In the Light of Theosophy
- Published: Friday, 21 January 2022 08:56
This article appeared in the December 2021 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: https://www.ultindia.org/previous_issues.html
Can there be repressed memories? It was Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, who put forward the idea that memories can be repressed. It means that certain painful experiences and unwholesome desires or urges are locked away from the conscious mind but pushed deep down into one’s non-conscious mind, so as to be inaccessible. The idea that memories can be repressed and then suddenly re-emerge years later, was put aside as being false, in the 1990s, since this concept did not go well with all that was known about how memory works. Moreover, it was observed that it is so easy to implant false memories that it would be impossible to distinguish between recovered memory from an implanted one. But the reason for the resurfacing of this idea could be based on the belief that buried memories of trauma can explain why some people experience mental health conditions in later life. These can be treated by persuading them to recall the traumas and processing them. Lawrence Patihis, a forensic psychologist at the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom, points out that often false memories take hold of people, because certain kinds of therapy encourage people to imagine certain scenarios or ask them to elaborate on some fragments of events that they remembered.