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Smucker, Mervin (2012). The role of dual
representation theory in trauma-related memories

1
Dual Representation Theory
(Brewin)
Two types of trauma-related memories
• Situational accessible memories
– visual intrusions
– flashbacks
– nightmares

• Verbally accessible memories
Situationally Accessible Memories
(SAMS)

• Involuntary recall
• Non-verbal (visual - auditory - sensory)
• Information retrieved is accompanied by strong emotional
response and bodily sensations
• Perceived ongoing, here-and-now threat
• Stuck in time (perceptions, cognitions/emotions remain as
they were at the time of trauma)
• Not processed linguistically
Verbally Accessible Memories (VAMS)

• Voluntary recall
• Verbal - Narrative
• Integrated in the present and with perspective of the past
(e.g., “It is a bad memory”)

• No perceived here-and-now threat
• Updated information re trauma-related material (e.g. “I
survived,” “I did not die”)

• Processed linguistically
Goals of Trauma-Processing
(according to DRT)
• Eliminate intrusive memories (flashbacks)
• Re-encode SAM material as VAM
memories which now have spatial and
temporal context and place danger in the
past
• Trauma memories no longer perceived as
here-and-now threat
Goals of Trauma-Processing
(according to DRT)
• Eliminate intrusive memories (flashbacks)
• Re-encode SAM material as VAM
memories which now have spatial and
temporal context and place danger in the
past
• Trauma memories no longer perceived as
here-and-now threat

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Dual representation theory

  • 1. Smucker, Mervin (2012). The role of dual representation theory in trauma-related memories 1
  • 2. Dual Representation Theory (Brewin) Two types of trauma-related memories • Situational accessible memories – visual intrusions – flashbacks – nightmares • Verbally accessible memories
  • 3. Situationally Accessible Memories (SAMS) • Involuntary recall • Non-verbal (visual - auditory - sensory) • Information retrieved is accompanied by strong emotional response and bodily sensations • Perceived ongoing, here-and-now threat • Stuck in time (perceptions, cognitions/emotions remain as they were at the time of trauma) • Not processed linguistically
  • 4. Verbally Accessible Memories (VAMS) • Voluntary recall • Verbal - Narrative • Integrated in the present and with perspective of the past (e.g., “It is a bad memory”) • No perceived here-and-now threat • Updated information re trauma-related material (e.g. “I survived,” “I did not die”) • Processed linguistically
  • 5. Goals of Trauma-Processing (according to DRT) • Eliminate intrusive memories (flashbacks) • Re-encode SAM material as VAM memories which now have spatial and temporal context and place danger in the past • Trauma memories no longer perceived as here-and-now threat
  • 6. Goals of Trauma-Processing (according to DRT) • Eliminate intrusive memories (flashbacks) • Re-encode SAM material as VAM memories which now have spatial and temporal context and place danger in the past • Trauma memories no longer perceived as here-and-now threat