False memories and “satanic tales”

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. – Romans 12:12

I’m still reading Demonic Foes by Dr. Richard Gallagher.

On pages 211 – 219 is a story about a young man given the pseudonym “Raymond” that Dr. Gallagher saw as a patient.

Trigger warning: This blog post has some unsettling information.

Raymond was a young man who was brought in by his parents.

In recounting the situation, Dr. Gallagher explained how an untrained counselor that Raymond first received treatment from believed Raymond had suffered trauma after the counselor hypnotized Raymond.

Raymond claimed that during hypnosis, he remembered that during a church service, he wandered away and saw a pastor holding a baby in a ritual, and by slitting the baby’s throat, killed the baby.

This terrible “false memory” that Raymond believes he saw was witnessed as he looked through a door that was cracked open.

Reckless counseling that suggests a person’s problem, such as PTSD, because that is an issue the counselor is familiar with has a terrible consequence.

Dr. Gallagher distinguished the counselor’s “diagnosis” that brought up a false memory and inaccurate diagnosis with his professional diagnoses of personality disorder, mood disorder, panic attacks and occasional abuse of drugs and that Raymond had been overmedicated.

The difference in professional diagnosing and treatment from what an untrained, peer counselor who worked at the VA in support of trauma suffered by people who were in the military makes a vast difference when treating serious mental disorders.

Raymond shared this counseling experience with Dr. Gallagher, who took a long and thoughtful look at the experience with Raymond. He reviewed with Raymond what led up to this revelation of the suppressed memory.

Dr. Gallagher unemotionally and tactfully suggested that Raymond talk to his family about the memory to see what they thought, as well as to his counselor.

Other non-judgmental feedback by Dr. Gallagher that he said to Raymond was also part of the session.

Thankfully Raymond decided to speak to his family as well as confront his counselor to reveal he had reservations about the memory.

Hearing truth in empathetic ways, allowing space for a person seeking help and support to understand and then make their own choice can often help someone get through a disturbing mental challenge.

Dr. Gallagher’s recanting of this person’s false memory and ritualistic crime demonstrated how false memories and “satanic tales” were so often reported years ago.

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