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Victims of Memory

1,033 pages14 hours


The most comprehensive book on the repressed memory therapy epidemic of the late 1980s and 1990s. A misguided form of pseudoscientific psychotherapy became a fad during these years and encouraged adults to believe that they had been sexually abused for years during their childhood and had completely forgotten (repressed) the memories. Through dubious methods such as dream analysis, hypnosis, guided imagery, and so-called "body memories" and misinterpretation of panic attacks as "flashbacks," these illusory memories were fostered. Victims of Memory covers the science of human memory and suggestibility in detail. It also debunks multiple personality disorder (now renamed dissociative identity disorder) and the myth of satanic ritual abuse. It includes a chapter on the day care abuse hysteria cases such as the McMartin Preschool in the 1980s. It also includes four compelling chapters of verbatim interviews with "survivors," therapists, accused parents, and retractors. The Scientific American review called the book "an impressive display of scholarship. Pendergrast demonstrates a laudable ability to lay out all sides of the argument."

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