The Memory Recovery Movement is a Taxpayer Funded Cult!
It's bad enough that tens of thousands of families have been shattered by the cult known as the memory recovery movement, but to add insult to injury, a great deal of the "memory recovery therapy" (i.e. cult recruiting and indoctrination) has been funded by the tax dollars that are withheld from your paycheck and the tax-exempt health insurance premiums you pay every month!
For example, Washington state passed a well-intentioned law called the Victims Compensation Program. This law had the laudable goal of forcing criminals to pay restitution to their victims and paying for any medical treatment which crime victims might need as a result of the crime that was committed. The law also provided additional state government funds to pay for medical and psychological therapy . Helping the victims of actual crimes and forcing criminals to compensate their victims are two goals which almost anyone will agree with.
While the intentions of the law and its authors were good, the law had a toxic side effect: it provided a pot of taxpayer dollars which could be seized by any therapist who convinced a crime victim that therapy was necessary--even if there was no evidence that the therapy was safe or effective, even if the scope of the therapy grew over time far beyond the original criminal act, regardless of the practices the therapist chose to call "therapy." In reality, this law provided a pot of gold to reward any ignorant, incompetent, or unethical therapist who deliberately or inadvertently caused clients to believe that their suffering was due to repressed memories of childhood abuse.
Loftus (1997) reviewed 30 cases selected at random from 670 claims submitted to the Washington Victims Compensation Program. Twenty-six had 'recovered' a memory of abuse through therapy. All 30 were still in therapy after three years, 18 for more than five years. After treatment 20 were suicidal compared with three before treatment began, 11 were hospitalised (cf. two before treatment), eight engaged in self-mutilation (cf. one before) and marriage break-up occurred in almost all. It appears that in these cases, recovery and abreaction had serious adverse effects.Lest the signficance of this finding be overlooked, let's reiterate:
Belatedly realizing its mistake, Washington state's Victims Compensation Program stopped paying for memory recovery therapy in 1997. But the damage had already been done. The broken marriages won't be restored. And these people were victimized above all by the Victims Compensation Program because of its willingness to pay for memory recovery therapy, a therapy which has never been tested for safety or effectiveness and which as this study demonstrates is severely harmful to the patients. These people are now victims of bad therapy who show much more serious symptoms of psychological distress than before they began their taxpayer-funded misadventure, and restoring them to mental health (if possible) will take even more therapy, which will likely be paid for by disability coverage as the individuals appear unable to work. Your tax dollars at work!
Keep in mind that although Washington state's Victims Compensation Program has stopped paying for memory recovery therapy, it's the exception, not the rule. Other federal programs, other state programs, and most private health insurers may still be paying for so-called memory recovery therapy today because:
Worse, the recently-passed federal legislation requiring health insurers to provide coverage for mental therapy equal to their coverage for medical therapy means that the pot of gold available for crazy therapies and crazy therapists just got bigger! It's open season on taxpayers and anyone who pays to get health insurance coverage!
Had enough? Are you tired of seeing your hard-earned tax dollars spent on insane therapies? Are you tired of seeing your health insurance premiums rising to pay for million dollar memory hunts? Email your legislators and demand that they introduce and pass the Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health Practices Act to protect taxpayers, the mentally ill, and their families by requiring that mental therapies be tested for safety and effectiveness before being tried out on vulnerable patients! Remember, your family may be next!