A phenomenological case study of the therapeutic impact of imagery: Rescripting of memories of a rape and episodes of childhood abuse and neglect

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • SDG 5
  • Abstract:

    This is a systematic case study of the assessment and treatment of Anna (43), a woman presenting with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a drug-facilitated sexual assault that occurred over twenty years earlier. She was also diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder. Treatment with cognitive therapy for PTSD and social phobia was supplemented by imagery rescripting (IR) of memories of childhood trauma within a schema therapy approach. The study documents how her intrusive memories of the rape were potentiated by early maladaptive schemas that developed in response to abusive and neglectful parenting. Within a broader narrative, three examples of IR are described which show how, as an emotion-focused intervention, this approach discloses deeper memories and emotional states that are distressing and traumatic and allows them to be transformed through a healing process that is organic and displays what Bohart and Tallman (2010) call “self-organizing wisdom.”