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Holmes, J. (1996). Psychotherapy and Memory - An Attachment Perspective. Brit. J. Psychother., 13(2):204-218.

(1996). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 13(2):204-218

Psychotherapy and Memory - An Attachment Perspective

Jeremy Holmes, M.D., MRCP

Early Freudian concepts of memory are contrasted with those of contemporary psychoanalysis. Freud and Breuer's project to ‘remove the amnesias’ has been replaced with a more subtle, context-bound view of memory, in which it is not only facts but their associated affects that need to be retrieved. The attachment-based typology of insecure attachment patterns provides a framework for thinking about memories in psychotherapy, which may be suppressed, overwhelming or unintegrated. Memories are constructions and are therefore inherently unreliable. ‘Normal’ and traumatic memories are processed, stored and retrieved in different ways. The controversy over recovered memories and the false memory syndrome are reviewed in the light of this argument. Therapeutic implications are discussed.

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