Traumatic memory—get informed

Want a fast and easy way to gain accurate, up-to-date information about traumatic memory and dissociation? Go to Then click on students and public.

Next, click on dissociative disorder information or trauma information or frequently asked questions.

The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation is a society of clinicians, researchers and academics that exists to train professionals and educate the public about psychological trauma.

Or you might Google traumatic memory. I did and I found solid, informative papers by leaders in the field of psychological trauma. Under Scholarly Articles for Traumatic Memory, click on van der Kolk and you’ll find this expert’s paper explaining the following:

“Trauma is an inescapably stressful event that overwhelms people’s coping mechanisms.” He describes “the differences between the recollections of stressful and traumatic events.”

A study of 46 subjects with PTSD indicates that “traumatic memories are retrieved, at least initially, in the form of dissociated mental imprints of sensory and affective elements of the traumatic experience: as visual, olfactory, affective, auditory and kinesthetic experiences. Over time, subjects reported the gradual emergence of a personal narrative that can be properly referred to as “explicit memory.”

In my book, Confessions of a Trauma Therapist you can follow my personal process as my “traumatic memories were retrieved at least initially in the form of dissociated mental imprints.” I was in my late 40s before I had a personal narrative that made sense of my life and was a clear memory of incest.

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