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Unread October 24th, 2004, 11:26 PM
Lucy Jensen Lucy Jensen is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2
Default Re: Recovered memory

Hi,

I've been puzzling over this post, and the responses. for several weeks.

It seems to me clear that memory is corruptible and unreliable. Yet themes and general impressions are usually correct. For instance, it is unlikely you attempted to visit your childhood home, believing it to be in another state or county than it was, in fact. In the same way, it is unlikely that a client will report abuse, violence, humiliation or suffer from attachment difficulties, if their home environment was nurturing and stable.

Of course, any negativity about a reported childhood cannot be necessarily attributed to "abuse". Medical treatment and trauma, adoption (open and/or closed), sibling relationships, extended family and parental/marital conflict all impact on children. But, again, it is unlikely that someone would report a troubled marriage when all was "fine" according to the parents. I would tend to believe the client picked up on unacknowledged tensions.

Thus, I come to my difficulty, as a clinician, with the memory VS belief dichotomy. Certainly, it is important to focus on a client's beliefs and reactions. Yet, we must be wary of entirely separating "reactions" and "beliefs" from reality/memories. If we engage in such a schism, then we risk reenacting (possible) dynamics from the clients past... denial of "facts" like substance abuse, battering, etc.

Certainly, all memories are not foolproof and there are some clients who malinger or have secondary gain issues. On the whole, however, I tend to believe clients present for treatment with hopes of greater calm and joy in their lives. But I tend to believe that my effectiveness in helping them lies BOTH is validating memories AND in confronting false and self limiting beliefs.

Lucy J.
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