The Recovered Memory Movement: A Female Perspective

Paula M. Tyroler*

ABSTRACT: The recovered memory movement harms women in several ways.  Women, who are the main recipients of this type of therapy, not only fail to receive the help they need, but may develop new symptoms and become alienated from family support systems.  The persons accused as a result of recovered memories are often women, despite the fact that the proportion of females among actual child sexual abusers is low.  Even if a mother is not accused of abuse, the patient may be encouraged to blame her mother for not protecting her.  The growing skepticism over recovered memory claims poses a threat to genuine survivors, mostly women, who may now find themselves disbelieved.  Proponents of recovered memory therapy, including some feminists, are promoting a harmful misogyny in the name of liberation and healing.

What has been called "recovered memory therapy" pressures patients to exhume supposedly "repressed" memories of childhood sexual abuse, using intrusive therapeutic techniques such as hypnosis, age regression, guided imagery, and dreamwork.  Recovered memory therapy has the potential to severely harm its recipients and their families.  It encourages alienation of the accuser from the alleged perpetrator and the entire family without seeking corroboration for the alleged criminal acts (Doe, 1992; de Rivera, 1994; Goldstein & Farmer, 1992, 1993; Loftus & Ketcham, 1994; Ofshe & Watters, 1994; Smith, 1994; Wakefield & Underwager, 1994; Pendergrast, 1995; Wassil-Grimm, 1995).  It has been condemned by mainstream professionals and warnings concerning this kind of treatment have been issued by several professional associations and societies (American Medical Association, 1994; American Psychological Association, 1995; American Psychiatric Association, 1993; Australian Psychological Society, 1994; British Psychological Society, 1995; Michigan Psychological Association, 1995).

Recipients of Therapy as Major Victims

The memory recovery movement has harmed falsely accused parents, some of them elderly and in poor health, innocent people sued or sent to prison on the basis of uncorroborated "memories," and true abuse victims whose plight has been trivialized by the explosion of false accusations.  I believe, however, that it is the recipients of recovered memory therapy who have been hurt the most.

Women are the major target of this therapy.  Such women may enter treatment for many reasons.  At one end of the spectrum are women who suffer from major psychiatric disorders that could be alleviated by the right diagnosis, effective treatment, and/or medication.  At the other end are women who are mildly dissatisfied with their life and whose mental health and adjustment could significantly improve with several sessions of proper psychotherapy.  Instead, these patients are misdiagnosed by therapists with tunnel vision and exposed to prolonged distressing treatment.  To be in recovered memory therapy for many years is not uncommon.  Some damaged clients are recycled within the recovered memory therapy circles and are treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.  They may, indeed, display post-traumatic symptoms, the trauma being, however, the trauma of previous therapy and not the trauma of unverified sexual abuse.  Depending on the therapists' beliefs, some patients have been convinced that they are "survivors" of satanic ritual abuse.  Others learn to believe that they have a number of "personalities."  There is now no difficulty in summarizing the 1980s prototype for multiple personality: a middle class white woman in her thirties (Hacking, 1995).

The diagnosis of multiple personality disorder represents a misdirection of effort which hinders the resolution of serious psychological problems in the lives of the patients (Merskey, 1992).  This is illustrated by a personal account from a woman misdiagnosed as suffering from MPD:

For seven long years ...  I labored under the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder.  It began simply enough with bulimia but, after seeking psychiatric help, I was told that all eating disorders evolve from sexual abuse in childhood.  In order to get better, I would have to uncover all the repressed memories of this abuse ...  Seven years, including lengthy stays in hospitals and countless emotional crises, brought about loss of job, husband, children and any feelings of self-worth I have ever possessed.  Five years later, I am still in the process of rebuilding my shattered life ... (Harris, 1993).

The woman who wrote these words belongs to a growing group of women who have been persuaded by therapists that they were abused in childhood and who have rejected those beliefs (Gondolf, 1992; Gavigan, 1992; Godley, 1993; Goldstein & Farmer, 1993; McGovern, 1993; Pasley, 1994).  They call themselves retractors" or "recanters."  Their testimonies suggest that recovered memory therapy is often nothing less than psychological torture inflicted on vulnerable patients by people to whom they turned for help.  Let me illustrate this point by quoting from an editorial in a retractors' newsletter, Building Bridges:

There are hundreds of thousands of desperate people who have stopped thinking for themselves and who are turning to others to find a way out of their pain.  The problem is, the ones professing to have the answers are basing their knowledge and practices on personal experience, beliefs, experimentation, imagination ... rather than on science and logic ... the treatment often increases the pain of their patient, and can result in death.  I don't aspire to the belief that everyone dispensing this kind of prescription for happiness is doing it maliciously ... [T]he people I worked with truly thought they were doing the right thing.  They believe in what they do passionately.  This is what makes them so dangerous ...  People are dying, committing suicide, or going insane because this is a nightmare that never ends ...  People ... are brutally raped and tortured over and over again in their minds ... The unwitting victims of false memory syndrome can never heal from something that never happened (Diana, 1995).

These women, once they cross the line between being a "survivor" to being a "retractor," immediately become outcasts of the recovered memory movement.  The very same women who previously have lent support to the cherished beliefs of their therapists want to share their journey from believing to questioning to recanting, but the proponents of recovery movement refuse to listen.  This movement cannot offer any valid scientific evidence to support the belief in massive repression or, more fashionably, in dissociation (Holmes, 1990; Ofshe & Singer, 1994; Pope & Hudson, 1995).  Proponents base their claims on clinical evidence.  The therapy patients, the "survivors," are their clinical evidence.  Once the "survivors" defect to the "other side," this presumed evidence evaporates and the whole recovered memory concept is bound to collapse as a house of cards.  Thus, the recovered memory movement has no choice other than completely ignoring the recanters or discrediting their accounts.

Pendergrast (1996) notes:

Whitfield joins therapist E. Sue Blume in dismissing the horrifying, compelling testimony of retractors.  They really were abused.  Their incest memories we're accurate.  It's just that they have slipped back into denial.  "Why are we so willing to accept the reported withdrawal of incest memory — by persons seen as so suggestible that they allegedly have been persuaded to accept a 'false' experience in the first place?" asks Blume in an aptly-titled 1995 article "The Ownership of Truth." Who, one wonders, is actually in denial here? (p. 495).

Anecdotal testimonies from retractors are now being backed up by professional studies.  Nelson and Simpson (1994) published the first systematic analysis of retractors' experiences.  The authors examined the common experiences of 20 subjects, 19 female and one male.  They conclude that, for their subjects, recovered memory practices circumvented the thorough, empirical, and cautious methods of scientific validation.  Survivor books, movies and videotapes appeared to play a role in producing harmful visualizations, along with suggestive therapeutic techniques such as hypnosis and group pressure (Nelson & Simpson, 1994).

McElroy and Keck (1995) describe the case of a patient who uncovered repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse with two different therapists during the prior two years, and who displayed no apparent benefit but many harmful effects from this treatment approach.  The authors observe that repressed memory therapy appears to be increasingly used, although its theoretical rationale, efficacy, and safety have not yet been scientifically demonstrated. They note:

Surprisingly, however, there are few reports in the peer-reviewed psychiatric literature on the beneficial or harmful effects of such treatment.  Those that exist, however, suggest that this treatment can be associated with deleterious effects, particularly when prescribed to patients with no recollection or evidence that they were in fact abused (p. 731).

McElroy and Keck (1995) observe that this case demonstrates three serious adverse effects of recovered memory therapy.  The first is the development of new symptoms, unrelated to the primary disorder for which the patient sought therapy.  These symptoms may take the form of flashbacks, vivid and detailed memories, and even hallucinations about abuse that did not occur.  The second deleterious consequence is that pharmacological and psychological treatments with proven efficacy are postponed or withheld.  The third complication is a severe disruption of family relationships and breakdown of family support systems.

Women as Sexual Predators

While harmful and destructive therapy is the gravest violation affecting female patients, there are other anti-female aspects of the recovered memory movement.  In 1993, the FMS Foundation1 reported the results of a survey of 284 families in which at least one member was accused exclusively on the basis of recovered "memories" that did not exist prior to therapy (Freyd, Roth, Wakefield, & Underwager, 1993).  This original survey revealed that about 30% of the accused persons were women, mostly mothers or grandmothers.  A later update based on data from 510 families raised this number to 42%.  The allegations included such claims as inserting umbrella handles or Barbie dolls into the vaginas of infants while changing their diapers (Freyd, 1996).  This nonsense is viewed as valid in certain feminist circles.  For example, K. Munro (1995), the director of a clinic for abused women in Toronto, chided the FMS Foundation: "The [FMS] Foundation's most notable claims are repressed memories are not credible ... [they claim that] if the abuse involves female perpetrators it is even less likely to be true, which, I believe is linked to another of their claims, that is, ritual abuse does not exist."  In a follow-up telephone conversation, she confirmed her belief that women sexually abuse children and that this activity is not rare.  This notion is in sharp disagreement with the experience of mainstream professionals working in the sex abuse field which indicates that the proportion of female child sexual abusers is very low (Wakefield & Underwager, 1991).  According to Director of the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Dr. Paul McHugh, erotic interest in the child is not a female phenomenon (McHugh, 1994).  Incestuous behavior of mothers and grandmothers is extremely rare and it is usually associated with readily observable psychiatric problems or with diminished mental capacity.  Unfortunately, some people ignore this evidence and accept uncritically the data on a high incidence of alleged female pedophilia as reflection of reality rather than a manifestation of therapy-induced pseudomemories.

The high percentage of alleged female sexual offenders in the data collected from families accused on the basis of uncorroborated "recovered" memories is in line with another statistic.  In their examination of alleged sex abuse in day care centers,  Finkelhor and his colleagues report that 40% of the alleged perpetrators were intelligent, educated, highly regarded women with no histories of known deviant behavior.  Instead of expressing skepticism about this dramatic contradiction, Finkelhor assumed that the accused were guilty (Finkelhor, Williams, & Burns, 1988).  Like the witch hunters who burned females in the name of God, the modern-day researchers were ready to vilify women in order to save children (Nathan & Snedeker, 1995).  The reason for the close agreement of data from two seemingly unrelated situations becomes more obvious when one focuses on the similarity of false memory syndrome cases and day-care cases. Although the false accusations in day-care cases came from children questioned by child protection workers, as opposed to adults questioned by psychotherapists, the similarity is undeniable. Both are mistaken beliefs cognitively processed as memories (Victor, 1996).

Satanic Ritual Abuse Allegations

The search for an explanation of the high percentage of alleged female incestuous offenders in the recovered memory sample takes us to the most bizarre aspect of the recovery movement — the belief in the widespread existence of "intergenerational" satanic cults in which women are thought to play a prominent role.  Not surprisingly, the surge of unsubstantiated reports of satanic ritual abuse has coincided with the proliferation of the recovered memory movement.  Police forces and government-funded agencies throughout the USA and Great Britain have investigated thousands of such reports and found no evidence of anything like organized ritual satanic activity (Bottoms, Shaver, & Goodman, 1996; Goodman, Qin, Bottoms, & Shaver, 1994; LaFontaine, 1994; Lanning, 1992).  Nevertheless, some therapists and their supporters cherish a belief that teenagers and young women are forced to breed babies who are sacrificed as infants and eaten in ritual ceremonies, all this with the assistance of their mothers and grandmothers who are active members of the satanic cults.  Incredibly, some university-educated therapists subscribe to this never proved phenomenon, claiming that ritual abuse leads to developing multiple personality disorder (Fraser, 1990).  Women throughout the English-speaking world have learned to believe through therapy that they are "survivors" of ritual abuse.  These unfortunate women, who are in dire need of proper psychiatric help, are instead being supported in their delusions by fringe practitioners and by government grants to fund "ritual abuse" conferences and workshops.

Women as "Enablers"

We should not ignore another fairly large group of women who have been affected by the beliefs and practices of the recovered memory movement.  Once false memories are instilled, these (mostly female) "survivors" often are encouraged to blame their mothers for not protecting them.  Mothers are perceived either as evil "enablers" of male criminal activity who looked the other way while the fathers were raping their infant daughters, or as dumb nitwits who did not notice the abuse that was going on under their noses for years or decades.  This is not a flattering portrayal of women in general or of mothers in particular.  And yet, this implicit denigration of a relatively large group of older women comes from representatives of the movement whose noble intention is to elevate the image, recognition, and status of women to new heights.

The True victims of Abuse

Genuine sexual abuse victims are also harmed by the explosion of false accusations.  Again, these are mostly women.  In the last decade, society has come to recognize that the sexual abuse of children is real and long-silenced.  Yet the great danger is that whatever progress has been made towards recognition of this problem will be undone by the reaction against the recovered memory movement and the multiple injustices it has helped to perpetrate.  The recovered memory movement poses a threat to the victims of genuine sexual abuse who may now once again find themselves disbelieved (Webster, 1995).  In a strange twist of logic, it is the wrongfully accused who are often blamed for this predicament rather than the originators and promoters of the destructive form of psychotherapy that leads to creation of pseudomemories and to false accusations.

Origins and Proliferation of Recovered Memory Movement

The recovered memory movement has victimized, in horrendous fashion, not only men, but mostly women, the latter group in the name of liberation, empowerment, and healing.  Who are the major movers of this therapy gone amuck?  When and why did the movement start and how did it proliferate?  Above all, why did recovered memory therapy receive such enthusiastic approval from some feminist factions?

To start with, accusations based on supposedly repressed and recovered memories only began to appear in the mid-eighties, and reached epidemic proportions in the late eighties and early nineties.  Prior to the mid-eighties, patients claiming that they had uncovered memories of childhood sexual trauma for which they had no previous awareness were rare or nonexistent (Goodyear-Smith, 1995).  The outburst of allegations based solely on recovered memories coincided with the publication of several self-help memory-recovery books, all written by women (Bass & Davis, 1988; Blume, 1990; Courtois, 1988; Fredrickson, 1992; Maltz, 1992), and with proliferation of erroneous beliefs in massive repression.  The Courage to Heal (Bass & Davis, 1988), the so-called bible of the recovered memory movement, was written by two women with no background in psychology or psychiatry.  Probably the greatest irony is the fact that this openly anti-male hate literature encouraged therapy practices which have caused untold suffering to thousands of women.2

In War Against the Family, Canadian writer W. D. Gairdner (1993) argues that radical feminism is essentially an antifamily movement.  Grossly distorted sex abuse statistics, together with allegations originating in the offices of the recovered memory therapists, provide handy ammunition for the feminist fringes in their fight against the cornerstone of society — the traditional family of origin.  Along the same line, Webster (1995) claims that the most disturbing feature of the recovered memory movement is the manner in which it encourages an attitude of emotional coldness and cruelty between generations.  According to Ofshe and Watters (1994), recovering memories of abuse has proved a powerful metaphor for the larger goal of exposing the perceived unfairness of the patriarchal family structures of a male-dominated society.  The defense of recovered memory therapy became synonymous with the defense of the women's movement.

Perhaps the best and most complete answer to the troubling question about the origin and proliferation of recovered memory therapy is provided by British scholar Richard Webster in his 1995 book, Why Freud Was Wrong, particularly in the chapter entitled, "Freud's False Memories."  According to Webster, one of the crucial factors associated with the rise of the recovered memory movement was the extensive denial of the reality of child sexual abuse.  The denial of the experience of women and children who genuinely had been victims of sexual abuse provided the essential conditions without which the recovered memory movement could never have grown and flourished the way that it did.  This denial would not have received such acceptance if not for one man — Sigmund Freud.  In his theory of the Oedipus complex, Freud had invented a perfect theoretical instrument for explaining away allegations of sexual abuse and undermining their credibility.  Only in the last 20 years has it become possible to oppose effectively this climate of disbelief.  This is almost entirely due to the influence of feminism.

The terrible irony, according to Webster, is that the movement which rebelled against Freud's denial of memories which had never been repressed has come to rely more and more on the most sacred of all Freudian doctrines — that of repression.  There is no evidence that any of the patients who came to Freud without memories of sexual abuse had ever suffered from such abuse.  But there is a great deal of evidence that Freud went out of his way to persuade, encourage, cajole and sometimes bully his female patients to reproduce scenes of child sexual abuse which he himself had reconstructed from their symptoms or their associations.  Unfortunately, the notion that Freud based his repression theory on real instances has become the foundation myth of the entire recovered memory movement.

Webster notes that the proponents of this movement are doing something very similar to what Freud was doing to his patients — they are forcing their own perceptions onto psychologically vulnerable women in a way that creates dependence in the patient and feelings of empowerment in the therapist.  Freud's patriarchal bullying can be recognized quite easily for what it is.  It is much more difficult to recognize that the same kind of misogyny has now actually been taken over by a small section of the feminist movement and is being deployed by women against women, in the name of liberation and healing.  Indeed, if a hypothetical misogynous segment of the oppressive patriarchal society had set up a goal to destroy mental health and the self-esteem of a large group of young and middle-aged women, it could not have invented a more devious scheme.

Setting the Record Straight

On a more positive note, it is mostly the mothers and the siblings who are the most active lay players in the fight against the insanity of the recovered memory movement.  Thousands of them are donating their time and energy to expose the fraudulence and harmfulness of recovered memory therapy.  In doing so, they have to face, daily, the reality of the false accusation.  They have to keep the wounds open.  However, for most of them this is the best way of coping with the undeserved tragedy imposed on their adult children and spouses.  This craze, as any social craze of the past, will not last forever.  It will run its course and it will eventually disappear.  The efforts of the mothers and siblings are accelerating its demise.  While most of the mental health professionals opposed to recovered memory therapy are trying to save the reputation, integrity, and ethical principles of psychiatry and psychology, the mothers are fighting for the return of sanity to their adult children's lives and for reunification of the families.

Ofshe and Watters (1994) sum this up:

The evidence is now overwhelming that something went tragically wrong in certain therapy settings.  If those who are concerned with victimization of women ignore this evidence, they run the risk of sacrificing the well-being and happiness of thousands of women and their families for the sake of the politically expedient assumption that recovered memory therapy cannot create false memories of abuse.  To look away from brutalization of patients in therapy is now nothing less than an act of willful blindness and betrayal.

References

American Medical Association. (1994). Memories of childhood abuse, CSA Report 5-A-94.

American Psychological Association. (1995, August). Questions and answers about memories of childhood abuse. APA Office of Public Communications.

American Psychiatric Association. (1993). Statement on memories of sexual abuse.

Australian Psychological Society. (1994). Guidelines relating to recovered memories.

Bass, E., & Davis, L. (1988). The Courage to Heal. New York: Harper Collins.

Blume, E. 5. (1990). Secret survivors: Uncovering incest and its aftereffects in women. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Bottoms, B. L., Shaver, P. R., & Goodman, G. 5. (1996). An analysis of ritualistic and religion-related child abuse allegations. Law and Human Behavior, 20(1), 1-34.

British Psychological Society. (1995, January). Report of the working party.

Courtois, C. (1988). Healing the incest wound: Adult survivors in therapy. New York: W. W. Norton.

de Rivera, J. (1992). Impact of child abuse memories on the families of victims. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, 6(3), 149-155.

Diana. (1995). Editorial, Life after FMS. Building Bridges, 1(1).

Doe, R. (1992). The nightmare that may never end. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, 4, 248-250.

Finkelhor D., Williams, L. M., & Burns, N. (1988). Nursery Crimes. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

Fraser, G. (1990). Satanic ritual abuse: A cause of multiple personality disorder, Journal of Child and Youth Care, Special Issue: In the Shadow of Satan. The Ritual Abuse of Children.

Fredrickson, R. (1992). Repressed memories: A journey to recovery from sexual abuse. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Freyd, P. (in press). The false memory syndrome foundation: Response to a mental health crisis. In D. A Halperin, (Ed.), False memory syndrome: Therapeutic and forensic perspective. American Psychiatric Press.

Freyd, P., Roth. A., Wakefield, H., & Underwager, R. (1993). Results of the FMSF Mail Survey. Paper presented at the conference on "Memory and Reality," False Memory Syndrome Foundation, Valley Forge, PA, April 16-18.

Gairdner, W. D. (1993). The war against the family: A parent speaks out on the political, economic, and social policies that threaten us all. Toronto: Soddard Publishing.

Gavigan, M. (1992). False memories of child sexual abuse: A personal account. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, 4, 246-247.

Godley, E. (1993, April 6). Memories of abuse: A recanter's tale. San Francisco Examiner.

Goldstein E., & Farmer, K. (1992). Confabulations: Creating false memories-destroying families. Boca Raton, FL: SIRS Books.

Goldstein, E., & Farmer, K. (1993). True stories about false memories. Boca Raton, FL SIRS Books.

Gondolf Price, L. (1992). Traumatic therapy. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, 4, 239-245.

Goodman, G., Qin, J., Bottoms, B., Shaver, P. (1994). Characteristics and sources of allegations of ritualistic satanic abuse. Report to the NCCAN.

Goodyear-Smith, F. (1995, August). Submission to New Zealand police working party on repressed memory theory.

Hacking, I. (1 995). Rewriting the soul: Multiple personality and the science of memory. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Harris, M. A. (1993, March 3). Misguided therapy as bad as abuse [letter to the Editor). London Free Press.

Holmes, D. (1990). The evidence for repression: An examination of 60 years of research. In J. Singer ( Ed.), Repression and dissociation: Theory, psychopathology and health (pp. 85-102). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

La Fontaine, J. (1994). The extent and nature of organized and ritual abuse. London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office.

Lanning, K. (1992). Investigator's guide to allegations of "ritual" child abuse. Quantico, VA: Behavior Science Unit, FBI.

Loftus, E., & Ketcham, K. (1994). The myth of repressed memory: Fake memories and allegations of sexual abuse. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Maltz, W. (1991). The sexual healing journey: A guide to survivors of sexual abuse. NY: Harper Perennial.

McElroy, S. L., & Keck, P. E. (1995). Recovered memory therapy: False memory syndrome and other complications. Psychiatric Annals, 25(12), 731-735.

McGovern, C. (1993, September). Depressed? You must have been an abused child. Alberta Report.

McHugh, P. (1994). The do's and don'ts for the clinician managing the memories of abuse. Paper presented at "Memory and Reality: Reconciliation." Sponsored by the FMS Foundation and Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

Merskey, H. (1992). The manufacture of personalities: The production of multiple personality disorder. British Journal of Psychiatry, 160, 327-340.

Michigan Psychological Association. (1995, May). Position Paper: Recovered memories of sexual abuse.

Munro, K. (1995). False memory syndrome: The validity of recovered memories. Lecture for Telemedicine Canada, Toronto.

Nathan, D., & Snedeker, M. (1995). Satan's silence: Ritual abuse and the making ofa modern American witch hunt. New York: Basic Books.

Nelson, E. L, & Simpson P. (1994). First glimpse: An initial examination of subjects who have rejected their recovered visualizations as false memories. Issues In Child Abuse Accusations, 6, 123-133.

Ofshe, R, & Singer, M. (1994), Recovered memory therapy and robust repression: Influence and pseudomemories. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 42(4), 346-362.

Ofshe, R., & Watters, E. (1994). Making monsters: False memories, psychotherapy, and sexual hysteria. New York: Scribner's.

Pasley, L. (1994). Misplaced trust: A first-person account of how my therapist created false memories. Skeptic, 2(3), 62~7.

Pendergrast, M. (1995). Victims of memory: Incest accusations and shattered lives, first edition. Hinesburg, Vermont: Upper Access Books.

Pendergrast, M. (1996). Victims of memory: Incest accusations and shattered lives, second edition. Hinesburg, Vermont: Upper Access Books.

Pope, H., & Hudson, J. (1995). Can individuals "repress" memories of childhood sexual abuse? An examination of evidence. Psychiatric Annals, 25(12), 715-719.

Smith, S. (1994). Survivor psychology: The dark side of mental health mission. Boca Raton: Upton Books.

Victor, J. (1996, February). FMS Foundation Newsletter, p. 8.

Wakefield, H., & Underwager, R. (1991). Female child sexual abusers: A critical review of the literature. American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 9(4), 43~9.

Wakefield, H., & Underwager, R. (1994). Return of the Furies: An investigation into recovered memory therapy. Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company.

Wassil-Grimm, C. (1995). Diagnosis for disaster: The devastating truth about false memory syndrome and its impact on accusers and families. New York: The Overlook Press.

Webster, R. (1995). Why Freud was wrong: Sin, science and psychoanalysis. New York: Basic Books.

* Paula Tyroler is a professor of engineering at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario and can be reached at 1223 Kantola Rd., Lively, Ontario, Canada P3Y 1H8.  [Back]

1 The FMS Foundation is a non-profit organization whose main purpose is to encourage research and disseminate information on memory and memory distortion, and to offer support to individuals accused solely on the basis of uncorroborated "memories."  [Back]

2 The anti-male character of the The Courage to Heal can be illustrated by the following quotations:

"I have such venomous hate. I pray to God that (my father) comes down with some terrible disease I'd like him to get AIDS.  That or Alzheimer's.  I can't wait for his funeral . . . this hatred affects me in a positive way" (p. 365)

"I'd watch Perry Mason to get ideas how to kill my father.  It was really the best of times.  Every day I would get a new method" (p. 47).

"My experience was that 95% of men are abusers" (p.228)

"If your abuser has died, you may be glad he is dead.  This is a perfectly reasonable feeling to have.  One woman said she could not wait for her father to die so she could spit on his grave" (p. 143).

"You may dream about murder or castration.  It can be pleasurable to fantasize such scenes in vivid detail ...  Let yourself imagine it to your heart's content." (p.128)

"As a child ... you could not think about killing your father when you relied on him to feed you" (p.35).  [Back]

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