ISSTD Member Lynn Crook has written a much-anticipated book on the false memory movement: False Memories: The Deception that Silenced Millions.
The book opens with a personal account from Crook, about her own experience of recalling memories of sexual abuse at the hands of her father and then successfully suing her parents for damages. While she won her case, her story was not over. In fact, this was just the beginning of a long and quite harrowing journey in which Crook was forced to tackle the proponents of false memory syndrome repeatedly. While many in ISSTD will know Crook’s story, I wont spoil this for those who don’t. You’ll have to go and buy the book!
This personal perspective makes for fascinating reading, but the book contains much more. It provides a detailed history of the false memory movement, particularly from a North American perspective; explores the role of the media; uncovers the stories behind the infamous ‘Lost in the Mall’ study; details the attacks on therapists experienced in the USA and concludes with a chapter describing the closure of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation in USA, and a contemporary exploration of the influence of the false memory movement on contemporary culture.
For Crook, this book has been a labour of love, many years of hard work in the making. She reports “The hardest part of writing the book was learning about the disturbingly awful gaslighting and harassment of therapists the FM [proponents] undertook to silence the profession. The second hardest part was reading the evidence of childhood sex abuse in the depositions of survivors who sued their therapists. And then seeing how the media promoted their cases against therapists.”
The book has also been met with very positive reviews. ISSTD Fellow Dr. Joyanna Silberg, in a review of the book writes:
“I just finished reading False Memories and really enjoyed the thorough, incisive account of the history of false memory and the “memory wars” over the last 30 years. I hope it receives as broad an audience as it deserves. Lynn Crook did a great job annotating everything, and not presenting her own conclusions, just the facts, and how the history of reporting of this phenomenon has dramatically changed. From her account, it looks like the Memory Wars are over, the coffin of false memory nailed by the publicized sexual abuse accounts of Catholic Priests, like Shanley, media personalities, like Harvey Weinstein, and the widespread abuse in sports, such as the Sandusky scandal at Penn State and the Nasser scandal among Olympic gymnasts. It is good to know that many abuse survivors are now able to receive justice and vindication and not condemnation by the media.”
This book is likely to be of great interest to therapists in general, but particularly so for ISSTD members, who all specialise in the assessment, treatment and research of complex trauma and dissociation. It is a must-read for everyone who wishes to understand the history of sexual abuse survivors who spoke out about abuse, the backlash from the accused, and the impact on therapists and therapy itself. It is a history intimately intertwined with the history of ISSTD itself.
The book is available in kindle and paperback from:
January New Members
Ayasha Mayr Handel
Carelyn De Kock
Shannae Anderson, PhD
Suzanne De Lisi
Yoon Suh Moh
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