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01.01.1970 01:0000    Comments: 0    Categories: You Asked (Text Files)      Tags:

You asked...
 
I am working with a person who has reported memories of SRA.  We have been working on this for a long time and she decided to confront her abusers with what she has remembered.  She is at a place of peace about it and wants to forgive them and deal with the issues.  However, when she did this they denied it all and said it was just false memory.  Is it possible that she just made all of this up? What should I do?
 
Ed's response...
 
Working with people who report SRA memory is filled with potential trouble.  The truth is, you do not know (and may never know) if what this person has reported is real or truthful.  Unless you have tangible evidence to guide you, then you only have what you have and that is the person's reported memory claim.  Does this mean that it is not valid?  No, it simply means that you only have what you have.  It is real easy to find yourself living in the person's reported reality rather than in your own.  Work hard to keep the two separate.
I am assuming that you did not encourage the confrontation and that this was her decision.  I do not encourage  people to confront those they may believe have hurt them ,  but rather let this be their decision only after they are at a place of total peace.  Unless I believe that others are being hurt I leave this alone.  I am also assuming that EVERYTHING that this person reported came from her own mind and not from your input, diagnosis or opinion.  I hope that you were careful to have NOT made any suggestions as to what her memory content may have been.  Everything that she has reported needs to have come from her own discovery not from your opinions or diagnosis.  She should not be able to say that she came to any of her conclusions because of your opinions or comments.
 
Your question is, "Can people make this up?"  It is possible that she might have ,  but there is no way to know.  I have never known of such a case ,  but this does not mean that it is not possible.  There is really no way to know with out tangible evidence to validate it or disprove it.   Perhaps a better question is "Can people be mistaken about identities, details, etc. in what they remember?"  Yes,  they can.  This is where it can  become very  difficult.  If even a portion of what  ministry recipients who have reported these types of memories is true, then it is possible that the alleged abuser would intentionally implant false identities, information, and other things into the traumatic moment so that the person would report inaccurate information.
 
What to do with the situation at hand?  I am not sure what to tell you.  This is a decision that the lady has to  make .  If she goes and confronts without evidence ,  then you will have a mess on your hands.  The accused will probably want to make you out to be the bad guy (planter of false memory). You will need to be able to stand on the fact that you did not do this.  It is not your responsibility to prove the validity of what this person has reported ,  but you may need to provide support and encouragement as things continue on.  If you did not plant this thinking into her mind then you have nothing to defend or worry about.  However, this person may have some difficult days ahead depending on what the accused decides to do.  It might be helpful to involve others from the mental health community who may have had some experience with this to provide an evaluation and be apart of this process with you.  It is not a good idea to go it alone.
 
If anywhere along the way you made any suggestions or insinuations as to her being a victim then you should take responsibility for this and allow her to look carefully at her journey to be sure that what she is believing has ALL come from her and NONE from you.  Anything that you may have suggested or insinuated should be discarded and not used to validate what she has surfaced.
 
As I said, this area of ministry is filled with landmines and must be walked through with utmost caution.  Read the article in the latest IATM journal on the guidelines for ministering to SRA victims.  If this experience has stirred you in any way get ministry for yourself so that you can operate in peace. I will pray that the Lord will give you his perfect wisdom.
 
Ed Smith

 
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