of the Occult Invasion
"Christian" (?) Psychology
Psychology Is Not “Christian”
“…there is no acceptable Christian psychology that is markedly different from non-Christian psychology. It is difficult to imply that we function in a manner that is fundamentally distinct from our non-Christian colleagues…. As yet there is not an acceptable theory, mode of research or treatment methodology [in psychology] that is distinctly Christian.” (1)
Although there are Christians trained in psychology, many practices in psychology—such as Regression Therapy and Hypnotism—are definitely not Christian.
Repressed Memories, Regression, and
Repressed Memory Therapy
— A repressed memory is the memory of a traumatic event unconsciously retained in the mind, where it is said to adversely affect conscious thought, desire, or action. In Freud’s theory there is an area of the unconscious where memories of traumatic experiences are stored. Though unconscious of them, such memories are significant factors in shaping conscious thought and behavior. Freud suggested childhood sexual abuse is unconsciously repressed and psychological problems in adulthood are caused by the unconscious memory of childhood abuse.
— The Freudian theory of Regression is popular today. Freud considered repression the most important of the defense mechanisms in which an individual attempts to avoid anxiety by retreating (regressing) to behavior patterns of an earlier age. It is sometimes an unconscious attempt to gain control or special attention or to force others to solve one’s problems.
Repressed Memory Therapy (RMT) — Repressed memory therapy is a type of psychotherapy which assumes that symptoms such as depression, sexual inhibition, excessive anxiety, eating disorders, headaches, sleep disorders, stomachaches, dizziness, problems maintaining stable relationships, obesity, depression, or low self-esteem, etc., are due to unconsciously repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse. A healthy psychological state can only be restored by recovering and facing these repressed memories. RMT seems to be able to produce recovered memories of sexual abuse in most of its clients.
Freud said: “We must not believe what they [patients] say [when they deny having memories], we must always assume, and tell them, too, that they have kept something back….” “We must insist on this, we must repeat the pressure and represent ourselves as infallible, till at last we are really told something…the pressure technique, in fact, never fails.”
RMT uses a variety of techniques to assist the patient in “remembering” the traumatic event — hypnosis (including “age regression” where the patient is told she is temporarily being transformed into the way she was when she was five years old), visualization, group therapy, sodium amytal (“truth serum”), guided imagery, progressive relaxation with suggestions, trance writing, meditation on fantasy production (such as pictures drawn in “art therapy”), dreams.
Each of the various methods described above has been very successful in getting patients to “remember” many things of which they were unaware before therapy. The “memories” include not just memories of being sexually abused as children, but some very bizarre things, such as being abducted by aliens for sexual experimentation or breeding, being forced to participate in satanic rituals, or being traumatized in a past life. Hypnosis can encourage the patient by suggestive or leading questions. Group therapy can become communal reinforcement of delusions.
The Courage to Heal
Patients are encouraged to read books found in “recovery” sections of bookstores. The best known book,
The Courage to Heal, has sold over 700,000 copies. Authors Laura Davis and
Ellen Bass, who have no formal training in psychology, psychiatry, or memory, write:
“If you are unable to remember any specific instances like the ones mentioned above and still have a feeling that something abusive happened to you, it probably did.” “Often the knowledge that you were abused starts with a tiny feeling, an intuition... Assume your feelings are valid.” “If you have unfamiliar or uncomfortable feelings as you read this book, don’t be alarmed. Strong feelings are part of the healing process. On the other hand, if you breeze through these chapters, you probably aren’t feeling safe enough to confront these issues. Or you may be coping with the book the same way you coped with abuse—by separating your intellect from your feeling.”
Women are encouraged to separate from their “family of origin,” to sue their parents, to disassociate with anyone who does not support their claims and hate those whom they discovered abused them.
Other unproved theories by “experts”: “If you doubt that you were abused as a child or think that it might be your imagination, this is a sign of ‘post-incest syndrome.’”
When a person can’t remember his or her childhood or has very fuzzy memories, “incest must always be considered a possibility.”
“If you have any suspicion at all, if you have any memory, no matter how vague, it probably really happened. It is far more likely that you are blocking the memories, denying it happened.”
Fred and Florence Littauer’s book
Freeing Your Mind from Memories That Bind presents the thesis that uncovering hidden memories is the key to emotional and spiritual well-being. They suggest that if one has any “memory gaps” from childhood, it indicates that he or she has probably been abused (and very likely, sexually).
(By that definition we’ve all been abused.)
Objections to Recovered Memory Therapy
The Freudian model is not consistent with what is known today about the memory of traumatic experiences.
There is a great deal of supportive evidence for the claim that the more traumatic an experience, the more likely one is to remember it. Visual images, which frequently accompany traumas, generally become part of long-term memory. There is no scientific evidence to support either that such abuse is unconsciously repressed or that these experiences are significant factors of adult psychological problems or that recovering repressed memories of abuse leads to significant improvement in one’s psychological stability.
The American Psychological Association’s Working Group on the Investigation of Memories of Childhood Abuse issued a report in 1995 noting that recovered memory is rare. It states “there is a consensus among memory researchers and clinicians that most people who were sexually abused as children remember all or part of what happened to them although they may not fully understand or disclose it.... At this point it is impossible, without other corroborative evidence, to distinguish a true memory from a false one.”
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder verifies that traumatic events, rather than disappearing from memory, leave trauma victims haunted by intrusive memories in which the victim relives the trauma. For those who were in Nazi concentration camps or underwent torture as POWs in Vietnam, this can become a serious lifelong problem. Columbia University psychiatrist Richard Gardner, author of
Sex Abuse Hysteria, says, “It’s unlikely that a patient wouldn’t remember a traumatic event such as rape or forced intercourse. Amnesia is not a common thing in post-traumatic stress disorder. The opposite is the case: There’s a preoccupation with the event.”(3)
Memory is fallible, malleable, often inaccurate and self-serving. Studies have shown that we often construct our memories after the fact and are susceptible to suggestions from others to fill in the gaps. There is no significant correlation between the subjective feeling of certainty a person has about a memory and the accuracy of the memory.
People forget things either because they were never encoded strongly enough in the first place, because neural connections have been destroyed, or because they choose to forget them. People forget most of what occurs to them, including events that were pleasant or significant to them at the time. If an event is lost
from memory, there is no scientific way to prove whether it was “repressed” or forgotten. Individuals forget not only insignificant events in their entirety, but also significant events. Some events (traumatic or not) are recalled with significant details altered.
Memories can be deliberately distorted in adults by presenting a display of visual information and later exposing subjects to verbal disinformation about what they saw. This disinformation often becomes incorporated into memory, contaminating the ultimate memories that are recalled.
RMT rewrites a person’s history with very painful results, makes the client very dependent on the therapist, separates clients from their natural families, causes the client to induce some very emotionally painful experiences which often comes only from the imagination, and creates false memories by suggestion.
Generating False Memories
False memories are therapy-induced fantasies masked as memories that seem very real to the person being treated. They often involve accusations and allegations of incest, Satanic Ritual Abuse, or cult involvement. Some individuals come to believe that they lived “past lives” as a result of having undergone “past life therapy.” A small number of individuals develop “recovered memories” of being abducted by aliens from outer space.
Some patients during the course of RMT develop “multiple personality disorder” (MPD). RMT therapists have claimed that they need to not only recover repressed memories, but also to uncover repressed personality fragments. Some women have come to believe they are repositories of dozens of hidden personalities.
Broken Families and Lawsuits
Families have been destroyed by false memories of alleged sexual and satanic ritual abuse (SRA) that never occurred. Aging parents accused of sexual abuse have been sued by their adult children without any verification of the reality of their abuse. Such lawsuits demand compensation for bills from psychotherapists and other doctors who treated adult medical problems that therapists link to childhood traumas. Many families and retractors
(individuals who experienced false memories and are now refuting those memories) are suing the therapist who developed the false memories.
Washington State University professor Elizabeth Loftus is a cognitive psychologist whose research into how memory works is so highly regarded that the April issue of
The Review of General Psychology ranked her 58th among the top 100 psychologists of the 20th century. She is one of the 25 psychologists most often cited in psychology textbooks. She is also controversial.
Loftus believes that memory is highly malleable and susceptible to all kinds of
contamination. Her theory was debated for a while, until she proved in the laboratory in the 1970s and 1980s that she was right. She has testified for the defense in more than 250 cases, saying that you can’t trust memory. She tells, for example, of a rape victim who became hysterical when viewing the man she identified as the rapist. He was convicted on her testimony, but another man later confessed to the crime.
Loftus believes that child sexual abuse occurs, but she also is adamant that as a memory “it is stored normally and can decay with time.” She says it can be a memory not often returned to and can be painful to remember, but it is not something new that the subject is surprised to find and explore. She believed that abuse, rather than being suppressed, is largely an event children do not forget. Loftus noted that the cases she was hearing were products of encouraged invention that led her to be highly critical of therapists.
Satanic Ritual Abuse — SRA
Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) is the preferred term referring to charges that a group of individuals, assumed to be in association with a widespread conspiracy, practice physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse on unwilling victims in a ritualistic manner, especially in connection with Satanism.
The False Memory Syndrome Foundation, founded in 1991, hears from thousands of distraught parents whose children accuse them of being cult members. Accused family members, and
sometimes patients whose therapy included “recovered” memories of abuse, have won a number of malpractice lawsuits against therapists whom they charged with fabricating memories. This is not to say that no SRA reports are true. While the FBI and police say there is no evidence of a widespread satanic cult, some cases of sadism and sexual molestation in a cult setting have been proven in courts.
About 20% of adults who remembered childhood sexual abuse while undergoing Recovered Memory Therapy eventually recalled being victims of SRA.
A recent survey funded by the US government stated that among 6,900 psychiatrists, psychologist, and social workers; 70% had never seen an SRA client, most of the rest had handled one or two, but l.4% had over a 100 cases.
It is estimated that 185 people were criminally charged in cases alleging SRA between 1983 and 1995 in this country; 113 of them were convicted, and over fifty of these remain in prison in 1995 (Nathan & Snedeker, 1995).
The failure of law enforcement agencies and government task forces to find any convincing corroborating evidence supporting these bizarre allegations has only served to heighten the controversy.
(LaFontane, 1994; Lanning, 1992; Rapport van werkgroep, 1994).
Missing Children Statistics
The SRA conspiracy theory accounts for the phenomenon that there are thousands of missing children each year and assumes the children are sacrificed in satanic rituals! Dr. Al Carlise estimates 40,000 - 60,000 people are killed in satanic rituals yearly. Others cite smaller numbers, but still in the tens of thousands. Yet, when statistical studies are done concerning missing children, we find the truth does not fit the SRA conspiracy model.
In fact, the vast majority of children reported missing each year are accounted for within a twelve month
period, leaving fewer than 300 unaccounted for after one year. The majority of missing children either are taken by non-custodial parents in custody disputes or are
A recently released Justice Department study finds that almost all missing children are teenage runaways or throwaways. The typical kidnapping is committed by a divorced parent who has
lost custody. As for stranger-abductions, the Washington D. C. based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children currently lists about 240 children missing in the entire country.
Hypnosis and Christian Counseling
The hypnotized person comes under the will and bidding of the hypnotizer. The will is essentially neutralized and can be suggested to believe and do whatever is asked by the hypnotizer. When one’s control is subjugated to the will of the hypnotizer it can affect the mind as well as the body. Putting oneself in a hypnotic state is yielding oneself to a vulnerable position. In a hypnotic state one can be convinced that they are going to be murdered and kill the other person in self-defense. Hypnosis has been proved to create false memories. Therefore, testimony thus gained is unacceptable in court in most states.
Hypnosis claims to heal depression, cure asthma, and even improve the mind’s memory. Those who are hypnotized do not usually remember any of their acts while in that state, and often the after affects are tiredness and feeling drained. While hypnosis supposedly increases recall, it also increases error. Subjects were able to recall twice as much, but made three times the errors.
People being hypnotized are sometimes said to be brought back into memories of a few days or from the womb and prior to birth, experiencing past lives. However, this is impossible because of the scientific fact that the myelin sheathing is too underdeveloped in the prenatal, natal, and early postnatal brain to reserve such memories.
Hypnosis is nothing new. It has been used for thousands of years by witchdoctors and shaman spirit mediums alike. Hypnosis has always been a powerful tool of the occult in both the East (yoga) and West (Spiritist movement). Self-hypnosis can be occultic and just as dangerous as a trance induced by a hypnotist. This is the same state mediums go into to contact the “dead,” or when clairvoyants receive information of events they could not know by natural means. Mediums go into hypnotic trances and contact spirits as they use a type of hypnosis to bring them to that open subconscious state of mind.
Inner Healing — Sanfords
Healing of the memories, “inner healing,” or healing of the emotions has its roots in the teachings of anti-Christian and occultist, Agnes Sanford. John Wimber, David Yonggi Cho, Robert Schuller, and Norman Vincent Peale are some of the well-known practitioners of inner healing, but it has spread widely in so-called evangelical circles in a more sophisticated form through such “Christian” psychologists as David Seamands, H. Norman Wright, and James G. Friesen, as well as a number of lay therapists like Fred and Florence Littauer.
The basic teaching of inner healing is the theory that salvation or healing comes through the uprooting of negative memories or “hurts” caused by others in early childhood that are supposedly buried in the “subconscious” from where they tend to dictate our behavior without us even knowing it.
Many Christian psychologists use the four temperaments as the basis of “personality classification” and a key to behavioral insights. As the Bobgans point out in
Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing:
“The word temperament itself comes from the Latin word temperamentum, which meant ‘proper mixing.’ The idea was that if the bodily fluids were tempered…by balancing the humors with each other, then healing would occur…. The four temperaments had virtually been discarded after the Middle Ages…until a few lone souls…marketed them in twentieth-century language…. [They] have been enjoying a revival…among astrologers and evangelical Christians….”(5)
However, the Four Temperaments is a theory which evolved from the ancient Greek belief that the physical realm was composed of four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Empedocles related these to four pagan deities. Hippocrates connected them to the four bodily humors: blood (sanguine), phlegm (phlegmatic), yellow bile (choleric), and black bile (melancholy). These characteristics were also connected to the signs of the zodiac.