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Yapko, Michael D. ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Suggestions of Abuse, 1994



Yapko, Michael D.
Suggestions of Abuse, 1994
True and false memories of childhood sexual trauma


From Booklist, May 1, 1994
Clinical psychologist and therapist Yapko, author of several books on clinical hypnosis and on treatment of depression, attempts to define the issues at the core of the intense public and professional controversy over the authenticity of memories of childhood sexual abuse that develop in the course of therapy. Based on questionnaires on attitudes toward memory and hypnosis to which more than 850 professionals responded, Yapko argues that a significant number of therapists genuinely do not understand how memory functions (it's not a computer) or just what hypnosis can--and cannot--accomplish. Suggestions of Abuse then summarizes research on memory, repression, suggestibility, and the consequences of false accusations of abuse, counseling both professionals and patients to recognize the potential for distortion and confabulation and the creation of firmly believed false memories when therapists impose their own agendas on the process. A useful corrective to the sometimes hysterical pop-psychology generalizations on this troubling subject. Mary CarrollCopyright© 1994, American Library Association.

From Kirkus Reviews , March 15, 1994
Memory can be as malleable as clay, warns a clinical psychologist, and the road to recovering memories of child abuse is strewn with the shards of ``unwitting'' errors by so-called expert therapists. Yapko (Trancework, not reviewed) bravely and horrifyingly suggests that accusations of child abuse are, at the moment, trendy. An expert on hypnosis with strong opinions on the subject of hidden or repressed memory, the author doesn't hold with the popular theory that those who can't remember childhood experiences must be repressing them, that repressed memories must be traumatic, and that trauma equals abuse--probably sexual abuse. ``Abuse happens,'' he mourns, ``but so do false accusations.'' Confronted with patients confused about whether they had been abused, and with seemingly innocent parents whose lives were disintegrating because their grown children had accused them of abuse, Yapko questioned nearly 900 therapists. What did they really know about memory and about recovering past experience under hypnosis? Not much, he found out. What led therapists to the diagnosis of childhood abuse? Commitment to their patients was often distorted by the therapists' training and personal beliefs: Certain groups of symptoms indicated child abuse whether the patient agreed or not, and resistance equalled ``denial.'' As a result, vulnerable patients were ``unwittingly'' (Yapko emphasizes) led to memories of abuse that may or may not have happened. Once an idea is planted, the mind then adds colorful detail, a process called ``confabulation.'' Dream interpretation--the ``astrology of psychotherapy,'' he calls it--helps fill in gaps. Yapko offers guidelines for accused parents, involved siblings, and abuse victims. Yapko gives no quarter to child abusers, but offers wise guidance and support to families whose lives have been decimated by false accusations. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP.

A clinical psychologist explains how misinformed health-care professionals, without a clear knowledge of how memory works, convince patients that they are victims of childhood sexual abuse, offering practical advice to those hurt by doubtful accusations.

Suggestions of Abuse is the first book to address the controversial subject of false memory and sexual abuse--and to offer guidance to both the accuser and the accused. Dr. Yapko reveals why a startling proportion of mental health professionals, ignorant about memory, are unwittingly leading their patients to believe they are victims of abuse.