Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Heavily Debated Repressed Memory Syndrome Blogger:Being Sane Takes Too Much Work

Many people believe that when experiences are too painful or difficult to face, they end up tucked into the unseen corners of the unconscious in the form of repressed memories.  It is hypothesized that repression may be one method used by individuals to cope with traumatic memories by pushing them out of awareness to allow the child to maintain attachment to a person on whom they are dependent for survival.  Sexual trauma is viewed by therapists as being especially susceptible to repression.  Before the memories resurface, they may manifest as nightmares, low self-esteem, sexual dysfunction, anxiety and/or depression.  The memories may remain locked away for years before surfacing, which typically occurs in a therapeutic setting.  Researchers tend to be more hesitant to accept the concept of repression as fact due to lack of scientific evidence in support of it.  According to the American Psychological Association, it is not possible to distinguish repressed memories from false ones without corroborating evidence.  Clinical psychologists and therapists who have witnessed adult clients remembering repressed experiences of childhood abuse argue that the memories are real, vivid, detailed and reliable.  Some research does indicate that traumatic incidents may be forgotten.  Evidence has also shown that the spontaneous recovery of these incidents have been corroborated.  In a study conducted by Researcher Lawrence Pathis of the University of California and his colleagues involved an online survey of practicing clinicians, psychotherapists, research psychologists, and alternative therapists 60 to 80% of the clinicians, psychoanalysts, and therapists who responded to the survey believe that memories of trauma are often repressed and can be retrieved in therapy.  They also gathered data that show the widespread acceptance of repressed memories as real in the general public.  Less than 30% of research psychologists believe in the validity. In a recent Psychology Science, findings suggest this controversy is just as strong today.  According to Pathis, "Whether repressed memories are accurate or not, and whether they should be pursued by therapists, or not, is probably the single most practically important topic in clinical psychology since the days of Freud and the hypnotists who came before him."

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