Does Repression Exist? Memory, Pathogenic, Unconscious and Clinical Evidence

Yacov Rofé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The current dispute regarding the existence of repression has mainly focused on whether people remember or forget trauma. Repression, however, is a multidimensional construct, which, in addition to the memory aspect, consists of pathogenic effects on adjustment and the unconscious. Accordingly, in order to arrive at a more accurate decision regarding the existence of repression, studies relevant to all three areas are reviewed. Moreover, since psychoanalysis regards repression as a key factor in accounting for the development and treatment of neurotic disorders, relevant research from these two domains are also taken into account. This comprehensive evaluation reveals little empirical justification for maintaining the psychoanalytic concept of repression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-85
Number of pages23
JournalReview of General Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • memory of trauma
  • neurosis
  • psychotherapy
  • repression
  • unconscious


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