Translation of post header: dissociative identity disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder are not false memory syndrome.

False memories are utterly different in secondary manifestations, in type of content, and in brain activity compared to the recovery phase of repressed traumatic memories. Repressed traumatic memories, and not false memories, are often associated with the psychogenic symptoms noted in supposed "alien abduction" experiences. The phenomenon is attributable to the fact that it's easier for children to imagine that the original attacker was an alien or a monster or a robot rather than a loved one.

The whole nonsense called False Memory Syndrome was concocted by a psychology researcher cum lawyer who may well have emotional issues of her own. The False Memory 'Mythology' has been usurped and distorted by defence lawyers who are interested in winning cases and not in ascertaining truth.

The experimental work on false memories employs studies in which, for example, subjects are shown photos of car wrecks with a body lying on the ground in front of the car, and then asking subjects whether they noticed either "A broken headlight" or "THE broken headlight".

It doesn't take a trained psychiatrist to realize that more study subjects claim to have remembered "THE broken headlight". Obviously, if the experimenters had asked whether the subject remembered seeing "A body" or "THE body", this would make little difference to accuracy of reporting! The only value of such research is to teach those who question anyone professionally (police, social workers, psychiatrists, etc) to avoid leading questions, particularly concerning the small details.

Many experimental subjects are immune to implantation of memories. Some studies recruit parents to tell their child of an event, such as disliking soft-boiled eggs, that the child supposedly experienced but does not recall. Hypnosis is not used for this. Some imaginative kids are able to visualize the described event and to come to believe that it actually happened. It's easy to understand how this can happen – when we read a novel, we visualize the characters, the places, and the events about which we read, otherwise novels would be as boring as manuals on programming VCRs (well, maybe it's just moi).

Now, think about how different the experience of being beaten or sexually traumatized would be in comparison to recalling broken headlights or imagining that you disliked soft-boiled eggs. Fortunately for most of us, the experiences are worlds apart.

Any competent therapist who treats traumatized patients will honestly assure you that the therapeutic work involves letting the patient recover the memory without any leading questions. The patient already 'contains' all the information that they need to heal, it is simply that they have not yet been able to consciously access and process it while it remains repressed. The timing of such access should be left to the patient, with the therapist providing only the occassional gentle exploration of related material.

As a matter of fact, therapists find that if they ever try to clarify a detail concerning a recovered memory and get it slightly wrong, their patients are utterly clear on which detail was accurate. When victims of childhood trauma recover a memory, they don't just remember it the way you or I would consciously recall a faded 'episodic' memory of an event, they RELIVE it with all the intensity and sensations of the original event. It's upsetting to witness, and there is no way on earth that a therapist could either implant such a memory or that they would wish to. It is much more upsetting to endure the traumatizing event and the recovery of the memory, but patients become increasingly infuriated by lay denial, and even more by professional denial, of their personal, though painful reality. Such denial is often a present day replication of the denial that permitted their abuse to continue without hope for comfort or rescue.

The more obviously accurate instances of reliving of traumatic material by adults who have experienced traumatic events such as major military conflicts. The condition was formerly called 'shell shock', which was certainly appropriate in reference to the major conflicts of the 20th century. However, terminology has been updated to posttraumatic stress disorder, which more accurately reflects the fact that a variety of life or self-threatening situations can precipitate difficulties. The process of recovery from adult traumas is very similar to that from childhood traumas, although individuals older than around 8 years do not develop the dissociative identity schisms employed by younger children.

The intensely vivid nature of such previously repressed traumatic memories results from their 'storage' in the emotional limbic system, rather than in the associative neocortex. Once a memory has been accessed by the conscious neocortex, its quality fades to that of a conscious episodic memory, and its perceived time-frame recedes appropriately into the past. It is this transfer from the limbic emotion-bound memories to conscious cognitive memory that permits healing from the trauma and paves the way for personality integration in those with dissociative identity disorder (earlier known as multiple personality disorder). The 'information' transfer from limbic to frontal association areas has been well documented with fMRIs.

To treat the condition effectively, a therapist must recognize the clinical picture, particularly because untrusting patients may go to great pains to hide or deny their real mental experiences and symptoms. Because recognition is so critical to therapeutic success, competent therapists grow utterly frustrated with the impact of denialist nonsense on their patients. Another tragic component of this prevailing denial is the prevalent misdiagnosis and mistreatment by incompetent psychiatrists and psychologists who are afraid of the diagnosis and so ignore it.

Don't take just 'my' word for all this any more than you'd believe lawyers or psychologists-with-issues. Instead look up a reputable site on childhood abuse, repressed memories, posttraumatic stress disorder, or dissociative identity disorder, and read those who help victims rather than helping perpetrators.

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