An examination of repressing memories

Freud further theorized that repressed memories cause "neurosis," which could be cured if the memories were made conscious.

An examination of repressing memories

Something shocking happens, and the mind pushes it into some inaccessible corner of the unconscious. Later, the memory may emerge into consciousness. Repression is one of the foundation stones on which the structure of psychoanalysis rests.

Recently there has been a rise in reported memories of childhood sexual abuse that were allegedly repressed for many years. With recent changes in legislation, people with recently unearthed memories are suing alleged perpetrators for events that happened 20, 30, even 40 or more years earlier. These new developments give rise to a number of questions: Ina landmark case went to trial in Redwood City, California.

The defendant, George Franklin, Sr. The victim, 8-year-old Susan Kay Nason, was murdered on September 22, She claimed that her first flashback came one afternoon in January when she was playing with her two-year-old son, Aaron, and her five-year-old daughter, Jessica.

Later, more fragments would return, until Eileen had a rich and detailed memory. She remembered her father sexually assaulting Susie in the back of a van.

Repressed Memories

Next, her memory took the three of them outside the van, where she saw her father with his hands raised above his head with a rock in them. She remembered walking back to where Susie lay, covered with blood, the silver ring on her finger smashed.

It was also believed by the jury, which convicted George Franklin, Sr. The jury began its deliberations on November 29,and returned a verdict the next day. But is her memory authentic? Did she really witness the murder of her best friend 20 years earlier? The idea of repression of early traumatic memories is a concept that many psychotherapists readily accept Bruhn, In fact, it has been said that repression is the foundation on which psychoanalysis rests Bower, According to the theory, something happens that is so shocking that the mind grabs hold of the memory and pushes it underground, into some inaccessible corner of the unconscious.

There it sleeps for years, or even decades, or even forever—isolated from the rest of mental life. Then, one day, it may rise up and emerge into consciousness.

Numerous clinical examples fitting this model can be readily found. Many of these examples involve not memory of murder but rather memory of other sorts of childhood trauma, such as sexual abuse, that allegedly has been repressed for decades until recovered in therapy.

Rieker and Carmen described a woman who entered psychotherapy for sexual dysfunction and recovered memories of incest committed by her father.

An examination of repressing memories

Schuker described a woman who entered psychotherapy for chronic insomnia, low self-esteem, and other problems and recovered memories of her father sexually assaulting her.Repression is most often linked to the act of repressing or of stifling someone by force.

This can include feelings, memories, thoughts and desires. Therefore, repression can be integrated into life at many stages and in many different contexts. The best way to find out if you are repressing memories of sexual abuse is to talk to a therapist.

They can help you explore your childhood memories in a safe environment. You may also want to try hypnosis. Many recovered memory cases appeared in the media, which may have contributed to the surge in repressed memories that were recovered in therapists’ offices throughout North America.

As a result of media coverage of an unusual murder case, repressed memories were brought into the public eye. The topic of repressed memories is a very challenging one for the therapeutic community, so I’m glad to have the opportunity to address it.

Adding orgasms to the mix can make it even more complicated, since there are so many different reasons for orgasmic blockages. Thus, present clinical evidence is insufficient to permit the conclusion that individuals can repress memories of childhood sexual abuse.

This finding is surprising, since many writers have implied that hundreds of thousands, or even millions of persons harbour such repressed memories. The existence of repressed memory recovery has not been accepted by mainstream psychology, nor unequivocally proven to exist, and some experts in the field of human memory feel that no credible scientific support exists for the notions of repressed/recovered memories.

Repressed memory - Wikipedia