Research Reports of Repression and Recovered Memories
Psychiatric researchers are investigating research reports of repression and recovered memories in order to learn more about how memories are formed. Sigmund Freud developed a theory about the development of memories and the ability of the brain to repress them, and today’s researchers are putting those theories to work. These researchers are conducting case studies and conducting psychological testing in order to find out if repression really does occur. These studies also look at the effectiveness of various psychiatric treatments for repressed memories.
Sigmund Freud’s theory
Sigmund Freud developed the concept of repression and recovered memories. He believed that our unconscious mind has a number of defense mechanisms to keep us from suffering from internal conflicts.
Repression is a defense mechanism that occurs when our super-ego deems a certain behavior unacceptable. For example, an adult who was bitten by a spider may develop an intense phobia of spiders later in life. Repression may also occur when an id acts erotically towards a parent who shares opposite sex.
Repressed memories are a person’s memories of events that they can’t remember. The memories can be spontaneously recovered, and they may also be revealed through extensive therapy.
In contrast to a repressed memory, a recovered memory is a memory of a past event that the individual can remember. The recovered memory may affect the individual’s behavior, but it’s not always consciously accessible.
Repression is a defense mechanism, but it can also be a conscious decision. For example, an adult who is bitten by a spider may decide to hide the memory of the incident, or may not understand the source of their phobia.
Psychological evidence for repression
Despite the popularity of the concept, there is little scientific evidence that support the hypothesis that unconsciously repressed memories are a major cause of illness. Although researchers have a general idea that people remember and suppress unpleasant experiences, repression remains a highly debated topic in psychology.
In the past two decades, there has been a noticeable increase in skepticism among mainstream psychotherapists about the validity of repressed memories. This has been particularly true of those who focus on trauma. While most people do not forget traumatic experiences, they do not repress them unless they are rendered unconscious at the time of the event.
While there is no concrete evidence that repressed memories are a cause of illness, psychologists believe that repressed emotions can cause psychological and physical problems. These include anxiety, depression, and sexual dysfunction. Some researchers believe that repressed memories are useful in coping with stressful situations. Some therapists use hypnosis to access repressed memories.
Psychiatric treatments for repressed memories
Psychiatric treatments for repressed memories have sparked debate. Scientists and clinicians argue about the best way to study the phenomenon. The term “repressed memory” has been used in literature for centuries, but the scientific literature has yet to settle the debate.
In the United Kingdom, a study compiled data on the prevalence of repressed memories in the country. The study also examined the methods used by therapists to recover the memories. The study authors were able to find that nine percent of the sample reported recovering memories of childhood abuse.
The same study found that the most common type of therapy was cognitive-behavioral therapy. In addition, the study found that a significant percentage of therapists engaged in a wide range of treatments. Some therapists engaged in hypnotism to re-experience the memories, and others used dream interpretation to discover repressed memories.
The British False Memory Society maintains an archive of 2,500 cases of alleged victims of false memories since 1993. The organization explains that 83% of alleged victims were receiving therapy at the time of the accusations.
Sigmund Freud coined the term repression to describe an automatic psychological defense mechanism that helps protect us from emotional trauma. However, there are questions surrounding the nature and prevalence of repression. Some people believe that repressed memories are real while others say that they are not. Until scientific controlled experiments are conducted, we cannot be sure.
The majority of people agree that traumatic memories can be repressed. But there are arguments on both sides. The arguments include the bandwagon fallacy and the question of whether repressed memories are real.
Some therapists believe that the unconscious can hold repressed memories. Some people experience reinterpretation, or recovered memories, as a result of therapy. But some experts argue that repressed memories are false memories that were discovered in therapy.
Researchers in the United Kingdom studied the prevalence of repressed memories. They surveyed 2,326 U.S. citizens and found that nine percent reported a memory of childhood sexual abuse.