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Debates About Freud & Repression

Simon BoagIn the December 2007 issue of Review of General Psychology, Harvard psychologist Richard J. McNally disputes a claim by Simon Boag (2006) of Macquarie U. (Australia) that Sigmund Freud’s theory of repression is routinely misrepresented in modern textbooks and even research articles. Boag argued that most writers falsely describe repression as being the motivated forgetting of memories of trauma (typically, of childhood sexual abuse). Instead, Boag noted, Freud invoked repression to explain the forgetting of unacceptable impulses and desires. Boag went on to suggest that this repeated error constitutes a form a “pathological science”; precisely the kind of “resistance to psychoanalysis… [that] Freud predicted would occur.” Continue reading Debates About Freud & Repression