In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been something of a bruhaha over the publication of Richard Noll’s article, When Psychiatry Battled the Devil
, in the Psychiatric Times
. It appeared in early December on-line, then disappeared a week later without a trace. It’s the story of the epidemic of acronymed cases of SRA [Satanic Ritual Abuse], the FMS [the false memory syndrome], MPD [multiple personality disorder], and DID [Dissociative Identity Disorder] that appeared in the late 1980s and faded in the mid 1990s – to be forgotten except for the people [still] imprisoned in its wake. Richard Noll, then a young psychologist, was involved and wrote this article reminding us of what happened. He points out that this whole episode is never mentioned, long forgotten, and asks why? He ends with:
Are we ready now to reopen a discussion on this moral panic? Will both clinicians and historians of psychiatry be willing to be on record? Shall we continue to silence memory, or allow it to speak?
I read it during its week in the sunlight, and thought it was fascinating, including the why? at the end. It hasn’t come up in my mind in decades, and I thought a lot about that. I flagged it to write about, but by the time I got back to it, it was gone. I thought I’d written down the wrong URL, but soon learned that it had been pulled from the Psychiatric Times‘ web site. If you don’t know the story, here are some recent references from here and there:
Well. It’s back! Psychiatric Times republished it on-line today.
It has a new name. Instead of When Psychiatry Battled the Devil
[on Gary Greenberg’s site
], it’s now under Richard’s original title, Speak Memory
[at Psychiatric Times
]. It’s introduced with:
Editorial Note: In light of the responses we have received regarding this article by Richard Noll, PhD, that was posted on our website on December 6, 2013, the article has been reposted with a modification. Additionally, we are posting responses from certain of the individuals mentioned in the article in order to leave analysis of the article up to our readers. We have also requested a response from the author regarding those comments and if Dr. Noll wishes to comment, we will also post that.
I didn’t go line by line, but the "reposted with a modification" seems to refer to omitting …
New APA work groups for the preparation of DSM-IV were formed. Not surprisingly, none of the former members of the DSM-III-R Advisory Committee on Dissociate Disorders was invited to be on the work group for the dissociative disorders.
from the beginning of the second paragraph in the last section [The fade out into forgetfulness]. The article is packaged with three commentaries from the people mentioned in the article. The article is around 2700 words. The commentaries add up to about 5300 words and are pretty dismissive. But reading them, it’s easy to imagine why the Psychiatric Times had its hands full with this article. Richard ends asking if the people involved back then were ready to speak. I’m not sure they were ready, but speak they did! I’ve been so interested in the story about the story [the retraction] that I’m going to sign off, and step back, and reread the article. I want to think about Richard’s original question and specifically my own forgetting like he suggested in the beginning, now three months ago…