[This two-part account by Beth Rutherford, first published in the FMSF Newsletter (issues of January/February 1998 and April 1988) is reprinted by permission. All rights
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A R E T R A C T O R S P E A K S
by Beth Rutherford
Editor's Note: We are presenting Beth's story in two parts. Part I
relates Beth's therapy experiences which led to memories of parental
abuse. Part II will be presented in a future issue of the
Newsletter. It will relate how Beth came to realize that her
memories were false and about the subsequent lawsuit filed by the
Beth Rutherford, Springfield, MO went for counseling at age 19 due to
stress from her work as a nurse in a cancer unit. The first time she
went into the counselor's office she was certain that she had a
wonderful family and childhood. However, during 2 1/2 years of therapy
with a church counselor, she began recovering "memories" of being
sexually abused by her father between the ages of 7 and 14.
Allegations were made against her father (a credentialed minister).
She accused him of many things including impregnating her twice and
performing a coat hanger abortion on her. If prosecuted, he would face
7 years to life in prison. A series of events over many months brought
Beth to the realization that these "memories" were false memories.
Beth later retracted and rejoined the family. Upon being medically
examined, Beth was found to be a virgin. She now is speaking out to
help prevent what happened to her from happening to others.
How did the reconstruction of my childhood and supposed recovery of
"past memories" occur in therapy?
It was a _process_. It happened slowly, and I never stood back and
looked at 'A to Z' all at once. I was absorbed into this process one
"letter" at a time. The following is a general overview of the
P - Putting doubt in my mind about my family, our relationships, my
childhood, and my own memory.
R - Remembering my childhood.
O - Omitting the good and focusing on the perceived bad.
C - Commitment that dreams and ideas are "true memories" and
flashbacks of reality.
E - Emotionalizing the memories and establishing loyalties to my
S - Separating from my parents and from all those who did not
believe me. Then taking....
S - Steps of accusation and confrontation.
Each one of these phases was groundwork for bringing me deeper into
believing that terrible sexual abuse had actually happened to me. In
my conversations with other victims of this therapy, this process
seems to be a common thread in all of our experiences with Age
Regression/Recovered Memory Therapy.
P - PUTTING DOUBT IN MY MIND
The starting point for me was the therapist asking me if I had ever
been sexually abused. After I got over the shock, I emphatically said,
"No, never!" I was told that I fit the signs (symptom list) of being
The power of suggestion is an underestimated power. In my second
session I happened to tell my therapist that I sometimes had strange
dreams of heated arguments between my father and me, dreams of having
my father send bears after me, and of his coming after me with a
knife. I was told that these were dreams that sexually abused people
have and, therefore, I had to have been sexually abused. This was the
start of the downhill slide of my life for the next 2 1/2 years.
The following are a few examples of the conversations that I had in
therapy that put doubts in my mind, causing me to begin to wonder if
perhaps I had been a victim of sexual abuse:
Therapist: You're a high achiever in school (4.0 GPA). This suggests
that you have been sexually abused.
Therapist: You absorbed yourself with your academic studies in order
to cope with the abuse you experienced at home.
Beth: But, why don't I remember any of this?
Therapist: It is because you have repressed it. It's the only way
you could deal with the pain. Now you are mature enough to
handle the information your mind is trying to reveal to you.
Therapist: You need to trust me. I know what I'm talking about when
it comes to sexual abuse. I will help you recover your past and
work through it. You see, Beth, the only way you will ever be a
mentally healthy person is to recover these memories and deal
with them. Then you can become a truly whole person.
The suggestion that your family and childhood may not be as good as
you thought is powerfully implanted.
R - REMEMBERING MY CHILDHOOD
I was asked to remember and tell what it was like growing up in my
home. I shared various stories, conversations, events, told about
places, and gave multiple details. I described what our home looked
like, how many rooms it had, where all of the bedrooms were, etc.
These statements gave my therapist specific events and details to work
with as she weaved an amazing abuse story and all the while using my
own stories with a new interpretation and twist. For example, in
describing one of the homes we lived in, I told my therapist about a
little storage shed that we had. This later became a place in my
"memories" where I had been tied up and objects were inserted in me.
O - OMITTING THE GOOD AND FOCUSING ON THE PERCEIVED BAD
In this phase of therapy, I began to talk less and less about the
good in my family. When I attempted to point out times of happiness, I
was told that this was not the focus of our session. Every wonderful
time I described from my childhood was taken and twisted into an
example of a dysfunctional family.
Example 1: I told the therapist about times when my Dad and I wrote
out checks and paid bills together when I was 9 years old. Instead of
seeing the good in this situation, that I was learning about finances
and enjoying a grown-up activity, my therapist focused on a twisted
reinterpretation, stating that my father treated me as a marriage
partner, and that he really should have been doing this with my mom.
The therapist said that this was an indication that he preferred me
over my mother.
Example 2: I shared about a few times that my sisters and I got a
peck on the lips as a good-bye from my parents when they would be
leaving on a trip or going away for a few days. Instead of seeing this
as a beautiful and simple demonstration of parental love, the
therapist suggested that only a husband and a wife should ever kiss on
the lips, that it was wrong for a daughter and father to do so, and
that this was inappropriate sexual behavior on the part of my father.
Example 3: My parents would encourage me to do well in school since
academics was a natural ability and interest of mine. Instead of
seeing this as parental support for my tendencies toward and enjoyment
of academics, the therapist reinterpreted the parental words of
encouragement, saying, "Your parents were feeling guilty about the
fact that they were abusing you. If you did well in school, they
wouldn't feel like they were causing you any damage or harm by the
abuse they were committing."
Over time I came to believe that I had an incorrect memory of my
childhood and that my therapist really had the correct view. I was
told that people who were abused are not good judges of their own past
because if abuse is all you have known or grown up with, you would not
see it as wrong or abnormal.
C - COMMITMENT THAT DREAMS AND IDEAS ARE "TRUE MEMORIES" AND
FLASHBACKS OF REALITY
As the focus on sexual abuse in our therapy sessions escalated, so
did the sexual content and intensity of my dreams. I would come into
the next therapy session and was asked what I had dreamed about
recently. I was told that these were actual memories (not dreams or
fantasies) and that through dreams my mind was revealing facts to me.
I was asked to concentrate deeply on my childhood. In this state of
deep concentration and focus on earlier years, I went into hypnotic
and trance-like states.
After "coming out" of one of these trances, I was told by my
therapist that I had just revealed an event of sexual abuse and
described for her something that had happened to me. She would then
read back to me what she had written down about the "memory" I had
recovered. I trusted my counselor. I looked up to her (she had an MS
degree in counseling-psychology and BSW in social work). She was a
professional. Although I didn't consciously remember what happened in
those trance-like states, I felt that I could trust her when she would
explain, "Beth, you have just had a flashback into your past. . .these
are real events that have actually happened to you. . ."
E - EMOTIONALIZING THE MEMORIES.
We talked about what a victim "feels" like and focused on the
emotions of a victim: feelings of helplessness, loss of control,
anger, hatred of your mother for not protecting you from your father,
feeling dirty and afraid. As I began to internalize these emotions,
they became a part of my thinking and my feelings.
I began having "body memories." When coming out of a trance, I could
actually feel the pain of being penetrated. My legs would go numb from
'remembering' times of being tied up. Again, I was told that this all
was repressed and was now coming out; my mind was now allowing me to
know what really happened to me as a child. These physical symptoms
only reinforced for me that these times of abuse had to have happened
or I would not be feeling the physical pain.
A highly significant phase of fully believing in the reality of my
recovered "memories" was going to other mental health professionals
for evaluations. A psychiatrist and a psychologist concluded from
their psychological testing and evaluation that indeed I had been
severely traumatized as a child. With these results, I fully believed
that my good and happy childhood was really a cruel joke. (I only wish
that I realized then what I know now, that Psychological testing is
not a proof of history. It is only a reflection of what you believe
and what is in your mind at the time of testing.)
E - ESTABLISHING LOYALTIES TO MY THERAPIST
I told my therapist everything: every dinner conversation held at
home, my parents' phone calls that I overheard, the comments my dad
and mom made to me, etc. I called her from my closet at home if I felt
scared. There were times I might call her four or more times a day in
addition to my numerous therapy sessions. Sometimes I had two and
three therapy sessions a week. Some were two- and three-hour
I sneaked into my father's office and got into his files and found
papers he had to sign. I brought them to the therapist so that she
could copy them for herself, and then I sneaked them back into my
I would have given my life to be her daughter. An emotional bond was
formed between us. I felt like only she could save me from my broken
life. I thought that only she truly knew me and, therefore, only she
could help me. I lived for my therapist and therapy sessions.
S - SEPARATING FROM MY PARENTS AND FROM ALL THOSE WHO DID NOT BELIEVE
I was told that the only way that I was going to be able to be a
healthy adult was to get away from my infectious parents, because they
were like cancer and I had to "cut them out" in order to be a mentally
healthy adult. The therapist told me that they were the cause of all
the problems in my life, and I must be the one to break the cycle of
abuse in my family so that I in turn would not abuse my children. I
was told that my parents' refusal to admit guilt meant that I must
separate from them, for they were in denial.
By this time, I had deteriorated physically. I weighed 87 pounds,
was on medication, and hated life. I was told that in order to have
any happiness in my life, I had to get away from my sick parents and
any relatives who would not believe me. Only by cutting them all out
of my life was healing possible.
S - STEPS OF ACCUSATION AND CONFRONTATION
Not every son or daughter takes this step. I was more than
encouraged; I actually felt pressured to do this by the therapist. My
plan was to get away from my parents and never see them again.
However, accusations were brought against my parents in an
ecclesiastical meeting, an absolute nightmare for them. It was the
first time they were informed of what 2 1/2 years of therapy had
To accuse my parents was a statement of defiance. I told them that
just because they wouldn't admit what they had done to me didn't mean
I would back down from my belief that they did it. Making these
accusations was driven by the therapist, who consistently told me that
to accuse is the only way true healing can begin.
I was never further from true healing! I went to her office 2 1/2
years earlier as a normal, well adjusted, happy young adult with job
stress. And after 2 1/2 years of "treatment" I was unrecognizable! I
was a wreck mentally, physically, socially, financially and
educationally. I was jobless with a destroyed past, present, and
future. Thank God, He helped me find my way out of "therapy" and put
me on the road of recovery.
IN SUMMARY, each situation is different. 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.
Each person is an individual with individual needs who warrants
being treated as such. If you went to a medical doctor's office with
indigestion and wanted him to treat you for the indigestion, would it
be acceptable medical practice for a doctor:
*to neglect to give you a physical examination;
*to not verify symptoms with external evidence and tests, or not
take a medical history, etc.;
*to extemporaneously diagnose you with cancer of the stomach;
*to proceed with years of treatment (chemo/radiation/experimental
*to talk you into having a surgery to cut out the cancer by removing
part of your stomach;
*to watch you deteriorate in every way; only to discover you never
had cancer at all?
Would this be acceptable medical practice? Of course not! So why are
similar methods tolerated in the professional mental health community?
There is something wrong with "methodology" or "services rendered" if
an unsuspecting client comes in with a little headache and goes out
with no arms or legs....comes in with one problem and leaves with a
life shattered to pieces. What ever happened to the sensibility of the
Hippocratic Oath, "To Do No Harm." Yes, there are real people who do
have real cancer who need treatment. And of course, there are real
people, who have had experienced real sexual abuse who may need
assistance in dealing with that horrendous load of agony and pain.
Those people deserve to be believed, listened to and helped. One case
of sexual abuse is one case too many.... a nightmare for any who have
lived through it. But to diagnose someone as sexually abused and to
lead people to believe that horrible things happened to them that in
reality never did....to destroy lives....to play with peoples' minds
is morally despicable malpractice.
A R E T R A C T O R S P E A K S - P A R T II
by Beth Rutherford
My Journey Home and Back to Truth
At the end of 2 1/2 years of therapy, I had come to fully believe that
I had been impregnated by my father twice. I "remembered" that he had
performed a coat hanger abortion on me with the first pregnancy and
that I performed the second coat hanger abortion on myself. I also
"recalled" that he had inserted a curling iron, scissors and a meat
fork inside of me, and other "horrors." I came to believe this without
a doubt and could "remember" it happening detail by detail.
I was told by my therapist that I had to separate from my parents in
order to break this cycle of "abuse" in my family. Otherwise, my
therapist said, I would be at risk to abuse my own children some day
when I became a mother. By the end of this 2 1/2 years of therapy, I
had so physically deteriorated that my weight was down to 87 pounds,
unable to eat because of the emotional and mental battle that was
raging inside me. I was on medication and my mind was sinking deeper
and deeper into blackness. With my last bit of energy and in an effort
to begin to "get well," my middle sister, Lynette, and I renter a
U-haul and moved away from my parents in Springfield, MO to Oklahoma
City, OK. My youngest sister, Shara, went into hiding in Springfield,
afraid that my father would murder her. Both of my sisters had come to
believe my "memories" of abuse. We cut off all communication with my
However, moving away from my parents also put me out of direct
contact with my therapist. This was the best thing that could have
happened to me, although I didn't realize it at the time. After four
months of continual phone contact with my therapist in Missouri, I was
instructed by her to try and find a new therapist to continue my
"treatment." But, I decided, I had participated in all the therapy I
could handle and wanted a break from the tormenting sessions that
dwelt exclusively on abuse events. This crucial decision was the
beginning of my journey home. When you don't have someone interpreting
your parents' every move and word, you begin to think on your own.
After I left home, my father and mother were brought before the
southern Missouri state leadership of our church. My father's
ministerial credentials were taken from him because he was charged
with molesting and abusing me as a child. My mother was accused of
participating in some of the molestation by restraining me so my
father could carry out his sadistic acts.
Three months before these accusations were made, my father had lost
his job at our denominational world headquarters, but he never knew
the real reason why he was fired. Now, however, he began to realize
what had really been going on behind the scenes. My parents were told
that they were not to contact my two sisters or me. It was explained
to them that if they didn't sign a statement of guilt, their file
would be turned over to the district attorney's office and my father
would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and he would
face seven years to life in prison. My parents refused to admit guilt
to our denominational leadership for something they had not done.
All communication ceased between us. I fully believed that my
parents had committed these atrocities as much as they fully knew that
they had never done them. What changed my mind? What brought me to the
On April 19, 1995 at 9:02 AM, a bomb went off in Oklahoma City. My
mother, a nurse like me, was working at the hospital that day in
Springfield, MO. As she went from patient to patient, she overheard
TV reports about the shocking devastation in Oklahoma City. A lot of
horrible things happened that day, but one good thing came out of it
My mom knew that two of her daughters were in Oklahoma City. She was
worried about my sister and me, knowing we worked in the vicinity of
the explosion. She also knew that she had been told that if she
contacted her children it could be used in a court of law against her
as harassment. But she decided, "There is no law against expressing
love and concern for my children. If they want to lock me up for
trying to find out if my daughters are alive, then let them." When
worry overcame fear, she called. But I was not home, so she left a
message on the answering machine.
My sister and I were caught in the massive traffic on the interstate
that day. We missed the phone call, but it is a day I will never
forget. It was our first contact from home. You see, when I came home
and listened to my mom's voice, it was the most soothing and
comforting thing that could have happened. As I later learned, my mom
had prayed for an opportunity to be able to show her love for her
daughters, and kept her mind and heart open to any circumstances that
would allow it. She didn't know if it would happen in months, years or
even maybe never, but she was looking and hoping. With that thought in
her heart, her words that day were ones of love and concern. She
stated that if we needed anything to let her know and that they (my
parents) were always there for us. She then hung up the phone. I can
remember listening to that message and hearing that "past" mom that I
had hidden away in my memory, and I thought of times when she would
rock me at night as a little girl or hold me when I was upset. For a
brief moment, good true memories crept into my thinking. I quickly
shoved them back into the "closet," though, as I felt I had to keep
hatred toward them alive. But, it was the next little step in my
journey back home.
My youngest sister, who during this time had been living in hiding
from my parents in Springfield, MO, started making contact with my
parents. She was the first to go home. She called and told me that
after having a nine-hour talk with our parents, she was planning to
move back home. I felt so betrayed. I told her, "Shara, you and I will
always be sisters and in that context I will always love you. But, you
have stabbed me in the back and I feel betrayed." I hung up the phone
and turned to my sister Lynette and cried. I said, "Lyn, please don't
ever do to me what Shara has just done." I can remember lying in bed
at night and hurting over being so betrayed.
Shara and I had very little conversation on the phone from then
on. I can remember thinking that if I proved to Shara that she was
wrong, she would come back and "join my side" again. I decided that
the best way to do this was to show my parents how much better off I
was without them in my life and Shara would perhaps see how cruel my
parents were to me when I was with them. After all, my parents were
horrible monsters and only mean things would come out of their mouths
at me. In my desire to prove Shara wrong and to show my parents I
really didn't need or want them in my life, I made another contact. In
retrospect, it was actually another giant step toward home.
I called up my mom and asked her if she wanted to go shopping with
me. I told her that I would meet her halfway (in Tulsa, OK) where my
aunt and uncle lived, and we could shop together if she would agree
not to talk about "the situation." She agreed and off to the mall we
went!! So many important things happened in that one afternoon that
were so vital to my coming back home. I want to share them with you
and explain why it was so helpful to me.
1. WE MET IN A NEUTRAL PLACE. By meeting in a neutral place there
were no emotional attachments to it. If I had met my mom at their
home, it would have been too emotionally threatening. If I left that
day thinking good and warm thought about her, I would have later
chalked it up to having been emotionally manipulated into feeling that
way. It needed to be a place that had no emotional components.
2. WE MET IN A PLACE OF ACTIVITY. By meeting in a place surrounded
by action and noise, the pressure was not there to talk. If we had met
in a favorite restaurant, it would have been difficult for me-too much
eye contact, too much quietness. It would have been very uncomfortable
for me to sit across a table staring at my mother and struggling to
talk about something. In fact, I probably would have gotten up and
walked out because of the sheer awkwardness that would have been
present. However, at the mall there was no pressure for conversation.
3. WE DISCUSSED NEUTRAL TOPICS. Since we are both nurses, we talked
about work and our frustrations and enjoyments about a career in
nursing. We talked about our dog, Ginger. I missed her dearly and my
mother talked about the newest crazy thing she had just done. We never
talked about my dad or what was occurring in our lives because of my
belief in the sexual abuse. By my mother keeping her agreement not to
address the "situation," I soon came to realize that my parents would
respect the boundaries that I had placed and that they could be
trusted. My mom and I laughed together and for a few hours our
relationship was just like what it had always been.
4. SHE ASKED MY PERMISSION TO DO THINGS. While at the mall, my mother
asked me if she could buy me a loofah sponge. I said, "yes," and she
bought it for me. I can remember standing at the counter and holding
back tears as she paid for it. You see, I knew my father was
unemployed and I knew that she didn't have money to be spending.
Watching my mother's love in action was something I thought about
after we had parted ways. Also, when my mother asked me if she could
buy something for me, it left me with the consequences of my decision.
If I had said "no," I couldn't have walked away thinking "See my
mother doesn't even care about me. She never even offered to do
something for me." If I said "yes," I couldn't walk away and say, "My
mother feels guilty for what she did to me as a child, so she is
buying me gifts to make up for it." By her asking me, I couldn't
misinterpret her gift.
These basic elements in our meeting together for the first time made
such an impact on me. How could such an evil parent be loving and warm
toward an accusing daughter? I began to think for the first time that
this picture wasn't lining up. However, I didn't allow myself to dwell
on those thoughts for too long. You see, it would be too conflicting
on the inside to do so. It was easier to just ignore thoughts of love
and affection for or from my mom. Fortunately, this was a short-lived
pattern. Although my mom wondered what good the shopping trip had
done, little did she know that as I drove back to Oklahoma City I
dwelt on every word said, every twinkle in her eye and her smile. Her
objective of showing LOVE had been accomplished, but only I knew that.
Since my experience with my mother had gone so well, we kept in
touch and I became more open to the idea of seeing my father. A short
time after the shopping visit, my mom began asking me repeatedly if I
would allow my father to see me. I repeatedly told her "no." I
explained to my mom that I would vomit if I saw my father. I still
believed that he was a monster of a human being. My mom, again,
respected my answer but continued to gently prod on. I finally agreed
to see my dad. It happened at my uncle and aunt's house in Tulsa, OK.
I came down from upstairs and walked into the kitchen. I was a
nervous wreck! Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my dad coming across
the kitchen toward me. I closed my eyes and was waiting for the impact
of his fist. I thought he was going to hit me, as I believed he was an
evil man. Although he had never hit me with his fist before, I had
come to believe through therapy that this was a common occurrence in
my growing-up years.
Beside me, I heard muffled sobbing. I opened my eyes and there next
to me stood my dad. I stood in disbelief. Why is he crying? He quietly
whispered through his tears, "Thanks for letting me see you. . . I
thought I had lost you forever. . . . I didn't think I would ever see
you again . . . Can I say your name?" I nodded my head quietly in a
"yes" motion. He began to say my name over and over. He explained "It
just hurt too much to say it before." You see, I was expecting an
angry man to come at me with accusations and tones of hatred. I
expected that he would demand answers and give me ultimatums or
threats of permanent alienation. But he displayed the exact opposite.
He showed a heart of a real dad, full of love. I remember standing at
the kitchen counter that day. It was a tender moment that my dad and I
share to this day. It still brings tears to our eyes when we talk
about it together. But standing there that day, I was blown away in my
thinking. How could such an ugly monster be so caring, loving, broken
and tearful? I started to wonder if all those memories were
true. After all, this just wasn't lining up. Let me explain some
things that began to turn my thinking around that day.
1. MY FATHER AVOIDED ANY KIND OF ANGRY TONE OR HOSTILITY. Had my dad
told me that I was all wrong and that if I ever wanted to see him
again, I must apologize, I would have promptly gotten my keys and gone
home. If he had wanted to hash out all of my accusations and go over
them, I also would have left. But, by wanting nothing more than to see
me and by not bringing up a single detail of the wreckage of his life,
I went away thinking only of his tears and gratitude toward me for
allowing him to see me.
2. MY FATHER LET HIS EMOTIONS SHOW THROUGH. This perhaps had the
biggest impact on me, for I had never seen my dad cry like he did that
day. I learned that my father did not let this devastating experience
harden him. Instead, it softened and broke his heart and that softness
was what won mine.
3. WE WERE ONLY TOGETHER FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. Had my father
and I spent all day together, it would have been too emotionally
overwhelming for me. The short encounter allowed me to dwell on the
details in a better way. It also kept him from saying the wrong
things! In other words, I didn't have too much to remember from our
meeting, and what I did have to remember weren't the wrong kinds of
Remember (parents), the therapist suggests that you are monsters. Be
careful to do and act in whatever manner that keeps you from looking
like and acting like a monster or someone you are not!!! That
doesn't mean it is easy to do. If you were to ask my parents, they
would tell you that there were times when they wanted to come to
Oklahoma City and barge into my place. For they thought that if I
would just see them, it would "snap me out of it." But, this would
have been the worst thing they could have done. I would never have
come home. I became a returner before I became a recanter.
Over the next few months, we began to talk on the phone. The
conversations were neutral and short. Finally, I told my parents that
I wanted to talk with them. They came to Oklahoma City and came to my
place for the first time. My parents battled between themselves over
whether or not they should address my accusations with me. But, they
decided to let me bring that subject up when I was ready, and in my
case it was the right thing to do.
I eventually brought up the subject, and when I did we had an
eleven-hour talk. We even went to a fast-food drive-thru so that we
didn't have to stop and make dinner. We talked the whole way there and
the whole way back!! It was in those 11 hours that I first heard the
words "false memories." Over time I came to understand what had
happened to me. My parents did a lot of the right things in that first
discussion of the whole situation. (Although if you were to ask my
parents, they would say, "We had no idea what we were doing. We felt
like we were walking on thin ice not knowing from one moment to the
next if we might say the wrong thing and ruin the progress made.")
These are some of the things they said that really helped me:
1. ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS OUT OF MY PARENTS' MOUTHS WHEN I
ANNOUNCED I WANTED TO TALK ABOUT WHAT HAD HAPPENED IN OUR FAMILY WAS,
"BETH, WE DON'T CARE WHAT IT WAS THAT BROUGHT YOU TO BELIEVE THESE
THINGS ABOUT US. What matters most is that we have you." My parents
continually reassured me that no matter what I told them about my
therapy sessions or the beliefs I once held about them that they would
always love me and want me in their lives. As the conversation
progressed, so did the feeling of guilt on my part. It was their
reassurance of love that kept me continuing the path back home and not
shutting the door for fear I would cause them to want to desert me.
2. MY PARENTS UNDERSTOOD WHAT HAD HAPPENED. By my parents'
understanding what happened to me even before I understood it, I found
I wasn't shocking them as I unfolded details of my therapy. They were
already aware and familiar with the therapy process. It made me not
feel so stupid when I realized I wasn't the only one who had had this
kind of therapy.
3. MY PARENTS WERE NON-THREATENING. I never felt like "a big
punishment" was going to be given to me when I walked in the front
door. They accepted me just as I was, pieces and all.
In time, my parents and I sat down and talked about the whole
ordeal. This included everything that my mom and dad had been
through. My sisters and I have talked, too. We have asked my parents
for their forgiveness and they willingly and quickly gave it.
My prayer to God shortly after we were reunited was, "God, pour so
much Elmer's glue over us that we won't ever be separated again!!" And
God has answered my prayer. My family and I love each other so much
and we're as close as before, but I'd say even closer because we've
individually and collectively survived this almost fatal
nightmare.Yes, we are still a normal family with our differences of
opinion and personalities, but we cherish our times together as never
before, knowing we almost lost each other.
Family love is strong and resilient. Love prevails . . . It bears
all things, believes through all things, hopes through all things,
endures through all things. We now walk our life's journey TOGETHER.
| What happened to the therapist who treated Beth? |
| A telephone call to the Assemblies of God headquarters produced |
| the information that the therapist to whom Beth turned, Donna |
| Strand "is not one of our ministers so she would not come under |
| our discipline." As far as we know, Donna Strand, continues to |
| practice. |
| THE RUTHERFORD FAMILY SPEAKS TO FAMILIES |
| "It helped me realize what my daughter went through!" A Dad |
| Don't miss it. |
| Click here for an order form to print. |
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