Validating reports of poor childhood memory
People forget names, dates, faces and even entire events all the time. For more than a hundred years, doctors, scientists and other observers have reported the connection between trauma and forgetting.But is it possible to forget terrible experiences such as being raped? But only in the past 10 years have scientific studies demonstrated a connection between childhood trauma and amnesia.At the time of a traumatic event, the mind makes many associations with the feelings, sights, sounds, smells, taste and touch connected with the trauma.Later, similar sensations may trigger a memory of the event.
They discovered that some people do forget the traumatic experiences they had in childhood, even though it was established fact that the traumatic events occurred.Knowledge about details of traumatic experiences and some of their possible effects can help professional caregivers formulate a treatment approach that might reduce symptoms and improve daily functioning.The point of trauma - focused therapy is not to make people remember all the disturbing things that ever happened to them.Evidence shows that memory can be influenced by other people and situations; that people can make up stories to fill in memory gaps, and that people can be persuaded to believe they heard, saw or experienced events that did not really happen.Studies also reveal that people who have inaccurate memories can strongly believe they are true.
Encouraging people to imagine they were traumatized when they have no memory of a traumatic event may promote inaccurate memories.