posted on March 15, 2018 10:55
Blue Knot Foundation National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma has launched a paper on memory and trauma. The paper, entitled The Truth of Memory and the Memory of Truth: Different Types of Memory and the Significance for Trauma is co-authored by Dr Pam Stavropoulos and Dr Cathy Kezelman.
The paper was launched by Mark Tedeschi AM QC, the Senior Crown Prosecutor for New South Wales on 23 February in Sydney at the 20th Annual The MHS Summer Forum, a two day conference: Trauma Matters.
The paper explains some of the complexities of memory and trauma to the general public, legal and health practitioners, media and policy makers. It is a timely release, given the confusion and misconceptions about trauma and memory among professional groups, as well as the wider community. False information impacts negatively on clients, therapists and the courts.
Extract from the report’s Executive Summary:
“Becoming informed about trauma (`trauma-informed’) requires basic knowledge about the nature of memory. As with research findings on the brain - with which it overlaps - research into the workings of memory is rapidly expanding.
Neuroscientific and other research confirms that memory is not a single entity. Rather it comprises different types of memory which do not relate solely to conscious recall. The different types of memory are associated with complex neural networks and are stored in different areas of the brain.
This has major implications not only for our understanding of memory, but for our understanding of the challenging experience of traumatic memory, the ways in which it is expressed, and ways in which it can be resolved.
This report presents and discusses current research findings around the nature, process, and functions of memory, with particular emphasis on traumatic memory. These research insights are important for legal and health professionals as well as the general public.
Misconceptions about memory are common. They can also be costly for individuals, systems of care and justice and society as a whole, and have far-reaching repercussions… better understanding of traumatic memory will enhance processes of support and justice as well as informed outcomes for the many people who are struggling with its disabling impacts.” Dr Cathy Kezelman AM
Broad in scope, the paper covers topics such as: different types of memory; understanding memory, traumatic memory, implicit (body- somatic) memory; the protective role of ‘forgetting’; and recovered memory.
The Truth of Memory and the Memory of Truth is an evidence-based, accessible document which references leading trauma books such as:
Herman, J. L. (2015). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence ; from domestic abuse to political terror. New York : Basic Books
Levine, P. A. (2015). Trauma and memory: Brain and body in a search for the living past : a practical guide for understanding and working with traumatic memory. Berkely. Calif : North Atlantic Books,
Levine, P. A. (1997). Waking the tiger: Healing trauma. Berkeley, Calif: North Atlantic Books.
Ogden, P., Minton, K., & Pain, C. (2006). Trauma and the body: A sensorimotor approach to psychotherapy. New York: W.W. Norton.
Rothschild, B. (2000). The body remembers: The psychophysiology of trauma and trauma treatment. New York: Norton.
Siegel, D. J. (2010). Mindsight: The new science of personal transformation. New York: Bantam Books.
van,der Kolk B. A. (2015). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York, Penguin Books.
#toptip: Place these top trauma books on your reading list
The Blue Knot Foundation’s paper can be purchased or downloaded here: https://www.blueknot.org.au/ABOUT-US/Our-Documents/Publications/memory-and-trauma
And a series of fact sheets about memory at https://www.blueknot.org.au/Resources/Fact-Sheets/Memory-factsheets