Carousel Music is a “She said, he said” mystery, set two decades before the “Me, too” era during a time when controversy raged over the validity of memories recovered during psychotherapy. As knotty as the dilemma of when to believe women who claim that they were violated as adults, what if the victim was a child and the perpetrator was her father? And what if she had no recollection of the trauma before undergoing psychotherapy as an adult and her father was so certain that he never did it that he sued the doctor in order to clear his name?
Stephanie Whittington lands in the care of Dr. Kenneth Miller with few childhood memories and little sense of who she is. In the course of her treatment, the pictures from her childhood gradually fill in to create a personal narrative that forms the foundation for a growing sense of identity. But what if parts of that narrative turn out not to be true?
At stake is Stephanie’s recovery, her father’s reputation, and the doctor’s career. What really happened? As memories form and evolve over time, nothing is ever exactly as it appears.
Carousel Music is set shortly after the turn of the Millennium, at a time when controversy raged about the validity of memories recovered during psychotherapy. During the nineties, many psychotherapists believed that discovering memories of trauma, including particularly sexual trauma, was key to the recovery of patients from symptoms typical of post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, and addictions.
As a consequence, some patients uncovered memories of trauma that included incest and other abusive relationships, and more than a few confronted their alleged abusers. The term False Memory Syndrome was coined and a number of lawsuits followed, some brought by accused family members and some by patients.
During a long career as a psychiatrist, during which I wrote Lost in the Mirror: an inside look at Borderline Personality Disorder, I developed an interest in learning about how memories are created and how they evolve over time. I came to understand that memory is highly subjective, more like a painting than a photograph, influenced by context, including particularly emotions that accompany events. And I also realized that memories of events change, sometimes subtly and sometimes substantially, over time.
With Carousel Music, I undertook through a fictional account to provide a balanced view of the False Memory controversy as well as to show some of the ways in which memory evolves.
The Revised Edition has updated the writing style of Carousel Music to provide a tighter story and a smoother reading experience without sacrificing the integrity of the story or the complexity of the characters. And I've been delighted to wrap it in a fresh new cover that whispers about the story within.
"Atrocities continue to happen with frightening regularity." Benjamin Kobic, MD, witness for the defense
Rick Moskovitz has done an amazing job of writing an authentic book about serious psychiatric issues while creating a powerful page-turning novel. CAROUSEL MUSIC is gripping and sensitive, enlightening and frightening. It highlights both the power of the process of psychotherapy and the frustration and pain brought about when recovered memories are questioned. This book is a great read for both mental health professionals and the lay public.