WARNING: Hypnosis Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental
Health! Protect Yourself!
"The evidence shows that memories of events which did not
in fact occur may develop and be held with total conviction. Such memories
commonly develop under the influence of individuals or situations which
encourage he development of strong beliefs .... Psychiatrists are advised
to avoid engaging in any 'memory recovery techniques' which are based upon
the expectation of past sexual abuse of which the patient has no memory.
Such 'memory recovery techniques' may include drug-mediated interviews,
hypnosis, regression therapies, guided imagery, 'body memories', literal
dream interpretation and journaling .... Techniques of regression therapy
including 'age regression' and hypnotic regression are of unproven effectiveness."
-- "Reported Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse: Recommendations
for Good Practice", Report of Royal College of Psychiatrists' Working Group
on Reported Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse, Fall 1997
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Welcome to David Calof's speech at the Exploratorium on the topic of
hypnosis and memory! WARNING: Treat this speech and any statements Calof
makes with skepticism; take nothing on faith. Ask him what the known
risks of hypnosis are. Ask him whether therapy techniques he advocates
have been tested for safety and effectiveness in controlled scientific
studies. Ask him for peer-reviewed scientific journal articles to
support each statement he makes. Ask him what his qualifications
to speak on the topics of hypnosis and memory are. Ask him what
academic degrees he has and what institutions he received them from.
If you would like to judge for yourself David Calof's qualifications
and knowledge about hypnosis and therapy, read the transcript of his recent
court deposition which can be found online at the URL ftp://ftp.calweb.com/users/j/jmprice/calof-deposition
|Hypnosis can "reverse long term
amnesia and restore lost memory."
-- statement in the notice on the
Exploratorium web page at http://www.exploratorium.edu/
advertising David Calof's
|"Contrary to what is generally believed by the public, recollections
obtained during hypnosis not only fail to be more accurate but actually
appear to be generally less reliable than nonhypnotic recall." -- "Scientific
Status of Refreshing Recollection by the Use of Hypnosis," American Medical
Associationís Council on Scientific Affairs, 1985
"There is no evidence that the use of consciousness-altering techniques,
such as drug-mediated interviews or hypnosis, can reveal or accurately
elaborate factual information about any past experiences including childhood
sexual abuse." -- Royal College of Psychiatrists, U.K., 1997
Quotes from a Past Speech by David Calof
"For example, we're finding a lot of undiagnosed, unrecovered
multiples in nursing homes. Well, don't ever let me hear about any of you
doing abreactive work with an eighty-six year old person. It's just not
the thing to do. I learned the hard way. One of my multiples had a stroke
during an abreaction. Fortunately, she recovered from it but it sure
makes a point to me about considering constitutional issues."
"Which is my point that I made this morning. That when you
tell these stories, the fact that they sound incredible virtually is the
proof of them."
-- both quotes from David
Calof, February 5-7, 1993, Anaheim, CA Tape, F113-3, Presentation
at Advances in Treating Survivors of Sexual Abuse, quoted in the 1 January
1996 False Memory Syndrome Foundation Newsletter
Quotes from Doctors and Professional Organizations Regarding Memory
"Numerous studies in children (Terr, 1983; Malmquist, 1986;
Pynoos & Nader, 1989) and adults (Leopold & Dillon, 1963) have
shown that psychologically traumatic events are vividly though not always
accurately recalled and are frequently followed by intrusive recollections
in one form or another. The problem following most forms of trauma is an
inability to forget, rather than a complete expulsion from awareness, and
amnesia for violent events is rare." -- Sydney Brandon, M.D., et al, "Recovered
memories of childhood sexual abuse: implications for clinical practice,"
British Journal of Psychiatry, April 98, p. 300
"Most people who were sexually abused as children remember
all or part of what happened to them." -- Interim Report of the American
Psychological Association Working Group on Investigation of Memories of
Quotes Regarding Hypnosis from the AMA Council on Scientific Affairs
"Forceful or persuasive interviewing techniques are not acceptable
in psychiatric practice. Doctors should be aware that patients are susceptible
to subtle suggestions and reinforcements whether these communications are
intended or unintended." -- "Reported Recovered Memories of Child Sexual
Abuse: Recommendations for Good Practice", Report of Royal College of Psychiatrists'
Working Group on Reported Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse
"It is the consensus of the Panel that hypnotic age regression
is the subjective reliving of earlier experiences as through they were
real--which does not necessarily replicate earlier events."
"Although the Panel recognizes that there are many factors--including
leading questions--that affect eyewitness testimony in the non-hypnotic
state, subjects in hypnosis are more vulnerable to the biasing effects
of leading questions."
"[T]here are clinical case reports that appear to demonstrate
memory enhancement in hypnosis. The vast majority of these reports are
anecdotal, and most fail to provide independent corroboration of the memories
recovered in hypnosis or to establish that hypnosis was responsible for
any effects observed."
"In no study to date has there been an increase in accuracy
associated with an appropriate increase in confidence in the veracity of
recollections. Consequently, hypnosis may increase the appearance of certitude
without a concurrent increase in veracity."
"Witnesses and victims, however, are not selected for their
mental health .... the Panel believes that it is essential that hypnosis
be conducted by a psychiatrist or a psychologist who is competent to help
the witness or victim deal with overwhelming affect."
"Not only is there a question about the accuracy of a subject's
recollection during hypnosis, but there is also the problem that hypnosis
leads to an increased vulnerability to subtle cues and implicit suggestions
that may distort recollections in specific ways, depending upon what is
communicated to the subject. Both the expectations of the hypnotist and
the prior beliefs of the subject may determine the extent of confabulations
or pseudomemories during hypnosis. The manner in which a question is framed
can influence the response and even produce a response when there is actually
"Before proceeding with hypnosis, informed consent should
be obtained from the subject."
"The Panel found no evidence to indicate that there is an
increase in only accurate memory during hypnosis and recognized that there
is no way for either the subject or the hypnotist to distinguish between
those recollections that may be accurate and those that may be pseudomemories."
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