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Information for Elected Officials and their Staff

It's getting late, and your in-box is overflowing with constituent mail and (now, even worse!) a flood of constituent email. For every issue, you have to advise your boss as he or she develops a position, and for every letter, you have to come up with a careful response that won't lose the next election or land your boss in the New York Times and leave you looking for a new line of work. And you have to do it soon, because if you don't answer constituent mail promptly, the constituents will start calling to find out why their elected representative isn't answering their mail.

If you are a state or federal legislative or executive staffer who is developing a position, answering a letter, writing a bill, or deciding whether to cosponsor a bill related to bad therapy, the myth of repressed memories, so-called memory recovery therapy, false memory syndrome, or the Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health Practices Act, this page will help save you time when doing your research.

Getting Started

For a general overview of these interrelated problems:

  • call or write the False Memory Syndrome Foundation and ask for their free information packet
  • The Royal College of Psychiatry in the U.K. will mail members of the media a free reprint of the recent article "Recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse: Implications for clinical practice" which was published in The British Journal of Psychiatry, April 1998, Vol. 172, pp. 296-307. If you explain that you are a staff member for a public official who is researching the problem, I imagine they will be happy to mail you a copy too. The article is a comprehensive literature review which demonstrates the lack of evidence for massive repression of memory and highlights the dangers of and lack of scientific support for each technique which is advocated by so-called 'memory recovery therapists.' For press copies of the paper or further information contact:
    Deborah Hart or Vanessa Harries
    Tel: 011 44 171 235 2351 ext 127 or 154
    E-mail: or
    Fax: 011 44 171 245 1231
  • Also, be sure to read online the earlier official practice guidelines issued by the Royal College of Psychiatrists which effectively ban in the U.K. as dangerous and inffective all the so-called 'memory recovery' techniques which have been widely abused in the United States. Reported Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse: Recommendations for Good Practice and Implications For Training, Continuing Professional Development and Research
  • Be sure to thoroughly surf this site and those it links to. In particular, be sure to read some of the articles, links, and resources which we host and link to, and the section of our site which is devoted to the Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health Practices Act. (That area of the site includes copies of the state and federal versions of the bill.)

Memory Repression: Is There Evidence?

Believers in massive involuntary repression of memories will often claim that scientific studies have provided evidence for its existence. This is not true. There is no methodologically sound study which has found evidence to substantiate this 'theory.' (And if you'll permit me to do a methodologically unsound study, I'll be happy to prove that the Earth is flat!) To see the three most commonly-cited studies debunked, read this book chapter (not available online):

To protect against being misled by incompetent researchers who used flawed methodologies in designing and conducting studies or so-called 'experts' who misuse statistics, I recommend that everyone read The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan and How to Lie with Statistics.

Wenatchee: A Case Study in Government Gone Mad

One of the most extreme examples of what can happen when child protection officers, police, prosecutors, and mental health providers are gripped by mass hysteria, gross ignorance, and total professional incompetence is the case of Wenatchee, Washington, which was gripped by a witch hunt rivaling Salem as authorities hunted for sex rings and satanic cults. (They never found any evidence to substantiate these wild stories, but that didn't stop them from charging 43 people with 27,726 counts of child sex abuse and convicting seventeen who are still in prison!) The authorities in this city managed in a single investigation to commit every abuse of power, procedural error, civil rights violation, and conflict of interest known to man. (Oh, we shouldn't forget about selective use of evidence, destruction of evidence, and selective targeting for prosecution of the poor and disabled.) As a result, you can learn a lot by studying this single case. These errors are common. It's just uncommon for a single investigation to commit all of them simultaneously and falsely convict a dozen or more people! Fortunately, where the judicial system has failed, journalists are beginning to take action. To learn more:

Debunking the Myth of Satanic Ritual Abuse

Accusations of satanic ritual abuse are the Achilles's Heel of the Memory Recovery Movement because claims of ritual abuse by large, organized, interstate, transgenerational satanic cults are common among people who have gone through so-called memory recovery therapy (involved in 18% of the cases reported to the False Memory Syndrome Foundation), yet despite thousands of cases in which such allegations were made, there is no evidence that such cults exist anywhere. Obviously, the fact that memory recovery therapy so frequently leads to such bizarre, unlikely, and unsubstantiated allegations creates a serious credibility problem for accusers, their therapists, and the 'authorities' who still promote, use, or defend so-called memory recovery therapy. Since the techniques lead to strong belief in and accusations of events which never took place (satanic ritual abuse), the techniques themselves (check-list diagnosis, suggestive questioning, repeated drug-mediated interviews, hypnosis for 'recovering' memories, 'age regression,' dream interpretation, etc.) are clearly unreliable and downright dangerous, and the therapists who use these techniques are themselves the perpetrators of a horrible crime: the shattering of innocent families, and the misleading and exploitation of the mentally ill who are taught to blame their very real problems (depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, etc.) on the wrong cause (satanic ritual abuse which never occurred) and therefore led astray for years or forever from the path to actual recovery and taught to cut off and hate the families and friends who would otherwise be their greatest asset in their fight with disease. To learn more:

Getting Quotes from Authorities

The following experts are sometimes willing to provide quotes about these issues. I expect that they will be happy to answer questions from legislators who are considering introducing the Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health Practices Act or similar legislation. Here we provide links to their web sites which contain email addresses and/or other contact information. In seeking a quote, be sure to provide your name, office, and contact information.

False Memory SyndromePamela Freyd, Ph.D., Executive Director of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation
Human MemoryElizabeth Loftus, Ph.D., author of The Myth of Repressed Memory
Dangerous TherapyTana Dineen, Ph.D., author of Manufacturing Victims
The Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health Practices ActR. Chris Barden, Ph.D., J.D. (email his contact)

Deeper Background Research


Save taxpayer dollars, reduce the waste of health insurance dollars, help prevent rising health insurance premiums, and protect the mentally ill and their families from exploitation by taking a stand to stamp out junk science and bad therapy! Are you considering introducing the Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health Practices Act? Let us know how we can help you! will provide guaranteed-confidential information, assistance, and expert referrals for any state or federal legislative or executive official who is considering introducing the Act. Even if you consider introducing the Act and then decide not to, the fact that you contacted the site will be kept completely confidential.

Click here to email us. Please include your name, your title, your elected officials's name and office, and the phone number of your elected official's front office (so we can confirm you are who you say you are!).

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