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NCJ Number: 152080 Find in a Library
Title: Making and Finding Memories: A Commentary on the "Repressed Memory" Controversy
Journal: Journal of Child Sexual Abuse  Volume:3  Issue:3  Dated:(1994)  Pages:109-118
Author(s): C J Dalenberg
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 10
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines the debate between those who are skeptical of the validity and accuracy of repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse and those who believe them to be part of a child's reaction to the trauma of sexual abuse, with particular attention to Olio and Cornell's article (see NCJ-152079) on this issue.
Abstract: Olio and Cornell do not believe in the inalterability of repressed memories, but they do dismiss the central concern about false memories that Ofshe and Watters raise. Most memory research, Olio and Cornell state, concerns only the distortion of details, not the creation of full-blown memories. They dismiss pseudomemory research because the memories tend to be "single" and "generic." Ofshe and Watters' overzealous therapists are "not representative." Further, "there is no evidence," they state, that false memories can be implanted in people without trauma histories. The author of the current article concludes that both the presenters of repressed or reconstructed memories and their respective critics underestimate the difficulty of providing a safe atmosphere for true memories while not supporting or creating false ones. Although agreeing with Olio and Cornell that a reconstructed memory will most likely "fit" the general worldview of the truly traumatized individual, clinicians must also acknowledge the pervasiveness of trauma (other than physical and sexual abuse) in the lives of children, recognizing that the "fit" may be general rather than specific. The author further concludes that it is too early to denounce the pseudomemory research literature as irrelevant to clinical work and too early to relax the careful monitoring of clinicians' own introjections and constructions into the therapeutic dialogue. 28 references
Main Term(s): Child victims
Index Term(s): Adult survivors of child sexual abuse; Child Sexual Abuse; Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD); Psychological victimization effects; Psychotherapy
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