The controversy regarding cases in which people report "recovered memories" of childhood sexual abuse may well prove to be the most important issue in professional psy- chology in the 1990s. Some have argued that such reports often reflect illusory beliefs in- advertently created by suggestive forms of "memory work" in psychotherapy. This claim amounts to a charge of widespread malpractice, and publicity about it threatens the reputa- tion of clinical psychology. From a culturaVhistorical point of view, this controversy con- stitutes a crisis point in Western society's belated and still incomplete efforts to acknowledge and respond effectively to the shocking prevalence of child sexual abuse. "Responding effectively" entails both protecting children from abuse and avoiding false accusations. Some professionals who emphasise prevention of false accusations have de- scribed the popularisation of therapeutic searches for suspected hi
Recollections of Trauma
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