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Hurting Memories and Beneficial Forgetting - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780123983930, 9780123984043

Hurting Memories and Beneficial Forgetting

1st Edition

Posttraumatic Stress Disorders, Biographical Developments, and Social Conflicts

Editors: Michael Linden Krzysztof Rutkowski
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123983930
eBook ISBN: 9780123984043
Imprint: Elsevier
Published Date: 7th January 2013
Page Count: 240
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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


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 Trauma

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



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© Elsevier 2013
7th January 2013
Hardcover ISBN:
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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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