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.
~~~~~~~~
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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Treatment Facility, Castlewood: Harm Continues to Women Patients?

update: 11-17-14. My error, this is about Castlewood, not Mercy Ministries. My apologies and thanks to a reader who brought this to my attention.
update: 11-09-14. A fourth medical malpractice suit has been filed against Castlewood.
Lincoln, California, USA
According to the Lincoln News Messenger, Mercy Ministries, an international nonprofit organization that claims to help “females with life-threatening situations” namely anorexia nervosa a life-threatening eating disorder, has reopened its doors to patients.
Mercy Ministries, formerly of Australia, paid $120,000 for misrepresenting itself to women clients yet was permitted to open facilities in the United States after closing it’s treatment facility in Australia. Currently, it has treatment facilities in Lincoln, California; Monroe, Louisiana; Nashville, Tennessee.; St. Louis, Missouri, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Although some of Mercy Ministries former patients claim the Lord showed them healing, there is a growing number of families telling horror stories of treatment using out-dated and debunked repressed-memory-therapy (RMT) which gained popularity in the 1980s. RMT treatment focuses on remembering alleged childhood sexual abuse that has shown to produce tainted, if not purely made-up, recall fraught with inaccuracies.

Mercy Ministries is repeating a period of psycho-social history and pop psychology in the United States that humiliated the entire profession and left it on its knees. Yet learning from their mistakes did not happen because fathers are once again being accused of sexually abusing their daughters only after their adult-children were influenced at various Mercy Ministries treatment centers to remember. Memories of horrific sexual are meant to heal their serious medical condition.

The Lincoln News Messenger claims that “Someone with an eating disorder might die without the appropriate medical treatment.” Furthermore it’s editor, Carol Feineman, says that while the United States Joint Commission on Health Care Accreditation JCHCA, acknowledges Mercy Ministries, it did not accredit them as a provider of mental health services. The JCHCA oversees hospitals within the United States and it is a serious infraction for Mercy Ministries to operate without their accreditation – not that they are not permitted to do so, but full-disclosure needs to occur with all and any clients that come to them for treatment.

Evidence is growing and indicating that Mercy Ministries may be treating women with debilitating eating disorders without proper authority, supervision, or medical and psychological health-care providers.
A Bible-based counseling and treatment center, Mercy Ministries is permitted under United States, Canadian, New Zealand, and United Kingdom law to open it’s doors to ill women who may or may not know it is not a proper medical facility. Is God’s love and guidance enough to help women overcome anorexia in lieu of medical treatment? Patients deserve and warrant proper nutritional, therapeutic or medical oversight of their medical and psychological conditions. Otherwise, they may just as well go to church and save themselves the money.
What do we does a society concerned with proper mental-health care going to do? How about sending this article to your friends and family? Tweeting, talking, and educating others about how to obtain proper medical care is a good start.
To read more mercyministries.org

The Illusive Satanists: What Many in the Multiple Personality Community Believe about Satanic Ritual Abuse

Mr. Satan Head

Mr. Satan Head (Photo credit: Scott Beale)

Last year, at Halloween, I designed a costume and attended Kate’s annual
party. She decorated her property, starting at the curb, with blinking orange
lights, cob webs, and hidden boxes that made unpredictable sounds when I
walked by. The house was dark with intrigue. I wondered what scary characters
awaited my arrival.

After dark, her neighborhood was full of adults and children in costume. We
pretended to be witches or walking trees or scarecrows. We gave ourselves
permission to create, fantasize, and play. For one night, we became someone,
or something, other than ourselves. Mystery and intrigue are what make Kate’s
Halloween parties enticing.

Oddly, treatment for Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), now known as Dissociative
Identity Disorder (DID), has similar enticing qualities. For example, once
labeled a “multiple,” I was often viewed as exotic and mysterious. My thought
patterns and subsequent behaviors were intriguing and bewildering to therapists.
Treatment twisted my thinking. I became a devoted student of repressed memory
therapy
, believing I was raised in a Satanic cult. Therapy helped me “remember”
cult meetings with gory smoldering cauldrons of blood, dismembered animals,
the screech of tormented women, and the foul smell of burning flesh. The
Halloween season, once a time of fun and theatrics, became an annual nightmare
referred to as “The Satanic High Holidays.” Therapy transformed the play of yesteryear into terror.
The Halloween season became life-threatening. My doctor instructed me to
beware of encoded messages sent by Satanists, either by mail or by telephone,
programming me to suicide. He said I needed protection from them because I was
exposing their cult secrets. I agreed to be hospitalized, drugged and
quarantined.

My doctor’s thinking was not logical. In fact, it was pure nonsense. The
tricks, illusions, and deceits of treatment lured me in.

What made it impossible to distinguish fact from fancy? Prior to therapy, I
knew nothing about Satanism. While hospitalized, however, I was inundated with
information about Satanic cults from my doctor, therapists, nurses, other
patients, self- proclaimed “professionals” who survived Satanic abuse, and books.
Initially, I was a willing participant in the exchange of information. Later,
I was a captive audience and my caretakers’ professional opinions quickly
flipped my belief system upside-down.

I often proclaimed that my uncovered “memories” were fabrications, but I was
ignored. New “memories” weren’t as real as those I’d never forgotten; they
were dream-like and fuzzy. The idolatrous manner in which I related to my
doctor blinded me to the truth regarding my history. I was tricked into
believing there was Satanic abuse when, in fact, there wasn’t.

The illusive Satanists never surfaced at Halloween. Just the same, my feelings
of terror were real. Therapy created panic, insomnia, anorexia, abuse of
prescription drugs, gastrointestinal distress and fatigue. My behavior was
irrational. I hid under the bed, shrouded myself in blankets, and hugged
Leroy, my teddy bear.

Unknowingly, I was caught in the web of my doctor’s delusions. Halloween is
payday for some therapists and hospitals because clients are often in a
heightened emotional state. The fabricated Halloween horrors create chaos;
they breed confusion and anxiety. Clients seek comfort and often require extra
with therapists while needing more prescription drugs,additional phone contact,                                               and even hospitalization.

I challenge therapists who treat clients for Satanic abuse to follow their own treatment regime this year. By mid-October, check into a hospital, stay behind locked doors, speak to no one, ingest mass quantities of narcotics, and starve yourselves — then stay awake while watching horror movies night and day.

Since leaving treatment I learned the illusive Satanists, created in therapy, don’t exist. Halloween has returned to what it’s always been — a day of fun, fantasy, and theater. I’m looking forward to Kate’s party.

~~~~~~~~~~

Originally published in the False Memory Syndrome Foundation Newsletter,
October, 1999

Apologies for the formatting. The original article does not translate well.

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The Illusive Satanists by Jeanette Bartha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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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.

 

Reclaiming My Name, by Jeanette Bartha

Originally published, 2003

I fled repressed memory therapy 11 years ago, relocated 1,700 miles from the psychiatrist I fired, and changed my first name to Jaye because I was no longer interested in being the crazed multiple Dr. Stratford [1] had created during the previous 6 years.

During treatment in a Philadelphia psychiatric hospital, my given name, Jeanette Bartha, became a label I hated, a four-letter word if you will, that was plastered all over hospital and court records. I was ashamed of the volatile, narcotic-dependent woman I had become and wore my name like a scarlet letter. My reputation as a difficult patient was known by hundreds of hospital employees and, given the committed manner in which I carried out my role as mental patient, the name Jeanette should have been awarded its own DSM diagnostic category.

I recall with a smile what Dr. Stratford stated during his medical malpractice deposition that led to an out-of-court settlement 2 days before trial. My lawyer, Richard Shapiro, asked the good doctor what he thought of my use of the name Jaye. Dr. Stratford stated that in all probability I was still multiple and that Jaye was another personality — one he had never met. In some peculiar twist of language, the doctor was correct regarding a new personality, but not for the reasons he believed. Changing my name enabled me to recreate myself while gaining independence from coercive psychotherapy.

Unfortunately, Dr. Stratford did not have the capacity to see beyond his delusions. For the past decade, I have been running from the Jeanette Bartha label. But now that I have rebuilt my life, I have come full circle and returned home — home to myself, home to Jeanette, and home to my family.

While my parents know my new friends call me Jaye, I recently announced that I completed my memoir of those horrific therapy years . . . my manuscript is written by Jeanette D. Bartha — not Jaye. We all cried. By reclaiming my name, we have sewn another stitch into the fabric of our family, which gets stronger with each passing year.

1. A pseudonym
Source: http://www.fmsfonline.com/fmsf03.630.pdf
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