnosis or sodium amytal. Just
about every survivor book recommends it to help find "memories" (e.g.,
Courage to Heal). Unfortunately, these techniques do not ensure that a
person will recall historically accurate events. This is not new
information and any person who was told that "memories" recovered
during hypnosis were accurate was misinformed. While hypnosis has many
beneficial medical uses, memory enhancement is not one of them. Note
the following passage from a highly respected and standard psychiatric

Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry IV Vol 2 5th Ed Kaplan and Sadock
Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1989 
Chapter 30 by Orne & Dinges, page 1516

  "An overwhelming body of research indicates that hypnosis does not
increase accurate memory, but does increase the person's willingness
to report previously uncertain memories with strong conviction.
Furthermore, the hypnotized individual has a pronounced tendency to
confabulate in those areas where there is little or no recollection;
to distort memory to become more congruent with beliefs, hopes, and
fantasies; and to incorporate cues from leading questions as factual
memories. Finally there is a high likelihood that the beliefs of the
hypnotist will somehow be communicated to the patient in hypnosis and
incorporated into what the patient believes to be memories, often with
strong conviction.
  "Neither the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric
Association, the American Psychological Association, the British
Medical Association nor the relevant scientific research community has
ever endorsed the use of hypnosis to aid the recall of witnesses to or
victims of crimes.
  "The AMA also points out that hypnosis is not a way of assuring
truthful reports, as people are capable of lying, even under deep
hypnosis, as well as effectively faking hypnosis. These caveats should
be kept in mind lest an attempt be made to employ hypnosis, or for
that matter, amobarbital (Amytal), to validate the accuracy of
statements made by patients. The use of these techniques will only
serve to confuse the physician, the patient, and the public, and in no
way assure reliable answers. Hypnosis is simply not a reliable means
of enhancing memory or obtaining historical truth.
  "Given the risks of factually inaccurate information, care should be
taken not to use hypnosis or other techniques involving suggestions in
attempting to elicit statements from children or adolescents
concerning sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is a repugnant act, and although
there is a widely held view that false-positive detections of such
abuse are vastly preferred to a single case remaining undetected, the
nature of hypnosis is such that a false-positive is a far more likely
outcome when hypnosis is used in this way. For a child, the
consequences of losing one or both parents as a result of such a
false-positive detection should be considered before taking
precipitous action."

  In a paper entitled "On the modification of memory in relaxed and
hypnotic states" presented by M. Orne and E. Orne at the Cogniscience
Section, National Center for Scientific Research at Salpetriere
Hospital in Paris, November 1992, the point is made that the
"hetero-hypnotic context is by no means unique in facilitating
directed pseudo-memories. Free association, guided imagery, relaxation
techniques, repeated visualization, "support" group probing, and the
therapeutic context itself can, under certain circumstances, in
suitable subjects, work to facilitate the production of
pseudo-memories, or the filling of gaps in childhood memory, with
fantasy or narrative material. Critical to the process of creating
convincing and compelling memories of childhood "events" appears to be
the belief of the therapist and patient in the historical accuracy of
memories elicited under specific uncovering techniques. The mechanisms
underlying believed-in uncovering techniques seem to share qualities
with, but are not necessarily identical to, hypnosis and

                        PSYCHOLOGY TASK FORCE

  Given this information about memory, we thought that it would be
interesting to see where some of the six members of the American
Psychological Association's Task Force' to study the FMS phenomenon
stand on issues related to memory. (The task force is scheduled to
meet for the first time in August.) Following are some quotes from two
of those members Christine Courtois, Ph.D. and Robert Ornstein,
Ph.D. Ornstein is a researcher and Courtois is a clinician.

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.

Robert Ornstein, Ph.D.
Evolution of Consciousness: The origins of the way we think, New York:
Simon and Schuster, 1991

p189 Memory is influenced not only by previous knowledge but also by
events that happen between the time an event is perceived and the time
it is recalled.
p190 So our memories, as exact, recorded, fixed images of the past are
an illusion. We believe we are stable, but this is one of the built-in
illusions of the mental system. We believe we remember specific
events, surely. Yet we don't. We make them up on the fly.. We change
our minds all the time, from our estimate of the odds on a bet, to how
we view our future. And we are unaware that the mind is doing this
p191 But do our leg muscles "remember" the marathon, does our stomach
remember the beef? No, and neither do we remember what has
occurred. Rather, the brain changes with experiences, and thence we
adapt and adjust. There are no real memories as we know them. We
reinterpret the hard points in memory over and over in our life,
assembling our past anew throughout our lives, throughout changes in

Christine Courtois, Ph.D.
Healing the Incest Wound: Adult Survivors in Therapy. New York:
Norton, 1988.

p130 Massive repression seems to be the main defensive operation
available to very young children and/or the violently abused.
p140 Should the woman deny knowledge of abuse despite indication to
the contrary, the therapist can gently probe, suggesting that the
symptoms she has described are sometimes related to a history of
abuse. The therapist might also describe what constitutes incest. At
times, therapist and client will conclude that incest occurred even
without conscious validation or memory on the part of the client.
p199 Hypnosis is used within the psychodynamic framework and within
other frameworks as well. Recently it has been mentioned as the
technique of choice for multiple personality disorder.
p199 Hypnosis can assist in the recapturint of lost memories... I have
used projective techniques such as imagining of a scene on television
which can be turned on or off at will to insure the client's sense of
p297 Hypnosis can be used to assist in bringing material to
p299 Participation in an incest therapy group usually stimulates the
memory recovery as members 'chain' from each other's experience.
p299 Flashbacks, nightmares, and frightening images are fairly common
intrusive mechanisms by which the repressed returns. Fieth provided
the following definition and description of flashbacks: Flashbacks are
non-psychotic episodes in which a person actually relives the abuse as
it happened.

  The mention of "flashbacks" in the Courtois book reminded us of
comments on this subject by Paul McHugh at the Memory and Reality
Conference in April. Dr. McHugh noted that the book War Neurosis by
John MacCurdy was the pioneering study of what is now known as post
traumatic stress disorder. MacCurdy studied soldiers in
WWI. "Flashbacks" is a recent word. MacCurdy's word was "visions."
  McHugh summarized the work: "Visions were not a replication of an
event but a worst-fear imagination -- not that a memory was jogged but
rather that a fear ran riot." On the current use of the term:
"Flashbacks may represent not a post traumatic state from abuse but a
post traumatic state induced by therapy."

                             OFFICE NEWS

  Mika had a baby boy! I know that you join us in congratulations and
also in thanks to her for the wonderful and patient help she offered.
  As the number of families has increased, so have the demands on the
office. We expect to add two new positions to help with the increased
volume of work.
/                                                                    \
|                  Grandparents Rights - National Office             |
|                  Ethel Dunn, Executive Director                    |
|                  137 Larkin Street                                 |
|                  Madison Wisconsin   53705                         |
|                  608-238-8751                                      |
|                                                                    |
| Many of you have asked for this address. This organization formed  |
| in response to loss of visitation for grandparents in divorce and  |
| custody dases.  There are branches in every state aware of         |
| relevant legal and legislative issues.                             |

                      ARTICLES/BOOKS OF INTEREST

Goode, Erica E., & Wagner, Betsy, "Does Psychotherapy Work?" U.S. News
& World Report, May 24, 1993, 57-65.
  "Reviewing data from more than 2,400 patients collected over 30
years, psychologist Kenneth Howard and his associates found that the
impact of psychotherapy followed a linear progression resembling, in
Howard's analogy, 'a plant's response to fertilizer.' By the eighth
therapy session, Howard found, 50 percent of clients showed measurable
improvement. After six months of once-per-week psychotherapy, 75
percent of clients had improved. The rates at which people got better
varied with their diagnoses. Problems like anxiety and depression
tended to respond to psychotherapy by the 20th session. More-severe
conditions, however, were just starting to respond to treatment at six
months: It took a full year, for instance, for many
personality-disorder clients to improve." p.63. (It is of interest
to note that the people with memories of abuse are described as having
been in therapy for 3, 5, or as many as ten years. Why does recovered
memory therapy take such a long time?)

Halleck, Seymour, M.D. et al. "The Use of Psychiatric Diagnoses in the
Legal Process; Task Force Report of the American Psychiatric
Association." Bulletin American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, Vol 20
No. 4, 1992, 481-499.
  "There have been recent instances in which psychiatrists have
testified that the presence of symptoms related to post-traumatic
stress disorder (often described as a new syndrome such as battered
spouse syndrome) is powerful evidence that certain abusive events such
as rape or child molestation have taken place. Here, a diagnosis based
on a DSM-III-R category is used to conclude that criminally actionable
conduct has occurred. In the absence of a scientific foundation for
attributing a person's behavior or mental condition to a single past
event, such testimony should be viewed as a misuse of psychiatric
expertise." p.495 Hanson, Gayle. "Total recall versus tricks of the
mind." Insight Magazine, May 24, 1993. (Available by calling
800-356-3588). An outstanding presentation of the issues.

Loftus, Elizabeth, Ph.D. "The reality of repressed memories." American
Psychologist, May 1993. (Single issue available for $15.50 including
handling. APA Order Dept, PO Box 2710, Hyattsville, MD 20784-0710.)
  This is the published version of the landmark talk presented at the
APA in 1992.

Safran, Claire. "Dangerous obsessio: The truth about repressed
memories."  McCalls, June, 1993.
  For the first time a magazine that reaches a mass audience of women
has presented alternative explanations of the issues. Sensitively
written and based on actual cases.

Wartik, Nancy, "A Question of Abuse" American Health Magazine, May
1993, 62-66.
  An excellent presentation of the issues involved in the controversy
of repressed memories.

Wright, Lawrence, "Remembering Satan - Part I and Part II. New Yorker,
May 17 and May 24, 1993.
  This is a profound analysis into the thinking patterns and the
processes of people who become emeshed in belief in satanic ritual
abuse. The story is focused on the Ingram case.
/                                                                    \
|                  True Stories of False Memories                    |
|              by Eleanor Goldstein and Kevin Farmer                 |
| will soon be available from SIRS Books (Includes stories from      |
| siblings and recanters)                                            |
|                    Price  $14.95 plus shipping                     |
|                    Call (800) 232-7477 to order                    |
| The FMS Foundation will receive 40 percent of the cover price for  |
| all orders mentioning the FMS Foundation                           |

/                                                                    \
|         Satanic Panic: The Creation of A Contemporary Legend       |
|                       by Jeffrey S. Victor                         |
|                  Open Court Publishing Company                     |
| (Absorbing scholarly work that explains contemporary satanic       |
| ritual abuse fears and the rumors by which they have been spread.) |
|  Price  $13.56 plus shipping (3.00, foreign 5.00)                  |
|  Call (800) 435-6850 to order                                      |


Video Tapes of Memory and Reality Conference
A generous donation has made it possible for us to make these
available for loan for FMSF Meetings.
Contact Nancy in the office for details.

                           RESEARCH REQUEST

  I would like to contact anyone who believes her/himself to have had
a false or otherwise problematical diagnosis of Multiple Personality
Disorder (MPD). My work is oriented toward a social-historical
understanding of the origins and evolution of the concept of myultiple
personality, and a practical understanding of how the idea is applied
in therapeutic situations. Please contact Michael G.  Kenny,
Department of Sociology-Anthropology, Simon Fraser University,
Burnaby, B.C. V5A 1S6, Canada, or call me (collect if you wish) at

            Professionals and Parents Networking Together

 To place a notice in this column for July, please be sure that we
receive the information in writing by the 25th of June. Please mail or
fax your notice Attn: Nancy.
  Contact your state liaison to find out about meetings in your
area. Not all meetings are listed.

June 12
Steering Committee Meeting
September 18, 1993
Guest Speaker -- Eleanor Goldstein
Call Jim  602-860-8981

Greater LA area - 1st and 3rd Mon at 7:30
call Marilyn at 909-985-7980
Notices will be sent by area for other groups

June 24, 1993
Pamela Freyd, Guest Speaker
Holiday Inn - Rockside & I-77
Confirm reservations, 216-888-7963
Call before 6/21/93
6:30 Dinner $20.00 per Person 
Program 7:30 p.m. No Charge

Meetings on the 4th Saturday of each month
 1:00 P.M.
Cherry Creek Branch, Denver Public Library
3rd and Milwaukee
Call Roy 303-221-4816

Statewide Meeting - Orlando Area
Call one of the following for information:
Esther  407-364-8290   Rose  305-947-0095
Jackie  813-273-3246

(neighboring states welcome)
June 26. 1993
Guest Speaker: Charles Burditt,  Attorney at Law
Call Jean 404-948-4606. Nancy 404-922-7486

"We need your help to educate professionals"
Kansas City
Meetings every second Sunday of the month.
For details call Pat at 913-238-2447 or Jan 816-276-8964

The Michigan Information Newsletter
P.O. Box 15044,   Ann Arbor, MI 48106
Notices about meetings and other state-related topics appear in this

Sunday, June 13, 1993 , 1:00 P.M.
Chelmsford, MA
For details call Jean at 508-250-1055

September 16, 1993
Guest Speaker -- - Eleanor Goldstein
Contact  Barbara  602-924-4330

Contact the FMSF office (215-387-1865) if you wish information about
meetings in upstate New York.

Is it Therapy or Mind Control?
For information & reservations call:
Ethel:  516-676-0939   Renee: 718-428-8583
Grace:  201-337-4278   Evelyn:  201-835-4647

Sunday, July 18, 1993
Noon to 4:00 P.M.
Hospitality Center
Roth's Salem West
425 Glen Creek Drive, N.W.
Salem, Oregon

Second Saturday of each month
1:00 P.M. same place
Call 215-385-1865 for details

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

Attention Wisconsin
We want to start a telephone tree. 
If you wish to participate, please call 
Katie/Leo 414-476-0285

                       MORE FMSF SURVEY RESULTS

 Families were asked to "Please check any of the following items if
they generally applied to your child as he/she was growing up.
(i.e. Every child probably would be happy at times or sad at times,
but in general over the long run, would you say your child was usually
"happy.") These are some of the descriptions that parents have used
about accusing children. Please add any additional phrases that occur
to you that describe your child as he or she was growing.

N = 290     Number reflects "yes"

rebellious                                  85
highly suggestible                         124
liked to shock family and friends           67
needed more than average attention         116
seemed bossy or domineering                 98
resented authority                         112
seemed meek                                124
seemed especially trusting                 159
eating difficulties (too fat)               69
eating difficulties (too thin, anorexia)    35
was suicidal                                44
experimented with drugs                     95
excelled in school                         198
problems in school                          65
lots of friends                            152
few friends                                131
generally healthy                          256
generally sickly                            26
frequent headaches                          35
used illness to avoid unpleasant activities 30
given tranquilizers as child                 7
was a "hippy"                               46
involved in protest movements               55
involved in "New Age" activities            54
involved in alternative medical practices   47
ambitious                                  208
afraid of many things                       50
bold                                       115
daring                                      91
rude                                        51
honest                                     217
kind                                       239
helpful                                    220
happy                                      201
sad                                         52
angry                                       75

Families have asked for the addresses of the Surgeon General and the
Secretary of Health & Human Services because they want inform these
people of the problem.

Dr. Donna Shalalah,  Secretary, Health and Human Services 
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC  20201

Dr . Joycelyn Elders,  U.S. Surgeon General Designate
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, Maryland  20857

Our policy to date: Over the past year we have mailed the FMSF
Newsletter to virtually everyone who has requested it. Each month,
however, the circulation has increased. In April well over 5,000
copies of the Newsletter were mailed to families and professionals in
the United States and Canada, as well as Europe, Australia, and
Asia. Each week hundreds of new requests for information packets,
which contain recent copies of the FMSF Newsletter, are filled. The
rate of growth has been phenomenal. We have found it necessary,
therefore, to implement a new policy, as follows.
  As in the past, Newsletter subscriptions to Family and Professional
Members of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation are included in the
annual dues. The dues support the research and education efforts of
the Foundation.
  Those who are not members of FMSF, but received a complimentary
subscription to the Newsletter during the past year, may purchase a
1993 subscription (10 issues annually, beginning with the January
issue) for the cost of printing and mailing. (Please refer to the
Subscription Rate Schedule published on the Masthead. Due to the high
cost of overseas Air Mail, Canadian and foreign subscription rates are
more costly.)
   If you wish to subscribe to the FMSF Newsletter for the first time,
back issues (to January 1993) will be mailed to you when your
subscription begins. Please complete the information on the enclosed
Subscription Order Form and return it with your check or money order,
in U.S. dollars, to FMS Foundation.
  1992 FMSF Newsletters from March, 1992, when the organization was
formed, through December 1992 are available for $8.00.

                            LOST AND FOUND

Contact the Foundation if you lost a pair of reading glasses (pink
frames) at the April Conference.
                     'TRAUMA HUNT' PERILS THERAPY
                          by Joseph deRivera
      Reprinted with permission of Scripps Howard News Service.

A dangerous type of psychotherapy has evolved that is harming people,
destroying families and threatening to undermine the work of skilled
therapists nationwide. This new type of therapy, which I call "trauma
search" therapy, allegedly helps people deal with childhood trauma.
Actually, it appears to be leading many people to "discover" sexual
traumas that may not have happened.
  How often does this occur? In March 1992, the False Memory Syndrome
Foundation began collecting cases of parents who reported that they
had been falsely accused on the basis of "memories" recovered during
therapy. In less than a year, this foundation has collected 3,700
  True traumatic events often have psychological effects that demand
treatment: Victims may suffer from nightmares, intrusive memories or a
lack of concentration or trust. Legitimate and helpful forms of
therapy exist to help people who clearly know they have, for instance,
been beaten, raped or tortured.
  By contrast, in "trauma-search" therapy, the patient seeks help with
a problem-bulimia, depression, sexual inhibition and so on-and the
therapist searches for a traumatic event to explain the problem. The
therapist supposes that the patient's problems were caused by some
early sexual traumatic event and that the patient will be helped if
the memory is uncovered. The therapist uses intuition to ask leading
questions about the past and encourages the patient to "search" his or
her unconscious. Hypnosis may be used or the patient may be asked to
read material describing sexual abuses that have happened to others.
  The problem with this reasonable sounding procedure is that a
patient in distress is vulnerable to influence by suggestion. While
studies have shown that most victims actually remember traumatic
events, many people think that trauma is often repressed. Hence,
misguided therapists encourage patients to use their imagination to
try to "remember."
  The human mind is wonderfully imaginative and may create what is
then thought to have happened. This occurs quite quickly, especially
when hypnosis is used. Many therapists and patients do not realize
that hypnosis does not help people remember real events. Studies have
repeatedly shown that hypnosis helps people imagine events so vividly
that they believe they are real even when they are not.
  Since the trauma-search therapist presupposed that a trauma must
have occurred, he or she uncritically believes the patient. Rather
than help the patient separate truth from fantasy, the therapist
encourages the patient to "remember" more about the alleged trauma.
And when the patient has an image-a dream or a feeling that something
may have happened, the therapist is encouraged, praises the patient's
efforts and assures him or her that it really did happen.
  Our society is beginning to realize that a lot of sexual abuse in
fact occurs. Consequently, when patients search for traumatic
experience, they are more likely to "discover" that they were sexually
  While such "memories" are quite upsetting, patients may initially
feel better because they now have an explanation for their problems.
It is not that their jobs are difficult, their children a handful,
their spouses hard to love. It is that they were abused!
Unfortunately, this relief does not bring lasting change. Without the
help they really need, patients who were relatively successful,
relatively loving persons with problems now become "survivors" who
find it difficult to cope and are increasingly dependent on their
  The language of these patients all sound suspiciously alike.
Anguished parents have shared letters they received with me: "You
incested me." "I am a trauma survivor." "You know what you did." But,
in fact, parents do not know.
  What are relatives to think? Whom are they to believe? Some may side
with the accused and risk themselves being accused of "denial." Others
side with the patient and become alienated from the rest of the
family. Family members are rejected unless they accept the "memory"
of the abuse as real. At best, the family loses a member to a cult of
patients and therapists who believe that everyone's pain is the result
of abusive childhoods. At worst, the family is fragmented and
  The fabric of our society rests on people trusting each other,
caring for one another, facing the real abuses that happen all to
frequently and reconciling people who are in conflict. Skilled
therapists help weave this fabric.
  "Trauma-search" therapy is not a search for understanding, an
attempt to change behavior or a struggle for the forgiveness we all
owe our parents for the real mistakes they have, inevitably made. It
is a therapy that confuses the differences between real and fantasized
abuse and encourages the destruction of families.

  Joseph DeRivera, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at Clark
  University in Worcester, Massachusetts and a consultant for FMSF.

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
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This address and the phone numbers have changed as of July 15, 2000
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3315
Phone 215-387-1965
ISSN # 1069-0484

Pamela Freyd, Ph.D., Executive Director

FMSF Scientific and Professional Advisory Board June, 1993
Terence W. Campbell, Ph.D., Clinical and Forensic Psychology, Sterling
Heights, MI; Robyn M. Dawes, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University,
Pittsburgh, PA; David F. Dinges, Ph.D. The Institute of Pennsylvania
Hospital, Philadelphia, PA; Fred Frankel, M.B.Ch.B., D.P.M., Beth
Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical 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., UCLA School
of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA; Ernest Hilgard, Ph.D., Stanford
University, Palo Alto, CA; Philip S. Holzman, Ph.D., Harvard
University, Cambridge, MA; John Hochman, M.D., UCLA Medical School,
Los Angeles, CA; John Kihlstrom, Ph.D., University of Arizona, Tucson,
AZ; Harold Lief, M.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA;
Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Paul
McHugh, M.D., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; Harold Merskey,
D.M., University of Western Ontario, London, Canada; Ulric Neisser,
Ph.D., Emory University, Atlanta, GA; Richard Ofshe, Ph.D., University
of California, Berkeley, CA; Martin Orne, M.D., Ph.D., University of
Pennsylvania, The Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia,
PA; Loren Pankratz, Ph.D., Oregon Health Sciences University,
Portland, OR; Campbell Perry, Ph.D., Concordia University, Montreal,
Canada; Harrison Pope, Jr., M.D., Harvard Medical School, Cambridge,
MA; Donald Spence, Ph.D., Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center,
Princeton, NJ;Louise Shoemaker, M.S.W., Ph.D. University of
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Margaret Singer, Ph.D., University of
California, Berkeley, CA; Ralph Slovenko, J.D., Ph.D., Wayne State
University Law School, Detroit, MI; Ralph Underwager, Ph.D., Institute
of Psychological Therapies, Northfield, MN; Jeffrey Victor, Ph.D.,
Jamestown Community College, Jamestown, NY; Hollida Wakefield, M.A.,
Institute of Psychological Therapies, Northfield, MN.