Zoom False Memories DVD

False Memories DVD

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Can a person suppress recollections of sexual abuse during childhood, so completely that the memory can be recovered only through therapy? Or are “retrieved memories” the result of overzealous therapists planting ideas in the already vulnerable minds of abuse victims? This program searches for the answer to this important—but very baffling—question. A BBC Production. (44 minutes)


Length: 44 minutes


Copyright date: ©1994

 Closed Captioned

Planting Idea of Abuse (01:56)

A man says a homeopath, who was treating his daughter for thrush, put the false idea into his daughter's head that he had abused her. We hear excerpts of the daughter on an answering machine making graphic claims of abuse.

Disturbing Trend: Recovered Memories (01:49)

Childhood sexual abuse is increasingly visible as people feel able to acknowledge it, but some therapists help recover "repressed memories" of events that never happened.

Depressed Son (01:33)

A woman whose adult son went to a therapist for depression went and visited him and learned he thought he had been sexually abused as a child.

Patient's Motive for Belief (02:14)

A mother talks about her son accusing her of "emotional incest." She thinks his therapist put the idea in his head and persuaded him that recovering the memory was key to healing.

Shaping Patient's Perspective (00:59)

Therapists shape the perspective of clients, who trust them to understand their symptoms.

Process of Suggesting Abuse (02:29)

A woman recalls her therapist questioning her about her grandfather and staring intently, creating the suggestion of past abuse. Therapists must accept that they will inevitably influence their patients.

Creating Memories by Hypnosis (03:18)

A demonstration shows how hypnosis can lead people to believe in memories of things that never happened, a window into the process by which the mind turns beliefs into memories.

Primary Cause Analysis (02:27)

Primary Cause Analysis is a hypnotherapy based on the idea that virtually everyone has been abused. A disillusioned member of the group championing it has exposed its training manuals.

Hypnotherapy on Hidden Camera (03:21)

We watch undercover as a reporter for the show goes in for hypnotherapy. A man trained as a hypnotherapist describes how therapists led him to make accusations.

Bizarre Claims Under Truth Drug (02:19)

It isn't only fringe hypnotherapists who lead patients. A woman talks about the claims she made under a "truth drug" and being led to describe scenarios of ritualistic sexual abuse.

Ability to Imagine Abuse (02:27)

A woman alarmed by her friend's stories tested a psychiatrist's claim that nobody could make up ritual abuse stories by coming up with her own. She says the therapist's own description of case histories had given her friend suggestions.

Patient's Explanation for Claimed Memories (00:59)

A woman says her fear was the source of the images she came up with of abuse.

Narrative Truth (01:24)

"Truth drugs" increase a patient's suggestibility, mixing truth with fantasy. Some therapists believe subjective, "narrative truth" might as well be true if the patient believes it, even though it is not historical truth.

Accused (02:36)

Graham describes the devastation of receiving an affidavit from his 31-year-old adopted daughter alleging abuse. Her therapist would not see him when he wanted to present her with evidence disproving the allegations.

Evidence of Innocence (03:13)

A sister and a former school official of Graham's daughter share evidence contradicting her allegations.

Impact of False Accusations (01:25)

Police declined to press charges, but Catherine still believes she was abused. Her father and sister talk about the impact of her accusations.

Need for External Corroboration (02:54)

Repression experts say without external corroboration, you cannot distinguish genuine recollections from confabulations. A man describes his daughter's allegations against him.

Proven Innocence (02:45)

A medical examination proved a father innocent, but therapists said what mattered is that his daughter believed she was abused. The father speculates on the appeal of abuse as a depressed person's explanation for her problems.

Punishing Innocent (00:57)

An expert says the legal system arbitrarily judges that the harm of not having one's accusations taken seriously is greater than the harm of false accusation.

Created Trauma (00:56)

Parents describe their efforts to help their daughter through the real trauma created by false memories.

Credits: False Memories (00:57)


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False Memories DVD



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