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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Oct > Oct 1

Recovering 'Memory' is Banned by Psychiatrists

From: Mark Cashman <mcashman@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 1997 12:43:33 -0700
Fwd Date: Wed, 01 Oct 1997 13:50:35 -0400
Subject: Recovering 'Memory' is Banned by Psychiatrists

In light of the discussions of recovered memories, this may be of interest:


 The following article by Celia Hall, Medical Editor of The (London)
  Daily Telegraph appeared today, October 1, 1997, page 6:

         Recovering Memory is Banned by Psychiatrists

   A ban on using any method to recover memories of child abuse has
been imposed on members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. They
face a series of sanctions if they persist in using the controversial
techniques to treat their patients.

   The publication of professional guidelines comes after months of
internal arguments over details contained in a report on recovered
memory which will not now be published until next year.

   Psychiatrists who continue to use methods to unearth memories of
past sexual abuse would ultimately face being reported to the General
Medical Council for professional misconduct.

   The RCP regulates the training of psychiatrists and admits doctors
to its membership. Sanctions would include removing training status
from senior psychiatrists, removing doctors from membership and
reporting psychiatrists to the GMC, said Prof Sydney Brandon, a fellow
the college and convenor of the report, Reported Recovered Memories of
Child Sexual Abuse.

   When the specialist sections of the royal college failed to agree
on the full report, commissioned in 1994, it was agreed that
guidelines taken from it would be published instead. The agreed
guidelines published today have become college policy.

   When the report is published next year, it will not be as a college
document but as a paper signed by individual authors. Nonetheless the
guidelines are firmly against the practice of "recovering memory"
because of concerns that the techniques employed can give rise to
strongly-held false memories and lead to false accusations. So-called
false memory syndrome has led to adults making uncorroborated reports
of childhood sexual abuse by fathers and other people years after the
alleged events.

   The royal college guidelines say there is no evidence that
recovered memory techniques can reveal memory of real events or
accurately elaborate factual information about past experiences.

   The guidelines say that psychiatrists should resist "vigorously"
moves by adult patients to report allegations or suspicions to the
authorities. Telling the police of "spontaneous reports" by children
or adolescents of recent or current allegations is mandatory,
psychiatrists are reminded.

   Prof Brandon said yesterday: "It is the aim of this report [the
guidelines] to provide our members and fellows with balanced and
practical guidance with a view to promoting good practice. "We clearly
came to the conclusion that it is possible in the intense relationship
that can develop between a therapist and a patient to produce entirely
false memory."

   Dr Sheilagh Davies, chairman of the college's Faculty of
Psychotherapy, one of the sections unhappy with the original report,
said: "Events in people's lives do trigger memories. In therapy,
memories can arise which it is impossible to corroborate. The
guidelines take a common sense approach".

Mark Cashman, creator of The Temporal Doorway at
- Original digital art, writing, and UFO research -
Author of SF novels available at...

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