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Therapy as memory-work: dilemmas of discovery, recovery and construction

Burman, Erica (2010) Therapy as memory-work: dilemmas of discovery, recovery and construction. In: Memory matters: contexts for understanding sexual abuse recollections. Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group. ISBN 978-0-203-87363-2

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Abstract

This book is grounded in the debates of the 1980s and 1990s that surrounded recollections of childhood sexual abuse, particularly those that emerged in the context of psychotherapy. When growing numbers of therapists claimed that they were recovering deeply repressed memories of early sexual violations in their female clients, a wave of alarmed critics countered that therapists were implanting the very memories they were discovering. In looking back at this volatile and heated controversy, Memory Matters takes up disturbing questions that linger concerning memory, sexuality, and childhood. Beginning with a re-analysis of cases from the recovered memory era, the volume goes on to offer fresh perspectives on recollections of childhood sexual abuse. Informed by feminist and critical perspectives within psychology, contributing authors introduce examples from their own qualitative research on processes of remembering. They offer rich examples from a wide range of applied settings, from the courts, psychotherapy, institutions for the disabled, to self-help groups and the media. A shared set of questions is addressed by each of the authors to create a dialogue with the reader on recurring motifs. Memory Matters is an ideal resource for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students in the social sciences and legal studies, as well as practitioners in the fields of mental health, crisis services, and the law. Scholarly and accessible in tone, the book also offers helpful insights for professionals working with childhood memory.

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