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This is a question that doesn't necessarily apply to myself, but I suppose it could theoretically apply to anyone.  Can someone have a repressed memory about something that isn't about something sexual?  Could it be about something that's not even necessarily involving being victimized by another person in any way?  It seems like there are thousands or perhaps even millions of types of traumatic events one could experience.  Say for instance could someone repress a memory of a terrible injury they sustained, cruel comments, a fight, a car accident, etc.  It seems like there would be a multitude of things one could possibly repress.  I also don't understand the concept really.  Does the person simply not remember or is it that they simply choose to not revisit something?  I don't have any repressed memories, nor have I been a victim of anything traumatic other than some messed up social experiences and rejection I've experienced as an adult.  Also, when people have a repressed memory, is it always something that happened as a kid or could it have been as an adult?  Also, could it be recent memory.  For instance, is it theoretically possible that some horrible thing could have happened to someone and the next day they have no memory of it?  I know that for people with histories of trauma, hypnosis unlocks the painful memories from the past.  However, could hypnosis be used to remember something that one simply forgot (e.g. where they left one of their belongings) or for periods of time when a person was in a drunken blackout?  Or is hypnosis strictly for recovering memories that were traumatic to a person? 

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6 hours ago, toast said:

I don't know if this really answers your question or not, but trauma is subjective. Two people can experience the same event and only one may come away traumatized by it. It's all in how you interpret it. Here's a quick example I read in a book. Two people are caught in a tornado inside a department store. One of those individuals is actually a storm chaser by profession, while the other is someone visiting from a part of the country where there are no tornadoes. Both survive, and both perceive the same feelings through their senses, but they each interpret it in a different way. The former would see it as exciting, while the latter might be traumatized. Obviously, this is hyperbole, but I think you get the point.

Another fact to consider is that you can look back on the same event and then reinterpret it in a different fashion. The second person may continue to live in that part of the country and find out that tornadoes are the norm and perhaps it wasn't even a big one. They could then revisit the memory and realize that it was not as traumatic.

I can't really comment on the hypnosis thing, but I remember a few decades back, that people were falsely recalling repressed memories under hypnosis, meaning the event never happened.

This is a great post ... makes a lot of sense, IMO.

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I know that for people with histories of trauma, hypnosis unlocks the painful memories from the past. 

It doesn't do that for everyone.  At least not me.  I tried it in 2003 or 2004, and nothing came of it. 

I also think that some things people repress are for the better (SOME) because by bringing them up again might cause a bad reaction, with the person now remembering the trauma like it was yesterday, and dealing with it all over again.  That is just my opinion though.

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5 hours ago, melissaw72 said:

This is a great post ... makes a lot of sense, IMO.

It doesn't do that for everyone.  At least not me.  I tried it in 2003 or 2004, and nothing came of it. 

I also think that some things people repress are for the better (SOME) because by bringing them up again might cause a bad reaction, with the person now remembering the trauma like it was yesterday, and dealing with it all over again.  That is just my opinion though.

I agree Melissa. There's a fine line between revisiting the past and moving forward. I'm not sure what the correct answer is, I think it varies for everyone. But, ultimately you have to live your life forward. I think the question you want to answer is whether revisiting stuff serves while you move forward. It goes back to the reinterpreting a traumatic memory thing I was talking about earlier.

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34 minutes ago, toast said:

I agree Melissa. There's a fine line between revisiting the past and moving forward. I'm not sure what the correct answer is, I think it varies for everyone. But, ultimately you have to live your life forward. I think the question you want to answer is whether revisiting stuff serves while you move forward. It goes back to the reinterpreting a traumatic memory thing I was talking about earlier.

You are right.  There is definitely a fine line between revisiting the past or moving forward, and like you said it probably varies with each person, I agree.

IMO, before people decide to try hypnosis, I hope they think about what you wrote, about how helpful would it actually be to get those memories back.  Or not.

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I know this isn't a great source but here is a wiki entry on repressed memory. Recovered memories have become controversial and it is hard for me to find unbiased info

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repressed_memory

 

I don't know if it is a special type of hypnosis to help recover memories. I have had hypnosis and it just made me really relaxed.

Edited by confused
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  • 2 weeks later...

This is a bit late for me to be posting, but I wanted to add that as far as I know the concept of repressed memories is considered... umm, not especially well founded in evidence.

On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that extreme emotions/stress can make your memory go haywire, causing memory loss (in general, but especially of events unrelated to the trauma which occurred around the same time); memory distortion (basically, the memories which are kept become more representative rather than matching up to actual events, e.g. if you got into a bad car crash you'll remember the details of stuff like "there was a car crash, i was terrified" but everything else will be completely different from what really happened); and actually sometimes changes to your ability to form memories in general, esp. in childhood (in childhood the main/most obvious change is that it can take longer for your memory to develop fully to begin with).

I might find sources for this later, but basically, yes, anything which qualifies as "traumatic" can do really bad things to your memory, and lesser stressors don't exactly do it any favours, either.

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With hypnosis, you are very suggestible. So it can be hard to tell what you remembered, and what a hypnotist suggested during the session, which could accidentally cause false memories. Witness the "satanic child abuse" in the 80s and 90s.

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4 hours ago, crtclms said:

With hypnosis, you are very suggestible. So it can be hard to tell what you remembered, and what a hypnotist suggested during the session, which could accidentally cause false memories. Witness the "satanic child abuse" in the 80s and 90s.

That is so true!  You're right ... about it being hard to tell what you remembered, and what a hypnotist might suggest during the session, causing false memories.

This why you might want to call around to different places before you choose a hypnotist. Maybe they have a web page you could look at, to get an idea of who you might be dealing with.  Or maybe get a referral from your pdoc/tdoc/gdoc, who might know of someone they trust.

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Like I said, recovered memories are controversial.

I will post 2 conflicting webpages.

There is a term used "False Memory Syndrome" but it isn't a scientific term. 

http://blogs.brown.edu/recoveredmemory/

http://www.fmsfonline.org/

 

I am trying really hard to be seem unbiased. I don't have any recovered memories, but I do believe they can be real and have been corroborated. And, I think the "false memory syndrome" foundation protects pedophiles while it is standing up for other people that may be falsely accused.

 

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