Memory and Trauma Fact Sheets

Blue Knot developed this series of fact sheets to increase understanding about memory and tackle some of the common myths about this. They are informed by the latest research and are designed to improve understanding around memory including the relationship between trauma and memory, types of memory, body memories, delayed recall of memory and the role of dissociation.

Memory Classification

This fact sheet outlines the 2 main types of memory – explicit which is what people general think of when they think about memory and implicit memory, which is generally unconscious and can’t be put into words.

It describes the importance of differentiating between the two types of memory and the critical role of implicit memory, a role which needs to be recognised to improve understanding about memory as well as to challenge a number of unhelpful myths.

The Truth of Memory and the Memory of Truth

This fact sheet presents up-to-date information to enhance understanding about memory, and memory and trauma. Many survivors experience degress of amnesia for their trauma and some recover memories of their trauma years later. They are often not believed, or taken seriously. This fact sheet helps the general and professional community better understand how memory works, with more detailed information provided in the additional 4 fact sheets in this series.

Trauma and body memories

This fact sheet describes memory and the process of how memory works.
It focusses on implicit memory, one of the two main types of memory.
Trauma is often stored in the body as implicit memory. When trauma is stored in the body it can be easily triggered. When people are triggered they often experience flashbacks. These are fragments of memory returning along with strong feelings, such as intense fear and sensations and movements which have been stored since the time of the original trauma and are now being experienced again in the present.

Understanding Memory

This fact sheet explores the 2 main types of memory, how memory is stored and how it is retrieved. It further informs our understanding of trauma and its effects on memory, highlighting that all memory is reconstructed including memory that has never been forgotten.

Understanding Recovered Memory

This fact sheet explores the myths around recovered memories or delayed recall. It describes a range of circumstances in which it occurs, not only related to extreme child abuse. It also explains the mechanism of delayed recall and the substantial science behind it to enhance general understanding as well as that of legal and health practitioners.

Understanding Traumatic Memory

This fact sheets explores the impact of trauma on memory, including the impact that betrayal in relationships, especially in close relationships has on memory.

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Key Concepts for working with a trauma lens