False Memories and Recovered Memory Therapy

False Memories and Recovered Memory Therapy

False Memories and Recovered Memory Therapy

In the 1980s the United States developed a phenomenon called the “false memory syndrome”. Parents were accused of incest by their adult children, who followed a “recovered memory therapy” (TMR). With ten years of delay, this phenomenon has developed.

The starting point of the “false memory syndrome” is located in the Freudian theory of seduction and abandonment to the Oedipus complex. Subsequently, these two theories have partly fueled the feminist movement in the United States. Thus the genesis of recovered memory therapy fits to meet these different factors.

For us, it is not to deny the veracity of spontaneous narratives of sexual abuse true, or their effects, but to understand how false memories can emerge in a TMR.

The seduction theory

Freud left the idea of ​​hysteria that Charcot had its origin in trauma, and claimed that seduction was the sole cause of this affection, and obsessional neurosis and paranoia. By “seduction,” Freud heard a real sexual act imposed on a young child. Any psychological problem was reduced to a single type of trauma possible, a single cause: the sexual abuse in childhood.

Initially, the therapeutic Freud was not, as he later claimed, listening to spontaneous memories of abuse, but to encourage their patients to build scenes they had no recollection. According to him, the patients found themselves no such memories as they were not subjected to “pressure the more energetic process analyseur.” He insisted that only the unconscious repressed memory and therefore was once found the evidence of the traumatic event. Thus patients who found themselves no memories of abuse suffered during childhood were considered prey to unconscious memory and just gave the “proof” of the reality of these abuses and their pathogenic role. According to Freud, a pathogen could not be repressed memory, and liberating a repressed memory found. The theory of seduction obnubila for at least two years. It was mentioned in 1893.

The theory of the Oedipus complex

Freud abandoned the seduction theory because it worked PAS3. She was unable to conduct “a single analysis to a real conclusion” (Letter to Fliess, September 21, 1897). On the one hand, the methods were ineffective Freud, on the other hand they might, because of repeated accusations against fathers, professional lead to disaster. Later, Freud let go to say: “When I had to recognize that these scenes of seduction had never taken place, they were only fantasies imagined by my patients, imposed on them perhaps I Similarly, I was for some time.”

In the theory of the Oedipus complex, sexual fantasies became hysterical women or children: “The child is both parents and especially one of them as an object of desire. It usually follows a pulse parents themselves whose tenderness has a distinctly sexual, it is inhibited in its true. “

The Oedipal fantasy and took the place of seduction. Finally, according to Freud, it mattered little whether the seduction actually took place or whether only a fantasy.

With a look of sociologist Richard Webster says: “With his theory of the Oedipus complex, Freud had invented a perfect tool for sweeping allegations of sexual abuse of children and undermine their crédibilité.6″ By following this path, the American psychoanalysts were massively trend throughout the twentieth century to treat incest stories proved as oedipal fantasies and not as souvenirs. This helped to amplify the reactions and protests already strong feminist movements in the United States.

Feminist rebellion in the United States and the “false memory syndrome”

The feminist movement drew part of its energy in the rejection of confidences of children and women actually abused. These real victims rejected by Freudian psychotherapists, fled from self-proclaimed therapists who agreed to listen. Then they joined women with no memories of incest, but their psychiatrist or psychotherapist were diagnosed as suffering from repressed memories of incest. Books headlights appeared, such as The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis. Therapy groups for “incest survivors” multiplied, drawing these books their arguments and collection techniques souvenirs: “In the mid-1980s, the idea (now media-acclaimed) that millions of people to United States suffered from repressed memories of incest, fed a gigantic machine to produce therapeutic false memories. “.

The authors used the naivety of these women: “If you think you were abused and your life bears the symptoms, then it is because you have been. “. The list of symptoms included among others: the fear of being alone in the dark, nightmares, poor body image, headache, nervousness, low self esteem, etc..

Expressing his doubts, Webster wrote that never until now, no one was able to provide “strong evidence that a single memory of sexual abuse recovered in therapy corresponds to real events. It has, however, ample evidence that memory especially childhood memory is extraordinarily malleable and imprecise.”(1998, p. 484)

The “repressed memories” in the United States in the 80s

The phenomenon of false memories recovered in psychotherapy spread in the United States: “This fever won first therapists new wave, those who used hypnosis, relaxation techniques, work on the body or packaging various emotional . But she took shortly psychiatrists and psychotherapists trained in psychoanalysis from the old school, as well as many young psychoanalysts. In the mid-1980s, the idea (now media-acclaimed) that millions of people in the U.S. suffer from repressed memories of incest, fed a gigantic machine to produce false therapeutic souvenirs. “

How is it possible that individuals who have had hitherto no memory of sexual abuse suffered in childhood can to “find” twenty or thirty years later, after a few weeks or months of therapy?

Voluntary submission, ground handling mental

How a human being can it yield to the pressure at the suggestion, handling a psychotherapist, whether psychiatrist, graduate, recognized by his peers, housed in the institution or whether psychoanalyst psychologist or therapist simply proclaimed? To understand this, we must place ourselves in the context of the need for care and cure a patient aspires weakened. His desire to get better makes it permeable to the injunctions of the psychotherapist. This is why it will be seen initially. The therapist reminds him whenever his courage falters, so it does not stop in so good way.

Robert-Vincent Joule and Jean-Léon Beauvois showed that the cornerstone of mental manipulation and its success is the feeling of freedom of the individual in its submission to the autorithy.

The patient in psychotherapy experiences this feeling of freedom from her therapist, while submitting to his authority. Firstly, it is voluntarily that is, nobody can force anyone to enter psychotherapy. Then, the therapist tries to give the impression that he discovers himself the meaning and the cause of his discomfort in dreams or symptoms. In the case of TMR, it merely suggests that we must regain the repressed memories of sexual abuse to get better.

The patient despite his doubts, his fears, his reluctance feels engaged in a process of submission to the authority of a doctor of souls, specialist psyche, abstract entity which plays the same healing and happiness. He puts his life in his hands, renounces critical thinking, delegates its responsibility. The influence of the therapist is always present. Jacques Van Rillaer notes: “In psychoanalysis, even if the analyst does not say much, he powerfully influenced the analysand. It is therefore not surprising that people in a Freudian analysis mostly about sexuality than those in a Lacanian end up doing all the time puns, and those who are in a Jungian archetypes are partout. “

To Joule and Beauvois, analytic treatment gradually closes like a trap on patients: it or not, psychoanalysis has all the properties of a trap abstruse. The patient decided to engage in a long process of expenditure (money, time, energy).

1) That the patient is conscious or not, achieving the goal is not certain, and all the more so as his psychoanalyst himself can consider this goal as a fantasy or an “extra”.

2) The situation is such that the patient may feel that each spends closer to the goal.

3) The process continues unless the patient actively decides to stop.

4) The patient has not set initially limit its investissements. “

This analysis also applies to TMR, which meet key aspects: commitment felt as free, indefinite, price, desire for healing, difficulty say “stop, I stop” …

The patient is assigned an additional task: to find souvenirs, accusing the alleged perpetrators, make them pay for their crimes. The failure to find a cure despite the promises of the psychotherapist is a dependency that can sometimes be permanent.

Victims recovered memory therapy

Victims are first TMR patients who recover memories “repressed”, then parents, defendants have no way to prove their innocence. Some patients reconnect with their families but refuse to talk about what happened. Nothing is like before. American mother takes to say, the image of a Chinese vase that will never reattached the same. The biggest mistake of TMR is not to differentiate the true testimony false, true memories of false memories, and thereby harm at all.

What to do?

In 1992, was created in the United States the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF). Many researchers and American professors, including Elizabeth Loftus15 have worked on this subject. In Britain, the British False Memory Society (BFMS) was founded in 1993. In France, the association Alert False Memory Induced (AFSI) was created in 2005.

If today the phenomenon has fallen sharply in the United States (see figure), it continues to grow in Europe.

The graph shows for each year the number of cases of accusations occurred in the United States during the period 1970 to 2000, on a sample of 1734 questionnaires sent to subscribers to the Newsletter FMFS (False Memory Syndrome Foundation).

Freud is probably not directly responsible for the false memory therapy. However, Freudianism is because these therapies have borrowed his ideas Psychoanalysis and methods. And it is in the wanderings of Freudianism they drew their origin and strength.

The history of this phenomenon of false memories in the twentieth century may spread widely in the twenty-first if it fails to halt its spread by weakening its supports theoretical lapsed.

However, some glimmers of hope are emerging. Eric describes his research Kandel current and neurobiologists. It highlights the malleable nature of memory and falsifiable. Professional associations of psychologists in Britain and the U.S. have warned and even banned their members from 1997 to employ therapies collection of memories. We can only hope that psychotherapists who use TMR realize the nonsense of their practice and the extent of human damage they cause.

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