Dr. Elizabeth Loftus reported to the Southwestern Psychological Association on April 5, 1996 a study of repressed memory claims in the Washington (state) Victims Compensation Program. Thirty cases, ages 15 to 67, were selected at random from a total of 670. Of that 30: 2 were treated by MDs, and 2 by Ph.D.s, and 26 by masters level therapists.
The first memory came to 26 only after seeing a therapist. All 30 were still in therapy after 3 years; and 18 were still in therapy after 5 years.
Only 3 had considered suicide prior to therapy; 20 considered suicide after therapy. Only 2 had been hospitalized before the first memory; but 11 were hospitalized afterwards. Only one had engaged in self-mutilation before therapy while 11 mutilated themselves after the first memory.
Twenty-nine remembered satanic abuse, the average "memory" reaching back to age 7 months. The total number of murders remembered was 150. Twenty-two had memories of birth and cannibalism. Twenty had memories of being tortured with spiders. Twenty-nine remembered being tortured and mutilated but there was no record corroborating the abuse. Not one case had been investigated by the police.
Before therapy, 25 were employed; after therapy for 3 years, only 3 still held jobs. Twenty-three were married before therapy; after therapy 11 were divorced and 7 of those 11 lost custody of their children. After therapy, 100% were estranged from their extended families. Twenty-nine of the 30 were women, 29 were Caucasian, 21 were high school graduates and 7 had post-high school education.
After reading those statistics, ask yourself, did psychotherapy help these clients, or hurt them?
Return to Home Page