Bad Therapy Kills. Beware The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass!

“With the help of yet another therapist, I saw that I had indeed been abused.  But not by my parents.  I had suffered 4 years of abuse at the hands of my therapist, the staff at the hospital, and even colleagues who believed that if a psychologist said I was ill, I must be. My life lay in ruins in front of me.  My life savings was gone. My physical health had taken a beating.  My professional reputation was a shambles ... Still, I’m better off than the two women in my Survivor’s Group who committed suicide.” -- Lisa from Central Illinois, a victim of so-called "memory recovery therapy"

Ellen Bass claims to help women, particularly victims of childhood abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth. A study by Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D. showed that so-called "memory recovery therapy" techniques such as those recommended in Ellen Bass's book The Courage to Heal are harmful to patients, increasing the rate of suicidal ideation, self-mutilation, hospitalization, and divorce.

The techniques promoted by Ellen Bass in The Courage to Heal have never been shown to be safe and effective. On the contrary, countless women have committed suicide while using these therapy techniques, sometimes because the harmful techniques worsened their preexisting mental health problems, and other times because pursuing these harmful techniques diverted them from getting tested, proven, safe, and effective techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressant medications that could have saved their lives.

How many more women must die before Ellen Bass withdraws The Courage to Heal from publication and apologizes for the harm she has done?

The Experts on The Courage to Heal:
"Foremost in the field, The Courage to Heal (Bass & Davis, 1988) encourages the irresponsible views that: 'Many women who were abused don't have memories, and some never get any. This doesn't mean that they weren't abused', and 'if you think you were abused, and your life shows the symptoms, then you were'." -- Sidney Brandon, M.D., et al, "Recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse: Implications for clinical practice", British Journal of Psychiatry, April 1998, p. 300

"Not all cases of false memory arise from therapeutic practice. Increasingly the request for 'memory recovery therapy' is initiated by a client who has read one of a number of self-help books. The Courage to Heal (Bass & Davis, 1988) promulgates the view that forgotten sexual abuse lies at the root of almost all adult psychiatric problems and that unless it is brought fully into consciousness treatment will prove ineffective. The very inability to recall abuse is taken as a sign that abuse has occurred but is being 'denied' through the process of repression. The therapist and patient embark together upon the process of recovering hidden memories. This approach is supported by the existence of check-lists of symptoms that these therapists believe to be indicative of represses sexual abuse." -- Sidney Brandon, M.D., et al, "Recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse: Implications for clinical practice", British Journal of Psychiatry, April 1998, p. 298 

Victims of The Courage to Heal Speak Out:
"I think that the authors of such misleading books like The Courage to Heal owe the public an apology for the hoax they are perpetrating with their misinformation about 'repressed memories.' Ellen Bass and Laura Davis need to write a new book about false memories that is a complete retraction of much of the garbage that they put forth in their early books."-- Melody Gavigan, retractor, in True Stories of False Memories (p. 283)

"The Courage to Heal has to be one of the most dangerous, damaging books I have ever come across!" -- retractor "Sue" at 

"I wasn't only deceived by a therapist, a woman whom I deeply trusted. I was deceived by an evil book called The Courage to Heal. This book will tell you that if you have any number of symptoms, it means you were abused and molested even if you don't remember it. "-- retractor, "The Truth Set Me Free," in True Stories of False Memories

"There is no doubt that one of the most crippling steps I took in therapy was reading The Courage to Heal. The book masterfully primed me for fabrication .... My biggest regret is not listening to that little voice inside me. That little voice was smarter than any of the 'Ph.D.s' I had helping me and also wiser than any statement found in The Courage to Heal--all 495 pages of it."-- retractor, True Stories of False Memories, p. 249

"Inside I felt that these 'memories' were all fabrications, but I felt helpless and trapped. There was such a powerful treatment fighting my doubts: two doctors, several therapists and nurses, and the book The Courage to Heal."-- retractor in True Stories of False Memories (p. 247)

"I gobbled up The Courage to Heal—just read it, read it, read it, particularly the stories by Survivors at the back of the book, like "Michelle and Artemis" and "Gizelle." They were so awful. The phrase kept coming back, "If your life shows the symptoms and you don't remember it, you were still abused." I just lived with that phrase .... By the time I went for my next appointment, I was an Incest Survivor, and there was no turning back." -- retractor "Olivia McKillop" in Victims of Memory

"Karen gave me a copy of The Courage to Heal, and soon after that, I succumbed completely and became a Survivor." -- retractor "Maria Granucci" in Victims of Memory