In their Editorial ‘Ethical standards, truths, and lies’ of the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation published on the 25th April 2016 Bethany Brand & Linda McEwen report some disconcerting news regarding Prof Elizabeth Loftus, the controversial academic associated with the ‘False Memory’ ideology:
The editorial also highlights the painstaking work of Professor Ross E. Cheit at the Brown University Department of Political Science that lead to the 2014 book ‘The witch-hunt narrative: Politics, psychology, and the sexual abuse of children’ and his Recovered Memory Project site:
Across the Atlantic I exposed some of the leading advocates of the False Memory position in my poster at the European Psychiatry Association 2014 Conference in Madrid:
The Complex Trauma model of mental health is diametrically opposed to the False Memory position. Its origins can be traced back to Pierre Janet (1859 – 1947) the pioneering French psychologist, philosopher and psychotherapist in the field of dissociation and traumatic memory. He is ranked alongside William James and Wilhelm Wundt as one of the founding fathers of psychology. Unfortunately his ground-breaking insights were pushed into the background for a century by ‘vested interests’ that preferred Freud’s psychoanalytical ideas and Kraeplin’s ‘scientific’ psychiatry. In the wake of the increased recognition of war trauma (esp. Vietnam veterans) and domestic trauma in the 1970’ies Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Dissociative Disorders found their way into DSM-III in 1980. Child sexual abuse started to become more recognised in the 1980’ies and ‘complex trauma’ would have naturally emerged in the 1990’ies. However the emergence of the False Memory position resulted in the ‘Memory Wars’ where ‘The Establishment’ put back the lid on complex trauma. False Memory is still unrecognised in the leading diagnostic manuals DSM-5 and ICD-10 but widely promoted in court settings and text books.
In ‘The Psychologist’ publication of the British Psychological Society numerous articles appeared featuring Psychologist closely associated with the False Memory ideology. A digest featuring 11 such articles can be downloaded below with a few Readers’ Letters opposing the views espoused.
I am concerned about the insidious drip feed that denies the operation of what I call Organised Ritualised Crime Abuse Networks (ORCANs) and the complex trauma their activities cause. Furthermore the dogmatic proffering of a singular truth about autobiographic memories is rather disconcerting. Psychology Professor Martin Conway in his rejoinder (October 2014) to three letters critical of his article (July 2014), ostensibly ‘based upon a full review of the scientific findings’, divides the world of memory researchers into ‘bona-fide memory researchers, the Zealots, the Old Guard, and the Fantasists’.
A former work colleague described to me memories of remembering visual details and learning to speak below the age of 2. I feel privileged that I had the opportunity to bear witness to disclosures of ordinary as well as traumatic memories at baby age alongside descriptions of the self-reflection and critical analysis that accompanied this assembly of memory fragments. In a small group seminar on dissociation the tutor who had worked through her complex trauma and changed career from science to counselling revealed pre-birth memory traces of losing her twin (miscarriage externally corroborated – was possibly triggered by domestic violence).
I guess engaging with early memories makes us ‘Fantasists’? Galieleo Galilei was considered a fantasist and proven right so there is hope for us – whereas time seems to be running out for Prof Joan La Fontaine:
Prof Martin Conway proudly refers to the ‘2008 report Memory and the Law from the British Psychological Society’s Research Board’ developed under his leadership:
Is there possibly a ‘conflict of interest’ if development of such a central document of the British Psychological Society is led by a member of the Advisory Board of the British False Memory Society with its rather narrow, one-sided agenda:
Interestingly a number of Criminal Appeal Court Judges rejected his evidence and even suggested ‘Professor Conway may wish to consider amending his CV’ (see download). In this instance I prefer ‘The Old Guard’!
High time to update those guidelines in the light of the Jimmy Saville abuse regime and successful convictions of Albert & Carolee Hickman. Elaine & Colin Batley and Ian Watkins for extreme child abuse crimes.