American Psychological Association: Q & A about memories of childhood abuse

Can a memory be forgotten and then remembered? Can a ‘memory’ be suggested and then remembered as true?

These questions lie at the heart of the memory of childhood abuse issue. Experts in the field of memory and trauma can provide some answers, but clearly more study and research are needed. What we do know is that both memory researchers and clinicians who work with trauma victims agree that both phenomena occur. However, experienced clinical psychologists state that the phenomenon of a recovered memory is rare …

First, it’s important to state that there is a consensus among memory researchers and clinicians that most people who were sexually abused as children remember all or part of what happened to them although they may not fully understand or disclose it. … But most leaders in the field agree that although it is a rare occurrence, a memory of early childhood abuse that has been forgotten can be remembered later. However, these leaders also agree that it is possible to construct convincing pseudomemories for events that never occurred. ….

Editor’s note:This document is being released at the direction of the APA Board of Directors. It is based on numerous reports and documents, including, but not limited to, the work of the APA Working Group on the Investigation of Memories of Childhood Abuse.

Read full statement

Retrieved 6/5/11.

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4 Comments

  1. I particularly enjoyed this website. Located it on Google. Some intriguing solutions here. Thank You.

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  2. Steve

     /  06/08/2011

    What’s striking about the first page of the APA statement is how many times the word ” believe” is used. ” Some clinicians believe this, or believe this, or believe this”

    Shouldn’t medicine be practiced based on knowledge? Does your Dr. treat your condition, whatever it might be, based on what she/he believes? I recently had sinus surgery after a long winter of chronic sinusitis, I went through various treatments before surgery was recommended. I don’t think I heard the word ” believe” used even once.

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    • That’s the main problem with DID. It is based on people’s belief systems as you noted. Once the patient’s belief system (thought reform) takes place, there is little chance of turning back or changing their minds as you can note on most of the posts that “beleivers” in DID write here.

      I think the APA was, back then, attempting to warn clinicians, but didn’t have the courage to step up to the plate and say: Stop It! Back then, diagnosis and treatment was based on beliefs and it hit everyone int the psychological like a fire storm. Thing is, when it was realized that the fire was set by the few who founded the International Society for the Study of Multiple Personality Disorder – I think was closer to the original name – again no one said Stop It!

      Now those in opposition know it was a calculated fire. Problem is, it hasn’t been banned. There are too many “professionals” who have a lot to lose by reversing their opinions. They have become a powerful political organization – too much cognitive dissonance to turn back.

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