Where does Christine Ford's memory intersect with the truth?

That question is the crux of the matter at hand in Washington.  The social media is abuzz with opinions that run the full spectrum of politics.  Some are convinced that Ford is a talented and blatant liar and that she is an extreme leftist, falling on her sword for the Democrat cause.  Is that the truth?  Maybe – but it seems a tad harsh.

Could she have had a sexual assault 36 years ago that was so severe that she repressed the memory as a self-protective mechanism?  Maybe – but there are many experts in psychology who refute this notion.  Most victims of extreme emotional trauma have the opposite problem: they have trouble forgetting their experience. 

Even when we remember events and are convinced we know every detail, we are often wrong.  Although not in the same universe of angst, I have a personal experience of this.

My memory for details is excellent.  A patient of mine, twenty years ago, had a major, life-threatening traumatic event.  I did a corrective surgery that saved her life.  The procedure was difficult but successful.

When the patient came to see me twenty years later, I thought I instantly remembered every detail of that ordeal.  Then I looked at the surgical report I had dictated within minutes after the surgery, and it did not match my memory.  This was not a life-altering traumatic event for me, yet my mind filled in details that did not happen.  I had no rational reason to create a self delusion.

Christine Blasey Ford states that her therapist helped her recover her memory, but the only apparently definite memory she has is the name "Brett Kavanaugh."  Every other memory is so nebulous that it would not hold up in court.

What we need from the FBI is to explore her therapist's credentials and the techniques she uses to restore memory.  Agents need to see the therapy session notes.  For example, the use of hypnosis is highly suspect.  It can be used to create memories that never happened.  It is possible that the repressed memories Ford recalls are, in fact, implanted memories.  Ford may be telling the truth in her own mind.  But it could be somebody else's lie.

Roger Taylor is a physician in private practice.  He received his medical degree from the University of Chicago and has a plethora of interests.

That question is the crux of the matter at hand in Washington.  The social media is abuzz with opinions that run the full spectrum of politics.  Some are convinced that Ford is a talented and blatant liar and that she is an extreme leftist, falling on her sword for the Democrat cause.  Is that the truth?  Maybe – but it seems a tad harsh.

Could she have had a sexual assault 36 years ago that was so severe that she repressed the memory as a self-protective mechanism?  Maybe – but there are many experts in psychology who refute this notion.  Most victims of extreme emotional trauma have the opposite problem: they have trouble forgetting their experience. 

Even when we remember events and are convinced we know every detail, we are often wrong.  Although not in the same universe of angst, I have a personal experience of this.

My memory for details is excellent.  A patient of mine, twenty years ago, had a major, life-threatening traumatic event.  I did a corrective surgery that saved her life.  The procedure was difficult but successful.

When the patient came to see me twenty years later, I thought I instantly remembered every detail of that ordeal.  Then I looked at the surgical report I had dictated within minutes after the surgery, and it did not match my memory.  This was not a life-altering traumatic event for me, yet my mind filled in details that did not happen.  I had no rational reason to create a self delusion.

Christine Blasey Ford states that her therapist helped her recover her memory, but the only apparently definite memory she has is the name "Brett Kavanaugh."  Every other memory is so nebulous that it would not hold up in court.

What we need from the FBI is to explore her therapist's credentials and the techniques she uses to restore memory.  Agents need to see the therapy session notes.  For example, the use of hypnosis is highly suspect.  It can be used to create memories that never happened.  It is possible that the repressed memories Ford recalls are, in fact, implanted memories.  Ford may be telling the truth in her own mind.  But it could be somebody else's lie.

Roger Taylor is a physician in private practice.  He received his medical degree from the University of Chicago and has a plethora of interests.