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BFMS 2013 AGM
The date for the next BFMS AGM and Conference is Saturday 13th April 2013. Speakers include Dr Charles Fernyhough, author of Pieces of Light - the new science of memory, published Profile Books 2012 who will talk about Memory, Narrative and Imagination; Ian Hynes, retired police officer of ITS Ltd who will speak about the impact of false memory and practical appliance of the science in a major crime investigation; and a father who will talk about restoring family life after accusations. Contact BFMS for tickets. The meeting will be held in central London.
News and Comment
Professional Standards Authority
The PSA are in the process of inviting comment on the applications for accreditation to the Accredited Voluntary Registers Scheme. So far they have taken comments on BACP, Play Therapy UK, UKCP and National Counselling Society/National Hypnotherapy Society. the deadlines for calls for information on these organisations has now passed. We will publish notices for future calls as soon as we have them. The invitation states, "We are interested to hear any information or experiences you have had with them which could impact on their ability to comply with our standards. Your contribution can be as lengthy or as brief as you like, but we will only be able to take it into account if it is supported by evidence rather than just being an expression of your opinion or based on hearsay." For more information about the standards and access to the Call for Information form go to www.professionalstandards.org.uk.
Note The PSA has confirmed to us that they appreciate the difficulties the restrictions place on family members so if you are reluctant to contribute please consider sending your concerns direct to the BFMS for inclusion in any submission it will be making on behalf of members in general.
Arnold Wesker's play 'Denial'
Arnold Wesker, playwright, writing on the 2012 production of Denial at the King's Head Theatre
The story behind DENIAL is this. One day someone from my past rang to tell me he had a story which he thought would made a good play: Something awful that had happened to his friends. I sighed. Writers are frequently confronted by people telling them they have good ideas for a play. Usually they are right, it is just that their stories are rarely stories that ‘speak’ to the writer approached. But within minutes of hearing what had happened to his friends I knew that this story was ‘speaking’ to me.
I never contemplate writing a play unless the material is more than itself; in other words unless the story resonates with wider implications.
This material, about his friends’ daughter who had turned on them with dreadful, unfounded accusations of sexual abuse when she was a child was more than a story about a painful, domestic injustice; it was about the theme of manipulation - the therapist as manipulator.
Many of my plays have been concerned with ‘the manipulator’: the priest or religion as manipulator (‘CARITAS’); the journalist as manipulator (‘THE JOURNALISTS’); the politician or political ideology as manipulator (‘CHICKEN SOUP WITH BARLEY’); authority as manipulator (‘CHIPS WITH EVERYTHING’). And so on.
I met the couple – a middleclass couple from North London – and taped many hours of their story. I read books of other case histories, and talked with people in the field of psychotherapy. I never met ‘Valerie’, the therapist, but I read documents she’d written, and documents about her. She is still practicing, and organises weekend conferences on the dubious topic of ‘recovered memories of child abuse’.
The real-life couple are destroyed. Their daughter’s accusations obsess their life. They were once a close, loving and happy family, now they don’t see their daughter her or their grandchildren. The mother becomes more and more depressed as the years go by. They travel back and forth between the UK and the USA meeting with other parents who are in the same situation. There are at least 16,000 affected families in the U.S, and over 800 in the U.K. Support groups exist for such families all over the world.
For me the most distressing part of this saga is the avoidance I experienced from theatres in the UK to perform the play. I was appalled at the response. The theatre is the one place where the unthinkable should be thought and the un-sayable said. It should be the arena in which the playwright is permitted to be courageous about human relationships as well as political or social issues. I worry that the theatre has become the home of the cosy and the comfortable, where the politically correct are stroked, and intelligence remains unchallenged.
'Sybil' Exposed After Sales of 6 Million Copies in the U.S. Alone
An unhealthy relationship between patient and therapist coupled with copious quantities of mind-altering drugs and unscientific treatment provided the backdrop to the shocking bestseller ‘Sybil’ in 1973. Now the ‘real-life’ claims of the book and subsequent film adaptations made in 1976 and 2007 have been exposed as fake. In Debbie Nathan’s new book ‘Sybil Exposed – The Extraordinary Story behind the famous Multiple Personality Case’ she denounces the Sybil story as fiction created with fame and fortune in mind.
The story of Sybil played a major role in a serge of multiple personality disorders which rose from less than 100 before the publication to more than 40,000 in the years that followed. See recent press coverage and here.
Extend anonymity in rape cases to defendants
(also see News articles, The Times, 19 February 2013)
With yet another historic allegation hitting the headlines in the past few days isn't it time to reconsider the issue of anonymity for defendants in rape cases until there is sufficient substance to a case, before the media revel in naming and shaming a person who may still be shown to be innocent of the alleged crime?
An allegation can be made in an instant but the effects of doing so can linger for decades. Such suffering may be considered by some as apposite for an offender but if there remains the possibility that the accused might be innocent and falsely accused then the justice system owes a 'duty of care' to those going through its procedures to protect an individual's good character and integrity until such time as they can show otherwise.
We acknowledge there could be exceptional circumstances in some cases where there is an issue of public safety warranting publicity about a case but there is no evidence released so far to justify such an approach in this case and many similar ones.
Last summer the Coalition Government came to power pledging to 'extend anonymity in rape cases to defendants', with ministers stressing the need to 'protect anyone who may be wrongly accused from harmful stigma'. It is regrettable that David Cameron seemed to bow to pressure from campaigners with Justice Minister Crispin Blunt saying that the government would rather put pressure on the media not to name suspects than bring in a new law.
It is now quite clear that the 'non-statutory solution' has failed. We call on the Government to re-consider its position with some urgency.
In other news:
Justice for Carol
www.justiceforcarol.com has been created to draw public attention to what happened to a beloved sister and daughter after she came to believe that she was the survivor of a satanic cult. It is a truly shocking story. What is amazing is the determination and capability of the family to discover what happened to Carol over a period of a decade and a half when she was estranged from her family.
'The Ravages of False Memories - or manipulated memory'
by Brigitte Axelrad and translated into English from French by Robert Shaw. This book provides clear and informative answers for patients, families, professionals and lawyers about so-called recovered memory.
Onsale now from Amazon or any good book shop or direct from BFMS. It is available either from stock or through prompt print on demand. see Books Page (This page is currently under construction.)