Print this page Tell A Friend Add to Favorites Site Rss

False Memory

Theophostic Prayer and False Memory

Critic’s concern: Why does Smith does not give credence to the false memory syndrome (see 1999 edition of the “Basic Training Seminar”, tape one) despite compelling research indicating that people can in fact believe and report false memories?  

(Please note that the 1999 edition of the Basic Seminar has been replaced with the 2007 edition.) 

I do believe that it is possible for people to report falsehood and honestly believe that what they are reporting is true.  However, this would not be a false memory but rather inaccurate information.  If it is false then it is not a memory since it never occurred.  I think what is more common than people reporting completely false stories that never occurred, are people reporting real memory events that contain false or inaccurate information.  I talk much about this in the 2007 edition of the Basic Training Manual.

  So contrary to what you have stated, I do believe that a person can have false information in a memory. I do not believe that any memory is perfectly accurate especially those that are rooted in childhood. However, if a memory is truly false then it is not a memory but a fabrication. Can people fabricate things? Without question this is possible. Is it common? I do not think so but it is possible. Someone might argue that there are hundreds of reported cases where this in fact occurred. Even if this is so, there are tens of thousands of counseling sessions where this does not occur for every one where such mishap occurred. I am sure there is a possibility of unwary therapist acting unwisely causing unnecessary problems. This is true for all helping professions. This is why doctors carry malpractice. Can it happen in a Theophostic session? I say no. It could happen in a ministry session where other forms of ministry are being employed, but I cannot fathom it occurring in a true TPM session. I believe it would be literally impossible if protocol was being followed. It is much more likely to occur in a typical cognitive therapy counseling session than in one where TPM was being applied correctly. Every protective measure possible is being used to avoid this. Nevertheless, can people be implanted with a fabrication? I think anything is possible but this would not be Theophostic Prayer if it occurred. It is VERY unlikely with TPM due to all of the precautions involved. I do not know of any other approach to ministry that is more careful in this area than TPM. Re-read the Ministry Session Guidelines found on this site. We overkill in this area. I know of no other ministry or counseling approach that is more careful than TPM in avoiding this. If a facilitator follows the guidelines detailed in the Theophostic training, there is no perceivable way to plant a false memory.  

The bottom line in TPM is not on validating a memory (though this is very important in a different context).  If I choose to stop the session and seek to do the detective work of verifying the reported information this is well and good but not TPM.  I say this in the Basic Manual:  

“Typically, people seek counseling and/or ministry because something is obviously wrong in their lives and causing emotional pain. It is not surprising that memories surface as people embrace and follow the pain they feel. If some memories are inaccurate, they should be able to discover this for themselves.  

Facilitators should never make any insinuations or ask questions that could provide bogus memory content for the person. They must not fill in the blanks, offer visual imagery or provide insight, no matter how convinced they are that they are on target.  

Facilitators are to avoid statements that begin with phrases such as: “What I think is ...,” “I wonder if ...,” “Could it be that ...,” “Do you think that ...,” “Probably what happened was ...,” “It looks to me as though ...,” “You have all the signs of ...,” etc. They must let what surfaces in the memories be the person’s own discoveries in their own time because to do otherwise is not TPM and invites criticism.  

In the rare case of a person surfacing an inaccurate recollection that indicts another person, such as a family member, much harm can result. False accusations can break relationships and wreck reputations. Ministry facilitators or Prayer Group Leaders should keep this in mind as they help people navigate the murky waters of memory. Confronting a suspected abuser in anger, revenge or resentment will not accomplish God’s purposes and indicates a lack of complete mind renewal. It is crucial that the wounded person avoids acting on painful emotion by first finding true release and peace… Please research the manual on this topic for more.  


Critic’s concern: What about the False Memory Syndrome Foundation?

Concerning the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, I would encourage anyone interested to look carefully at the background and history of this organization. I am not going to suggest anything here, but would encourage people to look further than the web sites that support this foundation. For example, one of early the founding fathers (who I do not think is still on the board) publically supported and encouraged pedophilia. This is documented on many websites to include Wikipedia. This is not to bring judgment on others who may be a part of this group, but it may say something about some people’s reasons for needing to support the concept of false memory.

Here is a quote from the interview with this man:  

“Pedophiles can boldly and courageously affirm what they choose. They can say that what they want is to find the best way to love. . . . Pedophiles can make the assertion that the pursuit of intimacy and love is what they choose. With boldness they can say, "I believe this is in fact part of God's will. --Dr. Ralph Underwager in this interview with Paidika, a European pro-pedophile publication. 


I would encourage you to study the work of the daughter of the founders of this organization as well. Dr. Jennifer Fryed is a psychologist and noted researcher of the validity of repressed memory from Oregon State University . Read her very scholarly and informative book “Betrayal Trauma.” Follow this link as well Her story will give you insight into the early years of the founding of this foundation. Other links that may prove helpful in your understanding are:

 -False Memory Syndrome

-Dr. Jennifer Fried, Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse.  

-Website with many articles and research:  

-Recovered Memories of Abuse: Assessment, Therapy, Forensics (American Psychological Association, 1996), maintains an extensive Web site with a specific section on Memory & Abuse.  

-Scientific Research and Scholarly Resources:  

-David Baldwin. Trauma Information Pages.  

- The Recovered Memory Project.  

  - A good article featured in the Columbia Journalism Review provides a history of how the FMSF began.


Critic’s concern: Is Theophostic Prayer basically a facilitator guiding and directing the person in a hunt for recovered memory?

 Ed Smith’s response: The facilitator should never be guiding the person during the process in any direction the facilitator believes it should go. All questions are reflective of the information that the person has surfaced, never leading or insinuating. (See the TPM Session Guidelines for a more clear understanding of this.)The questions asked by the ministry facilitator should encourage the person to make self discoveries about what he or she believes is going on based upon what the person has surfaced and never information that originates from the facilitator. The purpose of TPM is not memory hunting, but mind renewal that is accomplished by the Holy Spirit, resulting in behavioral transformation. TPM makes no apology that it deals with memory since lie-based thought is learned in life experiences and then maintained in memory. You understand that you can't – as a rule – experience true transformation without dealing with the past since all knowledge is rooted and based upon the past. Everything stored in the mind is a record of the past. Other than the present moment, the past is all we have to work with. Nevertheless, TPM is clearly not recovered Memory Therapy (RMT).There is a long discussion concerning the major differences between TPM and RMT this on this website.






























Website Disclaimer

Print this page