An interesting Article on Elizabeth Loftus

Want to hear my excuse for this late blog post?

I was out having fun! I have no guilt, none at all.

A friend took me to a small Asian district that I have shopped in and eaten in and loved for years. I hadn’t been there for 14 months. My favorite small supermarket had my favorite fish and staples like bok choi and fish sauce and I was in heaven. We lunched together on take-out Banh Mi. 

She also took me to a small garden center, another shop I have loved for ages. I bought six-packs of lettuce and white cosmos and white stock. Also, three tomatoes, even though I have no idea where I can put them in the garden. Worst comes to worst, I can give them away in trade for some tomatoes when they ripen.

And I went to the doctor. He’s better in person than on Telemed! What’s more, I went all by myself. First time I took Lyft since early March 2020.

I took these places for granted when I could go any day I wanted to. Now they are as much a treat as a tropical vacation. 

~~~~~~~~~~ 

I have subscribed to the New Yorker for years. Although it is pretty poor on issues such as child abuse, DID, and memory, I love the cartoons, the poetry, most of the fiction, and many of the articles.

The April 5 issue had a long article on Elizabeth Loftus by Rachel Aviv. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/04/05/how-elizabeth-loftus-changed-the-meaning-of-memory I read it out of curiosity, expecting to be annoyed. To tell the truth, I was not disappointed.

When I initially heard of Loftus’ research and her connection with the False Memory Foundation (she was on their Scientific Advisory Board), there was little criticism of her work. Gradually, people started critiquing her often-cited early experiments on memory. I had hoped that pointing out the flaws in her reasoning would make a dent in her growing prestige, but I was mistaken.

Loftus started studying the malleability of memory in the ’70s. She questioned eye-witnesses about car crashes, using different verbs – hit, smashed, collided, etc., and found that, when the subjects were later asked about the speed of the cars, the more vivid verbs were correlated with higher estimated speeds. This led to more studies on the shaping of descriptions of events by the use of leading questions.

Her most famous experiment is widely known as “Lost in a Shopping Mall.” The formation of false memories; Loftus, E. F., & Pickrell, J. E. (1995) Psychiatric Annals, 25(12), 720–725. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1996-29546-001)

From the abstract: “ 24 Ss (aged 18–53 yrs) were provided with a brief description of 3 true events and 1 false event that they had supposedly witnessed with a close family member between ages of 4 and 6 yrs. Ss were required to record details of their memories concerning these events. This was followed by 2 successive interviews over 2 wks, in which Ss were asked to rate the clarity of their memory and confidence they felt regarding memory for events. Ss were then debriefed and asked to identify the false events. Ss were able to recall 68% of true events and used more words when describing true memories. During the 1st interview, 75% resisted suggestion about being lost in false events, and continued to resist during 2nd interview. 19 Ss correctly identified false events.”

The False Memory Syndrome Foundation used the article to “prove” that memories of childhood sexual abuse had been “suggested” by therapists. The fact that 75% of the subjects could identify which was the false event was overlooked.

Although the False Memory Syndrome Foundation ceased to exist in December of 2019, it continues to cause immeasurable harm to survivors, their therapists, and other supporters. Their views were widely disseminated by the media and are still held by many, many people. Our accounts of abuse (especially ritual abuse) are disbelieved, discounted, or minimized. 

Dr. Loftus became sought after as an expert witness on memory for the defense of many men accused of sexually assaulting women. She testified in the trials of Harvey Weinstein, O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Ted Bundy, and about 300 others. Among her many books are “The Myth of Repressed Memory: False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse.”

I do understand that memory can be inaccurate, that it can change over time, and that it can be shaped by leading questions. I do not understand how research that shows that some memories are accurate can be discounted or how inaccuracy of some memories can be generalized to “prove” inaccuracies of all memories. I have always been irritated by the way the results of Loftus’ research were used in the world outside academia.

This article in the New Yorker, though, gave me a different perspective on Loftus’ work and life and opened my heart. I now feel compassion for her as a person, even though my opinion of her work has not changed.

According to the article, Loftus’ kept a daily journal for six years during middle school and high school. Over and over, she wrote about how happy she was. Yet her father was aloof and emotionally unavailable and her mother was depressed and emotionally unavailable. When she was fourteen, her mother spent six months in a psychiatric hospital. Elizabeth kept writing in her journal about how happy she was and never mentioned her mother’s absence. Five days after her discharge, her mother was discovered dead in a pool at a family vacation house where she and her sister had stopped on the way home. 

Elizabeth and her brothers believed it was an accident, but her father believed it was suicide. In any event, her diary continued recording how happy she was. She did, though, write about her mother on scraps of paper which she paper clipped into the diary. They indicated she regretting not watching TV with her mother when asked, saying she was busy. She also records a long conversation about her mother’s childhood on the day she died, which Elizabeth treasured, saying that was the only time they had been close. She never said she was unhappy, but wrote of things that would have made most children guilty and unhappy.

She married but was unable to have much-wanted children. Elizabeth threw herself into her work, and the couple spent less and less time together and then divorced amicably. They are still good friends. From that time on, her life consisted almost entirely of work.

Throughout the article, she is quoted about wondering whether her mother’s death was a suicide or an accident, which version of her death was false, and which true. Quotes also indicated how unconnected the mother and daughter were. Both Elizabeth and her brother said they had next to no memories of their mother – only one or two hazy ones. 

And once, on the witness stand, she revealed that she had been molested by a male babysitter when she was six. Later she wrote, “the memory flew out of me, out of the blackness of the past, hitting me full force.” She had never forgotten the incident, but apparently, she had not remembered it is this way before.   

She also did not realize that she had misinterpreted what had happened until she worried that it had made her pregnant when she got her period later than her classmates. (She remembers that there was no penetration.)

It seems, that in her personal life as well as in her research, she can never be sure whether a memory is accurate or not, and that she has never been able to resolve her doubt about the cause of her mother’s death. 

Now I can feel compassion for that sad and brave child, doing such a good job of putting on a good front. I truly believe that she meant no harm and that her research might have taken a different turn had it been conducted today, now that we have information about the neurological storage of memory and the difference between implicit and traumatic memory.

In the next post, I will share something I wrote about memory in back in 1992.

~~~~~~~~~~  

Upcoming Holidays

April
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/26 Full Moon
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

May
5/1 Beltane
5/9 Mothers’ Day
5/12 (?) Armed Forces Day
5/23 Pentecost
5/26 Total Lunar Eclipse 
5/26 Full Moon
5/31 Memorial Day

June
 6/10 Annular Solar Eclipse
 6/20 Fathers’ Day
 6/21 Summer solstice
 6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
 6/24 (?) St John’s Day
 6/24 Full Moon

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
5/8 V-E Day (Victory in Europe, WW2) 
5/17 Shavuot (Festival of Harvest, Festival of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)

~~~~~~~~~~


* You can find more information on the following holidays at:
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/walpurgisnacht/
Beltane: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/
Mothers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
Fathers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/
Summer Solstice: (corrected text) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/ 
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2 https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-ii/
Fall Equinox: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/ Halloween: (personal) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/ 
Halloween: (background) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
Thanksgiving: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
Yule/Winter Solstice: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/ 
Candlemas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
Valentine’s Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/
Spring Equinox: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-spring-equinox/

Easter: personal (for background, see Spring Equinox) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/easter-blues/

 

 

 

Internal Family Systems Therapy Workshop

There are two announcements after the main part of this post.

I attended a 12-hour Workshop on Internal Family Systems Therapy. It was on ZOOM, and I am pretty comfortable using ZOOM now. I wasn’t triggered by being on video, and there were so many people attending that I just faded into the background. 

I noticed that I have the world’s messiest bookcase as background. I have no desire to tear it apart, find new places for all the papers and vases and other miscellaneous items, nor do I wish to subject myself to the frustration of not being able to find stuff when the bookshelf beautification project is complete. I have some lovely ZOOM virtual backgrounds, which I use on occasion. I do get spooked by seeing parts of me disappearing and reappearing as the software tries to catch up with itself. I shall therefore offer my bookcase, as a kindness, to make many people proud that their offices are tidier than mine. 

I wasn’t triggered by being in a large group, either. I didn’t have to interact with anybody. I also was under no pressure to remember anybody’s name or what we talked about. Actually, there was no pressure to remember anything, come to think about it. That was a treat because when I attend an in-person workshop, I’m expected to spend breaks and lunchtimes with others, to join email groups, and to remember all sorts of things, whether I am presenting or not.

I didn’t know anything about Internal Family Systems Therapy when I signed up for the workshop. Years ago, I had looked at their website and decided that it was pretty complicated and I didn’t have the time to study it. That was the sum total of my knowledge of the subject.

The workshop was well-organized, the slides were clear, and the presenter was knowledgeable. The content was interesting, and I learned a lot. I’d like to share a very brief summary with you all.

IFS theory postulates that everybody has a Self, everybody has experienced trauma to some degree, and everybody has developed parts to deal with the trauma. These parts came into being to protect the Self from being overwhelmed. Now the person has everything inside themselves that they need to heal. The therapist doesn’t have to give suggestions or advice or teach the client anything. All he/she has to do is guide the internal process of the client. Here’s an example:

T: “Is there a part of you that has thoughts or feelings about X?”
C. “There’s a part that’s mad.”
T. “What’s that like?”
C. Describes how the mad part makes things more complicated, how it would be better if that part went away.
T. “What’s the worst thing that could happen if that part of you stopped making things more complicated?”
C. “I would get overwhelmed and couldn’t cope.”
T. (to client’s Self, sense of “me”) “That mad part of you is doing a very good job of trying to protect you by distracting you.
T. “I wonder what would happen if, just for a second, that part stopped protecting you. If it stepped back, just for a moment, what would that be like?”
C. “I would okay for a short time. I know I would.”
T. Asks both the Self and the part if they are willing to try it. After getting permission, coaches them on how to step back and leave a quiet space between them. Then asks what it was like for each.

See how everything happens internally? Each time the client works with a part, the Self gets stronger, and the part does less and less protecting. Since the protective behavior (cutting, eating or not, worrying, criticizing, etc.) is a distraction to help the Self not deal with the trauma, symptoms diminish. The therapist doesn’t address the symptoms, just guides the client through the process of experimenting and negotiating with the parts.

Once the protectors are all on board and have faith that the Self really is strong enough to deal with the trauma, the healing phase of therapy begins.

There are parts, called “exiles” in IFS therapy, which hold the memories and feelings from the trauma. The therapist guides the client through the process of meeting an exile and learning about the age and the trauma in general terms. The next steps are finding out what the part would have liked to have happened, determining that the adult Self can give what is needed, and then providing it through guided imagery. At that point, the exile part is able to release the trauma and stops being stuck in the past. The trauma becomes a memory and does not have the overwhelmingly intense images and feelings of a flashback.  

I like that the client is not pathologized and that, from the start, the therapist conveys that the client has all that is needed to heal inside themself. I like that all parts of the person are treated with respect and always given freedom of choice. I like that the purpose of a symptom, not the symptom itself, is the focus of attention. It is a gentle, compassionate approach to trauma treatment.

I don’t like that IFST would take a long time for many therapists to learn because of the difference in approach and language and the number of protocols for different processes. (It’s sort of like EMDR in this respect.) Although from reading their website I gathered that it could be blended with other modalities of therapy, it would take much thought and time to do so.

Here is The Internal Family Sytems Institute’s website. https://ifs-institute.com

Browse through the News section for free Webinars and the Resources section for articles, videos, and podcasts. The bibliography in the Research section has a wealth of books, which you can sample at Google Books, Amazon, or Questia.


~~~~~~~~~~ 

Upcoming Holidays

April
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/1 Maundy Thursday (commemoration of the Last Supper)
4/2 Good Friday
4/3 Holy Saturday
4/4 Easter Sunday
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/26 Full Moon
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve


May
5/1 Beltane
5/9 Mothers’ Day
5/12 (?) Armed Forces Day
5/23 Pentecost
5/26 Total Lunar Eclipse 
5/26 Full Moon
5/31 Memorial Day

June
 6/10 Annular Solar Eclipse
 6/20 Fathers’ Day
 6/21 Summer solstice
 6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
 6/24 (?) St John’s Day
 6/24 Full Moon

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
4/4 Hitler’s alternate birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday, 4/20, and Easter of the current year. This year, Easter falls on 4/4.)
4/8 Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)
4/15 Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day)
4/20 Hitler’s birthday
4/15 Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day)
5/8 V-E Day (Victory in Europe, WW2) 
5/17 Shavuot (Festival of Harvest, Festival of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)

* You can find more information on the following holidays at: 

Spring Equinox: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-spring-equinox/

Easter: personal (for background, see Spring Equinox) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/easter-blues/

Walpurgisnacht/May Eve: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/walpurgisnacht/

Beltane: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/

Mothers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/

Fathers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/

Summer Solstice: (corrected text) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/

Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2 https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-ii/

Fall Equinox: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/

Halloween: (personal) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/ 
Halloween: (background) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
 
Thanksgiving: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/ 
Yule/Winter Solstice: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/
Candlemas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
 
Valentine’s Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/

 ~~~~~~~~~~

*Highlights of a New York Times article


The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are proving highly effective in preventing coronavirus infections under real-world conditions, the C.D.C. found.

Troubling variants were circulating during the time of the study – from December 14, 2020 to March 13, 2021 — yet the vaccines still provided powerful protection.

The C.D.C. enrolled 3,950 people at high risk of being exposed to the virus because they were health care workers, first responders, or others on the front lines….

Among those who were fully vaccinated, there were .04 infections per 1,000 person-days, meaning that among 1,000 persons there would be .04 infections in a day.

There were 0.19 infections per 1,000 person-days among those who had had one dose of the vaccine. In contrast, there were 1.38 infections per 1,000 person-days in unvaccinated people.

 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/29/world/pfizer-moderna-covid-vaccines-infection.html?campaign_id=60&emc=edit_na_20210329&instance_id=0&nl=breaking-news&ref=headline&regi_id=112647142&segment_id=54428&user_id=c9efd3687ea12eec8e32e61a5b86de7d

 

* Survivorship Regular Conference – Saturday and Sunday May 22 – 23, 2021
Clinician’s Conference – Friday May 21, 2021
Information on the speakers, topics, and registration is at https://survivorship.org/the-survivorship-ritual-abuse-and-mind-control-2021-conference/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “An interesting Article on Elizabeth Loftus

    1. Actually, I saw the doctor on a different day. I think I would have gotten overwhelmed and anxious if I had done too much. I am seeing articles advising to take it slow in re-entering the big world, the world outside my door. Today I went into the drugstore to pick up a prescription….and buy chocolates!

      I am so proud of California. We had a another little rise in case but then they leveled off and are now decreasing. I wonder what others are doing in places that aren’t as safe. Of course I doubt if many were as cautious and homebound as I was, but I have so many risk factors that I decided to be overly cautious.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Personally, I disbelieve in Covid, I think this is a world Mind and Behavior Control / PsyOp / Social Engineering operation, and I certainly didn’t change anything in my life because of this Fear Factor, even in the dictatorship that France has become. But I respect your own experience and feelings about it…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. When you say disbelieve, do you mean there is no virus? Or that yes, there is a virus, but the powers that be are magnifying its effects to frighten and control the people?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. A lot of scientists agree on the fact there is not any Covid virus different from the usual flu (which has strangely disappeared since the dawn of Covid…). But the health effects of 5G combined with vaccines, even not transgenic, do create the symptoms and illness of Covid-I984 (pu intended).

            Liked by 1 person

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