Pacific Standard features a recent story of a man whose daughter accused him of abuse, but by the end of the court proceedings had also accused one hundred other people close to her of all being involved in the abuse. The article then re-visits the controversial psychotherapeutic and legal history of recovered memories, and examines whether or not things have changed since the original scandals decades ago.
“Last March, Elizabeth Loftus and her colleagues conducted two surveys to find out just how prevalent the belief in repressed memories remains among the general public and among professionals (research psychologists and clinicians who work with patients),” reports Pacific Standard. “Even though skepticism toward the idea has increased among general respondents, more than 80 percent of them still hold fast to the idea that traumatic memories can be repressed, and 70 percent believe memories can be accurately retrieved by therapy. More troublingly, over 43 percent of practicing clinical psychologists think it is possible to retrieve repressed memories. Among Internal Family Systems therapists, 66 percent believe it is possible. Those therapists are profoundly out of step with the thinking among research psychologists—only 16 percent of whom believe that repressed memories can be retrieved in therapy.”
The Most Dangerous Idea in Mental Health (Pacific Standard, November 3, 2014)