When history repeats itself: Memory wars 2.0?

Patient A. starts therapy because she experiences symptoms of an eating disorder. Her therapist helps her to get to the actual root of her disorder and uncovers memories of a childhood trauma. The therapist claims the patient has repressed the memory: unconsciously blocking traumatic memories. The patient decides to file a lawsuit against her alleged perpetrator and the man is convicted. While the therapist’s suggestion might seem innocent, there is no scientific foundation to repression.  Practices like that led to the initial memory wars in 1990: numerous patients claimed to have been sexually abused and decided to file lawsuits against their alleged perpetrators. This resulted in multiple miscarriages of justice. While such suggestive practices seem like a problem of past time, recent studies suggest that the belief in repression is very much alive these days among therapists. In our study, we examined how future psychologists are doing in this regard and in their general knowledge about memory. We constructed a simple questionnaire and made it available to second year students of the Psychology Bachelor Maastricht University and the public. Using the data we gather we will compare our colleagues to the public and hopefully find that the nonsense of repression and false believes about memory are a problem of past generations. If this is not the case our study could be a red flag indicating teaching at our faculty might need to be adapted.

group 5 a (Research practical IPN2027)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *