Mental Imagery pp 233-240 | Cite as

The Recovery of Traumatic Memories: The Etiological Source of Psychopathology

  • Donald J. Levis


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.


Conditioned Stimulus Maladaptive Behavior Affective Component Traumatic Memory Mental Health Field 
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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

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