Is traumatic amnesia nothing but psychiatric folklore?

  title={Is traumatic amnesia nothing but psychiatric folklore?},
  author={Richard J McNally},
  journal={Cognitive Behaviour Therapy},
  pages={101 - 97}
  • R. McNally
  • Published 1 June 2004
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
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… Expand
Commentary on McNally “Is Traumatic Amnesia Nothing but Psychiatric Folklore?”
In this article McNally (2004) seeks to inform clinicians and mental health experts about the scientific literature on trauma and memory, suggesting there is no solid evidence that traumatic eventsExpand
Amnesia, folklore and folks: recovered memories in clinical practice
McNally's (2004) timely work on traumatic amnesia illustrates an important exception to Russell’s maxim; there are sound, empiricallybased reasons for proposing that many cases of so-calledtraumatic amnesia are not really examples of repressed memories. Expand
Believing in dissociative amnesia relates to claiming it: a survey of people's experiences and beliefs about dissociative amnesia.
The findings suggest that claiming dissociative amnesia goes hand in hand with believing in dissociatives, and many participants indicated to have at least once claimed to have feigned memory loss in their life, and that they experienced some form of forgetting when trying to retrieve events for which they lied upon. Expand
Traumatic amnesia revisited: a reply to Brewin and Taylor
In my reply to the thoughtful commentaries of Brewin (2004) and Taylor (2004), I will concentrate on points of disagreement. Space limitation precludes my addressing points of agreement (see Brewin,Expand
Recovered memories.
Evidence concerning the existence of the repression and recovery of autobiographic memories of traumatic events and research on the development of false autobiographical memories are reviewed, how specific therapeutic procedures can lead to false memories, and individual vulnerability to resisting false memories. Expand
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Current Concepts and Controversies
The diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sometimes is raised in compensation claims, in tort settings, and in other medical–legal settings. Accordingly, health-care and legalExpand
Malingering of PTSD: forensic and diagnostic considerations, characteristics of malingerers and clinical presentations.
The paper concludes with a review of the typical presentations of malingered PTSD symptoms and a reminder that physicians need to distinguish legitimate symptoms from faked or embellished presentations. Expand
59 clusion, in which they raise serious reservations about the merits of the dissociative disorders and their continued inclusion in the DSM-V, raises several issues of concern. Firstly, outlined inExpand
Consistency of written trauma narratives over a course of trauma-focused therapy
Several of the procedures commonly used in trauma-focused therapies are similar to techniques that have been shown to influence the consistency and accuracy of memory in experimental settings. TheseExpand
Relationship Closeness and Trauma Narrative Detail: A Critical Analysis of Betrayal Trauma Theory
Betrayal Trauma Theory (BTT) holds that certain traumas, such as incest, should be uniquely categorized as betrayal trauma: a subcategory of trauma in which the violation of trust, within a closeExpand


Recovering Memories of Trauma
The controversy over the validity of repressed and recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has been extraordinarily bitter. Yet data on cognitive functioning in people reporting repressedExpand
Posttraumatic stress disorder: Malady or myth?
As more individuals bear witness to terrorist attacks, school shootings, or assaults, there has been an increase in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a diagnosis that has generated controversyExpand
Self-reported amnesia for abuse in adults molested as children
A sample of 450 adult clinical subjects reporting sexual abuse histories were studied regarding their repression of sexual abuse incidents. A total of 267 subjects (59.3%) identified some period inExpand
Memory, trauma treatment, and the law
The authors critically review memory research, trauma treatment, and legal cases pertaining to the false memory controversy. They discuss current memory science and research with both children andExpand
Recalling the Unrecallable: Should Hypnosis Be Used to Recover Memories in Psychotherapy?
Walker, N., Lunning, S., & Eilts, J. (1996, June). Do children respond accurately to forced choice ques tions? Paper presented to the NATO Ad vanced Study Institute: Recollections of Trauma:Expand
Inhibiting retrieval of trauma cues in adults reporting histories of childhood sexual abuse
Are people who report having forgotten their childhood sexual abuse (CSA) characterised by superior ability to inhibit retrieval of disturbing material? To test this hypothesis, we asked adultsExpand
Recovered Memories: The Current Weight of the Evidence in Science and in the Courts
The authors critically review the main strategies that false-memory proponents have used to challenge the admissibility of testimony regarding recovered abuse memories in the courts: that theExpand
Comparison of Neuropsychological Test Performance in PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Control Vietnam Veterans
Examination of the neuropsychological performance pattern of Vietnam veterans with PTSD as compared to those with generalized anxiety disorder and no history of psychiatric diagnosis reveals no significant differences. Expand
False and Recovered Memories in the Laboratory and Clinic: A Review of Experimental and Clinical Evidence
We review the clinical and laboratory evidence for recovered and false memories. Available data suggest that, at least under certain circumstances, both false and recovered memories may occur. WeExpand
Protecting the integrity of the legal system: The Admissibility of Testimony from Mental Health Experts under Daubert/Kumho Analyses
The authors discussed to what degree testimony from social science and mental health experts (psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, therapists, others) meets admissibility requirementsExpand