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[ Written statement from "Jim" (pseudonym), a father and California resident who does not wish his name used in order to protect the privacy of his minor child. In the statement, the pseudonym is indicated by italicized text.]

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My name is Jim. I would like to witness to the horrors and traumas of "recovered memory therapy" and the inability of our consumer protection agencies to protect others from being damaged by the same therapist and/or this same damaging psychological technique.

My story starts with our foster child seeing a therapist because she had been taken from an abusive situation. During these sessions with the therapist and foster child my wife began to feel she had also been abused, although she never had any previous memories of it. She ended up going into therapy herself with a specialist in "child abuse" issues. This therapist eventually led her to recover memories about her parents, local neighbors, extended family, doctors, dentist, police department members, and local city government (her grandfather was the local mayor) participating in an extended satanic cult. This cult supposedly practiced human kidnapping, torture, and cannibalism of the most gruesome sort. Eventually these recovered memories extended to me, her husband. I was accused of torturing her from when we were dating and actively participating in cult ritual abuse throughout our marriage, even though we had been married for 23 years during which she had no memories previous to therapy that this was going on. Of course there was no evidence and no one else among our friends and relatives had such memories or even believed such stories. My whole family ended up going to therapy under the same umbrella organization. My children began recovering their own memories of abuse, but when I did not recover any memories then I was said to be in denial and deemed a safety threat to the family, because I would tell the cult that they had been found out. I supposedly would then set up the cult retaliation against them so they would not recover any more memories.

This situation led to my being divorced and alienated from my children. After 23 years my happy marriage and wonderful family was suddenly ripped from me. To be the enemy of my wife and children was overwhelming grief and trauma. It has taken a number of years to return to a normal almost happy life.

During this time I filed a consumer complaint with the Board of Behavioral Science Examiners, BBSE, against the two therapists I dealt most directly with. It was two years before they considered it. After that it was investigated for more than a year and a board psychologist reviewed the investigation. In December 1997 the complaint was forwarded to the Attorney Generalís office for an opinion whether prosecution was advisable. That this step happened at all is strong evidence concerning the grievous damage done by the therapy and therapists. Only a small percentage of complaints are forwarded to the Attorney General.

I recently received a reply from the Attorney Generalís office declining to take disciplinary action against the therapists concerned in the complaint. The primary reason was that in the early 90ís there were experts in the therapy community and law enforcement community who accepted the reports of satanic ritual abuse and molestation from those who recovered their memories after 10 to 40 years of no previous memory of these events. Since the standard was unclear at the time of the offense, these therapists received no discipline for the damage they caused. According to the Attorney Generalís office the profession is more sophisticated now. However, since there was no discipline, these therapist continue to practice recovered memory techniques in the present and continue to destroy families and lives. As a minimum there should be retraining and observation, as if they were interns, to determine that they obtain the proper "sophistication". I do not see the BBSE or Attorney Generalís office protecting the community from further trauma from recovered memory therapy, now shown to be destructive and harmful to the very patients who are troubled and vulnerable when they go for help.


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