Hurting Memories and Beneficial Forgetting

Hurting Memories and Beneficial Forgetting

Posttraumatic Stress Disorders, Biographical Developments, and Social Conflicts

1st Edition - January 7, 2013

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  • Editors: Michael Linden, Krzysztof Rutkowski
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123983930
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123984043

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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.

Key Features

  • Bringing individual and societal memories in coincetion - the benefit is a new perspective on the interactrion between individuals and society
  • Pointing to possible negative consequences of memory - the benefit is a new perspective of an important but under recognized scientific and clinical problem
  • Presenting modes of treatment and reconciliation for individuals and social groups - an overview which can't be found elsewhere


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

Table of Contents

  • Preface

    List of Contributors

    Part One: Basic Aspects

    1. Spectrum of Persisting Memories and Pseudomemories, Distortions, and Psychopathology

    1.1 Memory Distortions and Beneficial Forgetting

    1.2 Spectrum of Psychopathological Memories, Thoughts, Images, Associations, and the Like

    1.3 Features and Development of Pathological Memories

    1.4 Conclusion


    2. Electrophysiological Signature of Emotional Memories

    2.1 Introduction

    2.2 Studying Emotional Memory in the Laboratory

    2.3 ERPs and Memory Retrieval

    2.4 Electrophysiological Correlates of Emotional Memory Retrieval

    2.5 ERPs of Emotional Memory After Long Retention Intervals

    2.6 Adrenergic Activation and the ERP Old/New Effect for Emotional Contents

    2.7 Neural Generators of the Parietal Old/New Effect for Emotional Pictures

    2.8 Conclusions


    3. Pharmacological Approaches to Understand, Prevent, and Mitigate Hurting Memories. Lessons from Posttraumatic Stress Disorders

    3.1 Trauma and Psychological Models of Traumatic Memory

    3.2 Neurobiological Underpinnings of Trauma Memory Encoding, Consolidation, Retrieval, and Extinction

    3.3 Principal Pharmacological Strategies to Mitigate or Prevent Traumatic Memory: Results from Empirical Studies

    3.4 Conclusions


    4. Memory and Social Meaning: The Impact of Society and Culture on Traumatic Memories

    4.1 Introduction

    4.2 Szechuan Earthquake

    4.3 World War II

    4.4 Spanish Civil War Memory

    4.5 Analysis


    5. Retraumatization: The Vicious Circle of Intrusive Memory

    5.1 Introduction

    5.2 Trauma and PTSD

    5.3 The Phenomenology of Traumatic Memory: Basic Principles of Psychobiology and the Fear Network

    5.4 Empirical Studies on Retraumatization

    5.5 Conclusions: Toward a Definition of Retraumatization


    6. Pathological Modes of Remembering: The PTSD Experience

    6.1 Introduction

    6.2 Trauma Versus Life Event

    6.3 Acute Stress Reactions

    6.4 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

    6.5 General Risk Factors for PTSD

    6.6 Cognitive Abnormalities and Memory Disturbances in PTSD

    6.7 The Role of Metacognitive Appraisals

    6.8 Dysfunctional Cognitive Strategies

    6.9 Conclusions and Implications for Therapy


    7. Hurting Memories and Intrusions in Posttraumatic Embitterment Disorders (PTED) as Compared to Posttraumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD)

    7.1 Embitterment and Posttraumatic Embitterment Disorder

    7.2 Revival of Events and Intrusions in the Context of Injustice and Embitterment

    7.3 Differences Between Memories and Intrusions in PTED and PTSD

    7.4 Conclusions


    8. Symbolized Thinking as the Background of Toxic Memories

    8.1 Introduction


    9. False Memories

    9.1 The Wilkomirski/Dössekker Case

    9.2 Memory as Reconstruction

    9.3 Personality and False Memories

    9.4 Psychotherapy and Pseudomemory

    9.5 Accusation and Recrimination

    9.6 Criteria for Recognizing False Memories


    10. The Constitution of Narrative Identity

    10.1 What Does Identity Mean?

    10.2 Collective Trauma and Narrative Identity

    10.3 Individual Narrative Identity

    10.4 The Case of Mrs. P

    10.5 The Case of Mrs. B

    10.6 Some General Remarks on Dreaming


    Part Two: Clinical Aspects

    11. Implicit Memories and the Structure of the Values System After the Experience of Trauma in Childhood or Adulthood

    11.1 Introduction

    11.2 Aim of the Study

    11.3 Subjects

    11.4 Methods

    11.5 Results: Terminal Values

    11.6 Results: Instrumental Values

    11.7 Conclusions


    12. Moving Beyond Childhood Adversity: Association Between Salutogenic Factors and Subjective Well-Being Among Adult Survivors of Traumaent

    12.1 Introduction

    12.2 Trauma Survivors and Salutogenesis

    12.3 Methods

    12.4 Results

    12.5 Discussion


    13. Working with Unconscious and Explicit Memories in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy in Patients with Chronic Depression

    13.1 Introduction

    13.2 Representations of Early Attachment Experiences

    13.3 Insecure Attachment, Loss, and Depression

    13.4 Psychodynamic Treatment of Pathological Grief and Depression

    13.5 Changes of Reflective Abilities and Attachment Disorganization in Depressed Patients After Long-Term Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

    13.6 Conclusions


    14. Overcoming Hurting Memories by Wisdom and Wisdom Psychotherapy

    14.1 Vulnerability and Resilience to Negative Life Events

    14.2 Memories of Negative and Traumatic Life Events

    14.3 Wisdom in Reconciliation with Hurting Memories

    14.4 Wisdom Psychotherapy

    14.5 Conclusions


    Part Three: Societal Aspects

    15. Healing of Psychological Trauma from Military Operations by Transformation of Memories

    15.1 Historical Background

    15.2 Symptoms and Epidemiology of Military-Related Psychiatric Illnesses

    15.3 How Deployment-Related Mental Disorders Are Dealt With in the Bundeswehr

    15.4 Case Report

    15.5 Discussion


    16. The Creation and Development of Social Memories of Traumatic Events: The Oudewater Massacre of 1575

    16.1 Culture and Memories

    16.2 The Destruction and Massacre of Oudewater in 1575

    16.3 The Production of Collective Memory

    16.4 Time for Commemoration

    16.5 Conclusion


    17. Conflict Avoidance, Forgetting, and Distorted Memories by Media Influence on Family Memories: Grandpa Was No Nazi and No Communist

    17.1 Distorted Memories of the Political Activities of Family Members

    17.2 Study of Family Memories in Poland

    17.3 Intergenerational Conflict About the Past

    17.4 The Inclusiveness of Polish Family Memory

    17.5 The Impact of Media Frames

    17.6 Conclusions


    18. Acting Out and Working Through Traumatic Memory: Confronting the Past in the South African Context

    18.1 When Memory Kills: Acting Out Traumas

    18.2 Reenactment of Trauma

    18.3 Transgenerational Transmission of Traumatic Memory

    18.4 Working Through the Past

    18.5 Conclusion


    19. Empathy, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa

    19.1 Enduring Effects of Discrimination

    19.2 Survivors and Psychological Care

    19.3 Perpetrators of Evil

    19.4 The Role of Empathy

    19.5 Conclusion


Product details

  • No. of pages: 240
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2013
  • Published: January 7, 2013
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123983930
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123984043

About the Editors

Michael Linden

Krzysztof Rutkowski

Krzysztof Rutkowski M.D., Ph.D is a senior psychiatrist and professor at Jagiellonian University. Head of the Department of Psychotherapy, Jagiellonian University Medical College (Kraków, Poland), Dr. Rutkowski is also a psychotherapist, supervisor in psychotherapy, and Jungian analyst (Individual Member of IAAP). He has worked with victims of political persecution and patients with chronic PTSD for about 20 years. He has published papers on the long term effects of trauma - psychological as well as somatic - and psychotherapy of neurotic and personality disorders.

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