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Crews, F. (1996). Forward to 1896?: Commentary on Papers by Harris and Davies. Psychoanal. Dial., 6(2):231-250.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 6(2):231-250

Forward to 1896?: Commentary on Papers by Harris and Davies Related Papers

Frederick Crews, Ph.D.

Of [paramount] importance is the integration of the adult and child personas' experiences. This involves, above all else, the recovery and disclosure of as many memories of early sexual abuse as possible….

—Davies and Frawley (1992p. 23)

Two years ago, as readers of this journal are well aware, I aroused the displeasure of psychoanalysts by publishing a caustic essay-review about Sigmund Freud and his dubiously scientific movement (Crews, 1993). Among the letters of protest that were mailed to The New York Review of Books, some of the most dismissive dwelt on my admittedly sketchy attempt to link the Freudian tradition to recovered memory therapy (RMT) for alleged victims of molestation. After all, hadn't Freud, in 1897, explicitly renounced the keystone causal assertion of RMT—that adult neurotic symptoms can be reliably traced to “seductions” in early childhood? And didn't his subsequently elaborated theory of compromise formation militate against simplistic one-to-one translations of contemporary behaviors and dream material into the repressed memories that putatively lay behind them? Many letters (published and unpublished) reproached me for failing to acknowledge the obvious fact that RMT is a fly-by-night modality practiced by naive or shady operators who have nothing in common with properly trained psychoanalysts.

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