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Kluft, R.P. (1999). Memory. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 47(1):227-236.

(1999). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 47(1):227-236

Memory

Review by:
Richard P. Kluft

Memories of Sexual Betrayal: Truth, Fantasy, Repression, And Dissociation. Edited By Richard B. Gartner. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1997, xxiv + 277 pp., $50.00

Recovered Memories of Trauma: Transferring The Present To The Past. By C. Brooks Brenneis. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, 1997, xvi + 204 pp., $31.50.

Recent years have borne witness to an intense and often acrimonious debate about the credibility and accuracy of recovered memories of traumatic experiences, particularly recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse. There are both scientific and political aspects of this controversy, and economic overtones as well. Current clashes are the result of both scientific developments and political movements on inevitable collision courses. The recent rise of interest within the mental health sciences in trauma, dissociation, and their treatment (an interest that has occasioned the exploration of traumatic memory and posttraumatic dissociative phenomena, including amnesia) has encountered the gathering momentum of the academic study of cognitive processes and memory, and its extension into recommendations for clinical practice. In society more generally, a long period of neglect of the victims of trauma was followed by an intense focus on them and on their plight, and then by a reaction against this focus. The reaction often took the form of an impassioned defense of those accused of having perpetrated abuse, and a counterattack on both those who made such accusations and those involved in their care. Therapists were often accused of having inadvertently suggested the memories on which the accusations were founded.

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