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Recovered memories & recovered memory therapy (RMT)

A personal story of RMT.
A bibliography of articles

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Sponsored link.

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A book by a survivor of false memories of childhood abuse:

Image of book cover Meredith Maran, "My lie: A true story of false memory." Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store.

Hardcover, 272 pages, Jossey Bass, 2010-SEP. List price: $24.95. sells it for $16.47.

Review in the Boston Globe, 2010-SEP-21:

"In this terrifying, haunting, and controversial memoir, award-winning journalist Meredith Maran delves into the fascinating subject of the recovered memory movement.... Maran's not just shockingly honest, she's also funny. Her refusal to whitewash her own behavior, her fierce ability to expose all sides of the issue (she doesn't deny that horrific abuse does occur and should be punished), and her compassion for the abused as well as those still falsely imprisoned as abusers opens up a dialogue about memory, belief, and past- and present-day culture that is as riveting as it is important."

Reviews by individuals:

  • Anne Lamott, author of Grace (Eventually) and Bird By Bird: "Meredith Maran is a wonderful journalist and storyteller, profoundly honest, direct, witty, savvy and compassionate."

  • Elizabeth F. Loftus, co-author of Witness for the Defense and The Myth of Repressed Memory: "My Lie is the brave and riveting 'inside story' of the most devastating mental health controversy of the century. I couldn't put it down."

  • Kathryn Harrison, author of The Kiss and The Mother Knot: To admit sin is hard. To own a grave sin committed against a loved one is more difficult still. To be able to write about it with honesty and grace is extraordinary. My Lie by Meredith Maran tells a story no reader will -- or should -- forget.

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Australian government publication:

The Health Services Commissioner to the Minister for Health of the government of Australia published a 161 page draft report titled "Inquiry into the Practice of Recovered Memory Therapy" in 2005. It contains a "Literature Review" which contains journal articles, statements of professional mental health associations, books, etc. on the topic of recovered memory therapy (RMT), false memories, and related topics.

The bibliography covers material from 1972 to 2005, and thus covers the full history of the recovered memory movement:

  • from its beginnings,
  • its spread among mental health professionals and other counselors who honestly felt at the time that they were on the cutting edge of a new technology,
  • the first sluggish and belated concerns by professional associations,
  • the gradual disillusionment with RMT, and
  • its final near-abandonment by therapists and counselors in the late 1990s.

It is important to realize that some of the references which promote recovered memory therapy have been determined to be deeply flawed and rejected by the courts and experts in the field of human memory.

What seems to be underrepresented in the literature review -- and from the published material on RMT generally -- are extensive, long-term studies of the damage to individuals and their families of origin caused by the creation of false memories during RMT. Individuals have been emotionally disabled; some have committed suicide; their families have suffered terrible losses and in some cases have disintegrated.

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Literature Review:

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Sponsored link:

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Reference used:

  1. "Inquiry into the practice of recovered memory therapy: Draft report," Health Services Commissioner to the Minister for Health, Australia. (2005)

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Since this is a report of the Australian government, we have assumed that its contents are not copyrighted.
Originally posted: 2005-OCT-14
Latest update: 2010-OCT-06

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