To: MIT.EDU!witchhunt Date: Sat, 10 Dec 94 13:04 WET (c) 1994 The Kirkus Service, Inc; Kir

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From:!!aaron (Aaron Larson) To: MIT.EDU!witchhunt Date: Sat, 10 Dec 94 13:04 WET (c) 1994 The Kirkus Service, Inc; Kirkus Reviews, 12/15/94 ISBN Number: 0-87951-572-4 Author: Wassil-Grimm, Claudette Title: Diagnosis For Disaster Publisher: Overlook (400 Pp.) $ 22.95 Feb. 20, 1995 Review: A well-aimed blast at the recovered memory movement that exposes the roots of false memory syndrome and the reasons for the acceptance and persistence of the phenomenon. Wassil-Grimm, a writer and media commentator on family psychology (How To Avoid Your Parent's Mistakes When You Raise Your Children, not reviewed) outlines the dispute between those who believe claims that forgotten memories of childhood sexual abuse can be recovered and those who reject claims of such recovered memories as false. She effectively demolishes the arguments, especially the statistics, of the believers, and urges all therapists to look critically at their assumptions and methods. Wassil-Grimm has mastered the expose and self-help formulas, that is, she writes clearly, includes lots of case studies loaded with human interest to reinforce her arguments, and hammers them home by ending each chapter with a concise summary of the points made in it. There are helpful lists of tips for therapists, for those in or seeking therapy, and for the families of those falsely accused of sexual abuse. Throughout the book she raises the question of why anyone would believe they'd been sexually abused by a parent if it were not true, and each time she returns to the question she provides an additional answer. Thus she is able to conclude with a list of 16 persuasive explanations. Two related phenomena -- the willingness of many therapists to believe quite fantastic reports of recovered memories of satanic ritual abuse and the startling increase in reports by therapists of patients with multiple personality disorder (considered a psychological defense against abuse) -- come under Wassil-Grimm's skeptical eye. This is a welcome addition to recent literature on the subject (see Making Monsters, p. 1105, and The Myth of Repressed Memory, p. 908). Strongly recommended. Succeeds both as an expose of a dangerous fad and as a survival guide for its victims.


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