Warning Signs That a Person May Be Joining the Memory Recovery Cult
Many people, especially loving parents, wonder how they might be able to detect that a person is falling under a cult's influence before it's too late to intervene and make the person aware of a group's dangers or the shortcomings of its belief system. Unfortunately, www.StopBadTherapy.com is not aware of any sure-fire way to detect that a person is falling under the influence of the Memory Recovery Cult or another cult. Sometimes people make accusations and/or cut off all contact without any prior warning or noticeable changes in behavior, so even by studying the Memory Recovery Cult, you cannot guarantee that you will be able to protect your family from being harmed by it. More research is needed about the nature and effects of cults, bad therapy, and techniques of unethical psychological influence; until that research is done, family members and friends concerned about a loved one have no good guidelines to follow.
However, in talking with families of people who believe they have 'recovered repressed memories' of abuse, and in reading the stories of retractors who later realized their mistake, there are some common patterns in the accusers' behavior in the period of time before they made the accusations or cut off all contact. There are certain things which you read or hear over again which seem to be possible warning signs that a person may be developing a belief in recovering repressed memories and/or participating in dangerous therapy, and that the person therefore is at risk for falsely accusing innocent people (generally family members) and cutting off all contact from family and (often) former friends.
Note: This list has not been scientifically tested, and it does not prove anything. It will no doubt generate many false positives (people who have these characteristics, but are not in fact joining this particular cult or any other) and false negatives (people who do not have these characteristics, but are in fact joining this cult or some other one). If a person has the characteristics on this list, it does not prove they are joining the Memory Recovery Cult. If they do not have these characteristics, it doesn't prove that they aren't joining this or some other cult.
Unlike bad therapists, www.StopBadTherapy.com believes in gaining informed consent and warning people about the risks, benefits, and alternatives to any therapy or course of action. This list is not 'therapy,' but in the spirit of full disclosure and educating the public, here is www.StopBadTherapy.com's disclosure statement about the risks, benefits, and alternatives to reading this list of common characteristics of people who later made false accusations of abuse:
The authors of www.StopBadTherapy.com and of this checklist are not trained or licensed therapists of any kind and are not qualified to diagnose anything. (Unlike many therapists and book authors, we are honest and open about this!) No information on this site should be considered a diagnostic tool or test of any kind for the presence or absence of any physical or mental disorder. Althought checklists and tests which have been scientifically tested are sometimes used together with other tools by trained mental health providers, even a scientifically validated checklist on its own cannot be used to diagnose anything, particularly when used by an amateur or layman, and you should keep in mind that the list of characteristics on the next page has never been scientifically tested.
Statement of the risks, benefits, and alternatives to reading this list:
possible risks of reading this list include (but are not limited to):
possible benefits of reading this list include:
possible alternatives to reading this list include:
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I have read and understood the statement of risks, benfits, and alternatives to reading www.StopBadTherapy.com's list of common characteristics of people about to develop false memories of abuse. I understand that this test has not been scientifically tested and does not prove anything, and I give my informed consent to be shown the page.
www.StopBadTherapy.com just asked for your informed consent before doing something as trivial as showing you an HTML page. Wouldn't it be nice if therapists were legally required to warn you about risks, benefits, and alternatives and get your informed consent before doing something as potentially influential, dangerous, and harmful as therapeutic intervention?