Is applied loss of memory a way to rehabilitate human beings?

In my book, Memory : Self (a online searchable copy of which can be previewed via this link: Integral Lifework - Memory:Self), I describe a method called “Active Memory Reorganization” or AMR. This is a way of re-contextualizing memories to reinvent self-concept and modify compensating behaviors that can often be unproductive or self-destructive. It could certainly be utilized during rehabilitation. A key component of this process, however, is that the client actively participates - they are in conscious control of the process. In most Person-centered therapy this is a vital consideration, because it empowers a client to have agency regarding their own healing and well-being. From this perspective, any therapeutic actions “perpetrated upon” a client are usually deemed destructive at worst, and counterproductive at best. This is why highly confrontational or directive therapies, therapies that rely exclusively on psychoactive drugs, or therapies where a client is more passive (such as hypnotherapy), are not considered to be “person-centered” approaches. In the case of rehabilitation for those who have been convicted of serious crimes, it is especially important that they be supported in their own self-healing empowerment, rather than controlled and manipulated, since such obliterations of agency throughout their life likely contributed to their antisocial behaviors.

As a separate consideration, there may be structural issues (excessive testosterone production, inadequate or impaired prefrontal myelination, etc.) that are contributing to antisocial ideation and behavior, which neither AMR nor the kind of “memory wipe” you suggest would adequately address. In these cases, acute intervention - and indeed procedures that are imposed against someone’s will - may be necessary to stabilize a person so that they can begin a more self-aware and self-directed healing process. Our current metric for such intervention, however, is usually whether a person is likely to harm themselves or someone else, and incarcerated people have protections against punitive measures beyond the fairly narrow scope of their physical confinement (i.e. nothing “cruel or unusual”). This is why - in some places in the U.S. - it is not legal to use chemical castration against an inmate’s will. However, the metrics that inform rehabilitative efficacy are trends like recidivism, radicalization, and criminalization among prison populations - and clearly our approaches to rehabilitation need to align with measuring these outcomes.

My 2 cents.

(From Quora question:


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