"The notion that traumatic events can be repressed and later recovered is the most pernicious bit of folklore ever to infect psychology and psychiatry. It has provided the theoretical basis for 'recovered memory therapy' -- the worst catastrophe to befall the mental health field since the lobotomy era."
Satan worshippers consuming slaughtered infants and fetuses in dark rituals. Children brutalized so viciously their minds shatter into fragments. The CIA torturing and programming innocent civilians into becoming mind-controlled assassins and rapists who can be activated by word or gesture. Extraterrestrials coming to Earth to impregnate abducted women to create a race of secret hybrids. The Illuminati, a secret society whose operatives will commit any atrocity necessary to shape a New World Order.
These subjects make for terrifying tales on the page or in a darkened theater. But what if your therapist - the professional with whom you, at your most vulnerable, shared your deepest secrets and fears - convinced you that not only do these things happen, but that you were a victim of such atrocities, or perhaps even a perpetrator yourself? That all of your happy memories were lies that covered up unspeakable trauma? That your every move was being monitored by shadowy Others - and your very life is at risk should you uncover the Truth about your forgotten past?
Such stories were debunked as urban legends years, even decades, ago. The conspiracy therapists who perpetuate them, however, are still in practice, right now. Using techniques whose dangers were recognized as far back as the 19th Century, professionals on the fringes of mental health care can induce vivid false memories in patients’ minds that align with the therapist’s own beliefs, however bizarre or unlikely. When that therapist is obsessed with tales of terror, the results can be devastating for patients, their families, and society. The sufferer’s life becomes consumed by years of painful therapy and constant, baseless fear. Real experiences and symptoms go untreated while the therapist pushes for ever more elaborate fantasies. Happy families shatter when one of their own suddenly accuses them of abuse and collusion without any prior foundation. Investigations into credible allegations of criminal activity derail after false memory narratives exhaust limited resources. The repercussions can be felt for generations.
No one disputes that the world is full of real horrors, including the tragedy of childhood sexual abuse, as well as the imagined horrors induced by rogue therapists. Our aim is to ensure that all patients find themselves in the care of competent professionals whose practice is rooted in scientific, evidence-based methodology. Please join us in eradicating the scourge of repressed memory pseudoscience in mental health care for a more rational and humane future.