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Question
Posted by: Forgetful | 2007/06/07

Can hypnosis help me remember?

Hi. Events in my life has forced me to repress memories from childhood rape, I have spent probally 15 years forgetting these events, receint events have now brought me to the point of coming forward with this abuse ( He maulested another little girl). I have never in my life told anybody of this, and what I do remmber is vauge. I've been trying to remember for a week now and since have been suffering nightmares of the rape. I have a appointment with a detective tomorrow and I am afraid because what I remember my not be enogh to lock him up and I do not want this to happen again to another little girl. i do know that it was worse than what I can remember, I know there is much more to what happened but I can not remember, how can I find these memories so that I can finally get justice! Please answer today my appointment is tomorrow!

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Our expert says:
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Hypnosis is about the most unreliable possible way to help anyone remember, which is why "memories" produced under hypnosis are not admissable as evidence in any civilized court of law. Whatever it produces is so heavily contaminated as to be totally unreliable, and can actually make it easier for a perpetrator to escape --- it could enable you to "remember" details that actually didn't happen, and make it easier for your statement to be apparently disproved and rejected.
If you were abused ( and you seem to be saying that you spent years trying NOT to remember the events, while remembering them painfully well, which is in fact typical of survivors of all forms of trauma ), you don't need hypnosis or any other method to try to remember all the gory details --- there isn't a single shred of good evidence in exitence that that is EVER useful. Check with legal advice as to whether it is even possible, whatever evidence is available, to bring a successful case at this late stage --- it may well be that the matter has "proscribed" and that a court would not entertain hearing such a matter. That may seem to you to be awfully unfair, but after some years, let alone 15, it can be impossible to hold a trial fair to either of you or to reach firm conclusions.
Struggling to remember details may make you feel very much worse, without producing benefits --- unless there is OTHER evidence, it would still be your word against his, and sadly you probably would not prevail in court.
What matters above all is doing what would be best for your own health and happiness. See a good counsellor of the practical, CBT-oritnted type, because analytically-oriented therapists tend to make such matters worse and spend years and a fortune of costs, doing so. You CAN be enabled to feel better, stronger, and to get the best revenge of all, by living a long and happy life despite what that bad person did to you.
I applaud your wish to make sure that no other little girl suffers at his hands --- and that (a) may not need the court case you are picuring, and (b) might be better achieved in other ways. A detective sniffing around could well frighten him off ; and a report to the police / child protection services might also enable them to keep an eye on him, to an extent that could be useful

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Our users say:
Posted by: Homoeopsych | 2007/06/10

Hi Forgetful

I would like to start by congratulating you on your braveness in being willing to persue this issue - all to many victims (unfortunately understandably), prefer not to get involved & to simply let thigs be. Thank you for being willing to stand up & be counted!

There are, unfortunately, a number of issues raised by CS's reply to your posting that must be correted as being factually & logically entirely untrue & invalid!

CBT is based on the assumption that unrational conclusions & beliefs lead to all sorts of problems. CBT thherapy is focussed on challenging irrational beliefs & replacing them with more realistic belief systems.

Let's try this as an example:

1) Internationally, psychologists in practise are represented by professional bodies elected by these psychologists. In Southe Africa, psychologists are represented by the Psychologt Society of South Africa (PsySSA). In America this body is known as the American Psychology Assiociation (APA), in Britain the Brittish Psychology Association (BSA), etc.

2) Every significant psychology association on earth, has a division for clnical hypnosis. In SA, this division is the South African Association for Clinical Hypnosis (SASCH).

3) In most psychological associations, the division for clinical hypnosis is ofetn the largest & most active division of the association. For example, SASCH won the PsySSA award for the most active division of the society for 4 years running (from 2002 - 2005).

4) The members of the divisions for clinical hypnosis all run busy practises, taht are largely maintained by word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied clients (psychologists are significantly limited as to how they may advertise & most private practises rely mostly on referrals by previous patients).

5) It can therefore be concluded that thousands (tens-of-thousands?) of professionally trained & registered psychologists make use of clinical hypnosis on a daily basis, serving a paying clientelle, who apparently are satisfied by the service offerred because they continue to refer friends, family & acquaintances to these practitioners.

CS's conclusion based on all of the above?

"Hypnosis has never helped anyone for anything" !!!!!! ????!

It seems to me that CS could do with a bit of CBT himself!

Your specific case raises a number of issues:

Firstly, the statement by CS that ""memories" produced under hypnosis are not admissable as evidence in any civilized court of law", is entirely untrue. In fact, memories obtained under hypnosis are admissable in the vast majority of courts, including courts in SA. There are. however, very stringent conditions under which such evidence is admissable, all of which are intended to ensure the accuracy of such evidence. There are, however, very few psychologists in SA who are appropriately trained in the use of forensic hypnosis & you would have to consult with one of them if you wish to proceed in this way. You do need to be extremely wary of lay (non-psychologist) "hypnotherapists" who offer these kind of services. There is no doubt whatsoever that they are not apprpriately trained in forensic hypnosis & all of CS's warnings in this regard might be valid.

Secondly, one of the most widely recognised of the hypnotic phenomena (experential phenomena that characterise the hypnotic state), is that of hypermnesia. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that hypnosis (under controlled & properly managed conditions), can facilitate memory recall. It is also perfectly true that hypnosis that is inappropriately used, can result in false memories & confabulation. This is why it is essential that you consult with an appropriately trained professional should you wish to follow this route.

It is, however, unclear to me why you actually want to consider hypnosis in this regard. If you want to utilize hypnosis for forensic purposes, CS is possibly correct when he suggests that the statue of limitations might prevent you from layng a charge in this regard. Your testimony in the present case might be of greater value as colloborative evidence - in other words, simply supporting the charge, rather than trying to prove it also happened to you. Please consult your lawyer in this regard.

If, however, you are considering hypnosis as a therapeutic intervention in helping you resolve your experiences, I would seriously recommend that you speak to someone who has actually undergone this kind of intervention.

Maybe the thousands (tens-of-thousands, hundreds-of-thousands?) of clients who have benefitted from appropriately utilized clinical hypnotherapy, do in fact know somethig that CS blindly refuses to recognise!

Go well

Reply to Homoeopsych
Posted by: Forgetful | 2007/06/07

Thank you for your kind advise. I have not thought about these things in years and personally feel I have made peace with it many years ago, and it no longer hurts me, in fact I have a daughter she is 5 years old and a wonderful husband, these events in my life has made me a beter person, and a wonderful mother, my daughter is my life and I am glad that I can relive my childhood by living it again with her. I am happy in my life, I just hated my self when I heard that, that bastrard did it again, yes he is a family member. And of course has never in his life come close to my daughter. I will go give my statment and with the new charges against him it may turn out ok. I realy do wish that these things did not have to happen in the lives of our childern, but they I do, I just want to help socitiy stop one of the child abusers in our world!

Reply to Forgetful
Posted by: RMC | 2007/06/07

no it won't help you remember

But why don't you try speak to a counsellor before the detective and perhaps they can help draw them out in a way that youi can cope with. you supressed them for a reason and if you don't remember them on your own you obviously are not "ready" yet.

All the best, you are very brave!

Reply to RMC

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