Hurting Memories and Beneficial Forgetting book cover

Hurting Memories and Beneficial Forgetting

Posttraumatic Stress Disorders, Biographical Developments, and Social Conflicts

Memories are indispensable for individuals as well as social groups. Forgetting not only means loss of functioning but also loss of identity. Memories can also be hurting and cause problems, as research on posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD) has shown. This is true for individuals as well as social groups and even societies. Memories and especially negative memories can escape the control of the individual. Many political conflicts can only be understood when taking history and memories into account.

In this volume a comprehensive scientific overview is given on the development of "hurting memories" in individuals and societies. Consequences are described, i.e. from mental disorders in individuals, like PTSD or other neurotic disorders, to societal tensions and conflicts, from South Africa to Northern Europe. Additionally, "beneficial forgetting" is discussed, from treatments of individuals to reconciliation between social groups. The contrasting of "hurting memories and beneficial forgetting" can help to understand, that memories can have positive and negative results and that it is difficult to decide when to support memories and when forgetting.


German Psychiatric Association (DGPPN, Deutsche Gesellschaft für PSychiatrie, Psychotherapie und Nervenheilkunde)
German Behavior Therapy Association (DVT, Deutcher Fachverband für Verhaltenstherapie)
World Psychiatric Assocation

Hardbound, 240 Pages

Published: January 2013

Imprint: Elsevier

ISBN: 978-0-12-398393-0


      1. Part 1: Basic aspects

        1. Neural Signature of Emotional Memories and their Effects on Emotional Responding

          Alfons Hamm

        2. Memory and Meaning

          Nigel Hunt

        3. Retraumatization and Sensitization

          Christine Knaevelsrud

        4. Pathological modes of remembering. The PTSD experience

          Michael Schönenberg

        5. Prejudices, stereotypes and symbolized thinking as condensed memories

          Bohdan Wasilewski

        6. Paramnesias, suggested and false memories and their individual and societal consequences

          Hans Stoffels

        7. Pharmacology of learning and forgetting

          Hans-Peter Kapfhammer

        Part 3: Clinical aspects

        8. Not remembered trauma - lifelong symptoms

          Krzysztof Rutkowski

        9. Sexual childhood abuse and enduring personality change

          Shanta Dube

        10. Spectrum of posttraumatic mental reactions and disorders

          Michael Linden

        Part 4: Treatment

        11. Working with unconscious and explicit memories in psychotherapy

          Svenja Taubner

        12. Exposure and eye movement desensitization

          Andreas Gewandt

        13. Narrative psychotherapy

          Susanne Schaal

        14. Wisdom psychotherapy

          Barbara Lieberei

        Part 5: Memories and Societal Conflicts

        15. Memories as cause of political conflicts and wars

          Erika Kuijpers

        16. Coping with hurting memories in large social settings - how truth commissions work and what they achieve

          Klaus Bachmann

        17. Forgiveness in post-apartheid South Africa

          Dan Stein


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