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Brenneis, C.B. (2000). Evaluating the Evidence: Can We Find Authenticated Recovered Memory?. Psychoanal. Psychol., 17(1):61-77.

(2000). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 17(1):61-77

Evaluating the Evidence: Can We Find Authenticated Recovered Memory?

C. Brooks Brenneis, Ph.D.

In the waning of the controversy over recovered memories of trauma, the question may be asked, What evidence is there that the phenomenon exists, not in disputed form, but in accurate and validated form? Because no memory can be authenticated in isolation, some form of corroboration is required. A single instance of validly recovered memory demonstrates the existence of the phenomenon. Can such a case be found? In search of the answer, a wide variety of case reports is surveyed. Only a few are without major flaws, but those few are provocative because, for the most part, they deviate substantially in context and content from the recovered memories most frequently described in the clinical literature. This casts doubt on the historical authenticity of therapeutically recovered memories and makes relevant for practice the possibility that they represent commentaries about the analytic present and not revelations about the historic past.

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