Friday, 2 April 2010

Australian television: Over the Edge

Coming up on ABC Television, Four Corners, Monday April 5th:

"...The harrowing story of the therapist whose work led some patients to believe they'd committed or been the victim of shocking sexual crimes. One patient shocked her family with the accusations, one told the police, while yet another was driven to madness.

Across Australia thousands of healers and therapists practice without any formal qualification or supervision. Now reporter Sarah Ferguson shows what happened when one of those therapists used unproven techniques to have his patients delve into so called "hidden memories". The result? Trauma, criminal investigations and families torn apart.

Seven years ago a young woman consulted untrained health therapist Matthew Meinck. The treatments involved massage, counselling and meditation retreats. Initially she found the sessions helpful. Over time the counselling changed. Using techniques that experts suggest are close to brain-washing she became convinced that she had "repressed" memories that involved extreme sexual abuse involving her father and her brothers.

She was deeply disturbed by incidents, supposedly dredged up from her unconscious mind. There was just one problem though. None of the memories were true.

This young woman suffered terrible trauma and her story is not isolated. This week Four Corners reveals that she was just one of several people whose lives have been thrown into turmoil following consultations with this self styled therapist.

How can anyone without qualification set up a service that allows them to delve into almost every aspect of a patient's life without any training? Why is there no regulation of these type of therapists? Is this an industry out of control and how many people's lives have been affected by it?..."

"Over the Edge" will be broadcast on Monday 5th April at 8.30 PM on ABC 1 and replayed on 6th April at 11.35 PM. 
Will be available online for a limited time after initial broadcast on iView.