Amnesia, Partial Amnesia, and Delayed Recall among Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma

Consciousness and Cognition 3 (3-4):295-306 (1994)
Clinical experience suggests that adult survivors of childhood trauma arrive at their memories in a number of ways, with varying degrees of associated distress and uncertainty and, in some cases, after memory lapses of varying duration and extent. Among those patients who enter psychotherapy as a result of early abuse, three general patterns of traumatic recall are identified: relatively continuous and complete recall of childhood abuse experiences coupled with changing interpretations of these experiences, partial amnesia for abuse events, accompanied by a mixture of delayed recall and delayed understanding, and delayed recall following a period of profound and pervasive amnesia. These patterns are represented by three composite clinical vignettes. Variations among them suggest that the phenomena underlying traumatic recall are continuous not dichotomous. Future research into the nature of traumatic memory should be informed by clinical observation
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DOI 10.1006/ccog.1994.1017
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