It’s totally his fault!” And she was eagerly looking forward to full-throttle survivorship in what she called “the days of being powerfully angry” (Prozan, Technique, pp. Long after 1897, Freud continued to badger his patients with ready-made hypotheses and to dismiss their objections as mere resistance; he still took their distress at his morbid insinuations as a further signal of his correctness; he still regarded symptoms as allegories of repressed mental contents; his Flintstones Lamarckism became more rather than less extravagant; and he never flagged in his quest to forge precise causal links between vividly reconstructed sexual events from infancy (either witnessed or personally endured) and adult mental disturbance.21 Without the éclat of psychoanalysis, moreover, our memory gurus would never have been drawn to the molestation-minded Freud whom they now prefer. How can one count authentic cases of repressed memory when the very concept of repression stands in doubt? She even came to believe that George had physically assisted her godfather in raping her. 145-154. They’re going to wonder how you’ve been. And he regarded masturbation not only as a cause of indigestion, headaches, and lassitude but also as a sign of prior “seduction.” The early Freud’s truest contemporary heirs are those adults who see toddlers playing doctor and immediately phone the police.17, It was Freud, too, who pioneered the modern memory sleuths’ technique of thematically matching a patient’s symptom with a sexually symmetrical “memory.” Before he decided that it made no difference whether a trauma was real or imaginary, Freud was tireless in his pursuit of such causal linkages. However uneasy one may feel about an ideologically driven “reinvention” of scientific notions, it is possible that the feminist critique of received psychological lore is substantially right. But there is simply nothing to negotiate over. There is, in the first place, the eerily dreamlike quality of the “memories” themselves, whose floating perspective, blow-up details, and motivational anomalies point to the contribution of fantasy.13 There is the therapist’s reckless encouragement of the client to indulge her visions and worry “later”—usually never—whether or not they are true, along with his “supportive” absence of concern to check the emerging allegations against available knowledge. Until our courts can learn to apply the same evidential criteria to abuse charges that they require for all others, they will remain enmired in phony cases that persecute the innocent and squander resources that are needed to address the real problem of child abuse. And third, Terr was refusing to grant any distinction in memorability between George Franklin’s usual brutality and the witnessed rape and murder of Eileen’s best girlhood friend. Freud finally had to cope with the disagreeable thought that his hysterics’ “stories” of very early abuse had been peremptory inventions of his own. Once she is drawn into memory therapy, a client will find her suspicions of abuse verified by one or more techniques of investigation that are, in Fredrickson’s words, “as unlimited as human creativity” (Fredrickson, p. 141). Only a few hours into his first grilling, Paul Ingram was ready to state, “I did violate them and abuse them and probably for a long period of time. Boys Chorus Settles Abuse Suit,” San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 1, 1994, p. A2. 148 (1991), pp. 22, No. Second, he is the author who delves most deeply into the movement’s antecedents in witchcraft lore, mesmerism, early hypnotherapy, and the treatment of so-called hysteria—itself a faddish malady whose distribution was suspiciously well correlated with possession of the means to pay for treatment. The jury, however, determined with little difficulty that Eileen Lipsker’s recovered memory too closely matched the known facts of the unsolved murder to be considered specious. And there is the flouting or overlooking of what is scientifically known about memory, leaving the field free for dubious theories exfoliating from the original dogma of repression. The deeper we delve, and the harsher and more bitter the truths that we drag to the surface, the better off we will be. Once understood in its true lineaments, the Franklin/Lipsker matter turns out to be highly typical of other recovered memory cases. 74 (1994), pp. It is as though it comes from a phonograph. Revenge of the Repressed. ↩, Eileen Lipsker’s problems with memory are echoed by Terr’s own in her capacity as storyteller. Once the bizarre and sinister features of the recovery movement are widely known, sophisticated readers will not hesitate to distance themselves from it. (Lenore Terr, incidentally, put in her customary court appearance, offering an expert opinion that Holly Ramona’s current aversion to pickles and bananas confirms her childhood trauma of forced oral sex.) ), decided to test Ingram’s suggestibility by proposing a false memory for him to accept or reject. It was only after many therapeutic setbacks, Ferenczi reminded himself, that Freud came to call patients “a rabble,” good for nothing but “to provide us with a livelihood and material to learn from.”26 Eventually, his private pessimism about ever being able to cast out our psychic demons crept over his whole affluent institution, which now, in the 1990s, stands suddenly naked before the only skeptics it can’t ignore, the insurers who decide what is and isn’t a reimbursable form of treatment. It was her father’s. Repressed emotions, on the other hand, don’t get a chance to be processed. According to the later word of several jurors, and to Terr’s great present satisfaction, her testimony was decisive in obtaining George Franklin’s conviction. Let one example, a letter from 1897, suffice: The early period before the age of one and one half years is becoming ever more significant. In such prosecutions, which continue today, a vengeful or mentally unhinged adult typically launches the accusations, which are immediately believed by police and social workers. Terr as author is no more interested in dwelling on such motives than the prosecution was. This is not to say that the Ingram family generated hallucinations entirely under its own steam. Consequently, a therapist’s methodologically informed study of symptoms and dreams can lead (through however many detours) to faithful knowledge of an originating trauma. Anything the defense might say in an attempt to undermine Eileen’s credibility as a witness could be turned around and presented as an ongoing symptom….” ↩, Lipsker quickly become a heroine in psychotherapeutic circles, appeared on Sixty Minutes, collaborated on an as-told-to book, and found herself flatteringly portrayed by Shelley Long in a made-for-TV movie about the case. It is little wonder that Ofshe and Watters regard him as having “cut the very figure of a recovered memory therapist.”15 Listen to Freud’s own words: The work keeps on coming to a stop and they keep on maintaining that this time nothing has occurred to them. But that only makes it more imperative that the air be cleared. This sanctioned prurience is the thread that Mark Pendergrast traces from witch persecutions through mesmerism to hypnotherapy to psychoanalysis itself and, full circle, to the detection of Satanic abuse. The Revenge of the Repressed: East Central Europe Reasserts Itself6. ↩, Ingram himself learned, pathetically, how to talk the self-pitying lingo of the recovered memory movement. She uses Eileen’s sexual “memories” only in the partisan and highly effective way that they were used in the trial, to establish that a beast like George was just the sort of person who could have raped Susan Nason and then bludgeoned her to death. a fag who enjoys using female underwear,more like! Frederick C. Crews's new book, Freud: The Making of an Illusion, will be published in the fall. He favors third-party suits for damages against therapists whose implanting of false accusations has destroyed families and livelihoods.10 He wants the adoption of higher standards for expert testimony and for the evaluation of therapists’ claims that they were mere bystanders to their patients’ mnemonic feats. Help, help. Indeed, he labored so hard to admit to new crimes that his tale-spinning daughters sometimes fell behind his pace. Terr omits any mention of George’s second “murder” committed in Eileen’s presence, but she does cite the equally implausible memories of incest scenes. The burden of Loftus’s argument is that memory does not function in anything like the way that the recovery movement presupposes. Thus, in the same letter (cited in my 1993 article) where he reported having “obtained a scene” from a patient who saw herself being forced to eat a morsel of her circumcised labium minor, he mused: “it is as though in the perversions, of which hysteria is the negative, we have before us a remnant of a primeval sexual cult, which once was—perhaps still is—a religion in the Semitic East…” (Freud-Fliess Letters, p. 227). Repress definition is - to check by or as if by pressure : curb. What could be more psychologically damaging than being raped by one’s father? Those professionals have been joined by countless untrained operators who use the yellow pages and flea market ads to solicit “incest work.” It is hard to form even a rough idea of the number of persuaded clients, because most of them take no publicly recorded action against the accused, but a conservative guess would be a million persons since 1988 alone. Still later, it covered fantasies (and some events) whose existence could be known only by positing the action of repression itself. Now Dalit leaders are fighting back to … The anatomical detail would seem to imply Freud’s literal belief in his patient’s devilish “scene.” If, on the other hand, he was trying to correlate a false memory with a real disfiguration, his very sanity stands in doubt. All this would be hilarious Thurberesque Americana if it were not also inexpressibly sad. I will also refer interchangeably to “the recovered memory movement” and “the recovery movement,” even though the latter term is often used more broadly. If they now go on to claim that untold millions of victims, mostly female, have forgotten what was done to them, their claim cannot be discredited by the mere fact that it sprang from an activist commitment. Therefore, sexual experiences can be regarded as bearing a unique susceptibility to repression and can accordingly be considered the key determinants of psychic life. By today, recovered memory has enlisted the enthusiasm of many psychotherapists who lack the explicit feminist agenda of Herman, Bass and Davis, and other advocates whose views we will examine later. As a result, Freud withdrew into psychoanalysis, a doctrine that ascribes incestuous designs not to adult molesters but, grotesquely, to children themselves. The return of the repressed: the bitter legacy of the Algerian War. In a refreshingly sane essay, Paul R. McHugh, director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, recently depicted a long-term struggle, within the mental health disciplines, between what he called empiricists and romanticists—between, that is, those who bind themselves to methodical study of facts and those who “rely upon feelings for evidence, on metaphors for reality, on inspiration and myth for guidance.”31 The essay is especially pertinent because it relegates both psychoanalysis and recovered memory therapy to the romanticist camp, where they surely belong. 2, pp. But Lenore Terr first needed to tiptoe across a theoretical minefield of her own. Once committed to having him put away, however, she allowed her “memories” to evolve as expediency required, picking up new details and dropping others as newspaper reports disclosed the content of old police records. While Andrea Dworkin and Susan Brownmiller were hypothesizing that American fathers regularly rape their daughters in order to teach them what it means to be inferior, Bass and Davis set about to succor the tens of millions of victims who must have repressed that ordeal. In Terr’s rendering, this story has about it a ring of unanswerable truth, backed up by the soberest of corroborators, a jury in a murder trial. Or, see all newsletter options here. The … Raheem Kassam 26 Sep 2016. He “worked passionately, devotedly, on the curing of neurotics,” wrote Ferenczi in his diary, “(if necessary spending hours lying on the floor next to a person in a hysterical crisis).” Those were the work habits not of a fifty-minute psychoanalyst but of an exorcist. Help, help. The Courage to Heal and its fellow manuals are not about surmounting one’s tragic girlhood but about keeping the psychic wounds open, refusing forgiveness or reconciliation, and joining the permanently embittered corps of “survivors.”. As Robert Wilcocks remarks in a brilliant new book, “Surely only Freud (or perhaps Alfred Jarry?) But that very likelihood holds out another danger, that bobbing for repressed memories will be perceived simply as a ludicrous, dismissible aberration from a fundamentally sound psychotherapeutic tradition. I don't remember what exactly started the bullying and I have a crapload of repressed memories about that period, but I do remember this one guy in particular. Therapists, it seems, are helpful but not strictly necessary to the production of wildly fantastic memories. According to psychoanalytic theory, repression plays a major role in many mental illnesses, and in the psyche of the average person. Today, we can say that the case has come to an end: an appeals court has upheld the convictions of all the defendants [in the Penza portion of the case, not the Petersburg portion], who face six to eighteen years in prison. Until a recollection on the part of Eileen’s vindictive sister Janice was conveniently revised under therapy, Franklin had a solid alibi for his whereabouts at the time of the abduction. ↩, See Crews, “The Unknown Freud,” The New York Review, November 18, 1993, pp. Now at last, thanks to the inquiries of Loftus and others, it is starting to make an eerie kind of sense. I am being repressed. Advances in the field occur only when they are supported by a political movement powerful enough to legitimate an alliance between investigators and patients and to counteract the ordinary social processes of silencing and denial. Stream ad-free or purchase CD's and MP3s now on Amazon.com. Clinical experience, the therapists agree, has proven the cogency of this tenet in numberless successfully resolved cases. 14, p. 16. Furthermore, memory is easily corrupted, if not with an experimenter’s deliberate intervention or a therapist’s unwitting one, then with a normal “retrospective bias” that accommodates one’s sense of the past to one’s present values. "Recovered memory" therapy is a technique used to "unearth" long-repressed memories of abuse. She must quench her thirst for revenge. So, too, she herself is urged to stifle all doubts. The Dialectics of Stalinism and Titoism 5. Review: The repressed return with a vengeance in the well-acted refugee thriller ‘His House’ Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, left, and Wunmi Mosaku in the movie “His House.” (Aidan Monaghan / Netflix) Lenore Terr appears to have assumed from the outset that Franklin was guilty as charged, and she was eager to make herself useful to the prosecution. The odd book out in this respect is Elizabeth Loftus’s, which puts a maximum distance between memory therapy and what she calls Freud’s “spare, elegant theories.” ↩, This passage is cited in a pertinent new article by Russell A. Powell and Douglas P. Boer, “Did Freud Mislead Patients to Confabulate Memories of Abuse?” Psychological Reports, Vol. “Why would you want to put yourself through it? But here, too, there is a difference: the most affecting (though by no means the most drastic) of Pendergrast’s stories is his own. The radical liberalization of access to ex-KGB archives in post-Maidan Ukraine, like other democratic changes, may be seen as belated, but its role can hardly be overestimated. Couldn’t Loftus have pointed out that other parties besides Eileen had “put her through it”? 9, ix. ↩, Since this work is not yet in bookstores, interested readers may have to order it by phone: (800) 356–9315. Crews followed this devastating critique with another provocative essay, "The Revenge of the Repressed," in 1994. When the things we have repressed bubble up, sneak out, and climb the stairs into consciousness, we are terrified not because they are alien, but because they are us. The creeping revenge of the unreformed state security machine pulled it back down, which means that myriads of secrets remain concealed from the public domain. Why, then, should the jury believe that Eileen Lipsker had repressed her harrowing ordeal? Insofar, then, as the Franklin trial hinged on Terr’s testimony about Stephen King, it appears that one no-evidence case was decided on the basis of another. Just as some are overdeveloped in the kind of relational and emotional intelligence of the Heart, some are underdeveloped. “Hysteria,” of course, has vanished along with the doctors who battened on it; the psychic mysteries into which Freudian patients now get initiated are reassuringly universal, banal, and devoid of clear implications for changing behavior; and fastidious criteria of selection tend to weed out nearly all applicants who are suffering from anything more wrenching than a wish to know themselves better. ↩, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 24 volumes, translated by James Strachey (Hogarth Press, 1953–1974), Vol. ↩, As Loftus and Ketcham say, “With that diagnosis all the quirks and idiosyncrasies of Eileen Franklin’s personality could be explained away. “Bartleby’s Revenge” tells a tale of the enduring bonds of childhood friendship in an unfamiliar tune. Thus in the movement’s most influential document, The Courage to Heal, first published in 1988, Ellen Bass and Laura Davis proclaim that “none of what is presented here is based on psychological theories.” Instead, Bass and Davis appeal directly to “the experiences of survivors”—who, however, may or may not be survivors of abuse, depending on whether they have actually learned the previously repressed truth or succumbed to therapeutically induced delusion. Best of The New York Review, plus books, events, and other items of interest. “It was about a time when you made them have sex with each other while you watched.” This was one charge that had not been levied and would never be, but one day later, Paul proudly submitted a new written confession: …I ask or tell Paul Jr. & Ericka to come upstairs…. Once a patient is invited to believe that her inner child was suffocated at an early age, she may well put the major blame on her mother; that is just what we see in a significant minority of cases. When all this is said, however, there remains an important core of shared assumptions between psychoanalysis and its hyperactive young successor. ↩, “I believe that the pervasive Freudian transformation of our modern working conception of the self is evidence of the validity of his attempt to extend the psychological far beyond its conscious base. The recovery movement’s feminist affinity should not lead anyone to suppose that its incitement to militant victimhood serves the best interests of women. Throughout the American 1980s and beyond, the interrogation of small children for their memories of recent sexual abuse played a role in many a criminal case against accused molesters who had not, in fact, done anything wrong. France remains traumatised by the war in Algeria, which lives on in the festering resentments of the banlieues and prisons. That, however, was four years ago, when no one yet had an explanatory handle on the burgeoning plague that still besieges us. ↩, This is not a fanciful example. Eileen’s mother, Leah, who has changed her mind about George’s guilt after finding the narrative in Unchained Memories so erroneous, has told Ofshe and Watters that she couldn’t have failed to notice any such disfiguration if it had occurred even once. Ingram’s prolific later admissions were facilitated not only by prayer but by “relaxation techniques,” one of which he had picked up from a magazine. 1–31. The idea is that since Freud didn’t really know what he meant by repression, we are free to bring the concept into alignment with current research while still thinking of ourselves as Freudians. As the trial record shows, Lipsker, whom Terr characterizes as having known “nothing at all” about repression, had already been consulting two therapists who were helping her probe her childhood “memories” and her conscious, long-standing suspicions about the murder. All in all, Loftus finds no basis for thinking that repression, as opposed to a gradual avoidance and atrophy of painful recollections, has figured in a single molestation case to date. Thus Terr’s courtroom example of trustworthy clinical reasoning—proceeding from obsessive themes in King’s eventual artistic productions to a “repressed” fact about one early day in his life—actually dealt with a still uncorroborated detail superadded to a story in the public domain. A teacher of creative writing and her student, Bass and Davis were radical feminists who lacked any background in psychology. The foundation can be reached at (215) 387-1865 or (800) 568-8882, or by mail at 3401 Market St., Suite 130, Philadelphia, PA 19104. 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