RECOVERED MEMORY THERAPY (RMT)
STATEMENTS BY RMT PROMOTERS
The quotations shown below may not be representative of the beliefs of many recovered
memory practitioners. The statements were selected as ones that are most liable to create
false memories and to disable clients/patients.
[We have added some comments, delimited by square brackets.]
"Faced with any female client, we can assume some degree of childhood
"Whenever we encounter a woman who has such large gaps in her memory of childhood,
we can usually conclude that she experienced ongoing and severe trauma as a child."
"Radical Feminist Therapy: Working in the Context of Violence",
Sage, (1992). P.114
[Memories from before the age of 24 months cannot be recalled during adulthood. The
average person cannot recall events before the age of 42 months. Most people have large
gaps between whatever early childhood memories have survived into adulthood.]
Ellen Bass & Laura Davis
|From the first edition of "The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual
Abuse", Harper Collins, (1992). P. 22"|
"So far, no one we've talked to thought she might have been abused and
then later discovered that she hadn't been. The progression always goes the
other way, from suspicion to confirmation. If you think you were abused and
your life shows the symptoms, then you were."
|By the third edition in 1994, some movement is obvious:|
"It is rare that someone thinks she was sexually abused and then later
discovers she wasn't. The progression usually goes the other way, from
suspicion to confirmation. If you genuinely think you were abused and your
life shows the symptoms, there is a strong likelihood that you were."
Advocates for Survivors of Child Abuse, (ASCA) an Australian group:
"We believe absolutely in the basic validity of recovered memories and
believe there are no false memories, only occasionally false accusations."
1 ASCA has since abandoned their use of the term "recovered
memories." They now use the term " 'traumatic amnesia,' as
recovered memories has had such poor press, [and] also because it is a
clinically more accurate term." 2
Charles L. Whitfield
"My own opinion...is that 'FMS'... incidence is minute when compared with the
number of refutations by parents or other alleged perpetrators who actually are themselves
in denial of their having mistreated or abused one or more of their accusing victims"
"The Process of Remembering: A Psychology of Memory", Health
Communications Inc., (1995) P. 13
Daniel Ryder [Licensed Social Worker]
"...if a therapists starts to suspect ritual abuse, based on some of the
symptomatology being displayed, it is advisable, in as non-threatening a way as possible,
to start to move the client towards acceptance"
"Breaking the Circle of Satanic Ritual Abuse: Recognizing and Recovering
from the Hidden Trauma", CompCare, (1992) P. 58
[A variety of professional organizations recommend that therapists take a neutral
stance on the validity of these memories]
Gail Carr Feldman PhD
"I 'knew' ... everything Barbara told me was the truth. How did I know? I'm not
certain, but I knew."
[Many therapists who engage in recovered memory therapy do incredible harm to their
patients / clients by supporting their new-found "memories" as recollections of
real events, without independent confirmation. Untold numbers of innocent people have been
accused; untold numbers of families of origin have been destroyed]
"The problem is that if none of the events occurred, these patients know the
alternative is that they are indeed crazy. Otherwise, where would such bizarre and
terrible images come from?"
"Lessons in Evil, Lessons from the Light", Crown,
(1993) P. 48-9
[There is a third option: that the memories are false and are an undesirable byproduct
of the hypnotism or other suggestive therapeutic technique. Perhaps the
"memories" are very much like images from a nightmare. We rarely wonder where
bizarre and terrible images in nightmares come from.]
"If you remember almost nothing or very little of your childhood, or if you
cannot remember a period of time, such as between the ages of ten and fourteen, you have
repressed memories." (Page 46)
"Dissociation always occurs during abuse..." (Page 59)
"Abusers are usually dissociated during the abuse, too." (Page 60)
"If your memories are unusually grisly or bizarre, you may be a
survivor of ritual abuse...Ritual abusers combine sadism with intelligence."
"Avoid being tentative about your repressed memories. Do not just tell them;
express them as truth. If months or years down the road, you find you are mistaken about
details, you can always apologize and set the record straight. You cannot wait until you
are doubt-free to disclose to your family. This may never happen." (Page 203)
Quotations are from "Repressed Memories: A journey to recovery from
sexual abuse", (1992)
[Ms. Fredrickson appears to negate the possibility that the recovered memories may be
entirely or mostly false. She seems to imply that only details about the memories may be
Ritual Abuse and Healing Home Page
"While any one particular feature of a memory may not be historically accurate,
you would not be having ritual abuse memories unless something really did happen to you.
Non-abused people do not have flashbacks or memories of ritual abuse events. They may have
a nightmare after a horror film, or an image they read about or saw may haunt them for a
while, but they do not suffer from persistent images with ritual abuse content."
[They are probably referring to ritual abuse memories recovered by RMT, because
most of this type of memories are formed during that form of therapy].
"If you sense you were sexually abused and have no memories of it, it is
likely that you were. Suspicions about sexual abuse do not arise out of the blue, for no
reason. Suspicions can be agonizing and painful. No one likes the idea that he or she
might have been harmed in the past, perhaps by a loved one. When people have suspicions of
sexual abuse, it's usually because something did happen to them."
"When memories of events and feelings do start to surface, trust them. They
may not make sense initially, but when many are added together you can get a better
picture of what happened to you." 4
"I don't care if it's true...What's important to me is that I hear the child's
truth, the patient's truth. That's what's important. What actually happened is irrelevant
Quoted in "Searching for Memory," by Daniel L Schacter, Page 262 to
[Douglas Sawin was commenting on a patient named Ann who had recovered memories in
therapy of terrible Satanic ritual abuse at the hands of her parents. She was also
diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder.]
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DDHS):
A DDHS pamphlet titled "Help Yourself: A recovering woman's guide
to coping with childhood abuse issues" states, in part:
"Some women in treatment for substance abuse don't clearly remember being
abused, but they have some the feelings mentioned here. Some women hay have
pushed the memories of the abuse so far away that they may not be able to
explain why they feel intense anger, fear a particular person, have
nightmares, or always believe something bad is about to happen. Sometimes,
after people stop drinking or using drugs and are in treatment, memories may
surface that were too painful to remember before or that were blocked from
memory by drugs and alcohol." 5
The pamphlet was written by Johnson, Bassin & Shaw, Inc., for the Center
for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), of the Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), of the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services (DHHS).
An Internet search using the Google search
engine and the string "guide to coping with childhood abuse issues"
(including the quotation marks) resulted in about 25 hits. Essentially all were
libraries or mental health groups who listed the pamphlet to aid their visitors.
- Quoted in: Paul Sheehan, "Due process missing from G-G Witchhunt,"
Sydney Morning Herald, 2002-MAR-4, Page 13.
- Personal E-mail, 2002-MAR-12, from an ASCA spokesperson.
The Ritual Abuse and Healing Home Page is at: http://www.xroads.com/rahome/
- From "The Sexual Healing Journey." An excerpt can be seen at: http://www.golden.net/~soul/
- "Help Yourself: A recovering woman's guide to coping with childhood
abuse issues," DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 03-3789, (2003).
Copyright © by
Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Date of original version is unknown.
Latest update: 2003-SEP-4
Author: B.A. Robinson