Hypnotherapy and False Memory
For most hypnotherapists, and psychotherapists for that matter cringe and experience a great deal of discomfort when it comes to the subject of false memories. In the late 1980′-1990’s there was a spate of false memories being implanted by therapists. The principle way that these memories were implanted were using hypnosis in the form of regression and suggestion therapy. These memories usually were the interpretation of the therapist as a means of explaining an issue that the client was experiencing.
Obviously this was a very bad thing and caused a great deal of difficulties, particularly in the United States, but also here in the UK. Knowing all of this, you can imagine my surprise when I found an article about research being conducted at Lomonosov Moscow University. This research revolved around looking into the potential benefits of implanting false positive memories in people suffering with anxiety to free them from their past difficulties.
My concern with that is two fold. The first is that false memories are just that false, whatever the intention these memories are the creation of the practitioner of the hypnosis rather than the client. The other is that this does not help a person work through their issues, but rather it conceals them with a potential for them to comeback later in life and potentially more potent because of the concealment. Hypnotherapy is very effective in helping people to resolve issues, but these must be true resolutions rather than fantasy.