Concerns over repressed memory therapy 23, 2004

The Victorian government will reportedly conduct an investigation into the practice of repressed memory therapy.

The government revealed plans it would look into who was practising repressed memory therapy and the training they had received, according to a report on the ABC TV program Stateline.

The Health Services Commissioner will oversee the inquiry which is expected to take about six months.

The investigation was announced after a government inquiry into the regulation of health professionals was inundated with submissions from parents who claimed they had been falsely accused of sexually abusing their children, Stateline revealed.

The parents said they wanted the practice of repressed memory therapy banned or tighter controls put on practitioners.

Health Services Commissioner Beth Wilson told Stateline it was easy to install a false memory in someone and the practice of repressed memory therapy deserved to be the subject of an inquiry.

"One of the problems is that some practitioners who engage in this kind of therapy, contrary to the evidence, they believe in it," she said.

"They call themselves true believers and think they are doing wonderful things, but in fact what they are doing is very risky and sometimes it's for the wrong reasons - not therapeutic, but to make a buck."

But Michael, who did not reveal his surname and is a representative of Advocates For Survivors of Child Abuse, told Stateline repressed memory therapist practitioners' interests were in discharging their professional responsibilities competently so they could stay in business.

"I'm darn sure that any therapist is not going to consciously and deliberately malpractice in an area where there is such controversy and so much potential for damage."

Stateline reported that the repressed memory therapy practitioners contacted had not wanted to appear on the program.

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