Advertisement

Mental Imagery pp 233-240 | Cite as

The Recovery of Traumatic Memories: The Etiological Source of Psychopathology

  • Donald J. Levis

Abstract

The diversity and range of the unusual and puzzling behavior emitted by persons who are labeled as neurotic or psychotic have created conceptual chaos in the mental health field. Over 400 different psychotherapy approaches exist representing divergent theoretical orientations and treatment techniques (Karosu, 1986). This disarray has been fostered largely by the field’s failure to reach a consensus on issues of etiology, symptom maintenance and treatment. Problematic to obtaining a solution to the above issues, is the inherent difficulty in isolating the antecedent conditions responsible for psychopathology development. This paper outlines an imagery technique that provides a “window” to the past, reactivating, in incredible detail, stored memories of past traumatic learning experiences. The affective component embedded in the avoided traumatic memory is believed to be the primary motivational source for maintaining psychopathology. Clinical observations obtained from using this procedure, with a wide range of clinical nosologies, has resulted in a number of the discoveries that challenge many currently held beliefs (Levis, 1988, 1990). These findings ocurred following the incorporation of minor changes in the author’s use of the technique of Implosive Therapy. A brief overview of this approach will be provided first, followed by a discussion of the alterations made and resulting observations.

Keywords

Conditioned Stimulus Maladaptive Behavior Affective Component Traumatic Memory Mental Health Field 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Boudewyns, P.A., and Shipley, R. H. (1983).Flooding and implosive therapy. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  2. Dyck, D. G., Greenberg, A. H., and Osachuk, T. A. G. (1986). Tolerance to drug-induced (Poly I:C) natural killer cell activation: Congruence with a Pavlovian conditioning model. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 12, 25 - 31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Freud, S. (1936). The problem of anxiety (Trans. by H. A. Bunker). New York: Psychoanalytic Quarterly Press and W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  4. Freud, S. (1959). Collected papers, Volume 1 (Trans. by J. Riviere). New York:Basic Books. Karasu, T. B. (1986). The specificity versus nonspecificity dilemma: Toward identifying therapeutic change agents. Journal of Psychiatry, 143, 687 - 695.Google Scholar
  5. Levis, D. J. (1980a). Implementing the technique of implosive therapy. In A. Goldstein and E. B. Foa (Eds.), Handbook of behavioral interventions: A clinical guide. New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  6. Levis, D. J. (1985). Implosive theory: A comprehensive extension of conditioning theory of fear/anxiety to psychopathology. In S. Reiss and R. R. Bootzin (Eds.), Theoretical issues in behavior therapy. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  7. Levis, D. J. (1988). Observation and experience from clinical practice: A critical ingredient in advancing behavioral theory and therapy, The Behavior Therapist, 11, 95 - 99.Google Scholar
  8. Levis, D. J. (1989). The case for a return to a two-factor theory of avoidance: The failure of non-fear interpretations. In S. B. Klein and R. R. Mowrer (Eds.), Contemporary learning theories, Pavlovian conditioning and the status of traditional learning theory. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  9. Levis, D. J. (1990). A clinician’s plea for a return to the development of nonhuman models of psychopathology: New clinical observations in need of laboratory study. In M. R. Denny (Ed.), Aversive stimuli and behavior. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  10. Levis, D. J., and Boyd, T. L. (1979). Symptom maintenance: An infrahuman analysis and extension of the conservation of anxiety principle, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 88, 107 - 120.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Levis, D. J., and Boyd, T. L. (1985). The CS exposure approach of implosive therapy. In R. McMillan Turner and L. M. Ascher (Eds.), Evaluation of behavior therapy outcomes. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  12. Levis, D. J., and Hare, N. (1977). A review of the theoretical rationale and empirical support for the extinction approach of implosive (flooding) therapy. In R. M. Eisler and P. M. Miller (Eds.), Progress in behavior modification IV. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  13. Mowrer, O. H. (1947). On the dual nature of learning — A reinterpretation of “conditioning” and “problem-solving”, Harvard Educational Review, 17, 102 - 148.Google Scholar
  14. Mowrer, O. H. (1960). Learning Theory and Behavior, New Yori: Wiley.Google Scholar
  15. Pavlov, I. P. (1927). Conditioned reflexes, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Shipley, R. H., and Boudewyns, P. A. (1980). Flooding and implosive therapy: Are they harmful?, Behaviour Therapy, 11, 503 - 508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Solomon, R. L., and Wynne, L. C. (1954). Traumatic avoidance learning: The principle of anxiety conservation and partial irreversibility, Psychological Review, 61, 353 - 385.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Spear, N. E. (1978). The Processing of Memories, Forgetting and Retention, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  19. Stalmpfl, T. G. (1970). Implosive therapy: An emphasis on covert stimulation. In D. J. Levis (Ed.), Learning approaches to therapeutic behavior change. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  20. Stampfl, T. G. (1987). Theoretical implications of the neurotic paradox as a problem in behavior theory: An experimental resolution, The Behavior Analyst, 10, 161 - 173.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Stampfl, T. G., and Levis, D. J. (1967a). The essentials of implosive therapy: A learning-theorybased psychodynamic behavioral therapy, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 72, 496 - 503.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Stampfl, T. G., and Levis, D. J. (1969). Learning theory: One aid to dynamic therapeutic practice. In L. D. Eron and R. Callahan (Eds.), Relationship of theory to practice in psychotherapy. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  23. Stampfl, T. G., and Levis, D. J. (1973). Implosive therapy. In R. M. Jurjevich (Ed.), The International handbook of direct psychotherapy. Vol. 1: Twenty-eight American originals. Coral Gables: University of Miami Press.Google Scholar
  24. Stampfl, T. G., and Levis, D. J. (1976). Implosive therapy: A behavioral therapy. In R. C. Carson and J. W. Thibaut (Eds.), Behavioral approaches to therapy. Morristown: General Learning Press.Google Scholar
  25. Wolpe, J. (1958). Psychotherapy by reciprocal inhibition. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald J. Levis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyState University of New YorkBinghamtonUSA

Personalised recommendations