Hi Jeanett, First, I want you to know I’m on your side. You were a victim of Recovered Memory Therapy who has come to see the truth. What you have to say on the matter is important.
Thanks for the recommendation of Mistakes Were Made, by Carol Tavris. She is a *scientific* psychologist, unlike many psychiatrists, and unlike all recovered memory therapists. I have read two of her books: The Mismeasure of Woman, and, Anger. Both very excellent books, Carol is terrific! I had already purchased Mistakes Were Made some time ago, but it has been sitting here unread — if I had realized that it has so much about recovered memory therapy in it I would have read it long ago. Due to your hint, I read the pertinent section today (pp. 93-126).
In regard to your comment about therapists being able to get credentials in a weekend: I see where you may have picked that up. Carol alluded to a weekend course that individuals passing themselves off as lawyers may take (p. 103). She then implies that something similar occurs in clinical psychology. In 1995 I was living in Seattle. At that time anyone could obtain a business license at city hall and then put out a shingle calling themselves a psychotherapist. David Calof was one such “therapist” — a recovered memory therapist with NO college degrees. He also published a magazine for “professional therapists” called Treating Abuse Today, a real pseudoscientific rag. I happened to get a copy from a therapist friend. Since I was already science minded, I could easily see that it was full of nonsense. I came to know some of the falsely accused parents in Seattle including Chuck Noah who used to actually picket the offices of certain therapists with signs. That’s how I got involved fighting recovered memory therapy and associated extensions. I did not picket, but, for example, I wrote an article exposing the nonsensical nature of certain of Calof’s articles in Treating Abuse Today.
In the state of Washington the time when one can do as Calof did, has long passed. Heavy credentials are required to practice there as a clinical psychologist. In many states I think a Ph.D is required (or an MD for psychiatry). I think that these days a person would be taking a big chance trying to practice psychotherapy with false of no credentials — certainly in NJ. I did a quick search on the internet to see if there are any states that do NOT require certification and heavy education requirements, and did not come up with any, but my search was superficial — maybe there are such states (but I doubt it nowadays).
The movie, “Sybil,” came out in 1976. I’m a bit off to say that recovered memories and multiple personalities “took off” after that. I should say they *started* to take off after that, but I guess did not really become pervasive until the mid or late 80s.
I am quite surprised that you did not acknowledge that one of the basic causes of the fiasco of recovered memory therapy is a *lack of scientific training.* Carol really emphasizes that in her book. Even in the case of psychiatrists, who she says, “still learn almost nothing about psychology or about the questioning, skeptical essence of science” (p. 103). Psychiatrists learn Freudian psychoanalysis, which unfortunately is pretty unscientific. And clinical psychologists are also given a pass on scientific training in college, Tavris points out. And I hasten to add, Carol does not get much into the reasons for that. I submit it has to do with the pervasiveness of the philosophy/ideology of *Postmodernism* in academia during the 70s-90s at least. There are several dovetailing causes behind the advent and phenomenon of recovered memory therapy/multiple personalities.
Another contributing factor was the influence of the feminist movement. As Carol pointed out, clinicians such a feminist Judith Herman felt they “were doing important work raising public awareness of rape, child abuse, incest, and domestic violence” (p.120). For more insight about the effects of feminism on psychotherapy, I suggest Christina Hoff Sommer’s excellent book, Who Stole Feminism.
The biggest cause behind the whole mess is the lack of training in science and scientific methodology. As Carol points out, even those with all the required degrees and proper certification may lack it. I suggest that scientific training for clinical psychologists/psychotherapists and psychiatrists is of the utmost importance!!