Related Research

Recovered Memory Data with information on recovered memory corroboration, theories on recovered memory, legal information, physiological evidence for memory suppression, replies to skeptics and books and articles on memory

Recovered memory corroboration rates – There are many studies that show fairly high corroboration rates for recovered  memories.

Basic Information on Dissociative Identity Disorder with sections on Basic Information on DID from the DSM‑IV‑TR, The History of DID/MPD, Diagnosing DID, Responses to those that state that DID is iatrogenic or a social construct,  MPD/DID connection to severe abuse, Recent information and DID resources  –

Delineates the etiological antecedents of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and enumerates upon the scientific evidence proving the existence of DID. This paper explains the diagnostic criteria of DID, its incidence rates and cross-cultural characteristics, present arguments to counter the idea that suggestibility may be a factor in its misdiagnosis and delineate the data that shows a clear connection between traumatic wartime experiences and dissociation and trauma and DID. It considers the historical development of the debate surrounding DID, including its increased diagnosis around the turn of the last century, reasons for its decline in diagnosis in the mid part of the last century and reasons for its increased diagnosis toward the end of the 20th century. It deliberates upon the claims made by several researchers that DID can be created in the laboratory as well as the critiques surrounding those claims. It discusses the neurobiological evidence proving the connection between DID and certain neurobiological indicators. Included is a discussion of the modern theory of iatrogenic DID and a critique of this theory. A debate about the creation of DID as a social construction and critiques of this theory are presented as well. It concludes, by presenting the argument that the research on DID shows it to be a valid psychiatric diagnosis which robustly meets all the necessary validity requirements.

An examination of the diagnostic validity of dissociative identity disorder. Gleaves DH, May MC, Cardeña E
We review the empirical evidence for the validity of the Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) diagnosis, the vast majority of which has come from research conducted within the last 10 years. After reviewing three different guidelines to establish diagnostic validity, we conclude that considerable converging evidence supports the inclusion of DID in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders. For instance, DID appears to meet all of the guidelines for inclusion and none of the exclusion guidelines; proposed by Blashfield et al.[Comprehensive Psychiatry 31 (1990) 15-19], and it is one of the few disorders currently supported by taxometric research. However, we also discuss possible problems with the current diagnostic criteria and offer recommendations, based on recent research, for possible revisions to these criteria. Clin Psychol Rev. 2001 Jun;21(4):577-608. “In conclusion, despite its long and controversial past, there has been a wealth of research accumulate over the past 10 to 15 years on the DID diagnosis. This research seems to establish the validity of the DID diagnosis.”
pubmed abstract

Presents research showing the biological basis for the theory of recovered memory. It defines recovered memory as the phenomenon of partially or fully losing part or a specific aspect of a memory, and then later recovering part or all of the memory into conscious awareness. This paper includes data from the works of van der Kolk and Fisler, Knopp and Benson and Bremner. Supporting data will include PTSD studies on Vietnam veterans and survivors of childhood trauma, subjective reports of memory, measurements of stress-responsive neurohormones, animal research on neurohormones, neuroimaging and MRI brain studies. Different theories of memory and amnesia are also presented.

The existence of recovered memory is a fact.  Anyone that denies this is ignoring large amounts of data.

The information for this part is a synopsis of data from “Memory, Trauma Treatment, and the Law” by Brown, Scheflin and Hammond, W.W. Norton and Co. New York and London, C 1998 ( Page 370-381

The base rates for memory commission errors are quite low, at least in professional trauma treatment. The base rates in adult misinformation studies run between zero and 5 percent for adults and between 3 – 5 percent for children. These numbers are quite different than what you might here from the pro-fms people or the media.

“Occasional unwitting misleading suggestions (Yapko, 1994a), even the suggestion of a diagnosis of abuse, cannot adequately explain illusory memories of child sexual abuse.” (p. 379) Occasional suggestions about abuse are not generally effective, except in highly suggestible people.

My conclusion is that memory contamination is very unlikely, except under extreme conditions. From the data presented, it sounds like it is almost totally impossible for anyone to make a memory error for the central plot of a memory simply by hearing disinformation. A variety of other factors would have to be in place. Even under hypnosis without several social influence factors, it sounds like it is extremely rare (4-6% of 7-10%, less than one percent of people) may be influenced by disinformation.

It sounds like most people would almost have to be in a cult or in a cult like situation or under considerable duress to produce an untrue memory. Theories that claim that a “false” memory can be created simply by hearing an erroneous statement or because a person is looking for “filler” to complete the central plot of their memory, are probably wrong.

But, if all the information in the media and society available to most survivors is biased toward the incorrect position that memories of abuse are false. And a survivor is manipulated and pressured by their family emotionally and cognitively, it is very possible that a survivor may wrongly believe that their memories are not true.

Media Manipulation by False Memory Proponents

U-Turn on Memory Lane by Mike Stanton – Columbia Journalism Review – July/August 1997

The FMSF builds much of its case against recovered memory by attacking a generally discredited Freudian concept of repression that proponents of recovered memory don’t buy, either. In so doing, the foundation ignores the fifty-year-old literature on traumatic, or psychogenic amnesia, which is an accepted diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association. In his 1996 book “Searching for Memory,” the Harvard psychologist and brain researcher Daniel L. Schachter — who believes that both true and false memories exist — says there is no conclusive scientific evidence that false memories can be created….The foundation and its backers “remind me of a high school debate team,” says the Stanford psychiatrist David Spiegel, an authority on traumatic amnesia. “They go to the library, surgically extract the information convenient to them and throw out the rest.”….Many therapists, like their patients, hesitate to speak out.Recently, though, they have begun to make a more concerted effort to mobilize a response. One of the most outspoken critics of the false-memory movement is a Seattle therapist, David Calof, editor until last year of Treating Abuse Today, a newsletter for therapists. He has identified what he calls the movement’s political agenda — lobbying for more restrictive laws governing therapy and promoting the harassment of therapists through lawsuits and even picketing of their offices and homes. Calof himself has been the target of picketing so fierce that he has been in and out of Seattle courtrooms over the last two years, obtaining restraining orders. He was spending so much time and money fighting the FMSF supporters’ campaign against him, he says, that he was forced to stop publishing the newsletter last year. He recently donated the publication to a victims’ rights group in Pennsylvania, which has resurrected it as Trauma. The new publisher says that views part of its mission as reporting on FMSF, since the mainstream media don’t.

Among journalists, perhaps the most relentless critic of the foundation is Michele Landsberg, a Toronto Star columnist. In 1993, she says, an Ontario couple, claiming to have been falsely accused, contacted her and asked her to write about their case. Unconvinced, she declined, and eventually started writing instead about the foundation.She attacked its scientific claims and criticized the sensational media coverage. She described how a foundation scientific adviser, Harold Merskey, had testified that a woman accusing a doctor of sexual abuse in a civil case might in fact have been suffering from false memory syndrome. But the accused doctor himself had previously confessed to criminal charges of abusing her. Landsberg also challenged the credentials of other foundation advisers. She noted that one founding adviser, Ralph Underwager, was forced to resign from the foundation’s board after he and his wife, Hollida Wakefield, who remains an adviser, gave an interview to a Dutch pedophilia magazine in which he was quoted as describing pedophilia as”an acceptable expression of God’s will for love.” Landsberg also wrote that another adviser, James Randi, a magician known as “The Amazing Randi,” had been involved in a lawsuit in which his opponent introduced a tape of sexually explicit telephone conversations Randi had with teenage boys. (Randi has claimed at various times, she said, that the tape was a hoax and that the police asked him to make it.) “Why haven’t reporters investigated the False Memory Syndrome Foundation?” she asks. “It’s legitimate to examine their backgrounds –here are people who really do have powerful motivation to deny the truth.”

Battle Tactics of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation – Noel Packard – New School for Social Research, N.Y. History Matters Conference April 23-24, 2004 Censorship is also a tactic that FMS Foundation adherents use to silence voices they don’t agree with. Katy Butler, published a critical review of Ofshe’s and Watter’s book, Making Monsters (1994) in the Los Angeles Times. Later the newspaper’s book review editor received a vague threat of a lawsuit from Ofshe’s representative (K. Butler personal communication with Lynn Crook January 28, 2000). Later Butler was asked to write a story for Newsweek examining the uncritical acceptance of Foundation claims and to provide documented cases of recovered memory and traumatic amnesia. Upon learning of this assignment Foundation Advisory Board members Richard Ofshe and Fredrick Crews, as well as Peter and Pamela Freyd, wrote strongly worded letters of complaint to Newsweek which effectively canceled Butler’s assignment (Stanton 1997). Although these censorship activities were reported in Mike Stanton’s article “U-Turn on Memory Lane” (1997) Nevertheless, Newsweek editors confirmed that the FMS Foundation letters helped kill Butler’s article. Butler said at a national conference of investigative reporters and editors in Rhode Island in 1996: “I’ve worked hard very hard to tell both sides of the story. What’s interesting to me about all of this that telling both sides has started to seem like a risky act.” (Stanton 1997: 49)….In 1994 the editor of the Journal of Psychohistory Lloyd DeMause wrote to many professional subscribers to inform them that he feared a lawsuit by the FMS Foundation for publishing a special issue of his journal on cult abuse. Dr. Jean Goodwin a psychiatrist at University of Texas Medical Branch responded with a letter that conveys the overall feeling among the mental health community in the early 1990s. Goodwin: From a Psychohistorical viewpoint it is fascinating to watch this organization systematically limit freedom of speech in this area. Their suits of publishers have driven many books out of print. Board members have prevented publication of many articles. As far as I know you are the first journal editor they have targeted. The slander suit stopped the audio-tapping of many presentations in this area. The licensing attacks and the malpractice suits threaten freedom of speech in the psychotherapy consulting room, which is where it is supposed to be most free. Silence still is the priority for the perpetrator (Goodwin 1994) Goodwin’s letter captures the effect that Foundations’ tactics had on the therapy community in the early 1990s. Today the overall effect of the Foundation’s court cases and tactics is more muted. One newly graduated MFT told me that as far as she knows the Foundation has had no impact on the practices of MFTs at all. A social worker who teaches a certification class on mandated reporting includes the Foundation topic in her lectures, saying that the Foundation “made us clean up our act.” I’ve also heard a seasoned MFT who teaches a class titled, “Counseling as a Career Option” lament that practicing psychotherapy is becoming a profession only for the rich (both as practitioners and clients). Perhaps this is due to recent constrictions and costs associated with lawsuits, training programs, licensing and insurance policies? It appears that the Foundations’ efforts to drive non-cognitive therapy beyond the grasp of un-wealthy clients are having some success. Kondora’s and Beckett’s studies indicate that the Foundation has been successful in many of its efforts to manage public perception of child abuse victims, therapists and the people accused of child abuse. Kondora and Beckett show that not only has public perception of victimized children become skeptical, but in fact, the press often goes beyond the Victorian custom of neutrality on all fronts of the issue, to out-right sympathy for accused molesters. What began in the 1960s and 1970s as a child welfare movement has arrived today as an accused sex-offender welfare movement (Goldsmith 2003); and right in time for an era when people are having more babies, less birth control and have easier ways to create home based child pornography than ever before. The Foundation has won many expensive malpractice lawsuits that have made news headlines. Such cases have probably put a chill into more than one therapy session, which is what they are intended to do. The Foundation’s efforts in and out of the court room have provided reasons for health insurance companies to reduce insurance payments for mental health care and have tied those payments generally to mental health diagnoses. Training programs for clinical therapists have become more like the clinical training programs of the cold-war years, more science oriented, more stringent, more bio-logically and drug oriented, and less theory and talked based. Many of the support groups, networks, newsletters, journals, and even significant names in the child welfare movement of the 1980’s and 1990’s have faded, vanished or been displaced by on-line and other services of the FMS Foundation. Kondora, Lori L. 1997. A Textual Analysis of the Construction of the False Memory Syndrome: Representations in Popular Magazines; 1990-1995. Ph.D. diss. University of Wisconsin, Madison. – Beckett, Katherine. 1996. Culture and the Politics of Signification: The Case of Child Sexual Abuse. SOCIAL PROBLEMS, Vol. 43, No. 1, February: 57-76.

Calof, D.L. (1998).  Notes from a practice under siege: Harassment, defamation, and  intimidation in the name of science, Ethics and Behavior, 8(2) pp. 161-187. Abstract: I have practiced psychotherapy, family therapy, and hypnotherapy for over 25 years without a single board complaint or law suit by a client.  For over three years, however, a group of proponents of the false memory syndrome (FMS) hypothesis, including members, officials, and supporters of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, Inc., have waged a multi-modal campaign of harassment and defamation directed against me, my clinical clients, my staff, my family, and others connected to me.  I have neither treated these harassers or their families, nor had any professional or personal dealings with any of them; I am not related in any way to the disclosures of memories of sexual abuse in these families.  Nonetheless, this group disrupts my professional and personal life and threatens to drive me out of business.  In this article, I describe practicing psychotherapy under a state of siege and places the campaign against me in the context of a much broader effort in the FMS movement to denigrate, defame, and harass clinicians, lecturers, writers, and researchers identified with the abuse and trauma treatment communities.

Common Forms of Misinformation and Tactics of Disinformation about Psychotherapy for Trauma Originating in Ritual Abuse and Mind Control
By Ellen Lacter, Ph.D. December 18, 2012. This page on my website seeks to expose a number of common forms of misinformation and tactics of disinformation about psychotherapy for trauma originating in ritual abuse and mind control.

“The Search for Satan”: Fourteen Years Later
By Lynn Crook, M.Ed.
In my initial review of PBS Frontline’s “The Search for Satan” for Treating Abuse Today I reported some of the problems I had discovered in this documentary: (1) In several clips, producer Bikel flashed a quick shot of a document and narrowed the camera focus to one statement. Using the pause button, I was able to read the rest of the document. There I learned that Mary Shanley was not, as the producers claimed, “having a normal life and doing normal things” before her hospitalization in Houston. (2) The film contained a surprising number of recreated scenes which were not labeled as such. (3) A supposedly direct quote from FBI agent Ken Lanning had been edited. (4) A call to the State of Illinois revealed that Shanley had not been “listed with the State of Illinois as a child abuser,” nor had her teaching certificate been listed as “restrictive.” (5) I did some research and found the producers failed to mention that Shanley had been hospitalized at four different hospitals and received a diagnosis of “mixed personalities.”