Press Release for the Launch of StopBadTherapy.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW WEB SITE EMPOWERS THERAPY CLIENTS, HOLDS THERAPISTS
RESPONSIBLE FOR DANGEROUS "MEMORY RECOVERY" TECHNIQUES
http://www.StopBadTherapy.com provides information
to prevent psychotherapy malpractice and to help its victims and their
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (December 2, 1998) - An
Internet web site can make you rich, but can it reform the mental health
StopBadTherapy.com, a new Internet web site launched
today, seeks to reform the mental health industry by requiring informed
consent for mental therapy and warning consumers about the risks of therapies
which haven't been tested for safety and effectiveness.
many lives and innocent families are being shattered by so-called memory
recovery therapy and other forms of mental health
malpractice," says Eric Krock, the web site's
creator. "StopBadTherapy.com provides:
educational information to empower mental health
consumers and prevent tragedies
legal referrals and state licensing board contacts
to help those already victimized
legislation to reform the mental health industry,
point-and-click templates which make it easy to email
your elected officials and demand change.
Memory recovery therapy is the toxic waste of the
mental health industry, and this site will shut the polluters down."
new Internet web site, http://www.StopBadTherapy.com/, takes direct aim
at the controversial use of techniques such as
hypnosis and "guided imagery" in attempts to
"recover memories" which a therapist believes the client has "repressed."
Last year in the
U.K., the Royal College of Psychiatrists advised
psychiatrists to avoid using such techniques. In the U.S., recent multimillion
dollar damage awards and settlements in lawsuits against psychiatrists
have highlighted claims by former clients that the techniques produce "false
memories" of abuse which never happened. To address these problems, StopBadTherapy.com
an online 40 question checklist for evaluating your
therapy reprinted from Beware the Talking Cure by Terence Campbell, Ph.D.
contact information for professional licensing boards
in all 50 states to enable former clients and their families to file complaints
of unethical or incompetent practice
contact information for attorneys willing to represent
victims of psychotherapy malpractice
legislation to reform the mental health industry
by requiring informed consent for mental health practices, and point-and-click
form letters to email elected officials asking for passage of this legislation
true stories of bad therapy and false memories told
by clients and their families
excerpts from the books Victims of Memory
by Mark Pendergrast, Suggestions of Abuse by Michael Yapko, Ph.D,
and Second Thoughts by Paul Simpson, Ph.D.
David, who developed false memories of sexual and satanic ritual abuse
while in therapy, says "I and my family were
the victims of a therapist who used untested,
unsafe, and unscientific techniques called 'repressed memory therapy.'
California's Board of Behavioral Sciences, the people who are paid by tax
dollars to monitor therapists and protect consumers, dismissed my complaint
by claiming 'there was no enforceable standard of practice' for repressed
memory therapy and did nothing to protect the public. It is time psychotherapists
are held to the same accountability as other industries are when selling
goods and treatments to the consumers of this state. Licensing boards
must also be accountable to the consumers instead of protecting therapists
who practice therapies that have never been shown to be safe and effective.
StopBadTherapy.com is a wakeup call to the boards that consumers will no
longer allow their tax dollars to be spent on protecting irresponsible
psychotherapists while they harm more innocent people."
Marks, MFCC, who practices in California, says "I've been startled and
ashamed at so many of my colleagues' misuse of therapeutic practice. Whatever
happened to 'First do no harm' as a guiding principle of treatment? Psychotherapists
who practice recovered memory therapy have created mental illness in the
very patients they purported to help."
and psychotherapy malpractice victims nationwide are hailing today's public
launch of StopBadTherapy.com as a milestone in the movement to reform the
nation's mental health industry. Noted memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus,
Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington at Seattle,
says that "Research shows that under the right circumstances, false memories
can be planted in some people, even for events that would have been upsetting
had they actually happened. StopBadTherapy.com is a unique effort to bring
to public attention the risks of some therapy techniques, and to hopefully
minimize faulty diagnoses and false accusations. We all have
an interest in preventing future tragedies."
Yapko, Ph.D., author of Suggestions of Abuse, adds that "My work
highlights the disturbingly large number of mental
health professionals who treat their patients
on the basis of often idiosyncratic personal beliefs and misinformation.
Specifically, those therapists who hold basic misconceptions about human
memory, hypnosis, and the power of suggestion are potentially harmful
to their patients through their ability to influence them to adopt similarly
erroneous and even dangerous ideas about the origin and meaning of their
symptoms. StopBadTherapy.com will help to educate both therapists and the
public and thereby help prevent future tragedies of therapeutic malpractice."
Chris Barden, an attorney and licensed psychologist who is President of
the National Association for Consumer Protection in
Mental Health Practices, says that "Although
our ongoing litigation and education efforts continue to be powerfully
successful, legislation requiring informed consent and safe and effective
treatments is also needed to protect mental health consumers from the dangers
posed by incompetent therapists. StopBadTherapy.com will assist the
mental health reform movement by educating the public and helping concerned
citizens contact state and federal legislators."
Freyd, Ph.D., Executive Director of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation,
says that "This site provides a wealth of
information for people interested in the topic
of false memories and the therapeutic techniques that carry a heavy risk
of causing them.
It provides a central location for the public
to obtain information about the licensing and monitoring of professionals
by state regulatory boards."
Pendergrast, author of Victims of Memory, says that "StopBadTherapy.com
provides a comprehensive, valuable one-stop web site for information on
the recovered memory phenomenon. Countless psychotherapy clients
have been led into false memories of sexual abuse that harm their mental
health and destroy their families. When people enter therapy, they
are, by definition, in a vulnerable state. It is reprehensible to
encourage the search for mythical 'memories' with pseudoscientific methods.
StopBadTherapy.com is a vital
resource for all who seek to understand this
Rutherford, who developed false memories of incest and abortions during
therapy but has since reconciled with her family, says that "Those of us
who are victims of False Memory Syndrome initially go to a therapist for
different reasons. For me, it was job stress. For others it may be
a painful divorce, a death in the family, marital problems,
problems with a child, a tragic pregnancy, etc. But one thing is
certain, we never walked into the therapist's office with the idea that
we had been sexually abused. Unfortunately however, we all left with
that idea." Her sister Lynette adds that "This can happen to anybody. We
had the perfect family ... I wouldn't have believed it myself, if I wasn't
in it." Despite the "memories" of incest and abortions which Beth
Rutherford reported while in therapy, a medical examination after she returned
to her family showed her to be a virgin, and her father had had a vasectomy
when she was four years old.
Charlotte Vale Allen emphasizes the harm which psychotherapy malpractice
and the false memories it creates are doing to actual victims of incest.
"I spent almost fifteen years getting Daddy's Girl published and
traveling internationally to bring public awareness to an issue of signal
importance, primarily to children. Then, to my horror, I learned
that my 'outing' of incest had become the basis for a multi-million dollar
industry of generating memories of abuse that never happened. Now I'm working
again to make people aware that in all the debate about whether or not
'recovered memories' could be real--and I firmly believe they are not,
as none of the incest victims I've encountered in more than 30 years have
forgotten anything--the children who actually are being abused have been
all but forgotten."
says he was motivated to create the site after his sister developed false
memories while in therapy that their grandparents headed satanic cults
and that both he and she were the victims of violent abuse as children.
Krock says that his sister sent accusing letters to him and other family
members two and a half years ago and has refused contact with the family
ever since. "It's too late to save my family from the agony of False Memory
Syndrome, " he says, "but it's not too late to save yours. Write your elected
officials today and demand that mental health consumers be guaranteed the
right to informed consent. Remember, your family may be next."
Dineen, Ph.D., author of Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology
Industry is Doing to People, notes that memory recovery therapy is
only a specific example of the general problem of mental health malpractice
and therapy performed without informed consent. "Recovered Memory Therapy
is undeniably under attack as serious damages to individuals, families
and the court system are being recognized. However, what the public needs
to recognize that what has been exposed is `just the tip of the iceberg.'"
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