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Mitchell, S.A. (1996). Reply to Hainer and Weishaus. Psychoanal. Dial., 6(5):737-740.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 6(5):737-740

Reply to Hainer and Weishaus Related Papers

Stephen A. Mitchell, Ph.D.

Our series of articles and commentaries on the issues surrounding the false memory controversy has generated a great deal of conversation and stirred up intense feelings on all sides. Some sided with the positions developed by Adrienne Harris and Jody Messler Davies and felt that Frederick Crews had seriously misunderstood and misrepresented the issues involved. Others found Harris and Davies unconvincing and felt that they did not respond effectively to the questions raised by Brenneis and Crews. The Editors regret that we are not able to provide for an extended continuation of this debate, given our space constraints and the plethora of important issues arising in the current psychoanalytic literature. The critique delivered by Hainer and Weishaus, however, challenges the very grounds on which this dialogue was established and raises basic questions concerning the relationship between psychoanalysis and political and social issues that we feel merit a response.

Hainer and Weishaus argue that Crews's association with the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) should have been made explicit in the introduction to the symposium. They insist, further, that this association should have disqualified Crews altogether and that including Crews' views within the pages of Psychoanalytic Dialogues represents a naive effort to be neutral with respect to the horrors—until recently the widely socially suppressed horrors—of childhood sexual abuse. They suggest that this naiveté is particularly glaring given the broad challenge, in the intersubjective framework of relational psychoanalytic literature, to illusory classical concepts like “neutrality.” There is, they argue, no neutral ground on these issues. They insist that the only legitimate role for this journal to play in this area would be to applaud all those therapists, psychoanalytic and otherwise, who have involved themselves in the uncovering and treatment of sexual trauma and to expose and attack the agenda of FMSF.

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