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Good, M.I. (1998). Response by Michael I. Good. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(2):556-560.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(2):556-560

Response by Michael I. Good

Michael I. Good

The earliest reference to “veridical” mental experience that I have found in the psychological literature occurs in an 1884 report on psychical subject matter by F. W. H. Myers and his colleagues (Barrett et al. 1884p. 48). At that time the topic involved hallucinations that did or did not have some corresponding reality behind them. In a statement relevant to psychoanalytic reconstruction today, Myers (1903) observed that “the only valid evidence … for veridicality depends on a coincidence with some external event” (p. xliii).

In a thoughtful response to my paper in JAPA 46/1 on screen reconstructions (Good 1998) in which I discuss his case study, “The Reconstruction of a Repressed Sexual Molestation Fifty Years Later” (Viederman 1995, JAPA 43/4), Milton Viederman concludes that the reaction of the patient's elderly friend “confirmed the patient's conviction” but provided “no absolute verification” that the patient's memory of a sexual trauma was veridical, or corresponded to an actual external event. In my reading of his paper, not only did the information in the coda provide essentially no confirmation (let alone verification) except to the patient; it also underscored the issue of her need for validation and the general problem of conviction versus doubt as it arises in the analytic situation. The coda may, alternatively, be seen as a retrospective confirmation (but not a verification) that the reconstruction served a screening function.

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