Recovered memories of abuse among therapy patients: A national survey

Ethics and Behavior 5 (3):237 – 248 (1995)
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Abstract

A national survey sent to 450 female and 450 male licensed psychologists (return rate = 42%) found that about 73% of the participants reported encountering at least one patient who claimed to recover previously forgotten memories of childhood sex abuse. About 21% of the therapists concluded that, for at least one patient, the memory was false; about 50% of the therapists reported that at least one patient had found external validation for the abuse; about 12% of the therapists reported at least one client who later decided that the memory was false; and about 15% of the therapists reported that at least one client who recovered memories filed a civil or criminal complaint. About 15% of the therapists reported encountering at least one patient alleged to have sexually abused a child who later recovered previously forgotten memories of the abuse. About 21% of these therapists concluded that, in at least one case, the memory was false; about 6% of the therapists concluded that, in at least one case, there appeared to be external validation for the memories; about 1% reported that, in at least one case, the person recovering the memories concluded that the memories had been false; and about 6% of these therapists reported at least one case in which a civil or criminal complaint had been filed against their client. Findings were analyzed in terns of therapist gender, patient gender, and theoretical orientation.

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