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Recovered Memories and Psychotherapy

Recovered Memories and Psychotherapy

Many of us who were involved with psychotherapy, counselling and hypnotherapy in the 1990’s will be well aware of the controversy which raged regarding the use of therapeutic techniques which included hypnosis as a means of helping clients to unearth traumatic repressed memories. Thankfully, here in the UK, we avoided such high profile disasters like the Ramona Case (where the father of a child who underwent therapy which was designed to recover repressed memories sued the therapist for malpractice and won).

This being the case, sadly there are some therapists who cling to the idea that only through the recovery of these “repressed” memories. In October, the New Scientist ran a piece entitled “We can’t let a discredited psychotherapy return to wreck lives” which was a very thoughtful and well written work which is attempting to ensure that with the recent spate of abuse allegations that these previously discredited approaches are not utilised again.

As both a practitioner and teacher of therapists, I wholeheartedly agree that attempts to uncover repressed memories can indeed lead to more psychological trauma for the clients involved and should not be attempted. People who have suffered abuse do not need to be re-traumatised by incompetent clinical practice which will only do more harm than good.

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