Sunday, 26 June 2016
FALSE MEMORY SYNDROME..THE BIG LIE!
term false memory “syndrome” implies professional acceptance but there
is NO SCIENTIFIC FOUNDATION for FMS and the existence of false memory
“syndrome” has NOT been proven in any way. The FMSF (USA) was
founded in Philadephia to support those who claimed they had been
wrongly accused of sexual abuse. The FMSF and its UK counterpart is now a
hiding place for abusers who are in denial, and their USA ‘Director’
Pamela Freyd, admitted that the organisation does not make any checks to
see if their members have criminal records for sexual abuse! She stated
“I dont know the truth or falsity of any individuals story” Another
Pamela Freyd also ridiculed those who are opposed to child
sexual abuse as “politically correct” and therefore, perhaps, merely
The False Memory Syndrome Foundation created the term “false
memory syndrome” to explain how false accusations could occur. They
have taken the stance that delayed memories are often false, and
memories recovered in therapy are particularly suspicious.
theory is that vulnerable people are coerced into believing they have
been abused by therapists who are more interested in having long-term
clients than in assisting them, or who unknowingly create false memories
in their clients through hypnosis or suggestion.
New Research Casts Doubts On False Memory! Syndrome
By Patricia Reaney
scientists have cast doubts on the prevalence of False Memory Syndrome
and the idea that recovered memories are often bogus ones induced by
The theory that memories of events which never
occurred can be constructed by suggestion during therapy was used
successfully as a defense by those accused of child abuse, to discredit
children’s testimony. Not any more!
Researchers at University
College London claim their study of data from 236 adults with recovered
memories shows many are of true past events. “There is now consistent
evidence that ‘False Memory Syndrome’ cannot explain all, or even most,
examples of recovered memories of trauma,” the British Psychological
Society said in a statement.
Dr. Bernice Andrews, who conducted
the study, said “There is increasing evidence that many recovered
memories cannot be explained by so-called False Memory Syndrome. To date
there is no evidence for a specific False Memory Syndrome”
we’ve shown is that a substantial proportion of these memories have
been corroborated”. Contrary to common belief, not all repressed
memories are about childhood sexual abuse. They can result from many
types of trauma and not all are recovered during therapy.
often come into therapy because they have started to remember things
that have happened in the past. In our study around a third of cases
were people who came into therapy after recovering memories,” said
She and her colleagues interviewed 108 qualified
therapists about the 236 patients. They said the most common triggers
for recovering memories were events concerning patients’ own children
that they associated with violence or fear that they felt themselves.
Less often books, videos and memory recovery techniques were used to
help patients recall the events.
“Therapists in the majority of
cases do not use aggressive, suggestive techniques to get their clients
to remember things. They (memories) come up just as a matter of course
during therapy and are often accompanied by a lot of emotion as though
the person is reliving the event in the present,” Andrews explained.
researchers said their study cannot prove that all recovered memories
are true. “You certainly can’t explain all instances of people
recovering memories in therapy in terms of so-called False Memory
Syndrome,” Andrews added.
False memory – the false media impressions
(March/April 1995 issue of Addiction Counselling World) Abridged version.
False Memory Syndrome is mainly concerned with childhood sexual abuse.
Surveys indicate between 10-30% of children have suffered sexual abuse in one form or another.
(Kinsey et al 1953, Russell 1984)
jump to 80-90+% in alcoholics’ or addicts’ childhoods, depending on
which research you read; looking at these issues forms a major part of
their personal recovery.
Statistically this must concern some of the friends and acquaintances of any of us, a fact most people would rather ignore.
An important subject is being taken over by a smooth public relations exercise.
There are no research statistics or even evidence to justify the term “syndrome”.
This situation is not helped by the reluctance of people to discuss – or even admit the existence of childhood sexual abuse.
those adult children, some of whom are still suffering some form of
abuse, are left to wonder if there is any chance that they will be
The FMSF supports parents who say the accusations by their adult children of childhood sexual abuse are false.
These parents are typically aged 50s, 60s and 70s.
accusers are adults who, for one reason or another, have met unbearable
emotional pain and insurmountable difficulties in adult relationships –
at work, socially or at home – and have sought to relieve the burden of
To resolve these issues, some have sought help from counsellors.
can often be the first time a survivor feels safe enough to speak about
their childhood sexual abuse, which then leads to the allegations.
culture regards parents, regardless of who they are, or what they have
done, as upstanding citizens being wrongly accused in their twilight
years, while the adult children, by the very nature of their need to
seek help, are regarded as less than stable, even unreliable.
these adult children do not conform to what is regarded as socially
acceptable: it is felt that it would be better for all concerned to keep
a stiff upper lip.
Therefore, we have an imbalance of power between accuser and accused.
also means that the accused becomes the accuser – the parents accuse
their children of lying or fantasising. This is seen as acceptable
because children are not to be believed, whether they are adult or not.
Counsellors and Psychotherapists blamed for implanting ‘stories’ ?
supporters suggest that memories of sexual abuse are implanted by
counselling, but validated research clearly shows that 25% of a study of
hynpotised people were subject to having false memories implanted.
75% of the subjects were not convinced the memory was real!
Bu the FMS still insist that this assumption is based on two counts: bad therapists and bad science.
maintains bad therapists are leading their clients and/or using dubious
methods such as hypnotherapy or truth drugs to develop false memories.
say the existence of recovered memory is not proven scientifically, and
if that argument is to stand up, lets remember that the term “false
memory syndrome” implies professional acceptance – it does NOT and never
will have any scientific foundation to be accepted!
noting that the British False Memory Society made much of Majorie Orr’s
reflection that an estimated 2-8% of accusations by children were false.
They declined to comment on the 92-98% who spoke the truth!.
discussing issues of childhood sexual abuse with
therapists/counsellors, they stated that client to recover a memory is
not how they work! In reality, a real memory becomes clearer over time,
while an imagined one gradually fades out to more pressing and real
Evidence of recovered memories has been corroborated for
traumatic events other than child abuse, such as war, political torture
or concentration camps.
Memories of such experiences often come back to haunt them many years later.
THE UNDERLYING ISSUES
sides agree that child sex abuse exists. I say “agree” because the FMS
agree that child sexual abuse occurs, it just does not happen “in their
back yard.” It happens in another street, town, or city.
countless cases of child abuse, someone is always ready to say that it
cannot be ‘him/her’ who is responsible because they have known the
people or family for years, and that they are model citizens.
should not ignore the figures of accredited surveys, indicating
anything up to 30% of female and c.10% of male children suffering some
form of abuse. The figures are chilling – and higher for children who go
on to live addictive lives.
A study (Feldman-Summers & Pope
1994) supports earlier studies indicating that abuse survivors routinely
reported periods of time when they had forgotten some or all of their
abuse. Briere & Conte (1989, 1993) and Herman & Schatzow (1987)
had linked amnesia to the severity and/or violence of the abuse.
Briere & Conte’s study, of a sample of 468 clinical subjects with
sexual abuse histories, 279 (59.6%) reported a period of their lives
before age 18 when they had been amnesic for their abuse.
who had repressed memories were most likely to have been molested at an
early age, to have been physically injured or to have suffered violent
physical or psychological force.
Another study – of 500
psychologists in the US, with 330 returns – showed that two out of five
victims of abuse reported periods of amnesia. 26% of women and 16.5% of
men reported having been sexually abused, totalling 21.8% of the sample
(given the sample, there was no definition of sexual abuse).
The major findings were sexual & non-sexual abuse was subject to periods of forgetting.
Fifty six per cent reported that therapy was associated with recollection.
half of those who said they had forgetten also reported corroboration
of the abuse. Forgetting is not related to age or gender of the
Survivors, but to the severity of the abuse.
These studies are
specific to the underlying issue in the false memory debate. There are
innumerable studies of wartime, concentration camp, torture and other
major trauma victims, which have indicated amnesia in order to survive.
are familiar at the level of the general public with associated
‘flashback’ repetitive replays and so on. The impact of the Vietnam war
and its horrors come to mind as being most well-known, popularised by
films such as The Deer Hunter.
FOUNDERS OF “FMSF”
Peter and Pamela Freyd
is also worth noting that many members of the Scientific Advisory Panel
of the FMS Foundation have dual professional relationships with the
Co-founders with the Freyds were Dr Ralph
Underwager and his wife Hollida Wakefield, co-author of two books on
child sexual abuse.
Dr Underwager resigned from the FMSF,
following his 1993 interview in a dutch paedophile mazazine which
endorsed sex between adults and chidlren and also suggested
decriminalistion of paedophilia, to open the debate! His wife remains on
the board of FMS Foundation.
The US Appeal Court dismissed Dr
Underwager’s defamation suit against Dr Anna Salter who criticised the
inaccuracy of Underwager/Wakefield’s book.
supporters of ‘false memory’ complain that no one listens to the
proposition that false memories are being implanted, but do not give
credence to the fact that there are real memories and real abuse.
blinkered and often abusive attitude towards survivors of sexual abuse
gives the impression they are concealing a fear of what they are unable
The last word belongs to Jennifer Freyd, following the
disclosure that she was sexually abused her father, none other than
In 1993 she gave her side of the Freyd family story.
It was one of boundary and privacy violations, unwanted sexualisation
by the father and denial by the mother, and intimidation and
manipulation by both parents.
“At times I am flabbergasted that
my memory is considered ‘false’ and my alcoholic father’s memory is
considered rational and sane,” she said.
“At this point, we need
to find a constructive way to debate legitimate issues surrounding adult
survivors of child sexual abuse. We need to find a way to be gentle and
tender in this pursuit, even as we look critically at the many domains
in which we are scientifically and clinically uncertain.”
Thanks once again to Steve Bevan of The Male Survivors Trust
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