Dr. Phil Exposes the Flaws & Fallacies of Repressed Memories

Thank you, Dr. Phil for your show:

Sex Abuse and Murder:

A Daughter’s Repressed Memories or Lies?

Air Date  February 17, 2014
Summary:
Tracy says that about three years ago, disturbing memories from her childhood began to surface about sex abuse and murder — involving her mother, Donna, and now-deceased father, Alan. Tracy claims that she and her sister, Kelly, were molested by their father and grandfather, and alleges that Donna killed Kelly’s best friend and buried the girl in their backyard. Donna and Kelly vehemently deny the claims, calling Tracy “delusional.” Emotions run high when Tracy faces her family on Dr. Phil’s stage, including Donna, whom she hasn’t seen or spoken to in more than a year. Is Tracy remembering actual events, or are these fictionalized memories? Plus, don’t miss part two tomorrow, when Donna agrees to take a polygraph test to clear her name. Will Tracy get the answers she’s looking for? This program contains strong sexual content. Viewer discretion advised.
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The argument regarding the truth of repressed memories boils down to one question:
Are decade old memories, newly discovered, accurate?

I do not think that repressed memories are lies because a lie is a deliberate attempt to deceive. Repressed memories that erupt decades after an event cannot be 100% accurate as the science of human memory repeatedly shows, and proves in a laboratory, that memories in general are a confabulated rendition of truth, falsehood, and fill-in-the blanks.

I was once caught in a web of repressed memories much like that displayed by the guest on the Dr. Phil show. And like her, my memories grew during therapy and were reinforced by those around me. My decade old memories morphed into a story that, when investigated, were found to be utter nonsense.

I am grateful that the Dr. Phil show educated the public about the controversy that continues to swirl around the veracity of repressed memories. When science and investigations are employed, we have a chance of getting to the truth of these memories. When people are being accused of heinous crimes that never occurred, we have a responsibility to seek the truth and scant memories of events that may or may not have occurred decades earlier are simply not reliable.

The family who told their horror story regarding accusations of murder and sexual assault based on the repressed memories of a family member now have a chance to recover and heal from the toxic psychotherapy that tore at their souls. Science prevails in this case and I wonder how many other families could benefit from evidence rather than dubious memories of wrong doing.

It’s time to pressure the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association, the two most influential organizations responsible for overseeing mental health care practitioners in the United States, to hold their members accountable for their actions.

When patient’s welfare is sacrificed for theories and beliefs held by the therapist – it’s simply a crime against humanity.

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Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder Metaphors or Genuine Entities?

Clinical Psychology Review 22 (2002) 481–497

Harald Merckelbacha,Grant J. Devillyc, Eric Rassina,

Abstract
How should the different identities (i.e., alters) that are thought to be typical for dissociative identity disorder (DID) be interpreted? Are they just metaphors for different emotional states or are they truly autonomous entities that are capable of willful action?

This issue is important because it has implications for the way in which courts may handle cases that involve DID patients.

Referring to studies demonstrating that alters of DID patients differ in their memory performance or physiological profile, some authors have concluded that alters are more than just metaphors.

We argue that such line of reasoning is highly problematic.

There is little consensus among authors about the degree to which various types of memory information (implicit, explicit, procedural) may leak from one to the other alter. Without such theoretical accord, any given outcome of memory studies on DID may be taken as support for the assumption that alters are in some sense ‘‘real.’’

As physiological studies on alter activity often lack proper control conditions, most of them are inconclusive as to the status of alters. To date, neither memory studies nor psychobiological studies have delivered compelling evidence that alters of DID patients exist in a factual sense. As a matter of fact, results of these studies are open to multiple interpretations and in no way refute an interpretation of alters in terms of metaphors for different emotional states.

Conclusion
The older literature on DID offers some strong claims as to the literal status of alters. Anecdotal reports of alters differing in their allergic reactions, in their response to medication, and in their optical functioning abound (e.g., Miller, 1989). These anecdotes
led Simpson (1997, p. 124) to pose the following question: ‘‘Why not claim that they wear different size shoes?’’ …

Still, a literal interpretation of alters can also be found in the DSM-IV and in many serious articles on DID. In their thought-provoking essay on DID, Lilienfeld et al. (1999) present several examples of treatment interventions that seem to be predicated on the belief that alters in DID are independent agents. These examples include asking to meet an alter, giving names to alters, and encouraging alters to write letters to each other. On the basis of these examples, Lilienfeld et al. (p. 513) conclude that ‘‘many or most influential authors in the DID treatment literature treat alters as independent entities or even personalities, at least during the early phase of treatment.’’

It is this literal view on alters …. Yet, theoretical and methodological shortcomings of these studies restrict any conclusions that can be drawn from them. Memory studies on DID suffer from the absence of articulated theories about memory functioning in DID.

Psychobiological studies, on the other hand, primarily suffer from the absence of proper control conditions. This is unfortunate, becauseit is now perfectly possible to specify control conditions for this type of research.

…Neither memory studies, nor psychobiological studies have elicited compelling evidence
that supports a literal view on alters in DID. …A case in point is Gleaves (1996, p. 48) who notes that ‘‘what is critical to understand is that acknowledging a patient with DID to have genuine experiences of alters as real people or entities is not the same as stating that alters are actually real people or entities.’’ Obviously, this conceptualization of alters is reminiscent of the position that alters exist largely as a result of role enactment in which patients become absorbed.

Thus, it is probably time to de-emphasize the literal interpretation of alters advocated by the DSM-IV. …

…Meanwhile, the hypothesis that alters in DID may be nothing more than the result of some patients’ tendency to attribute causality to inside agents, only becomes a coherent position when one seriously considers the possibility that expressed alters are metaphors rather than real entities.

Directory: Internal Family Systems AKA “parts therapy”: websites & blogs

Internal Family Systems therapy appears to have many of the hallmarks of repressed memory therapy that ignited the sweeping interest in multiple personality disorder or MPD, in the mid 1980s. The disorder was renamed dissociative identity disorder (DID) after the diagnosis and treatment suffered unprecedented negative press when psychotherapists and mental health facilities were getting sued by severely injured patients and their families. Supporters of DID disagree with me. Professional mental health-care workers claim the name changed to more clearly define the disorder. I don’t buy it, but maybe you do.

Below is a growing list of blogs and websites promoting the practice of Internal Family Systems (IFS). This treatment has patients/clients examine “parts” of their personalities which is what led to the proliferation of multiple personalities in the mid 1980s. Internal Family Systems therapy seems to be repackaged old theories and warrants further examination from all of us.

The deeper I get into researching IFS, sometimes referred to as “parts therapy” the more evidence there is that hypnotic techniques are used in various forms such as guided imagery. The American Psychiatric Association put out warnings decades ago about the use of hypnosis to address alleged repressed memories.

Below is a list of sites linked to parts therapy and Internal Family System – you decide if it is a valid therapeutic intervention for psychiatric distress that will lead to mental health or if it has the potential to put patients in harms way.

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United KingdomManchester Hypnotherapy, Training programme: parts therapy

United States, Washington, D.C.:Argosy University

Awaken to the Truth (video)

Forever Families

United Kingdom: Hypnotic Healing

Hypnothoughts

Inner Well

Center for Self Leadership: Internal Family Systems

Mental Health Survival Guide

South Africa, Cape Town: Parts Therapy

Parts Therapy for Inner Conflict Resolution

Sit by Me

Talk about Marriage

The MethoBlog (Methodist religion)

The Pondering Prophet

Hypnosis Training Video

USA: Vermont -Integrative Therapy

 

Books: How Multiple Personalities Can Be Created

Acocella, J., Creating Hysteria: women and multiple personality disorder, 1999.

Brainerd, C.J. & V.F. Reyna, The Science of False Memory, 2005.

Dawes, Robyn M., Everyday Irrationality: How Pseudo-Scientists, Lunatics, and the Rest of Us Systematically Fail to Think Rationally. 2001.

_____ House of Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy Built on Myth. 1996.

Dineen, Tana, Dr., Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry is Doing to People. 2000, 3rd. Ed.

Fairlie, Jim, Unbreakable Bonds: ‘they know about you Dad’ (2010) Austin & Macauley Publishers

Goldstein, Eleanor, Farmer, Kevin. True Stories of False Memories. 1993.

Hirstein, William, Brain Fiction: Self-Deception and the Riddle of Confabulation. 2005.

Lalich, Janja, Take Back Your Life: Recovering from cults & abusive relationships.

Kilby, Jane. Violence and the Cultural Politics of Trauma. 2007.

Klein, Naomi. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. 1993.

Lifton, Robert J. , Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China. 1961.

Lilienfeld, Scott O., Steven Jay Lynn, John Ruscio, and the late, great skeptic Barry L. Beyerstein. 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior

Loftus, Elizabeth, Memory. 2nd Ed. 1980.

__________, Eyewitness Testimony. With a New Preface  by the Author.1996b.

Loftus, Elizabeth & Ketchem, Katherine, Witness for the Defense: The Accused, The Eyewitness and the Expert Who Puts Memory on Trial. 1992.

____________,  The Myth of Repressed Memory: False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse. 1996a.

McHugh, Paul R. M.D., Try to Remember: Psychiatry’s Clash over Meaning, Memory, and Mind. 2008.

Maran, Meredith, My Lie: A True Story of False Memory. 2010.

Mercer, Jean; Sarner, Larry; and Rosa, Linda,  Attachment Therapy on Trial: The Torture and Death of Candace Newmaker. 2003.

Nathan, Debbie & Snedeker, Michael, Satan’s Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt. 2001.

Nathan, Debbie. Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case. 2012

Ofshe, Richard, Watters, Ethan, Making Monsters: False Memories, Psychotherapy, and Sexual Hysteria. 1996.

Pendergrast, Mark, Victims of Memory: Incest Accusations and Shattered Lives. 1995.

Piper, August Jr., M.D.. Hoax and Reality: The Bizarre World of Multiple Personality Disorder. 1998.

Schacter, Daniel L., Ed., The Cognitive Neuropsychology of False Memories. 1999.

Schnider, Armin. The Confabulating Mind: How the Brain Creates Reality. 2008.

Tavris, Carol & Aronson, Elliot. Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. 2007.

Wassil-Grimm, Claudette, Diagnosis for Disaster: The Devastating Truth About False Memory. 1996.

Watters, Ethan & Ofshe, Richard. Therapy’s Delusions: The myth of the unconscious and the exploitation of today’s walking worried. 1999.

Whittier, Nancy. The Politics of Child Sexual Abuse: Emotion, Social Movements, and the State. 2009.

 

Public sketicism of psychology by Scott O. Lilienfeld

Public skepticism of psychology: Why many people perceive the study of human behavior as unscientific.
By Lilienfeld, Scott O.
American Psychologist, Jun 13 , 2011, No Pagination Specified.
Abstract
Data indicate that large percentages of the general public regard psychology’s scientific status with considerable skepticism. I examine 6 criticisms commonly directed at the scientific basis of psychology (e.g., psychology is merely common sense, psychology does not use scientific methods, psychology is not useful to society) and offer 6 rebuttals. I then address 8 potential sources of public skepticism toward psychology and argue that although some of these sources reflect cognitive errors (e.g., hindsight bias) or misunderstandings of psychological science (e.g., failure to distinguish basic from applied research), others (e.g., psychology’s failure to police itself, psychology’s problematic public face) reflect the failure of professional psychology to get its own house in order. I offer several individual and institutional recommendations for enhancing psychology’s image and contend that public skepticism toward psychology may, paradoxically, be one of our field’s strongest allies.
Retrieved 12/26/11. Bold typeface by blogger.
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