Point-Counterpoint: Two Views on Traumatic Memories and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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Recent books by Brewin (2003) and McNally (2003b) each reviewed the empirical literature on traumatic memories and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although these authors reached similar conclusions on several topics, they differed on a number of important and controversial issues. In this article, Drs. Brewin and McNally are interviewed on these issues, and asked to comment on one another's conclusions. Issues discussed include the nature of traumatic events and traumatic stress responses, the problem of malingering in PTSD research, the relative merits of contemporary cognitive models of PTSD, the issues of whether body memories and satanic cult abuse are genuine phenomena, and the question of whether memories can be repressed and later recovered. Implications for the assessment and treatment of PTSD are also discussed. The arguments for and against the various opinions provide fertile ground for stimulating further research into these controversial topics.

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