Dr. Lenore Terr is a pediatric, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist and author known for her work with post traumatic stress disorder within children. Terr is the winner of the Blanche Ittleson Award for her research on childhood trauma.
Terr’s book Too Scared to Cry describes aspects of childhood psychic trauma, including cases that illustrate the troubling problem of children’s statements and behaviors that are based in factitious traumatic events. Within this book Terr details the results of her review of twenty pre-schoolers, and concludes that trauma suffered before the age of three years was rarely able to be fully described verbally, instead events were reenacted behaviorally. She also draws on her interviews and follow-up with the victims of the 1976 Chowchilla kidnapping and with a number of similar children from surrounding towns, used as a control group. Lastly, Terr notes the distinction between a single, sudden traumatic event as being clearly held in a child’s mind and subsequently accessible to verbal remembering, versus repetitive or prolonged trauma that severely compromises accurate verbal recall.
Terr has also been actively involved in advocating the psychological theory of repressed memory—a controversial proposition which asserts people can recall memories which have been repressed, frequently because of trauma. According to this theory, the memory can be suddenly recalled through visual or auditory stimuli and psychological therapeutic treatment.
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