During the 1980s and 1990s, tens of thousands of Americans became convinced that they had repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse, and then, decades later, recovered those memories in therapy.
More than 800 lawsuits followed these sex abuse scandals sending dozen of innocent fathers to jail.
What followed this modern American witch-hunt became known as the “memory wars”’, as wrongly accused parents successfully sued their children’s psychiatrists and psychologists on the charge of inducing false memories of childhood sexual abuse, incest or even satanic ritual abuse.
In France, more and more cases of therapy malpractice have been taken to court in the past few years.
Regulations controlling the ever-increasing number of professions in the field of psychotherapy are inconsistent, paving the way for a real social evil.
Each year in France, over 2500 cases of therapist malpractices are reported to the Miviludes, the French governmental organization which fights against sectarian aberrations.
But according to the organization, there are probably tens of thousands abusive therapists out there. How do they manipulate their patients ? In most cases, by promising healing miracles to severely ill patients or by inducing false memories of childhood sexual abuse. In therapy, there’s a thin line between suggestion and memory distortion. What drives them ? Money, power and sex.
The documentary : « Mental manipulation : when a therapy gets out of control », directed by Stephanie Trastour, gives a voice to several victims of severe therapy malpractice. They unveil the devastating effects of such fraudulent misconduct : extortion of money, harassment, sexual abuse, prostitution, family’s devastation… and the ultimate click, when things finally fall into place. These ex patients all successfully sued their therapist and are now trying to get on with their lives.
Exploring the psychological and sociological causes of this phenomena, the documentary questions this growing concern in the field of psychological health.