Is traumatic amnesia nothing but psychiatric folklore?

TitleIs traumatic amnesia nothing but psychiatric folklore?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsMcNally, RJ
JournalCogn Behav Ther
Pagination97-101; discussion 102-4, 109-11
Date Published2004
KeywordsAmnesia, Dissociative Disorders, Humans, Repression, Psychology, Sex Offenses, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic

Some psychotherapists believe that certain experiences are so overwhelmingly traumatic that some victims become incapable of remembering their worst trauma except under special circumstances (e.g. therapy) many years later. Unfortunately, clinicians who endorse this concept of traumatic amnesia often misinterpret the very studies they adduce in support of it. More specifically, they misinterpret other, unrelated memory phenomena as evidence for traumatic amnesia, such as ordinary forgetfulness, psychogenic amnesia, organic amnesia, incomplete encoding of traumatic experiences, non-disclosure of remembered trauma, and simply not thinking about something for a long time. The purpose of this article is to dispel confusions rampant in this literature.

Alternate JournalCogn Behav Ther
PubMed ID15279316
Grant ListMH61268 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States