It is well known that so as to prevent or cure a problem, its origin should be thoroughly identified for better management. This essay tries to highlight the problem of creating false memories of abuse and suggests measures to prevent it.
Inappropriate psychotherapy may result in confabulations or better known as pseudo-memories (Goldstein, 1992). Incompetent therapists more often than not contribute to development or creation of false memories. Patients who develop such conditions end up believing that the illusions are actual memories that occurred earlier in their lives. Most of these ‘memorable’ events include sexual abuse in form of rape or incest, violent parents, mistreatment and child abuse. However, it is unfair to conclude that all memories experienced by patients are false (Ofsche et al, 1994). It is scientifically proven beyond any dispute that amnesia can occur when a young child experiences very disturbing situations. The human mind may automatically push away the bad memories. It is a condition commonly referred to as repression. People who suffer sexual abuse at a tender age, more often than not, experience amnesia and a prolonged delay in recalling these abusive events (Ofsche, 1994).
In order to prevent creation of false memories, their causes must be dealt with first. The first measure would be to do away with incompetent therapists. The therapy practice poses a lot of concern, as most therapists may ‘plant’ images and memories in patients’ heads so as to gain both fame and income. Its elimination can be achieved through introduction of strict laws and regulation to manage the practice. Scientific study has revealed that it is quite impossible to distinguish a real memory from a created one (Yapko, 1994). Therefore, psychological researchers should come up with a procedure to be followed so as to tell the difference. This may assist to reduce the cases involving false memories.
Remedies to this issue lie solely on science, research, and competence in the therapy program and practice. Therefore, proper consultations and regulations should be put in place and must be fully implemented to avoid cases of false accusations and families getting torn apart.