Some have blamed Freud for this, arguing that he sowed the seeds of false memory syndrome 100 years ago. He has been accused by some critics of abandoning, out of professional cowardice, his original recognition of the prevalence of sexual abuse amongst his patients, substituting his theory of childhood sexuality and the Oedipus complex, and by others of fabricating and implanting false memories of abuse in his patients minds. Was Freud the bad father, impregnating society with misleading ideas that a century later have given birth to a monster or was he an astonishing genius, whose sophisticated understanding of memory was far ahead of his time? Much bashed, but rarely read, Freud continues to be urgently relevant to issues that preoccupy psychology and society today.
Phil Mollon is a psychoanalyst, psychotherapist and clinical psychologist. He served on the Working Party on Recovered Memory of the British Psychological Society, and has written widely on the subject.