Dear President Bush:

I am writing to express my concern about the epidemic in the U.S.  
of unsafe, untested, scientifically discredited mental health      
practices (such as 'age regression' and 'memory recovery therapy') 
and to ask that you please do two things to stop this waste of     
taxpayer and health insurance dollars and protect the mentally     
ill and their families:

(1) introduce the Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health Practices 
Act to require that mental health providers get informed consent   
from clients before beginning therapy or receiving reimbursement   
from the government or health insurers
(2) publicly call for congressional hearings on the Wenatchee child    
sex ring 'witch hunt' in which over a dozen innocent people--most  
of them poor, illiterate, or learning disabled--appear to have     
been imprisoned on charges of participating in child sex rings     
which never existed--charges which were based on so-called           
'recovered memories'

Despite recent advances in the development of effective treatments,   
the mental health system is plagued by the widespread use of unproven,
ineffective and dangerous practices. Responsible mental health        
practitioners and researchers across America are increasingly alarmed 
by the role of indiscriminate government spending in generating these 

Much of the rapid growth in the use of untested and hazardous mental  
health practices is the result of inappropriate financial             
reimbursements by state, federal and private insurance systems. The   
current reimbursement systems do not even attempt to distinguish      
between effective, scientifically valid treatments and untested,      
hazardous and unethical mental health practices. As a result, too     
many American citizens and families have suffered needlessly at       
taxpayer expense. Moreover, the time, attention and resources now     
diverted to adults with so-called 'repressed memories' (which are in  
fact delusions created by suggestive therapy) are sorely needed in    
reliable, responsible programs to prevent actual child abuse and      
apprehend and punish actual child abusers.

Few patients would agree to untested, unsafe, experimental or known-  
to-be-dangerous forms of mental health practices if they were         
truthfully informed of the scientific status of such pseudo-          
'treatments' and the existence of demonstrably safe and effective     
alternative treatments. Under the Act, in order to receive insurance  
reimbursements from state, federal or private insurance systems,      
providers must simply document that each mental health consumer was   
truthfully informed of (1) the proven benefits (if any) and proven or 
reasonably foreseeable risks and hazards of the proposed treatment and
(2) the proven benefits (if any) and reasonably foreseeable risks and 
hazards of alternative treatments--before treatment begins. This rule 
provides a simple and powerful financial incentive for mental health  
practitioners to comply with universally accepted professional codes  
of ethics in force since the Nuremberg Trials and Conventions         
following World War II. Health care providers should never again be   
reimbursed with public or tax exempt private insurance funds for using
experimental, untested and potentially dangerous forms of mental      
health treatment on unwarned and unsuspecting patients. Citizens are  
currently entitled by law to receive accurate and truthful information
regarding the cars and T.V. sets they purchase. Will you deny mental  
health consumers similar protections from consumer fraud and abuse? 

Please have your staff do the following things to learn more:       

1) visit to download a copy of the    
Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health Practices Act             

2) call the False Memory Syndrome Foundation in Philadelphia at      
800-568-8882 and ask for their free information packet              

3) call the Seattle Post-Intelligencer at 206-448-8399 and request a 
free reprint of the series 'Power to Harm' which documents the        
Wenatchee witch hunt and the role that unsafe 'memory recovery        
therapy' played in the hysteria                                     

4) read the safety guidelines issued last year by the U.K. Royal     
College of Psychiatrists in their report 'Reported Recovered          
Memories of Child Sexual Abuse: Recommendations for Good Practice     
and Implications For Training, Continuing Professional Development    
and Research,' which can be found online at

5) fax the Royal College of Psychiatrists at 00 44 171 245 1231 and 
request a reprint of the more recent report, 'Recovered memories    
of childhood sexual abuse: Implications for clinical practice' which  
was published in The British Journal of Psychiatry and demonstrates   
the danger of and lack of scientific evidence for therapies which     
are common in the U.S.

Why should the U.S. federal and state governments and health insurers 
subsidize untested mental therapies which have been banned as unsafe  
in the U.K. by the Royal College of Psychiatrists? Why should the     
mentally ill in the U.S. be subjected to such therapies without first 
being warned of their known risks and the existence of safe, effective
alternatives and given the chance to make an informed choice?

A century ago the mentally ill were abused in 'insane asylums' under  
inhumane conditions. Only courageous journalists and legislators      
put a stop to the cruelty. Today the mentally ill are abused in       
therapists' offices at taxpayer and health insurer expense by unsafe, 
untested therapies. Only courageous legislators can put a stop to     
these new abuses.

Taxpayer dollars and tax-exempt health insurance premiums shouldn't   
be used for recovering repressed memories of satanic abuse or alien   
abduction or for any other 'therapeutic techniques' which haven't been
tested for safety and effectiveness. It's time to bring the mental    
health industry out of the 19th century and into the 20th, transform  
it from an industry into a true profession, and guarantee that every  
patient and family is protected by the principles of informed consent 
and testing for safety and effectiveness. 

Please demonstrate your concern for saving taxpayer dollars, reducing 
rising health insurance premiums, and protecting the mentally ill and 
their families by introducing and seeking passage of the Truth and    
Responsibility in Mental Health Practices Act. Or, if you have any   
objections to specific provisions of the Act, please author and       
introduce similar legislation to require informed consent for mental  
therapies and reimbursement by the government and health insurers.