LOST DAUGHTERS by Reinder Van Til


Recovered Memory Therapy and the People It Hurts
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 Five personal and painful accounts of how recovered memory therapy (RMT) has led daughters to make false accusations of child sexual abuse against their fathers, combined with an examination of the forces in society that have created an environment in which RMT flourishes. The first story is Van Til's own; three of the others were told to him by a parent or parents; and the last is the first-person narrative of a woman who underwent RMT, ``recovered'' incest memories, came to doubt them, and finally recanted them. Each of these frightening stories is followed by an analytical chapter. In these, the author looks at what recovered memory therapists believe and their use of such questionable therapeutic techniques as guided imagery and hypnosis; the close relationship between RMT and radical feminists, whose sense of victimhood has promoted the idea of American society as a ``rape culture''; and the growing public concern about child abuse since passage of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act in 1974, which resulted in a huge increase in reports, both genuine and spurious. This leads him to the increased popularity of belief in the threat of satanic cults and ritual abuse, and to an examination of the relationship between satanic ritual abuse and multiple personality states children purportedly develop as a form of psychic protection from the violence visited on them. Van Til makes clear that he is not denying the existence of child sexual abuse, but that his concern is therapeutically induced false memories of abuse. In an epilogue, he draws telling parallels between the situation of today's falsely accused parents and those persecuted in the 17th-century's Salem witch trials. A convincing demonstration of the devastation wreaked by some therapists, the gullibility of some patients, and the very real vulnerability of us all to such unfounded charges.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8028-4272-0
Page count: 266pp
Publisher: Eerdmans
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1997