Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0674068056
ISBN-10: 067406805X
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Editorial Reviews Review

Jennifer J. Freyd understands the operation of memory in both professional and personal terms. As an academic psychologist, Professor Freyd has researched the psychological processes of memory and the physiological operation of the mind. In Betrayal Trauma, she uses the generally accepted findings of cognitive science to formulate a psychological theory of recovered memory. But Jennifer J. Freyd's interests and involvement in the study of recovered memories is not strictly academic. During her research, Freyd "uncovered" her own memories of childhood abuse. Her parents, who vehemently denied her allegations, have helped found an organization to support others "falsely accused" by individuals with "recovered memories" of abuse. Freyd's personal stake in the subject matter ironically causes her to go the extra mile in maintaining professional objectivity. While partisan detractors of other stripes will likely disagree, most of Freyd's well-written study sticks to the scientific processes that could supply an explanatory basis for forgetting and remembering traumatic experiences. Freyd mostly eschews victimology. She even considers how artificial memories could be the result of bad psychotherapy. Betrayal Trauma outlines a compelling thesis of how memory operates that addresses a controversial topic with great aplomb.

From Kirkus Reviews

A cognitive psychologist heats up the debate about recovered memories of childhood abuse by presenting her theory of why and how such memories may be repressed. Freyd (Psychology/Univ. of Oregon) argues that the childhood traumas that are most likely to be forgotten are those in which betrayal is a central factor. According to her betrayal trauma theory, forgetting certain kinds of betrayal, such as sexual abuse by a parent or trusted caretaker, is an adaptive behavior, for by blocking out knowledge of the abuse the child aligns with the caregiver and thus ensures his or her own survival. Such information blockage is not unique to childhood sexual abuse, the author argues, but a common response to everyday betrayals by trusted individuals, be they spouses or bosses or other authority figures. Freyd cites numerous studies to back her assertion that the forgetting and later remembering of childhood sexual abuse is real and well documented, and she illustrates the phenomenon with extensive excerpts from the recollections of Ross Cheit, a college professor whose recovered memories of sexual abuse by an administrator at a summer camp were subsequently corroborated. To explain the underlying cognitive mechanisms, Freyd describes research that she is conducting with both college students and clinical populations. While not directly tackling the issue of whether memories of childhood abuse may be false, Freyd offers support to those who claim they are real by rejecting the view that memory repression is impossible or implausible. In an afterword, she acknowledges the role that her private life has played in her development of betrayal trauma theory and notes that her parents are founding members of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (which supports parents whose children have accused them of sexual abuse on the basis of recovered memories). Although Freyd argues persuasively, it seems unlikely that her theory will end the debate or that its critics will disregard her personal history in considering its validity. (20 line illustrations) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Harvard University Press; 1st edition (January 1, 1996)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 067406805X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0674068056
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.1 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.5 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 38 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
38 global ratings

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