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Recovered memory/External Links

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A hand-picked, annotated list of Web resources about Recovered memory.
Please sort and annotate in a user-friendly manner and consider archiving the URLs behind the links you provide. See also related web sources.

Supporters of the concept

Critics

Professional Guidelines

  1. 'Scientific Status of Refreshing Recollection by the Use of Hypnosis' (1985) JAMA 253: 1918-23. PMID 3974082 American Medical Association (Council on Scientific Affairs) ("The Council finds that recollections obtained during hypnosis can involve confabulations and pseudomemories and not only fail to be more accurate, but actually appear to be less reliable than nonhypnotic recall. The use of hypnosis with witnesses and victims may have serious consequences for the legal process when testimony is based on material that is elicited from a witness who has been hypnotized for the purposes of refreshing recollection.")
  2. Questions and Answers about Memories of Childhood Abuse American Psychiatric Association ("...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. The mechanism(s) by which both of these phenomena happen are not well understood and, at this point it is impossible, without other corroborative evidence, to distinguish a true memory from a false one.")
  3. Guidelines Relating to the Reporting of Recovered Memories. (1994) Australian Psychological Society ("Members should not avoid asking clients about the possibility of sexual or other abusive occurrences in their past, if such a question is relevant to the problem being treated. However, members should always be sensitive in the way that they ask such questions, and cautious in interpreting any response that is given. Members should not assume that a report of no abuse is necessarily indicative of either repressed or dissociated memory or denial of known events. They should neither assume that a report of abuse indicates necessarily that the client was abused; nor assume that a report of no abuse is indicative that no abuse occurred.")
  4. British Psychological SocietyGuidelines on Memory and the Law and Guidelines for psychologists working with clients in contexts in which issues related to recovered memories may arise. (1995) ("Psychologists should avoid being drawn into a search for memories of abuse, as abused clients (and non-abused clients who are psychologically disturbed) are vulnerable and may be traumatised or overwhelmed by material that has not arisen spontaneously in the course of their psychological work. Psychologists should avoid engaging in activities and techniques which are intended to reveal indications of past sexual abuse of which the client has no memory. When psychologists use such techniques (e.g. hypnosis) for other purposes they must be aware that these techniques may make memory more confident but less reliable. Psychologists must be alert to the dangers of suggestion. Potential sources of suggestion include subtle cues about the psychologist’s attitudes and beliefs that may be inferred from the therapeutic context (e.g. particular books on the shelf) or client contact with ‘survivor literature’ and subcultures of abuse. Psychologists must be aware that there may be situations in which clients are motivated to recall memories of abuse for a variety of ends.")
  5. Guidelines for Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder in Adults. (includes a section on "Veracity of the patient's memories of child abuse.") International Society for the Study of Dissociation. [Chu JA et al. (2005). J Trauma & Dissociation, 6:69-149. (" Frequently, DID patients describe a history of abuse, often including sexual abuse, beginning in childhood. Many DID patients enter therapy having continuous memory for some abusive experiences in childhood. In addition, most also recover memories of additional previously unrecalled abusive events and/or additional details of partially recalled memories, with recovery of material occurring both inside and outside of therapy sessions. Frequently, delayed recall of trauma precedes or precipitates the patient’s entry into psychotherapy (). Delayed memories can often be corroborated and are no more likely to be confabulated than memories always recalled")
  6. Position Statement on Adult Recovered Memories of Childhood Sexual Abuse Canadian Psychiatric Association (1996) ("Developmental psychology casts doubt upon the reliability of recovered memories from early childhood. The older the child at the time of the event, the more reliable is the memory. Cognitive psychology further finds that memory is an active process of reconstruction that is susceptible to fluctuating external events and to internal effort or drives. If memories of events have not been revisited and cognitively rehearsed in the interval between the occurrence of the events and attention being paid to them some years later, it is not clear that such memories can endure, be accessible, or be reliable.")
  7. Colangelo JJ (2007)Recovered memory debate revisited: practice implications for mental health counselors.(PRACTICE) J Mental Health Counseling ("The final recommendations of the Working Group on Investigation of Memories of Child Abuse of the American Psychological Association presented findings mirroring those of the other professional organizations: (1) controversies regarding adult recollections should not be allowed to obscure the fact that child sexual abuse is a complex and pervasive problem in America that has historically gone unacknowledged; (2) most people who were sexually abused as children remember all or part of what happened to them; (3) it is possible for memories of abuse that have been forgotten for a long time to be remembered; (4) it is also possible to construct convincing pseudo-memories for events that never occurred; and (5) there are gaps in our knowledge about the processes that lead to accurate and inaccurate recollections of childhood abuse")
  8. 'Evaluation and Treatment of Adults with the Possibility of Recovered Memories of Childhood Sexual Abuse'. National Association of Social Workers (1996)
  9. 'Guidelines for Psychologists Addressing Recovered Memories'. Canadian Psychological Association (1996)
  10. Royal College of Psychiatrists. Reported recovered memories of child sexual abuse: recommendations for good practice and implications for training, continuing professional development and research. Psychiatric Bull 1997;21:663-5. ("The evidence shows that memories of events which did not in fact occur may develop and be held with total conviction. Such memories commonly develop under the influence of individuals or situations which encourage the development of strong beliefs. They have often been described as arising within therapy, sometimes involving psychiatrists or other mental health workers, as well as psychotherapists..")
  11. Editorial in the BMJ on the above report by Pope HG (1998)Reported Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse'. BMJ No 7130 Volume 316 Editorial Saturday 14 February.("One must ask therefore whether repression is a scientifically established phenomenon, or whether it is simply a romantic notion that has infiltrated our cultural belief system. And indeed, on critical examination, the scientific evidence for repression crumbles. Admittedly, various published case reports and retrospective studies exist, describing individuals who currently remembered an alleged traumatic experience but reportedly had forgotten it during a previous period of their lives. But asking individuals if they "remember whether they forgot" is of dubious validity.Furthermore, in most retrospective studies corroboration of the traumatic event was either absent or fell below reasonable scientific standards. The only convincing test of the repression hypothesis would be a prospective study, in which victims of a documented trauma were systematically followed up and asked whether they remembered the event.")
  12. Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia:Guidelines for Working with Recovered Memory DRAFT POSITION STATEMENT July 2005.(" Clinical experience supports the phenomenon but experimental research is inconclusive... At present, the accuracy of a memory can only be predicted by independent, external corroboration and not by belief in or the level of emotion associated with the memory...Clinicians should not avoid asking questions about abusive occurrences but must be sensitive in so doing. Also, they should not assume that no report of abuse necessarily indicates repressed memories or denial of events, a report necessarily indicates abuse nor that a report of no abuse necessarily indicates no abuse occurred... Clinicians should be open to a range of possibilities: that a memory may be literally/historically, partly, metaphorically, thematically true or false, or derived from fantasy or dreams. Discovering this should not discount the rest of that memory.")
  13. The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
  14. 'Childhood Trauma Remembered: A report on the current scientific knowledge base and its applications.' (1998)
  15. 'Clinical Hypnosis and Memory: Guidelines for Clinicians and for Forensic Hypnosis. (1995) American Society of Clinical HypnosisChicago: American Society of Clinical Hypnosis Press. ISBN: 1886610010