ERIC Number: ED394091
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Aug-14
Reference Count: N/A
Psychotherapy and Memories of Childhood Sexual Abuse.
Lindsay, D. Stephen
This conference address examines the question of whether "memory work"--using therapeutic techniques to help clients recover suspected hidden memories of childhood sexual abuse--has led some clients to develop illusory memories or false beliefs. Prospective research on memory for childhood trauma indicates that the gist of traumatic childhood events tends to be well-remembered. Other research suggests that survivors of multiple traumas are less likely to forget that they have had such experiences than are survivors of isolated traumas. Memory for childhood trauma is not perfect, and it is very likely that some adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse do not consciously remember that such abuse occurred. It is stated that complete forgetting of extensive histories of extreme abuse is a very rare phenomenon. Further it is argued that a search for suspected hidden memories of childhood trauma is bad therapy because there is no empirical evidence that such an approach is helpful, and because there is a very large converging literature indicating that such an approach puts clients and their families at grave risk of harm. The speech concludes that sexual abuse of children is a bigger problem than are iatrogenic false memories. Contains 35 references. (JBJ)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: False Memories
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (103rd, New York, NY, August 11-15, 1995).