Repressed Memories, False Memories

Essay by PepsUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 2006

download word file, 9 pages 5.0

Downloaded 121 times


There is a great debate regarding the recovery of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) memories and on the accuracy of those recovered memories. Recovered memories are memories that have been remembered after previously being blocked or "inaccessable for some period of time" (Gleaves, et al. 2004). Recovered memories may have been blocked due to 'repression' which is the removal of unwanted experiences into the unconscious (Barlow and Durand, 2005) because the event was considered too traumatic to deal with however, memories of CSA may sometimes be memories "of an event that did not occur" another words a false memory (Gleaves, et al. 2004).There are so many questions about memories of CSA, for instance, was the memory 'blocked' or 'repressed' due to 'amnesia' or just simply not thought about? Is the recovered memory real, fragmented with "blends of original and intervening (false) information" (Gleaves, et al. 2005) or a completely false memory?After such a great length of time (often years) after the initial CSA do these adults 'remember' what happened to them all those years ago.

These recovered memories can cause confusion so some individuals seek help from a therapist because they feel that a therapist will be able to help them to understand there memories but others suggest that some therapists actually plant the 'suggestions' for CSA, that grow into what the client believes to be a real experience. The first argument that will be tackled is the one that suggests that CSA is traumatic and memories for the abuse are repressed due to amnesia.

A repressed memory is "a process that forces unwanted material from the conscious into the unconscious" (Barlow And Durand, 2005) in other words a repressed memory is an awareness by the individual that something has happened but they have no memory of...