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Diagnosis for Disaster: The Devastating Truth About False Memory Syndrome and Its Impact on Accusers Paperback – February 1, 1996

3.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Among the spate of recent books on "recovered" memories of alleged childhood sexual abuse, this one stands out because it is structured as a cautionary manual for patients, therapists and for anyone wondering if she or he was sexually abused as a child. The book is filled with interviews and testimonies by individuals, mostly women, who healed from misguided therapy only after they realized that their purported memories of childhood sexual abuse, usually by a parent, were false-fantasies engendered and encouraged by coercive therapists or by pressure from support groups, often using techniques such as free association, hypnosis and trance-like states. Some of the stories involve pseudo-memories of incest thought to be part of satanic ritual abuse, or questionable diagnoses of multiple personality disorder. Wassil-Grimm (Where's Daddy?), a writer on family issues, links together case histories, summaries of research, checklists and self-assessment tests into a clearly written handbook that is also a cogent critique of the excesses of the sexual abuse "recovery movement."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Wassil-Grimm surveys the several voices in the debate over the "recovery" of supposedly repressed memories of sexual abuse in childhood through such techniques as hypnosis and suggestion. She focuses primarily upon why remembering and discussing such memories is so appealing despite possible falsehood and severe damage done to the accused, family members and friends, and ultimately, the accuser. Interviews with women who eventually retracted their claims, reviews of the scholarly literature, participation in conferences, and personal experience constitute the basis for Wassil-Grimm's analysis of the nature of memory, trends and fads in psychology, the false memory debate, and the recent dramatic increases in accusations of ritualized abuse and diagnoses of multiple personality disorder. Wassil-Grimm accords special attention to the claims of The Courage to Heal (2d ed., 1992), which is widely regarded as the handbook of memory recovery. Although well written and organized, displaying Wassil-Grimm's thorough knowledge of the subject, her book is a tough read because of both the complexity of the issues and their emotional charge. Kathryn Carpenter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Press (February 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879516380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879516383
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,583,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I thought this book was well researched and well written. One of the best on False Memory Syndrome. Even though there are over 60 books out on the subject I believe this is the easiest to read and explains the problem thoroughly. It is not filled with big words and psychological jargon, which would only confuse a reader not versed in this field. Yet it explains the problem in detail and with obvious research into the subject. I liked the way she talked to the families involved in this terrible syndrome and gave helpful analysis and answers to the problem. It was especially helpful the way she gave 16 reasons why anyone would believe anything so painful, if it were not true. Then there were appropriate chapters to explain each reason more fully. This is the only book I have seen on this subject to do it this way. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the subject more thoroughly.
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....."Diagnosis for Disaster" carefully presents accounts of many different types of victims of the "recovered memory" approach to therapy. The accounts are presented by the victims in their own words which makes this book very different from others on the same subject. Included among the many accounts are those of victims who actually suffered from incest (with physical abuse), those who suffered from confabulated memories of physical incest abuse, those who suffered from source confused memories regarding the incest, those who suffered from therapist induced false memories and some that may have fabricated memories to extort money from parents or relatives (the reader would have to draw that conclusion from the accounts given.) I think, having read the book, that it does fabulous at presenting accounts of those involved including the accuser, the accused and those who love them both. The book also does explain fully how "false memory" victims have done a huge disservice to actual "incest abused" victims.
.....The book includes accounts by family members victimized by "recovered memories". The accusations result in numerous tragedies including deep personal hurt and sometimes physical decay of family member(s), professional careers derailed (or worse), innocent people imprisoned and the assignment of a social stigma that can impact an entire family. Some families are amazingly healthy and contacts survive the ordeals caused by these false memories.
.....One of my favorite features of this book is how it answers the question often posed by "recovered memory" believers: "Why would anyone believe anything so painful as being sexually abused by a parent if it weren't true?
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Format: Paperback
Claudette Wassil-Grimm is a writer and editor who has also written Where's Daddy?: How Divorced Single Widowed Mothers Can Provide What's Missing When Dad's Missin, How to Avoid Your Parents Mistakes When You Raise Your Children, The Twelve-Step Journal, etc.

She wrote in the Preface to this 1995 book, "This book is for any adult who has been depressed or disturbed and is wondering if he or she was sexually abused as a child... Herein, you will find stories of people, mostly women, who were sexually abused and who never forgot... You will also find stories of women who were told they were sexually abused, spent years trying to uncover repressed memories, and later learned that the 'recovered memories' were false. This book explores the impact of incest accusations on the siblings and parents of accusing adult children... Finally, there are stories of those who never forgot certain incidents of sexual abuse but later fabricated additional memories of abuse while in therapy."

She asks, "What has led therapists to adopt unorthodox methods that are potentially harmful to their clients? The Courage to Heal... the most popular book being recommended and used by adult survivors and their counselors, was written by Ellen Bass, a creative writing teacher, and Laura Davis, a participant in one of her workshops.
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Format: Paperback
As a "survivor" of bogus repressed memory therapy, I have to strongly recommend this book. It also scares me to read the reviews of those who defend repressed memory and therapists who offer this type of quack therapy. I missed 6 years of my life believing in this crap because I trusted my therapist. I beg anyone who is being told that they have repressed memories, and that their parents were evil and a bunch of other nonsense, get out of there now, and read this book. Don't you find it kind of odd and suspicious that all of a sudden after a therapist tells you that you are D.I.D and have repressed memories, you suddenly remember all kinds of horrible abuse that you suffered as a child. Don't blame yourself if this has happened to you, these therapists know how to make you actually believe this crap because they get you dependant on them. I just wish I would have read this book before I got caught up in all this crap. Thankfully, there were people out there to help me finally see the deception. Thanks to the author for this book, also. It has not only helped me, but my family to understand what happened to me.
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