IPT Book Reviews

Title: Memories of Sexual Betrayal: Truth, Fantasy, Repression, and Dissociation
Editor: Richard B. Gartner
Publisher: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1997

Jason Aronson, Inc.
230 Livingston Street
Northvale, NJ 07647
(800) 782-0015
$27.50 (c)

This 236-page book grew out of presentations at a 1995 conference entitled, "Memories of Sexual Betrayal: A Psychoanalytic Symposium on Truth, Fantasy, Repression, and Dissociation" sponsored by the Center of Psychological Trauma at the William Alanson White Institute for Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology in New York City. The Center is devoted to the psychoanalytic investigation and treatment of traumatic experience, including sexual abuse.

The book is divided into four parts: interpersonal psychoanalytic approaches to the sexually abused, the delayed/false memory controversy, processing memories of sexual betrayal, and four commentaries. In general, most of the authors are highly critical of persons and court rulings that raise questions about the validity of recovered memories, although one chapter warns therapists about generalizing from clinical samples, depending upon retrospective studies, and relying on lists of abuse symptoms.

As a whole, the book is not well balanced in its presentation of the controversy, and most of the chapters are not scholarly or based on research. Some contain dogmatic assertions and far-reaching conclusions with little empirical grounding. The papers do not succeed in the book's stated goal to "serve as oil to calm the very troubled waters of this debate for clinician and scholar alike" (p. xii.).

Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Emeritus Professor, West Virginia University .

Order this book: Hardcover

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