by Don Lattin
Chronicle Staff Writer
[The following article from the San Francisco Chronicle, dated Aug 14, 1995, was posted to alt.alien.visitors. It is included in CNI News because so-called "False Memory Syndrome" has been cited by some mental health professionals as a likely source of UFO abduction memories.]
NEW YORK. The American Psychological Association, attempting to calm the controversy over child sexual abuse, psychotherapy and human memory, has issued a cautious set of guidelines for families wondering how to investigate claims of childhood mistreatment remembered later in life. The guidelines by the world's largest association of psychologists seeks a balance between two warring camps in the "false memory debate."
In recent years, a series of highly publicized lawsuits and criminal trials have focused on therapists and law enforcement officials who allegedly "implanted" false memories of childhood abuse in adult patients and plaintiffs. Thousands of parents who say they have been falsely accused by their adult children have formed the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, and, according to many observers, have begun to undermine public confidence in psychotherapy.
In response, the national psychologists group formed a committee to consider the furor. But the panel ended up hopelessly divided over those who believe the sudden wave of "recovered memories" and those who are convinced that many of the recollections are false. The new guidelines, released at a five-day convention that [ended Aug 15], are published in a question-and-answer format and are careful to take a middle road through the minefield of memory.
"Most people who were sexually abused as children remember all or part of what happened to them," the guidelines state. "Concerning the issue of a recovered memory versus a pseudo-memory, like many questions in science, the final answer is yet to be known."
"But most leaders in the field agree that although it is a rare occurrence, a memory of early childhood abuse that has been forgotten can be remembered later. However, these leaders also agree that it is possible to construct convincing pseudo-memories for events that never occurred."
The convention earlier heard from researchers on what makes otherwise normal adults insist that they were abducted by UFOs, remember bizarre childhood abuse by satanic cults or become volunteer sex slaves.
Original file name: .CNI - False Memory
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