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Research & Studies

Reports of Recovered Memories in Therapy in Undergraduate Students

Citation (APA style): Patihis, L., Wood, R. S., Pendergrast, M. H., & Herrera, M. E. (2022). Reports of recovered memories in therapy in undergraduate students. Psychological Reports, 125(1), 129–147. doi:10.1177/0033294120971756


Psychologists have debated the wisdom of recovering traumatic memories in therapy that were previously unknown to the client, with some concerns over accuracy and memory distortions. The current study surveyed a sample of 576 undergraduates in the south of the United States. Of 188 who reported attending therapy or counselling, 8% reported coming to remember memories of abuse, without any prior recollection of that abuse before therapy. Of those who reported recovered memories, 60% cut off contact with some of their family. Within those who received therapy, those who had a therapist discuss the possibility of repressed memory were 28.6 times more likely to report recovered memories, compared to those who received therapy without such discussion. These findings mirror a previous survey of US adults and suggest attempts to recover repressed memories in therapy may continue in the forthcoming generation of adults. [EFT is listed as a modality students used.]


recovered memory, childhood abuse, dissociative amnesia, memory wars, psychotherapy, repressed memory