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Re: Shame on the silent skeptics

Posted by antigua on July 28, 2006, at 13:12:52

In reply to Shame on the silent skeptics antigua, posted by pseudoname on July 28, 2006, at 11:12:21

Wow, that was quite a barrage and I'm not quite sure how to take it, since I don't know how much you know about my situation. It would make things clearer if you could justify your positions on some of this things, as it's hard to know if you are talking from experience or just on what you've read.

> I am really sorry that other people on this board are not helping you consider other options. It is not fair to you for you to come away with the impression that hypnosis for recovered memory is in quality on the same level as other validated therapies.

1. Besides psychodynamic therapy, what are you recommending?
> I would strongly urge you to consider the criticisms of this practice before undertaking it. There is absolutely *no* scientific research supporting the idea that any childhood memories every recovered under hypnosis are REAL. But the risk of creating "memories" is very high. Hypnosis is, by definition, suggestion. This is a potentially disastrous path to go down.

2. Have you experience with this? And yes, I have looked into it.

> Such feeling that a memory "is there" but can't be accessed can be a misinterpretation of many other things, including current uncomfortable feelings that really *are* there but that we'd rather not contact. A competent therapist could begin by exploring with you your fears and feelings about the events and people in your current life, right now, who can have many effects you might rather avoid than confront. That's perfectly natural and there are thousands of research articles addressing those real-time relationships.

3. I'm so far past in my therapy what you've written above. What you write is not the issue I'm facing here; this is not about my current life.
> > I know the blasted thing is there. Actually, I think it is at the heart of my problem.
> I know very well the pull of wanting to believe that there is some magic key to "my problem". That there must be *something*, some specific thing that will make all these seemingly unconnected, bizarre feelings and impulses and inhibitions that I have all make sense. And I know how intensely I can want one specific cause of it all so that I can finally address THAT and be free of these crazy problems.
> But wishing doesn't make it so. Our brains are very tricky and our reactions to emotionally provocative events throughout our lives are generally too complex to follow. Childhood influences count most when they are consistent and persistent over long periods of time. Childhood events have been compared to how a tree's growth is influenced: to change a tree's direction of growth, a gardener must apply pressure in a given direction constantly for many years. Knocking the tree hard a few times, no matter how otherwise injurious, does not affect the overall direction of growth. Similarly, single events in childhood seen apart from persistent overall conditions, will not provide a key to anything! You already know what consistent unhappy pressures were applied to you over the years: maybe you could focus your attention on being less rigidly defended (i.e., more mindfully accepting) toward those reactions to scary events and pressures now, in your current life. That's not easy for any of us, but it's scientifically validated, you can do it for free any time, and it doesn't carry the risk of false memories about people you still love.

4. Who said I still love this person? Also, perhaps you may have misunderstood. This is a PIECE, not the whole thing. I have the outside corroboration that is so necessary and many other memories that I've already dealt with. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't less than I imagine, but as a child it could have had stronger influence.

> > while sometimes I can convince myself that it will be o.k. if I never know, that I could live w/o knowing, etc
> Even if you have the hypnosis and visualize something, you will be in the same position of NOT KNOWING. Because how on earth would you tell if the memories recovered in hypnosis were real? What do you plan on using as your validity test? Will you simply rely on whether they FEEL real or not? That is a terribly unreliable standard. Think of all the old movies or TV repeats you've seen; when you watch the same one again, sometimes there's a scene or plot that you remembered having gone differently when you saw it before. Sometimes the incorrect memory is *so vivid* it's astonishing that it could be wrong. But the evidence in those cases is incontestable; and it happens all the time.

5. Have you ever recovered a memory or had a flashback?

> How much greater is the risk from a procedure that by its very nature is suggestive and will be coming at you when you are in a weakened, vulnerable, cognitively compromised state!
> > My T believes me that it's there and that I'm stuck.
> Perhaps you could get another opinion from a therapist -- preferably from a university teaching clinic -- where alternative explanations and therapy plans could be considered before you risk so much in such a scientifically unsupported, LEGALLY INVALID, overwhelmingly professionally denigrated procedure as recovering memories. (Look at all the major psychological & scientific organizations that dismiss the procedure:
> If the memories you recover are of abduction by space aliens, will that be a productive development? But alien abduction is a commonly-reported memory recovered by hypnosis. Books have been written about it!
> > she was afraid that something might come up that I wouldn't be ready to handle.
> She should be afraid that something might come up that would be completely bogus.

6. Please don't insult my therapist
> Uncovering memories may simply not work, even if the memories were real. Catharsis -- getting out all of those feelings supposedly bottled up since a childhood experience -- doesn't work because emotions don't work that way. "Carol Tavris" made that clear 30 years ago but apparently some therapists haven't gotten the message.

7. I'm sorry, I don't know what you're talking about in the above.
> > one of the women in my group did it. She recovered not only the memory she was after but a sense of sureness... like "yes, this really did happen."
> This is an upsetting account to me. A "sense of sureness" is not an indication of ANYTHING! Experiments have shown that people develop absolute conviction about deliberately induced falsehoods. Even when the people are shown that the memory was totally false and experimentally induced by an experimenter, people still insist that the memories are nevertheless accurate because they FEEL so real.
> > while it may be a difficult experience, with the support system that I have, I think (hope) it could help.
> What exactly will it HELP? Suppose you get some memory, presumably of trauma; what will in change in your current life in any respect one iota? You'll know that your emotional problems have a "cause"? You can get that reassurance without memories. I'm telling you, your emotional problems, whether uncomfortable feelings, disturbing thoughts, bizarre impulses or inhibitions, all have causes. They are exactly what a person in your situation SHOULD feel. (Just as my emotional problems are exactly what I should be going through.) The question is, what would you do even if you did "recover" something?

8. I could go on forever with what you've written above, on how I could be helped by remembering this incident. Failing at it could even help. Real or not? Yes, that's a question. But let's go way out there. What if I do recover something, real or not, and it DOES help me. Memories are often fragments of other memories that don't necessarily fit together perfectly as a complete puzzle; they can be a mishmash of what's going on, but they often can provide clues to what's underneath it all, 100% truth of the memory or not. It's like a dream. It may not be exact, but it contains elements that can be very useful in therapy.

> > I probably have unrealistic expectations that this one memory will heal me
> This is an excellent insight. We all can develop unrealistic expectations of therapy. That doesn't mean therapy is ineffective, just that it may not "cure" us in the way we desperately want. Therapy is unlikely to remove problems like a surgeon can remove a foreign body. It may be a much healthier, more realistic, goal of therapy to help you accept your CURRENT feelings better and work to build a better life with them than to spend so much time, energy, money, and emotional investment pursuing "buried" memories.

9. I have accepted my current feelings, but that doesn't mean my mind gives me peace.
> > I am really excited.
> You are clearly so hopeful about this procedure; but what if a year from now you've gone through it and you have some painful, awful "memory" about someone you do in fact still LOVE, and yet you're in the same place otherwise in your life?

10. Who said anything about someone I still LOVE? This seems out of left field. I think it would be more honest to face that person with the truth, which is not an issue here anyway.
> Against the energy of hope that you have in this procedure and the (in my opinion indefensible) SILENCE on the part of skeptics on this board, perhaps it is unlikely that you would now consider getting a second opinion before the hypnosis from a university-based clinic. But you do have some time before September. I would urge you at least to delay committing to the hypnosis for a while to let yourself percolate some doubts & mull them over a little more first.

11. Rest assured, I am working on that second opinion with my Pdoc.
> I wish you the best. I can empathize with a lot of what you're going through, and I want you to feel better and stronger and braver, too. Good luck.

12. I don't see the empathy, and if I did, maybe I could understand your position. I don't know if you are in therapy, what your issues are, etc., so it's hard to hear what you have to say.
That said, thank you for taking the time to answer.




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