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Spence, D.P. (2007). Perils and Pitfalls of Memory-Based Reporting: How Case Histories Can Become More Evidence-Based. Psychoanal. Inq., 27(5):602-616.
    

(2007). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 27(5):602-616

Perils and Pitfalls of Memory-Based Reporting: How Case Histories Can Become More Evidence-Based

Donald P. Spence

Recent studies of eyewitness testimony have shown, beyond a doubt, that memories for recent events can be permanently affected by subsequent comments or intervening thoughts. This kind of contamination is further amplified by the fact that analysts are trained to listen between the lines and to always be alert to what is not said. Many of the associations we become aware of during an hour can easily become part of our recent memory and soon after, part of the record.

For these and related reasons, it seems more than a little unwise to rely solely on memory-based reporting, and analysts need to find more evidence-based methods of recording our clinical encounters. Ways must be found to be faithful to what was said as filtered through the analyst's context of consciousness and make explicit how this understanding leads to the next intervention. A fully unpacked vignette can become our version of evidence-based reporting because it takes away the mystique of the unseen Unconscious and exposes the rationale behind our procedures. Truth by coherence becomes a substitute for truth by correspondence.

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