Recovered Memory Therapy: A Dubious Practice Technique

  1. J. T. Stocks, MSW, PhD, assistant professor

+ Author Affiliations

  1. School of Social Work, Michigan State University, Baker Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824-1118; e-mail:
  • Received January 21, 1997.
  • Revision received August 11, 1997.
  • Accepted October 7, 1997.

Social Work. Volume 43, Issue 5, pgs. 423-436.


This article examines the validity of memory work as well as the evidence for the efficacy of therapeutic interventions based in the recovery of childhood sexual abuse memories. Evidence suggests that both true and false memories can be recovered using memory work techniques, and there is no evidence that reliable discriminations can be made between them. Similarly, there is no empirical evidence to suggest that recovered memory therapy results in improved outcomes for participating clients. The article reviews current treatment outcome research and suggests that participation in recovered memory therapy may be harmful to clients.


This article was written in 1997. Why do you think it, and other like it, were disregarded? What direction do you think psychiatry and psychology would have taken had articles like this been taken seriously?

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