Memory work techniques

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Memory work techniques are methods used by therapists to elicit memories believed to be repressed. There is no question that they can produce responses; the challenge is whether the information reported by the client are valid.

Representative techniques used include hypnosis, the interpretation of dreams, guided imagery, journal writing, age regression, etc. Depending on the method, the therapist may give varying levels of suggestion or guidance, with the intention of unlocking memories affected by amnesia. Validation of the events described are not an explicit part of the techniques.

Much of the concern is medicolegal. In psychotherapy to deal with emotional trauma, the actual validity of a belief may not be terribly important; reducing the anxieties and other feelings surrounding it are a legitimate therapeutic goal. The problem comes when recovered memory, elicited with such techniques, are offered as evidence in legal proceedings either civil or criminal.