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Therapists Implanting False Memories

Davis and Dalgleish (2001) state that "false memory syndrome" is one of the most controversial issues in the mental health field, noting that essentially it involves recollection of memories (usually of sexual abuse) that were either falsely programmed or which are legitimately recovered. Bjorklund (2000) spells the notion of false memory syndrome out in more detail, conceptualizing it as a condition in which an individual's identify and interpersonal relationships center around a memory of a traumatic episode that is objectively false but in which the person strongly believes. It is not so much that the memory is inaccurate but rather that it is so deeply ingrained in the mind of the individual that it gives direction to his or her personality and lifestyle. In many cases, the person will avoid any and all confrontation with evidence that would challenge the memory, and the focus can become so obsessive that it distracts the individual from coping with his or her real problems in life.

Loftus and Polage (1999) report that in most cases these false memories surface during therapy which has lead many to believe that certain therapists may be engaging in some behavior that operates to actually program an individual to believe, and very strongly, that these false recollections are true. The authors further note that while there has been some research into this possibility, the fact is that it is not known whether or how therapists might actually do this. They call for more research into the phenomenon of false memory syndrome. This research proposal is an answer to this call. Specifically, the research proposed here seeks to determine whether there is support for believing that false memories can be in some sense implanted to the patient by the therapist.

In order to test whether therapists program false memories into patients, it is important to understand the process. In this regard, some authors (e.g., Perry, 1998) have sugges...

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Therapists Implanting False Memories. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:17, July 01, 2022, from