How “Parental Alienation Syndrome” Imitates “False Memory Syndrome”

  • Often only circumstantial evidence
  • Woman upset and angry
  • There is an accusation being made
  • Possible filing of charges
  • Abuser says she is lying
  • Abuser “Looks normal”
  • Mother or adult survivor making accusation is labeled as having “Parental Alienation Syndrome” or “False Memory Syndrome”, neither of which are a medical condition.
  • Just like FMS, PAS is unrecognized by the APA.
  • Most therapists do not recognize PAS or FMS
  • Neither have scientific validity

Advice given to mother of child in abuse case:

  • Do not go into a state of panic with accusations
  • Collect evidence over a period of time before jumping to accusation.
  • Get an expert on child sexual abuse
  • Document evidence
  • Do not over evaluate evidence
  • Avoid highly suggestible and leading questions with the child
  • Limit questioning of the child
  • Once case is well documented, go in without revenge and resentment. Seek the truth only, not revenge. Mother often goes to court too soon. Once committed to allegation, it is very hard to recant.

Advice for people who have recalled previously repressed memories of child sexual abuse:

  • Don’t go into a state of panic and begin accusing right away Survivors sometimes jump in too soon, before all their memories are clear. Once committed to an allegation it is very hard to recant.
  • It is better to evaluate evidence over a period of time
  • Seek a therapist with expertise on child sexual abuse and Dissociative Amnesia
  • Document your evidence
  • Avoid a therapist who uses highly suggestible and leading questions
  • Once memories, internal evidence, and any external corroborating evidence are available, speak your truth, but without a need for revenge or to attack the person you are accusing. When malice is attached to the truth, it goes against what it is meant to accomplish.

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