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Repressed Memories

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by Cheyenne Welsch on 13 November 2012

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Transcript of Repressed Memories

Repressed Memories Cheyenne Welsch The Debate Case Studies Autobiographical memory specificity in adults reporting repressed, recovered, or continuous memories of childhood sexual abuse References The recovered memory controversy 3rd Component 1st Component 2nd Component Definition Causes What are repressed memories? 1) Also known as a recovered memory, is a memory that has either been dissociated from awareness or repressed without dissociation in a process called motivated forgetting; these memories are blocked out due to their painful or traumatic nature.

2) An event that occurred in a subject's past, the memory of which was actively repressed often because of the psychologically devastating impact of the memory. Can memories of traumatic events be lost and then regained, whether they can exert psychological influences even though they are not remembered? Many questions surround the circumstances of recovery. Often researchers look for pure cases of recovery that did not occur under a therapist's care to guard against the charge that the memory was fabricated through an unintentional agreement between client and therapist.
However, just because a memory was exhumed with the help of a therapist , we should not conclude that it is false. Nature of forgetting and the theoretical assumptions that are needed to support the conclusion that forgotten material can be recovered intact.
If forgetting took place simply by decay of the trace, then there would be nothing to recover from a lost memory.
This view can be discarded because we do forget and then recall things
ex: the name of an old friend we have forgotten The question of repression: meant to be a defense mechanism, according to Freud. - Tested whether adults reporting either continuous or recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse, or who believe they hide repressed memories of CSA, experience difficulty retrieving specific memories from their childhood. Gorman, G. (2008). The recovered memory controversy - A new perspective. European Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis, 8(1), 22-31.
Ketcham, K. K., & Loftus, E.F. (1994). The myth of repressed memories. New York: St. Martin's Press.
McNally, R. J., Clancy, S. A., Barrett, H. M., Parker, H. A., Ristuccia, C. S., & Perlman, C. A. (2006). Autobiographical memory specificity in adults reporting repressed, recovered, or continuous memories of childhood sexual abuse. Cognition & Emotion, 20(3/4), 527-535. doi:10.1080/02699930500342779
Ofshe, R.E., & Watters, E.K. (1994). Making memories: False memories, psychotherapy, & sexual hysteria. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
Pezdek, K.K., & Banks, W.P. (1996). The recovered memory/ false memory debate. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, Inc.
The free dictionary. (2012). Retrieved from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Repressed memories - Looks at whether or not repressed memories exist. If they do exist why do they exist. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Repressed+memories Childhood trauma
ex: sexual abuse (Loftus & Ketcham, 1994) War
Witnessing murder Central Issue (Pezdek & Banks, 1996) (Pezdek & Banks, 1996) (Pezdek & Banks, 1996) (Pezdek & Banks, 1996) Freud -Error of assuming that his female patients had suffered childhood sexual abuse, variously actual or fantasized.
-Also could not prove the existence of his proposed psychodynamic unconscious. (Gorman, 2008) -Most clinical psychologists are convinced that repression of memories does not and cannot occur. On the other hand, a number of psychiatrists, psychologists and 'lay' psychotherapists are equally certain that it does. Further, they believe that these supposedly unconscious memories can be recovered by suitable therapy and to the advantage of the individual. Most psychologists only consider allegedly repressed or recovered memories in the context of childhood sexual abuse. (Gorman, 2008) Procedure -Shown a series of words and asked to retrieve a specific personal memory in response to each word.
-Told that a specific memory is one that happened to the participant, and that lasted no longer than one day. Results - Did not indicate clear- cut, consistent patterns of deficits for retrieving specific memories, even for childhood, across all three groups reporting a history of CSA. The repressed memory group did, however, tend to experience the greatest difficulty retrieving specific memories from childhood. Results - The core theme of recovered memories is of abandonment by mother and all of the powerful emotions expressed during regression, are directed at her.
-Any perceived abandonment by mother forebodes extinction and ensures a traumatic memory trace. Results continued - Key point relates to CSA
-13 of the 42, claimed to have no memory of the abuse prior to the hypno-regression. The remaining admitted conscious memories of the event.
-All declared during regression that the very worst aspect was the perception of abandonment by mother.
-Primary trauma occurred below age 4 (McNally, Clancy, Barrett, Parker, Ristuccia, & Perlman, 2006) (McNally, Clancy, Barrett, Parker, Ristuccia, & Perlman, 2006) (McNally, Clancy, Barrett, Parker, Ristuccia, & Perlman, 2006) (Gorman, 2008) (Gorman, 2008) (Gorman, 2008) amnesia vs repressed memories Treatments -Amnesia is when memories are either not stored in the first place (ex. traumatic head injuries) or forgotten.
-Repressed memories can sometimes be recovered years or decades after the event, most often spontaneously, triggered by a particular smell, taste, or other identifier related to the lost memory, or though during psychotherapy. Characteristics of Repressed Memory - Consist entirely of visual, aural, gustatory, olfactory, and tactile detail

-Accompanied by powerful emotions
show no evidence of fading with time (Gorman, 2008) (Ofshe & Watters, 1994) -Recovered memory therapy is a range of psychotherapy methods based on recalling memories of abuse that had previously been forgotten by the patient.
- Not listed in DSM-IV or used by mainstream formal psychotherapy modality.
- Therapy can create false memories through suggestion techniques; this has not been corroborated, though some research has shown supportive evidence, though the evidence is questioned by some researchers.
- It is possible for patients who retract their claims- after deciding their recovered memories are false- to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder due to the trauma of illusory memories. Recovered Memory Therapy (Ofshe & Watters, 1994) If and when a patient "recovers" a memory, these therapists do not seek
to verify if these memories are true or accurate, because they do not believe that is
the goal of the therapy. Rather these therapists often interpret any change in the
patient’s symptoms as support of their theory that accepting this
repressed memory is necessary.
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