Kentucky Retractor Wins Legal Case

Kentucky Retractor Suit Settles

Are therapists still excavating memories in their patients? That’s a frequent question people ask the FMSF. The answer, unfortunately, is “Yes.”

The story below began in 2009. It could have been written in the mid- 1990s, but with one difference: Theophostic Prayer Ministry was known as Theophostic Counseling in the 90s. [1]

In 2009, L R. sought treatment with her primary care physician for depression that was sufficiently severe that she was having suicidal thoughts. Her physician suggested that family financial difficulties and the care of three young children might be contributing to her symptoms and prescribed Celexa.

Ten days later, L. R. was still depressed so she went to see Wanda Day, a Licensed Christian Counselor in Kentucky who practiced some aspects of Theophostic Prayer Ministry. L. R. described her problems to Ms. Day and told her that she was taking Celexa. Although she was depressed, L. R. was still functioning normally. She was a teacher and coached basketball in addition to taking care of her family. At the end of four years of therapy, however, L. R.’s life had fallen apart.

The deterioration began with the first visit. Answering “no” to the question of whether she had been sexually abused:

“Ms. Day then asked me about my memories in general from childhood. At the time I was struggling to produce other memories on the spot. Because I could not produce a large number of childhood memories, Ms. Day said it was because I had repressed them, that I wouldn’t just not remember. Ms. Day said the only way that repression could have happened is if I had been sexually abused – or some other very traumatic event happened in my life.” [2]

Within four days of that first visit, L. R. was taken to the Emergency Room at St. Claire Regional Medical Center. Within a few months, Ms. Day diagnosed L. R. with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Ms. Day never informed L. R. that her memories could be false or that DID and therapy that digs for memories were both controversial.

The strength of Ms. Day’s belief that L R. had been abused can be seen in comments from her therapy notes. Ms. Day wrote:

“… still not accepting the reality of her past difficulty remembering, totally unaware of things revealed by alters. Progress will not resume as long as she is willing to believe the lie that she just had mean parents.” [2]

L. R. wanted to get better and she became diligent in her efforts to find memories. L. R. wrote in her complaint that “within a year of merely trying to get help for depression…I could no longer continue my job as a fully functional teacher.”

Ms. Day claimed that L. R. had at least five or six alters, but could have hundreds. In her complaint L. R. wrote: “Ms. Day named my alters, gave them ages, and talked to them.”

Ms. Day then sent L. R. to a sexual abuse survivors group all of whom were members of Ms. Day’s church: Quest. The group had about 15 “survivors” who shared their abuse stories and who were asked by the facilitator to role play and act out the sexual abuse. In the complaint, the facilitator was described as never graduating from high school .

L. R.’s memories grew to include satanic ritual abuse, after which Ms. Day told her to stay away from her parents, her brother and her parents’ friends.

How did L. R. break away from this therapy? Money had become so tight in her family that L. R. felt that she must get back to work. She had been going for therapy several times a week but going back to work forced her to go less frequently to therapy. L. R. began to question and she started thinking that something must be wrong because after more than four years she had not gotten better. L. R. thinks that even though it was unintentional, the break in her therapy sessions probably saved her life.

L. R. stopped her therapy in March of 2013 and soon began to realize that the memories were false. She brought a lawsuit against Wanda Day, which was settled with confidentiality as to the amount. L. R. later filed a complaint with the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors. That complaint is ongoing.

Attorney Skip Simpson in Frisco, Texas represented L.R.

1. Theophostic Counseling was developed in the United States during the mid-1990s by Dr. Ed Smith, a Baptist Minister. After concerns about legal liabilities associated with offering counseling services, Smith later changed the name to Theophostic Prayer Ministry

For more about Theophostic counselling see the False Memory Syndrome Foundation Newsletter:

September/October 2006 FMSF Newsletter Vol. 15. No. 5

and http: Website by Jan Fletcher (now defunct).

2. Complaint to Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors (page 4).

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