The expression induced false memories is the fact induce voluntarily or involuntarily, through psychotherapeutic interview techniques, false memories of abuse or mistreatment in a patient. The result is called false memory syndrome, that is to say, the appearance of the memory of an event that has never took place or the altered memory of a real event. Late resurgence of memories implanted by a therapist in the memory of his patient is controversial.
The expression False Memory Syndrome is of American origin and was created by the mathematician Peter Freyd after he was accused of sexual abuse by his daughter. Some psychotherapies claim to bring back the forgotten memories of patient’s childhood trauma, usually sexual. In this context, the therapist would speculate, possibly correlated with the statistics (frequencies of abuse of all kinds in a given pathology) and invite the patient to “remember” or even “invent” such experiences without one and the other does necessarily realize. According to Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combatting Cultic Deviances, the phenomenon is frequent. According to the American psychologist Robert Baker, of 1.7 million reported cases of sexual abuse in 1985 in the United States, 65% were unfounded.
Therapies are concerned, for example, called RMT, repressed memory therapy, ART, Age Regression Therapy, DEPT, Deep Emotional Processing Therapy and EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
In all cases, the objectives of the therapy are the same: to find in adult repressed traumatic memories, especially of sexual abuse (in the Freudian sense) occurred in childhood. In some cases, the way how the therapy is conducted can generate false memories yet seem very real to the person concerned.
Doubt generated by the issue of false memory syndrome has caused a series of lawsuits in the United States in the 1990s, several cases of sexual abuse. All complaints regarding the construction of false memories were not considered credible but several were sufficiently substantiated to succeed. Persons who voluntarily confessed publicly shared “false memories” were called retractors. A debate has begun turning around the potential windfall that would be the false memory syndrome for the accused to deny his criminal behavior.
Jennifer Freyd is an American psychologist born in 1957. She works primarily on sexual abuse. In the 1990s, she accused unofficially his father, Peter Freyd, of having abused her during her childhood, prompting the latter to establish the foundation for the false memory syndrome. According to Jennifer, it is not about induced false memories implanted by a therapist but clear abuse memories.
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