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Repressed Memory

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Human beings are prone to experience different happenings during part of their developmental processes. The ability to recall the different occurrences as they may have unfolded is dependent on one’s memory. Repressed memory is the recollection of different horrific happenings that occurred in one’s life during the developmental stage (Koehler, 1995). Most cases of repressed memory are linked to the experiences that occurred during the childhood. The memory may store the information for numerous years only to unearth them later in life. An example of such happening may be a recalling of a sexual abuse, one may have been subjected to over ten years ago. Hence, repressed memory is an equivalent of amnesia.

On the other hand, false memory is the distortion of different actual happenings in one’s life. The memory pieces up fragments of different happenings, making them appear as if they occurred at the same instance (Flannery, 2003).  False memory may also translate to one believing that dreams were real life experiences. Some of the major methodological challenges that characterize false memory are the facts of ascertaining whether the issue being recalled by the affected person really took place in their lives. This challenge has proved to be a hard nut to crack, due to the fact that therapy sessions one may be exposed to in order to over-come the problem may lead to the believing that something happened in one’s life yet it did not. In contrast, methodological challenges that characterize repressed memory are the question of how can one’s memories’ be repressed? And the effects of the repressed memory when they re-surface, in addition to, how possible is it to ascertain the authenticity of the repressed memory (Loftus, 1993).

Though false and repressed memories are both based on the recollection of past events, the major difference between them is that in false memory there is a high possibility of the memory misleading an individual to believe in something that actual did not take place. In repressed memory the event actually occurred but had not been unearthed by the brain for many years.

Analysis of the movie Divided Memories, produced by OfraBikel

The documentary Divided Memories tries to bring to light different issues, based on false and repressed memories. To achieve this, different people and techniques are used to shed more light on to the issue of memory.

The movie reveals the pitfall of some professionals in the field of psychology, justice system, and counseling. It’s evident from the documentary that some psychologists, such as in case of a lady named Maura, were compelling their patients to give in to false accusations based on memories that actually did not take place. For example, the psychologist was compelling Maura to accuse her father of raping during her childhood, whereas in real life this did not ever take place.

The issue of repressed memory also brings controversies. There are some incidents that portray repressed memory to be a thing that exist in life whereas there are cases that the memory is said to be something imposed on individuals by their psychotherapists, as it happened in case of the lady who was raped during her childhood. The rape had disorientated her yet she was not aware of what had happened to her. It’s only later that her mother informed her that she had been a victim of childhood rape years ago. It’s during this time that the lady is able to fully recollect what had happened. 

The issue of memory also raises questions of the credibility of the justice system. This is due to the fact that the court hearings on matters of childhood abuse, based on the repressed memories, were dependent on therapeutic records. Hence, since some patients were brain-washed by their therapists and made to believe the things that actually did not take place, there is a likelihood that some people were compelled to suffer from crimes that they did not commit, simply because the judgment was based on the therapeutic records.

False or repressed memories also had far reaching effects not only on certain individuals, but also on different families. For example, memories that were invented on patients by their therapists translated to some families crumbling due to withdrawals and change of the moods and emotions.
Different people have different opinion on the issue of memory, no matter whether false or repressed. There are some who believe that repressed memory lacks scientific basis, hence it must not be valued when making any judgment. On the other hand, some people believe that therapy sessions for individuals suffering from memory problems is a waste of time and resources. Hence, efforts of the counselors should be channeled towards making such individuals make sense out of life rather than understanding the memory problems.

Opinion

The issue of memories i.e. either false or repressed is quite complex. However, repressed memory is unreal in life of a normal human being. There is no way a normal person can be in a position to ‘piece up’ fragments of an incident that happened in his/her life without actually knowing what happened.
 It’s possible for an individual to experience false memory. For instance, there are some individuals who can act on fragments of different happenings that have occurred in their life. Some people also behave according to their dreams. For example, the children who wet their beds tend to think that they have taken a break, while playing to visit the wash room. In the process they wet their beds only to realize that when the place is wet they are actually asleep.

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