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Information for Members of the Media

If you are a member of the media who is doing a story on 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 and money when doing your research and finding authorities willing to provide quotes. Except where otherwise indicated, all resources are available for free upon request to the information provider.

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. 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 ineffective 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.

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 to the media about these issues. 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, organization, 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)

Doing a Story about this Site?

If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If you publish a web site and no one knows about it, does it make a difference? does welcome media stories about this site in the interest of raising awareness of the site and thereby educating the public about the dangers of bad therapy and preventing future tragedies.

If you are a member of the media who is writing a story about False Memory Syndrome or this web site,  click here to email us. Please include your name, title, company name, the phone number of your employer's front office, the direct dial phone number of your own extension, email address if available, and your employer's address. Also, please describe the article you are writing.

If we are not familiar with the publication you are writing for, or if you are a freelance writer, we will ask that you send one copy of a recent issue of your publication or an article you have written to this site's mailing address and send or fax a copy of your own writing as well; sending this in advance will allow us to respond to you more quickly.

Key Points You Should Consider in Writing About This Site

Innovative use of web technology:

  • is a unique attempt to use the power of the Internet to change government policy and reform an industry (instead of just getting rich, which is the what the media has focused on). Read our mission statement.
  • So far as we know, this is the first coordinated, nationwide, state-by-state legislative lobbying campaign ever launched using a web site.
  • Built-in database of elected officials' names, addresses, and email addresses makes it easy for viewers to locate and contact their own elected officials.
  • It's also the first time that a legislative lobbying campaign has 'closed the circuit' in a letter writing campaign by tracking the written responses of elected officials and arranging follow-up emails and the electronic tailoring of future emails by others.
  • Integration with other web sites demonstrates the power of the Internet, web technology, and nested extranets. This is the first use of nested extranet technology for legislative lobbying. Visitors can:
    • use the U.S. House of Representatives web site to look up their own Member of Congress, using their 5- or 9-digit ZIP code as a lookup key.
    • use the U.S. Postal Service web site to look up their 9-digit ZIP code if they need it and don't know it.
    • visit and write online book reviews of The Courage to Heal and other discredited works of pop psychotherapy.
    • visit and purchase related books online.
  • Interactive features. Visitors can:
    • send boilerplate email messages (personalized however they wish) to the President and Vice-President and their U.S. Senators, Congressional Representative, Governor, and state senator and representative asking for passage of the Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health Practices Act, congressional hearings on Wenatchee, and immunity from civil suit at the state level for complaints to licensing boards filed in good faith
    • use a questionnaire from Beware the Talking Cure to evaluate their therapy if they are in therapy
  • Community building. Visitors can:
    • become a member of the web site
    • sign up to receive email notification when the web site adds new ways to fight back against bad therapy, creating an army of online activists who are on call to fight back
    • sign up for related Internet mailing lists
    • join the False Memory Syndrome Foundation by printing out a membership form and mailing it in
  • Online collaborative authoring of a 'virtual book' of family and retractor experiences.
    • Retractors and affected family members can submit their experiences by email to collaboratively author a virtual book on the web site.
  • Useful information and resources:
    • a list of contact phone numbers for every medical, psychological, social work, marriage and family therapy, counseling, and massage therapy licensing board in the nation to facilitate the filing of complaints of unlicensed practice and malpractice.
    • a questionnaire from Beware the Talking Cure which people in therapy can use to evaluate their therapy
    • retractor and family stories reproduced by permission from Victims of Memory, the False Memory Syndrome Foundation newsletter, and other sources
    • special pages customized for people who believe they have recovered repressed memories, retractors, affected family members, therapists, attorneys, members of the media, and staff members of elected officials

Guerilla marketing campaign:

  • Details TBA

Deeper Background Research

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