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Recovered Memories or False Memories?

Does psychotherapy act as hypnosis in confusing fantasy with reality?

revised May 25, 2011

Columbia psychiatry professor Robert Spitzer believes that very few memories recovered in therapy can be genuine.
"My impression is that most of [the] therapists are not familiar with the most elementary principle of scientific investigation, which is that you have to be cautious and skeptical," he says. "You can't take on face value people's supposed memories unless there is corroboration."

And not just any sort of corroboration will serve as conclusive evidence since those who go to hypnotists and then develop memories of past lives or of ufo visitations believe they have corroboration for their "memories."

Dr. Spitzer views eagerness by some therapists to guide patients toward the repressed-memory explanation of their troubles as a disservice to the patients, who may have suffered genuine trauma but will probably never be able to pin it to such memories.

Robert Baker, a University of Kentucky psychologist says, "When you hypnotize people, you're turning on their imagination. And when you turn on your imagination, all things are possible. These experiences seem very real. If they didn't seem real, they wouldn't believe hallucinations."

"...the therapeutic state, begun with the noblest of concepts, can readily become a tyranny."
{Ralph Underwager}

Geraldo Rivera Recants and Apologizes, December 12, 1995

Geraldo hosted a program on CNBC with the theme "Wrongly Accused & Convicted of Child Molestation." The program was broadcast on the night of the acquittal of Pastor Roby Roberson and his wife Connie in the Wenatchee sex abuse scandal. Guests included Charlotte, "Tookie", and the late Violet Amirault of the Fells Acres Day School case, Georgetown Law School Professor Paul Rothstein and Loyola Law Professor Stan Goldman. During a discussion involving the legal panel, Geraldo stopped and said:

"I want to announce publicly that as a firm believer of the 'Believe The Children' movement of the 1980's, that started with the McMartin trials in CA, I now am convinced that I was terribly wrong... and many innocent people were convicted and went to prison as a result....and I am equally positive (the) 'Repressed Memory Therapy Movement' is also a bunch of CRAP..."

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