Should repressed memories be remembered?

Question: My therapist says she doesn’t deal with repressed memories and that I can get over my Uncle’s abuse of me with out “doing memories”. I don’t want to have to remember it either, but I keep having these strong images come to me of him raping me and they won’t go away. What does that mean and what should I do?

Some therapists don’t want to help clients recover repressed memories because of recent litigation that has accused therapists of planting “false” memories. While it is true that memories can be unreliable, especial in detail, you seem to be experiencing vivid but incomplete memories and resolving these is an important part of your therapy.

You are experiencing what is called “flashbacks”. With a minimum of direction, and the support of  a trusted therapist, you could likely retrieve what ever information would be helpful to you  in understanding yourself better and recovering from the abuse. I have an article on this website called “The Importance of Remembering” which will explain this further.

I agree it is best not to go looking for memories of abuse that may be hidden in the unconscious  but when something is coming to the surface of awareness, as you are describing, it is important to let it emerge and to come to terms with its implications. You can talk this over with your therapist, or look for another who will help you with this part of your recovery.

Good luck!

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