I recently received this material as an e-mail from a therapist friend to whom I had sent a copy of the recent Washington Post article entitled, "Was Repressed Memory a 19th-Century Creation?" He is credentialed both as physician and clinical psychologist and among his interests are primal therapy, hypnotherapy, evolutionary principles and neurology.
-- John A. Speyrer, Editor, The Primal Psychotherapy Page
I just read the smear piece on repressed memories of trauma. There has been for a couple of decades at least now an attempt by drug companies and
abusive individuals in the spook circles to frankly discredit trauma theory
altogether hitting several birds with one dirty stone.
By discrediting the very real effects of trauma on the individual and the memory function they
will allow future generations of kids to be abused or simply manipulated
without any consequence for the abuser in court or in the eyes of public
opinion. Another greedy goal is to discredit serious indepth therapies in
order to boost massive drug sales on the reductionistic assumption that all
mental issues are biochemical and genetic in origin and thus drugs are the
only real cure.
This false theory will allow the whole population to be
abused in various subtle ways yet no real steps will be taken to correct the
psychosocial and economic roots of psychological disorders on the basis that
all these symptoms and depressions are chemical in nature and not due to
abusive and traumatic environments.
They will claim that absent mothers and
broken families, etc., have no effect on mental illness so just push medications and
keep the healthy economy running even when the reality of the matter is that
newer generations of kids are very unhappy and confused, overweight and ill
in many ways due to negligent parenting covered up by politically and
economically correct concepts.
In reality the economy is such that mothers
can't mother any more due to working and some of them don't even want to
mother or even give birth as evidenced by increasing rates of unnecessary C
sections they ask for. if the family and parenting function is to be
restored then the incomes will dwindle and the consumerism cycle will falter
to the anger and rage of many parties who erroneously believe that cold
consumerism is happiness.
Other parties are simply greedy and don't care
about psychopathology or suffering. and why bother to do therapy or change
the pathogenic lifestyle when you can drug peoples' sorrows with lucrative
meds? Meds themselves have a place but with prolonged overuse as a fix they
are the easy way out of the massive epidemic of unhappiness and
Deep therapy is harder to do, exposes the social illnesses
and abuses and demands sweeping changes to the socioeconomic system to
prevent negligence and suffering which are the roots of the psychiatric
suffering. Such an approach would be costly and require courage to change
oneself and the pathogenic system.
So forget it. just tell them its genetic
and chemical and use only the lucrative drug modality. Also there is
always denial operating in the society as a whole. admitting trauma theory
is admitting wrongdoing and then guilt or shame, so people would rather
resist the trauma theory of psychopathology so as to minimize guilt feelings
It is a multifaceted story, but trauma theory is rock solid and soon with MRI
scans and PET scans exploring brains before and after therapy, trauma theory
will be easily verifiable once one has the will and funds to do this
confirming research. Everyday in the clinic I see physical and mental
symptoms vanish once the person expresses the suffering deeply and connects
it in consciousness to the original insult or unmet need.
Dr. van der Kolk, is a mainstream physician reaffirming scientifically some trauma information you and I have known for a long while now. But others, instead of weeding solid cases from fake cases of child abuse claims, these deniers of repression want to sink the whole theory altogether, the baby with the bath water! And their motives are questionable to say the least.
I don't believe claims that since popular literature doesn't mention repressed trauma examples, before the 1800s, then repressed trauma must not exist!! There is a logical false step here and A does not necessarily lead to B here. Really bizarre. What about the medical or
psychological or hypnosis literature chockful of examples and case studies
proving trauma and its repression in some patients?
It seems in the book, Betrayal Trauma, the author attempted to scientifically explain why some trauma victims forget
completely while others recall. It agrees with my concept of hierarchy of
hurts elaborated in my graduate thesis. it is to the effect that one trauma
might dictate the forgetting of a lesser one.
For example, if you are totally
young and dependant on a caretaker and that person beats you then it is
scarier to accept that than to eventually forget it, thus encapsulating it
and allowing the rest of the psyche to at least function, though at sub
Back to the Freyd's book called Betrayal Trauma. She speaks of a genre of trauma that leads to memory repression and not a specific trauma. I hope you can get it as I don't know if its still in print.
The article, Was Repressed Memory a 19th Century Creation?, to which reference is made, was written by Shankar Vendantam of The Washington Post, (Feb 28, 2006 issue).
Other articles on this website relating to the repressed memory issue:
The False Memory Syndrome and its Implications in Primal Therapy
The Skeptical Inquirer Magazine Inquires About Primal Therapy
Primal Scream: A Persistent New Age Therapy "Skeptical Inquirer" Magazine Article Review
Others Reply to Martin Gardner's Attack On Primal Therapy
Searching Literary Fiction for the Elusive Repressed Memory Syndrome
On False Memories, Primal Therapy and its Alternatives