A PRAGMATIC APPROACH TO EARLY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES: SHIFTING THE FOCUS FROM TRUTH TO CLINICAL UTILITY

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Abstract

The growing backlash against repressed trauma memories has led both clinicians and the lay public to question basic assumptions about the historical accuracy of autobiographical memory. While the popular media is flooded with stories of falsely induced trauma memories, many clinicians and theoreticians are feeling the need to redress many of the conceptual fallacies regarding the accuracy of early childhood memory (Ganaway, 1989; Loftus, 1993). This article reviews pertinent experimental literature in order to make a cogent case for Martin Mayman's (1968) conceptually sophisticated, yet immensely practical working model of reconstructive memory. The integration of cognitive and psychodynamic theory results in an appreciation for the psychologically revealing quality of early memories. Two case illustrations demonstrate the integration of theory with practice.

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