The Psyche Workshop
Abuse and Consequences
The Psyche Workshop

Sense of Self Therapy
This therapy is about psychological traumas which cause a damaged sense of self which creates distorted feelings and belief systems of what we believe is true about us and the world which then creates maladaptive coping mechanisms and behavior patterns along with intimacy issues. I have included my story of abuse.

Intimacy Therapy for Men to repiar emotional and sexual intimacy: male sexual dysfunctions and fetishes.


Rosalie Marie Musumeci
Certified Hypnotherapist
Domestic Violence and Child Abuse including Child Sexual Abuse Certificates
Mental Health Counselor for Abuse and Consequences including Male Intimacy Therapies

Copyright © 1992 by Rosalie Marie Musumeci
All Rights Reserved.  No part of any art / literary content works herein may be reproduced (make copies), adapted (make new versions), distributed or published, performed in public, or displayed.

With all my love and heart I dedicate this book to my children and family.

Rosalie, My Memoir
It must be written. (Never did I relent, as I battled deep within myself to turn my misery into time well spent. On a logical level I understand what happened but I just don’t know how to explain it to my heart.)
Love and savage, love and savage, go together with my heart you ravages.
Home was a nightmare.
Broken Children and Their Recreation of Abuse  (The Regrettable Tradition; Mothers / Fathers; An Abusive and Non-Abusive Parent;
Abused as a Child and as an Adult)
My Husband's Recreation of Abuse & His Childhood Foundation Carved in Stone  - Children learn what they live and then they live what they have learned.
The Divorce

My dreaded path of no return into my world of depravity and degradation.  (
Romeo and Juliet; But then… in a heart-stopping moment I realized that I had committed the most unforgivable sin. I did not protect my children from their father.)
I needed to identify if I was abused. (
Did I believe my husband's views of me?; So was I abused?; Abuse Damages)
Graphic Tales of Abuse
I became a therapist. (My Mission Statement)
Creation of Memories: Our Subconscious Minds
Psychological Prisons: The Invisible Wounds
While Healing and in Recovery

You need to understand…

Self-Expression Journal: Subconscious Self-Expression (Dreams); Conscious Self-Expression (Drawings; Writings: Sticks and stones may break my bones but abuse will always harm me. This is my poetry collection about being abused while married to my ex-husband.)
Mind Theatre Scripts (
The Repair of Sense of Self Script; The Psychological Confrontation Script)

Contact Me
Please send me an Email: and write “TPW” in the subject area.

Rosalie, My Memoir

My psychological trauma was being abused by my ex-husband.

It must be written. (Never did I relent, as I battled deep within myself to turn my misery into time well spent. On a logical level I understand what happened but I just don’t know how to explain it to my heart.)
Love and savage, love and savage, go together with my heart you ravages.
Home was a nightmare.
Broken Children and Their Recreation of Abuse  (The Regrettable Tradition; Mothers / Fathers; An Abusive and Non-Abusive Parent;
Abused as a Child and as an Adult)
My Husband's Recreation of Abuse & His Childhood Foundation Carved in Stone  - Children learn what they live and then they live what they have learned.
The Divorce
My dreaded path of no return into my world of depravity and degradation.  (Romeo and Juliet; But then… in a heart-stopping moment I realized that I had committed the most unforgivable sin. I did not protect my children from their father.)
I needed to identify if I was abused. (
Did I believe my husband's views of me?; So was I abused?; Abuse Damages)
Graphic Tales of Abuse
I became a therapist. (My Mission Statement)

It must be written.

Once I knew in my heart that I had to write this book, the problem arose of how I would write it. I struggled for a long time because I didn’t really want to share the truth of me and my life. I just had to keep my secrets. I prayed all the time to God, asking for guidance, His answer was always the same, which was an overwhelming ‘It Must Be Written’. I believe that everything that happens does happen for a reason. I believe that God has a plan for each of us and maybe this happened to me so that I could help others. Maybe I could use my voice to speak for those who can’t.

Never did I relent, as I battled deep within myself to turn my misery into time well spent.

It took me a very long time to write and rewrite this book. I resisted, self-sabotaged and self-destructed as I kept switching around paragraphs and rewriting and redoing and redoing. When I first started to write this book, remembering what my life had been like, I experienced many gruesome moments. Some days were so unbearable that I just had to walk away from my desk because of the depth and intensity of my emotions as I felt I was again ripped apart. I also experienced resistance in the form of severe headaches and overwhelming fatigue while reliving my abuse and coming face to face with my truth. On one hand, this resistance interfered because it stopped my writing and I so wanted to accept the temptation to abandon this book. However, on the other hand, it became a staunch motivator for me to continue my writing.

On a logical level I understand what happened but I just don’t know how to explain it to my heart.

My mom told me when she was pregnant with me that she had to stay in bed and the doctors at times wanted to terminate her pregnancy because they feared for her life, but my mom and dad refused. When I was born, the doctors called me ‘the miracle baby’ because they didn’t think I would survive birth and if I did, they didn’t think I would be normal. Well, my family and I laugh about the ‘normal’ part and it’s still up for debate!

Love and savage, love and savage, go together with my heart you ravaged.

My husband and I went to the same junior high. After graduation we went to different high schools and so then the only time I saw him was when my then boyfriend at the time, drove by his house as they were friends. Then after graduation, this one night I went out with one of my girlfriends and ran into him at a bar. We dated for a while and fell so much in love. He then had enlisted in the military and would be shipped off to Viet Nam but we wanted to get married right away. As we planned our wedding there were obstacles. His parents were against the marriage because as per the European custom, they had picked out the girl they wanted him to marry. We were married on that Sunday at a beautiful ceremony and reception with my family and friends. My husband’s family did not come even though they were invited. Throughout all this planning, my family was very concerned. Up until the day of our wedding, my mom said that she thought these obstacles were red flags and that it meant we shouldn’t marry but we were so much in love and so we just couldn’t see it and so we were married. But within a short time I would see who he really was.

Home was a nightmare.

My husband spoke with such conviction as he wore that arrogant smart-ass smirk on his stone-cold face that I was so familiar with. He was a heartless and inhumane tyrant, tormenting and torturing me or anyone who had the misfortune to be in his line of fire. He was always angry at something that was said or something that was not said. I never knew what he wanted from me. He was argumentative, belligerent, combative and confrontational, especially when I did not abide by his rules. He was cruel and callous, relentless as he would push me up against the wall and make promises of vicious threats of violence: threats of murder and dismemberment when I would least expect it. He was a bully and a tyrant and always liked to see me cower, using my fear of violence against me. He would degrade, demean and belittle me as he was critical and disapproving always giving me a negative appraisal and evaluation. He also liked to humiliate me by embarrassing me in public. After a time, I tried not to worry if he was mad because I came to realize that even if he was not mad at this minute, he could be the next minute because he was always in a bad mood and filled with anger and rage that I had witnessed many times in his temper tantrums and outbursts and fits of fury. Something that was okay yesterday might not be okay today. I never knew the difference until afterwards when he would bang, slam and throw things as he called me names. I learned to speak in whispers, ever so afraid, because at any time a storm could be brewing. I learned to be silent at dinnertime; because I knew all too well that if my husband became angry he would pick up the platters of food and throw them against the wall.

Whenever I entered a room that he was in, there was always the dilemma of not knowing if I should look at him or talk to him, even to say hi. My husband would always make me apologize because he blamed me for everything that ever went wrong and everything I said. Whenever I had something to say to him it was always hard for me to get the words out, because I was afraid.

I would sit there and try to breathe as I would pep talk myself, such as by thinking okay say it now, right now, just open your mouth and say it. My stomach would be in a knot. My hands would be trembling and sweaty. Even my eyes seemed like they were not functioning right. Finally, when I would speak, after saying just a few words, he would glare at me and yell at me to shut up.

My husband day-in and day-out always laughed at me when he said, “These children and your family do not love you!” He sneered. “I’m the only one who will ever love you and you just don’t realize how lucky you are! There were times when he would hold me so close to him with his arms wrapped so lovingly around me, so much so that I could feel his heart beating. Just as I would feel safe and begin to melt into him he would roughly grab me by the arms and shove me back against the wall. He had a look of contempt and disgust in his eyes as he said, as always, “After all who could possibly love someone like you who is a whore and only good for sex because you are so worthless!” His words cut through me like a knife.

My husband’s behavior was always viciously intentional. He was slow and calculating, deliberate and raw as he violently executed his assault on my heart, mind and soul, with his bare words. I bled without end from these wounds which mostly would not heal. This magician of sorts, my husband, relentlessly beckoned me and though his voice was no more than a whisper, his words exploded over and over again in my mind and sliced my heart into slivers. I pushed myself so fast in the hope that I could outrun my terror of him and his symbolic sword of Damocles (impending doom). Alas it was all in vain as it had been already carved into my destiny. I was scattered, shattered and petrified, lost within the darkest darkness. I sought refuge, a haven within the imperishable heart, soul and mind of me but there was no such place. Nowhere could I hide though I frantically tried to find my way out. Then, after a time, I did not seek the door of refuge anymore. I felt hopeless and helpless as I searched inside myself for signs of life and hope, but found instead only the void of me, the abyss of me. And so, I stood before my husband wearing the costume of the day as I had done countless times before for years so long, too long. And time and time again, I did not even recognize me anymore as I was lost in his masquerade and I feared, I just knew, that I had misplaced the clothes that I am. I was barely able stand myself because there was no denying who I really was as I transformed from me to his view of me.

During those times when I was in so much emotional pain I sought out anything and everything to relieve that pain. I was sightless as my behavior created sins which were morbid, grotesque and unforgivable as my choices were not good, not good at all because they were based on my feelings of desperateness which clouded my every thought. And then, when in clarity, I suffered more pain as each of my bad decisions came back to haunt me. I was barely able to stand myself because there was no denying who I really was. There were days I desperately struggled to put myself back together again, but most days I just did not want to disturb my falling apart.

Broken Children and their Recreation of Abuse

The Regrettable Tradition

When someone recreates abusive this is a regrettable tradition. This is the basic destructive pattern of relationships. Either way, submissive or dominant behavior fulfills the prophecy of self-damage and this is what happens most of the time. When we become involved in abusive relationships, it does not matter which side of the abuse we are on, as it’s just the flip side of a coin. We can waffle back and forth between being submissive and dominant. Submissive behavior reinforces that our abusers was right, that we deserved to be abused. Dominant behavior reinforces that we will never allow anyone to abuse us again. Either way, submissive or dominant, reflects our suffering. Either way it’s destructive and reinforces the negatives.

Mothers / Fathers

Note: For the purposes of simplicity, I will refer to the child as he.

Mothers / fathers should be loving and caring. When they hold their child close and kiss him, he believes this is love. They live a selfless, boundless, infinite and unconditional love, of and for their child and when this happens; this child’s life is on a loving path, and the bond blossoms. In addition the bond between a child and his mother develops before birth within the warm embrace of her womb. After he is born, his mother’s womb is replaced by her heart, as she cares for and comforts him, loving him simply because he is.

However, if the mother / father physically or emotionally or psychologically kicks their child to the floor, this child believes that this is love because he needs to believe he is loved. If he does not believe this is love, he then believes he must be bad, and that his mother / father is responding to his badness and that being abused is his fault and deserved. When this happens, the child believes he is so bad that his own mother / father do not love him or that love is so bad and so he suffers the worst corruption of love. He will have feelings of deep sadness, hopelessness, longing and despair, mixed with a fierce anger that will permeate his every breath. It would be so much easier if the bond with his mother / father just broke and vanished into thin air, somehow forever separating him from them so that he would be set free, but that doesn’t happen. The bond the child has with his mother / father exists distorted and ever strong, provoking his existence to crumble and fragment and so, his life then is on a destructive path, and the bond he has with his mother / father festers and most likely he will recreate abuse.

As a therapist a male patient who was abused by his mother told me that a little boy is supposed to do whatever his mother wants to make her happy, because if it makes his mother happy then it must be right. He added that if a boy does not make his mother happy, then any punishment or pain she inflicts on him is deserved.  A male patient who was abused by his father told me that no matter how hard he tries, he just cannot measure up to his father. He feels he is not a man whenever he is overcome by his father’s disgust of him, which leads to his own self-disgust. A female patient who was abused by her mother told me that she feels she has never had an attachment to her mother, never feeling a bond. Her attempts to feel love from her mother have all been in vain, no matter how desperately she has tried. So now, she does anything to make her mother mad, because feeling her mother’s anger is better than not feeling her mother at all. A female patient who was abused by her father told me that she hates him because of his rejection of her. She was never ‘daddy’s little girl’ as she was meant to be. As she began dating, she compared all men to her father, choosing those just like him because she believes this is what she deserves.

An Abusive and Non-Abusive Parent

When a child is abused, it’s detrimental to his life. The non-abusive parent’s action or inaction is based on different factors. Either way, the child will be affected.

The nature of the non-abusive parent is generally determined by the nature of the relationship he or she had with his or her own mother / father. For example: the non-abusive parent may have been abused as a child and feels there was and is no way to prevent abuse and may feel that he or she deserved to be abused and that this applies to his or her child and so it is tolerated and ignored. On the other hand he or she may stand up for his or her child, defending and protecting him as best he or she can even though he or she believes that all mothers and fathers are all powerful, and therefore he or she is powerless. And then on the other hand the non-abusive parent may not care or doesn’t want to become involved or doesn’t know that what is happening to his or her child is abuse. If one parent is abusive, the child will look to the non-abusive parent to get them out of that horrific situation.

When a child grows up like this, it‘s natural for them to feel resentment toward both parents: for the abusive parent because of the suffering they were made to endure; toward the non-abusive parent for not finding an escape to stop the abuse. Along with feelings of resentment, the child may also have feelings of guilt, believing that they should not have any bad feelings toward either parent because no matter what, they are still the parents.

Abused as a Child and as an Adult

When abused as a child and then when an adult, still you will seek out loving partners. When you find them, you may experience the subconscious inevitable and expected treachery when you sabotage the relationships. In your mind you may have a memory or sense thinking if your own mother and father didn’t love you, why would someone else. Abusive relationships are the only tolerable relationships that you can be a part of. So the chance that you will become involved with others, who also need to live out this adverse drama, is always greater than not. And if someone who can cause you to suffer does not find you, then you will find them. After a time of living this way, you may give up on love and abandon any thoughts of having a loving relationship, even though deep in your heart, you want love for your very own. You may only date those who are submissive. You don’t have to be in control, but you will not allow anyone to ever again be in control of you. When you think about your partners, at first glance, they may seem to be different, but at second glance, you realize that they are more similar than dissimilar, because some form of abuse is always involved. Every relationship you have ever had since birth has created a base for all of your relationships, including adult romantic relationships.

My Husband's Recreation of Abuse & His Childhood Foundation Carved in Stone

Children learn what they live and then they live what they have learned.

My dad, aunts, uncles and paternal grandmother were physically and verbally abused by my grandfather. Then one day when my oldest uncle was an adult, he put my grandfather up against to the wall and threatened him which made him finally stop his abuse. As adults, my dad, aunts, uncles with the exception of one never abused anyone. My dad was the most loving father anyone could ever have. My dad made that conscious or subconscious effort to not recreate abuse. He was a survivor. My mom, dad, sisters and brother have always loved me, no matter what. I remember my mom telling me that I would cry and be hysterical if she was out of sight so I had to sit on her lap even when she needed to use the bathroom! If my siblings and I didn’t listen to my mom, she would just tap very lightly on our arms. Oh but when grandma came over we cried as if we had been beaten. My grandma had the solution to everything. First she would yell at mom and then she would take out the extra virgin olive oil and rub it on our arms. Mostly I remember how my mom, dad, sisters and brother always loved me. My family and I have always been very close and I will remember and forever cherish and remember every year. My family has always been so kind and caring and so good to me. They taught me about love and life. They were always there for me, especially when I needed help, even before I knew I did. My family always supported me even when they had doubts about my decisions. They have always listened to my countless hours of crying and complaining and stood by my side, even when I didn’t take what came to be their good advice. “I love you” are the words spoken most often within my family. This is a tradition of love that has been handed down for generations, especially when parting, whether on the telephone or in person. And then there are my children. Their love for me has been ever strong even during those horrible years plagued with tears and sorrow. I have saved and cherished the drawings and writings they made for me when they were in elementary school. I still look at them and smile, loving them more now than before. Their love is a very important part in my healing and a vital part of my recovery. And now I also have my grandchildren’s love. I have been truly blessed. Yes, I am loved.

My ex-husband told me about his childhood as he cried so hard. He told me that he was abused by both of his parents from when he was child. He always felt alone, deserted emotionally and deprived of love, affection, warmth and tenderness and believed he was worthless. He was threatened and intimidated and suffered bodily harm when he was beaten with car parts and anything else within reach. When I looked into his eyes I forgave him for all of his unkind words as I saw his pain and sadness. And then in that heartbeat, I embraced him for what I thought would be an eternity. I wrapped my arms around him and promised that I would always love him, always. My love was only for him, always for him. I thought my love could take away his sadness which was as the blackness of graves. I thought my love for him would destroy his pain which was cast upon him years ago, for years too long. Yes, he was like a wounded puppy to me who I was going to save. Yes, I thought my love for him would heal his wounds. But, I did not realize at the time that because his parents abused him on a day-to-day basis, they primed him to recreate abuse. I did not realize that there were already consequences he had suffered, was suffering and would still suffer in his life. I did not realize there would be consequences in my life and the lives of our children. I came to realize that my wounded puppy was actually as a rabid dog. My ex-husband recreated abuse with me because he was abused as a child. He did not know what love was and what it meant to be loved and give love. And for me and my children, we have never and would never ever be abusive. My ex-husband did not make that conscious or subconscious effort to not recreate abuse. He is still a victim.

The Divorce

I just couldn’t go on like this even one more day. I could no longer endure this drama, my own real life tragedy play one scene at a time, one tear at a time. I thought about those times when I looked forward to when my husband was not home. It was then and only then that life would begin. His abuse intensified in its fierceness as the minutes ticked into hours, growing into days and weeks and months and years. As the years passed, I realized that he would not change, except to be more abusive. And so then, in moments of desperation I prayed that he would leave. And when that did not happen, I prayed that he would die. And when that did not happen, I prayed that I would die. And when that did not happen, I cried and cried and cried. And then as I wiped away my tears I made an appointment with a divorce attorney.

It must be written. (Never did I relent, as I battled deep within myself to turn my misery into time well spent. On a logical level I understand what happened but I just don’t know how to explain it to my heart.)
Love and savage, love and savage, go together with my heart you ravages.
Home was a nightmare.
Broken Children and Their Recreation of Abuse  (The Regrettable Tradition; Mothers / Fathers; An Abusive and Non-Abusive Parent;
Abused as a Child and as an Adult)
My Husband's Recreation of Abuse & His Childhood Foundation Carved in Stone  - Children learn what they live and then they live what they have learned.
The Divorce
My dreaded path of no return into my world of depravity and degradation.  (Romeo and Juliet; But then… in a heart-stopping moment I realized that I had committed the most unforgivable sin. I did not protect my children from their father.)
I needed to identify if I was abused. (
Did I believe my husband's views of me?; So was I abused?; Abuse Damages)
Graphic Tales of Abuse
I became a therapist. (My Mission Statement)

My dreaded path of no return into my world of depravity and degradation.

I would come to know that even after the divorce from my husband happiness would not be mine yet. So yes, though I divorced him I still continued to wear the mask of dreaded time, living the masquerade, becoming whatever the costume of the day called for, as I had done countless times before but now I lived my own self-prophecy, a much worse prophecy than his being pale in comparison. Indeed he taught me well.

Romeo and Juliet

The thing was that I did not see the real person who was before me. For so long, for too long, I thought that our love was like a modern version of Romeo and Juliet, but without the poison, or so I thought. I really, really thought. Finally, after four separations I was strong enough to divorce my husband. I remember so clearly that night he was finally moving out. He was upstairs packing his things as I was pacing downstairs. I thought my heart would just jump out of my chest as it pumped furiously. Every now and then I stood at the bottom of the stairs to see if my ex-husband was coming. What was taking him so long? I felt as if I couldn’t breathe anymore. Then finally he came down the stairs slowly and was dragging his bags, having them bang on the steps. As he started to walk out the door, he faced me and told me that I was nothing but a whore and a slut! He then turned and walked out of the house. I quickly closed the door after him, locking it, on that longed-awaited and longed-for night. I sat at the kitchen table and let out the biggest sigh of relief. I thought about our life together. Oh sure, there were good times, but they were so far and few between, it was hard for me to remember them. But when I did, they would be replaced without delay with mournful images that lingered in my mind of the malady of abuse that he had set forth in my life.

But then… in a heart-stopping moment I realized that I had committed the most unforgivable sin.
I did not protect my children from their father.

I always did everything I could to take care of my children even if I had to beg, borrow and steal, do despicable things and even if I had to walk on hot coals, even if I had to crawl through feces. But then… in a heart-stopping moment I realized that I had committed the most unforgivable sin. I did not protect my children from their father. I committed the most unforgivable sin. I thought because I always fought with my ex-husband for my children whenever he was abusive, it was enough but it wasn’t because his words were already out of his mouth ripping life apart. Forever and always I will experience overwhelming disgrace along with guilt, regret and remorse and a sickening sense of me because the truth is that the longer I stayed with my ex-husband, the longer the abuse went on. I knew that my ex-husband made a mess of my children’s lives but so did I. I have tried to make so many excuses for myself, but even I don’t believe them. I just cannot and will not cut myself any slack even as I have tried to console myself by saying I didn’t know it was abuse and that it would cause everlasting damage. I really didn’t know I swear! Back then, the word and the meaning of abuse was not a thought. People would say that my ex-husband and men like him weren’t treating their wives and children right or words to that effect. So I tried to assure myself that the pain I caused my children by staying with my ex-husband maybe was not so bad because my worst ever sin was unintentional. I have feelings of a deep sense of sadness and sorrow along with feelings of depression, pessimism, despair, devastation and dismay. It’s very hard, and gets harder with each passing year for me to understand how my deep and everlasting love for my children did not act as a wakeup call to save them. My children have told me that there is no need to apologize to them but I will always feel there is. I am so blessed that my children love me. I know I need to forgive myself even as I relentlessly blame myself and hate myself for the worst thing I have ever done in my life. There are broken hearts that just cannot heal and this is mine deservedly so.
I needed to identify if I was abused.

Did I believe my husband's views of me? 

I did. I believed my ex-husband was the truth, my truth. I did believe him as he carved more tears deep into my weary soul, even though he knew that he had already made me weep throughout time. I came to believe without any doubt that what I saw in his eyes was really me! This was me! This was really me! I was worthless! I was a whore! And I was only good for sex! This was the unraveling of me.

So was I abused?

So was I abused? Was it really that bad?  I have asked myself this question and was concerned if my recollections and feelings were accurate? I came to realize that what I didn’t remember by fact, I remembered by impressions? I realized my heart, mind and soul perceived what happened to me was the truth? So, the next time I asked myself if it was abuse and if it was really that bad, I responded with a resounding yes that it was abuse and it was really that bad.


Graphic Tales of Abuse

A patient said that ...

1. when he was a teenager his mother would come into his bed wearing a flimsy robe. She would then ask him to give her a massage until she fell asleep. Sometimes her robe would open, and when it didn’t, he opened it. He was unable to take his eyes off her.

2. his mother abandoned him when he was eight years old. There was a custody hearing and his father made him say bad things about his mother. Since then she refuses to see him. In addition, when he was a child, his older brother forced him to have sex with him.

3. he is trying to get custody of his children because his wife was abusive to him and neglected their children.

4, when he was a teenager, his mother caught him masturbating. She spanked him and then made him masturbate her to orgasm, threatening to tell his father if he refused.

5. when he was a teenager, his mother and sister demanded he lay down on the floor. They then laughed at his penis, and took turns stepping on it.

6. when he was a child he was physically, verbally, and sexually abused by his mother and father and by people they knew. His mother always told him that he’s pathetic looking. She also told him that he’s a burden. He said he was made to choose between her and his father. He wanted his father but knew he had better choose his mother so she would let him survive. He said his twin brother was treated much better than he.

7. when he was a child he was sexually abused by a female school bus driver.

8. when he was a child his father grabbed his hand, held it tight, and made him hit another child. His father would then watch as the other child hurt him. He said his family has abandoned him, telling him that he will burn in hell. He’s lonely without his family.

9. he has a vague memory of his father being in bed with him and rubbing up against him when he was a child. He thinks this is why he’s afraid that he’s a homosexual. He said he likes to be spanked very hard with hair brushes.

10. he was verbally abused by his father when he was a child.

11. he was sexually abused by his sister and his cousins when he was a child. His male boss has even attempted to have sex with him but he was able to fight him off.

12. when he was a child he was sexually abused by his neighbor for five years.

13. he was never allowed to have friends because he had to stay close to his mother all the time. From about four to fifteen years of age his mother would rub his buttocks and penetrate his anus with her finger. She then would dress him up in girls’ clothing and take him over to her friend’s house. His mother would then undress him, tie a rope around his penis, and pull him around the house. She would then put girls’ panties on him and have him sit on the floor by her feet, scolding him for looking up her dress, even though she had just told him to. His mother would then make him kiss her from her shoes up to her white cotton panties that she had pulled aside by the time he reached there. She would then lay down on the floor and say he should take his panties off and rub his penis against her vagina, and to go back inside her where he came from. Once she had an orgasm, his mother would tell him he was her washcloth and that he should lick her vagina clean. He remembers that sometimes a boy would be present. His mother would tell the other boy to penetrate him and then have him perform oral sex. Sometimes he was spanked and tied.

14. his mother always told him that he was worthless.

15. his mother has always told him that he makes her so unhappy that she has no choice but to slap him in the face.

16. when he was a child his mother and grandmother would tell him that he didn’t look well and that he needed an enema. While his grandmother gave him the enema, his mother masturbated him to ejaculation. They would then rub his testicles telling him that his ejaculation was like making, and that it was disgusting. His mother told him that his father’s and his grandfather’s penis were much bigger than his. His grandmother made him oink like a pig, adding that all men are animals. They told him that all mothers and grandmothers do these things. He said that his mother died before he could confront her, but he did ask his grandmother how they could have done this to him. He said she stood in front of him and undressed. She then lay down on the floor, telling him to straddle her. He said he ejaculated in her face immediately because he was so excited and felt that now finally, he had the power.

17. his mother has always rejected him. She treats her as a failure and ridicules and demeans him all the time. His father has also rejected him in the past few years, because he has refused his sexual advances.

18, his father made him and his mother watch him when he masturbated.

19. when he was a child his mother and his father deprived him of seeing doctors and dentists, even when it was an emergency. They told him that pain would build his character.

20. he was forced to watch his mother and father have sex. He even had to watch when his father had sex with other women.

21. when he was living at home with his parents, his father did not allow him to shower every day. His father told him there was no point to it, because no woman would ever want him.

22. as far back as he can remember, his mother always told him that when he was born, she should have thrown him in the garbage.

23. when his wife was a child she was abused by her father. She physically and verbally abuses him and the children. She throws things, hits and has even gone after him with a knife. He said when his wife is abusive he forces her to the floor, and holds her down with his knee in her back. He then grips her hair and as he jerks her head around, threatening her that he will break her neck. This controls her. He said she has alienated him from his family so that they don’t even speak to him anymore. He hasn’t been in love with his wife for a long time, but stays because of the children. He was attracted to a woman who works for him. He said he did try to resist but couldn’t, and so they had an affair which he ended a couple of months ago.

24. when he was a child, his mother made him bark like a dog whenever he wanted anything.

25. he was physically and verbally abused by his father when he was a child. He knows that his mother could have stopped his father but she didn’t.

26. he remembers when he was a child, his mother would stand him on a chair and kiss and hug him telling him how much she loved him. Then one day when he woke up, she was gone. His father sent him to live with relatives in another state. About a year later when his father found his mother, he was allowed to go back home. He said he longed for his mother to stand him on the chair as before. He wanted his mommy back. After a few months she did again stand him on the chair but it was very different this time. She would bite his face over and over again, take out a butcher knife and threaten to chop him up, and then beat him in the head with a frying pan. He said he forgives her because he now knows that she’s sick. But he is very angry at his father because he did nothing to stop her. Years ago, his father walked in on him while he was masturbating. His father left the room but then returned to watch. Since then, his father has told him that he’s no good, and that he would never amount to anything. He told his father that what he sees is what he and his mother have made him.

27. when he was eleven years of age his mother asked her sister to tutor him. She agreed and invited him to go to her house. When he arrived, his aunt was there with an older friend of hers. The friend made him have sex with his aunt and then she spanked him until he cried.

28. he was neglected and physically abused by his father when he was a child. He also witnessed his father verbally abusing his mother and knew that he had been unfaithful to her.

29. when he was a child, as his mother was beating him she screamed that there wouldn’t be a woman on earth that would ever want him.

30. when he was a child, his mother has always rejected him. She has never been affectionate. She treats him as a failure and ridicules and demeans him all the time. In the past few years, his father has rejected him also.

31. he was in a relationship with a woman who cut and stabbed him whenever she was mad.

32. his mother and father beat him with a belt when he was a child. He said that also the kids in school bullied him all the way from kindergarten to high school.

33. his mother has been telling him how good looking he used to be and how fat and disgusting he is now.

34. when he was a child his mother undressed in front of him. He said he feels this hurt his manhood.

35. when he was a child, his mother would take his temperature in his anus even when he was not sick. His mother would invite her friends over to watch and also let them put the thermometer in and out of his anus. His brothers and male friends would hold him down as he cried and struggled to get away. They would undress him and laugh as they played with his nipples and penis. He cried in vain for his mother to help him, but she didn‘t.

36. he was abandoned as a child.

37. when he was a teenager his father made him use alcohol and drugs and forced him to having sex with his male friends. He said he pretended he was a girl to be able to get through it.

Spankings: My View

Sadly there are many reasons why any family unit can disintegrate. I do not believe in spankings or inflicting even minimal psychological / physical pain on a child because even minimal is too much. There are so many articles written today asking if spankings to discipline equal abuse. After reading story after story about children who have been harmed by spankings and other mistreatment, I can see this. In fact, I believe that a spanking could be the gateway to all kinds of abuse. I have spoken to people who believe that spankings are not abuse. They feel that the lack of spankings has caused an increase in children becoming criminals. I do not believe this at all. I do believe that spankings and any kind of abuse, including psychological abuse, against children, increases their chances of becoming criminals because they have been taught that violence is the solution. Any kind of negative psychological / physical contact of a child breeds angry and potentially violent teenagers and adults more times than not. I believe that as mothers were forced to go to work because of the changing economy, and were made to leave their children with other family members / friends / in day care, to me this caused the breakdown of the family unit. Even when children were watched by loving family members, they still were not ‘mom or dad’. Even when children were watched by loving friends, they still were not ‘mom or dad’. And of course day care put children with strangers and even if children received loving care, again, not ‘mom or dad’. Then as children got older they were home alone without their moms or dads. There wasn’t any immediate hands-on guidance and this set the stage for trouble.

I became a therapist.

I wish I could remember that moment of clarity, that moment I finally understood that something was terribly wrong with me and my life because I was abused by my ex-husband. But there wasn’t just one moment as I realized it was a series of many moments. Still to look at me, even back then, you would think I survived in one piece. No. Not really. Not by a long shot. None of us do. There is always death of the spirit, heart, soul and mind to some extent. Sometimes there is also physical death. It was as if I was falling down a well and then little by little I struggled to climb back to the top and I did! Abuse damaged my sense of self and then created distorted feelings and belief systems of what I believed to be true about myself and the world and then created in me maladaptive coping mechanisms and behavior patterns along with intimacy issues.

I wanted to use my heart, soul and mind to embrace those who have suffered. I wanted to use my voice to speak for those who couldn’t. I am made up yesterday’s despair, today's hope and tomorrow's dreams, with mere shreds of myself that have refused to surrender and have refused to die. I am a survivor! So I studied to become a therapist. Through my studies and internships with psychologists, social workers and numerous mental health professionals, I opened my own practice and started to treat my own patients and then more times than not, I was able to identify the root cause during my patient’s first session. In fact, psychologists and social workers consulted with me and referred their patients to me. I wrote articles which were published, did radio interviews, lectured at a hospital and had speaking engagements at libraries.

My Mission Statement

My captivation with the mind, together with my humanitarian nature, my varied professional training and experiences, my therapy talents, and through my past and ongoing extensive research and studies, has guided me on a journey in which I am blessed in that I am able to help people. In addition, through my personal past, I have learned to turn my misery into time well spent. Helping others has always been where my heart is and my lifelong desire, both personally and professionally. My goal is to continue on this path.

The Human Condition

Creation of Memories: Our Subconscious Minds
Psychological Prisons: The Invisible Wounds
While Healing and in Recovery
You need to understand…
Self-Expression Journal: Subconscious Self-Expression (Dreams); Conscious Self-Expression (Drawings; Writings: Sticks and stones may break my bones but abuse will always harm me. This is my poetry collection about being abused while married to my ex-husband.)
Mind Theatre Scripts (The Repair of Sense of Self Script; The Psychological Confrontation Script)

Creation of Memories: Our Subconscious Minds

When we are born, everything that we see, hear and experience and the feelings attached are stored in our subconscious minds including having been abused. Our subconscious minds retain a minute-to-minute record from the time of our very existence up to this minute, and this minute, and on and on. Our subconscious minds store everything along the emotions we felt at the time. We experience this record as memories. Our subconscious minds reveal only those events that we are ready to face, but the mournful truth is that regardless if we remember or not, we will suffer the consequences of any psychological trauma.

Psychological Prisons: The Invisible Wounds

When we suffer abuse we become stuck in psychological prisons. We suffer the toll in consequences in varying degrees and in various ways and deceptions so fierce and profound that they provoke lifelong struggles within us. To look at ourselves we may think that we survived abuse in one piece. No. Not really. Not by a long shot. None of us do. There is always death of the spirit, heart, soul and mind to some extent. Sometimes there is also physical death.

Deep inside our true selves the very essence of us struggles to come out to answer that question of who we are and who we would have been if we did not suffer abuse. The truth is that we will never know because that part of us because it exists only in our imaginations of ‘if only’. The true essence of us at times still lives in shadows, so that we don’t have a sense of who we really are except for a handful of memories of who we were before we were abused (of course this part does not apply if we were abused as children). These memories exist in moments that pass through our minds in glimpses too quickly for us to behold, and then in the blink of an eye, they vanish and are gone.

It is difficult for us to shed our old skins, to stop clinging to them, because it is a known skin, even though we know all too well that it is damaging and destructive to us. As the years pass after suffering abuse we still feel as if we have been savagely captured and disposed of into hell. We feel as if we are falling through a putrid air as the stench of who we have become is forced into our every pore and it is without end. We are wrapped in a mortal sorrow and deep sadness which echoes within our entire beings and then reverberates out, as it spins us into webs, ever tangling and knotting us and ripping us into shreds.

While Healing and in Recovery

You need to surround yourself with people who love you and feel their loving thoughts. You need to remember any and all kindnesses.

For me, after my first child was born, on the day I was going to my doctor for a checkup, I walked into a florist. I was so unhappy this day because even before my ex-husband and I had breakfast, he asked me if he was the father of our baby. As I cried and cried he called me a slut and a whore. Later in the morning he said he was sorry and asked me to forgive him. I did forgive him but now, just a few short hours later he started again. So, as I stood in the florist feeling so unloved, a little old man walked over to me, and handed me a rose. Throughout all these years, I have never forgotten his kindness. I thought about other kindnesses that had slipped my mind. I remember those unexpected telephone calls from people I thought had forgotten me. I remember people who have called me an angel because I helped them. I remember people who offered their help before I asked for it. Yes, there have been many, many kindnesses that I remembered. This was love that I so desperately needed. 

You need to understand...

You need to understand that having suffered abuse it will never be completely over. Healing takes time, a long time and a lifetime. This suffering is a part of you and deeply ingrained in you and therefore will always affect you. 

You need to understand that your damaged sense of self and distorted feelings and belief system of what you believe to be true about yourself and the world and then this created maladaptive coping skills and behavior patterns and then emotional and sexual intimacy problems, did not originate with you but they will affect you. If you look into the eyes of the person who caused you to suffer you will see nothing or no one looking back. You will take this as a sign of such certainty of your unworthiness. If you look into those same eyes to seek you, you will see what you think is an accurate mirror image of you. You will then see that you have become this person’s view of you. You see yourself through the eyes of the person who caused you to suffer. Your view of yourself is so distorted. You see the bad and the ugly in you.

You need to understand that the person who caused your suffering does not know what love is and what it means to be loved and give love because someone may have caused this person to suffer. What happened to you was not personal though it feels oh so personal. The fact is that anyone this person would be with will suffer also.

You need to understand that knowing what happened to you is very different from acceptance. And even when you do accept what happened to you, at times, you will still come up against various depths of denial along the way.

You need to understand that you shouldn’t be concerned if your recollections and feelings are accurate because what you don’t remember by fact, you remember by impressions. You must realize that what your heart, mind and soul perceive is the truth.

You need to understand that you will relentlessly point your finger of blame at your abuser for ruining your life and the lives of our children and others and so you will blame your abuser for causing every wrong thing that happened to you but this is using your past as a crutch. Still, it’s so perfect because it explains and validates your self-destructive and other adverse behavior. However your hate for your abuser is not a healer and that in fact it breeds the damage. Your hate for your abuser may be exceeded only by an even greater hate for yourself.

You need to understand that you have you have to look at your reality. You cannot live in fantasyland anymore as you need to really look at what happened to you. The way, the only way you can leave yesterday in the past where it belongs is through your memories and facing them. You will regress back in time just long enough to reflect on those sad, sorrowful memories and experience feelings of depression, devastation and dismay. Forgotten memories will come out of hiding which previously found refuge in your forgetfulness. You will remember things you don’t want to and you will be afraid. You will realize that all of your memories when looked at together make sense and explain thoughts and feelings which previously seemed to be detached, unrelated and foreign to anything you have remembered. They also explained why at times, you have foreign feelings and behave in ways that seem to be out of character for you. You must take responsibility for yourself and your actions. Yes, someone caused you to suffer. Yes, your behavior is a result of this person. But also yes, your self-destructive and other adverse behavior is on you.

You need to understand that there will be days when you will take steps forward, but also days when you will still walk that same old path and take steps back. This will be just a temporary setback. It will not mean that you have stopped healing and recovering. You need to understand that you live in a world of ‘what if someone didn’t make you suffer’. And so, you are dragging yesterday into your day-to-day living.

Self-Expression Journal

You need lots of paper with lots of pens. Don’t allow yourself to have pencils because there will be no erasing! Whatever you write down first stays and if you reconsider, well that is too bad for you! I know this sounds harsh but your first thoughts always comes from deep inside of you. You cannot make excuses for anyone, not even yourself. You must write down everything. I mean everything! By doing this, you can see into your heart, soul and mind. This will tremendously help you during your healing and recovery.

Creation of Memories: Our Subconscious Minds
Psychological Prisons: The Invisible Wounds
While Healing and in Recovery
You need to understand…
Self-Expression Journal: Subconscious Self-Expression (Dreams); Conscious Self-Expression (Drawings; Writings: Sticks and stones may break my bones but abuse will always harm me. This is my poetry collection about being abused while married to my ex-husband.)
Mind Theatre Scripts (The Repair of Sense of Self Script; The Psychological Confrontation Script)

Subconscious Self-Expression


Dreams, nightmares, theme dreams and recurrent dreams are significant. There is a direct connection between life when awake and life when asleep. What is not revealed or noticed when you are awake will always be revealed in your my sleep through dreams that demand expression. Your dreams, nightmares, theme dreams and recurrent dreams represent what is happening and has happened in your life. You will learn that the way to analyze your dreams is to understand what the symbols mean to you. Yes, there are many dream books available which may be somewhat accurate but they are not personal to you. <>Here are a few dreams I had when I was married to my ex-husband. These dreams in which I cannot speak are also represented in my drawings to follow.
  • I was at a party and everyone was having a great time. I'm in the middle of so many people and we are all talking and laughing! Suddenly I see my husband walk into the party. I cry out for help as I'm falling. I am grabbing onto the people I was just talking and laughing with but there isn't anyone who hears me, feels me or sees me anymore. My husband stands over me and shoots me with a gun. Still no one hears me or the gun shot or feels me pulling on their clothes or sees me.
  • I'm in a room and waiting for my husband. I'm talking to someone saying as soon as he arrives I am going to tell him off especially that I will not tolerate his abuse. I'm not screaming but talking very loud. When I see my husband walking toward me and when he is close, I open my mouth and nothing comes out! I am struggling to speak but I do not have any voice.

Conscious Self-Expression


Drawing is very helpful in determining the pattern of your life, both the past and the present. Your drawings will show the basic nature of you and others. Draw yourself and then significant others in your life. Pay attention to where these people are in relation to you. Pay attention to where these people are in relation to each other. Also pay attention to the details of each person. Do they have eyes? Do they have mouths? Are they missing anything? Are they holding something? You have to pay attention to every detail.

Here are some drawings I drew about myself, husband and my children. My children and I were on one side of the page and my husband was on the other side of the page. None of us had mouths. My interpretation is that my children and I did not have mouths because we were afraid to talk to him and my husband was without a mouth because we didn’t want to hear his abusive words.

Drawing 1 is a baby who has a mouth but he or she does not talk yet. Drawing 2 is a lady looking in the mirror who does not have a mouth but her reflection does and reflections in mirrors do not talk. Drawing 3 is clown who has a mouth but mostly clowns do not talk.

In drawings 4 to 6, they each do not have mouths and should be able to talk. Again, to me, these drawing reflect my life with my husband in which I did not have a voice at all. And again, I did not make this connection for a long time.









Sticks and stones may break my bones but abuse will always harm me.
This is my poetry collection about being abused while married to my ex-husband.
Wedding Dress
When we were married, I stood before the mirror dressed in my wedding gown.
My dreams danced around me as I imagined what my life would be like with you.
I loved you so very much, and I believed that you loved me too.
Later that day we were married.
But then within a short time my smiles become tears.
At first I cried and cried, and made excuses for you as to why you were hurting me so badly.
Your unkind words troubled my heart, soul and mind.
And so, I shed my wedding dress for all my days, and wore instead my imaginary suit of armor around my heart to try to keep you out, to try to keep the pain out.
Alas, it was all in vain.

The Dark

I didn’t think I had to fear the dark, but you in disguises did embark.
And though at first you appeared to be kind, you lingered relentlessly to get me in time.
I didn’t beware you who had risen from hell.
I didn’t look deep into eyes, for I didn’t know the eyes always tell.

The Garden Weeds

My love was only for you, always for you.
I thought it could take away your sadness which was as the blackness of graves.
I thought it would destroy your pain which was cast upon you years ago, for years too long.
But your loveless love for me turned my heart into garden weeds destroying me and my love for you.
And so, the garden became one of horror, festering weeds of anger, and weeds of hate. It’s too late.
Magic Wand
You broke my heart and then spoke words empty of regret.
You pleaded with me to forgive you.
I did.
I did believe this illusion of you, even as you shoved me through tunnels of fresh wounds to the ever dark side of you.
I was fooled again and again, because as I looked into your eyes, I did not see your lies.
Your magic wand was as a double-edged sword.

Love Keeper

My heart flew away on a butterfly’s wings to you.
I thought you were the keeper of my love, the keeper of my life.
But instead my heart became trapped within the debris of you.

Masquerade of Mind

The sword of Damocles (impending doom) was carved into my destiny and so, I sought refuge in the masquerade of mind where I dwelled within the imperishable soul of me.
I was weary of your lunacy that had invaded my every breath.
But then you called my name.
I stood before you wearing the costume of the day, as I had done countless times before, which you had imposed upon me.
But this for years so long, too long and I fear I have misplaced the clothes that I am.
And so, I looked deeply into your eyes seeking me, believing you were my truth, but I saw nothing or no one looking back.


You kidnapped my memories of love and visions of teddy bears and kisses and hugs, though they were mine.
I struggled through dreaded time and it was so unkind.
And my days were ‘there’, simply ‘there’, in a nowhere land of ‘just simply there’.
And in that place of nothingness, something-ness stood close to me bringing the darkness and the loss of hope into every morrow, with those memories of you of tears and sorrow.
Day in and day out, there was never a doubt of those sad tales of old, being told and retold, and those tales so sad and for me, too bad, too bad.
I searched for me, in all my days, but found instead, those empty sighs, and someone’s cries.
Though filled with doubt and dread and gloom, I peeked inside that mind room.
I crept and crawled and through it all, I closed my eyes, for fear to see, for fear to be.
But then I knew, I never knew, these empty sighs and someone’s cries, was really me.

My Dreams

You sought out my dreams so you could blow black ashes upon them.
My dreamless sleep and nightmares haunted my soul as a spirited spell and carved my demise profoundly upon all of my tomorrows.
You hung onto my heart, weighing it down as heavy as the torments you inflicted, as you angrily ripped at me and exploded into vivid colors of pain.
I was scattered, and shattered wherever my eyes saw me.
There I was again with my broken dreams and as they died, I then saw the abyss of you.

My Hopeless Hope

I always believed tomorrow’s dawn could have brought hope.
But because of you hope was never born and so with you hope was never ever.
You tripped my already unsteady feet making me fall and crippling my life.

The Mask

I could not see your eyes behind your mask as you roamed through my mind where the darkness was the deepest, as I dreaded your inevitable rendezvous with me.
You hovered impatiently, waiting to enter at a moment’s notice, to haunt, to prey, to stay.
As I peeked behind your mask, I shuttered, I shattered, because as I looked into his your eyes, I saw your reflection of me.

One True Kiss

Why couldn’t you just love me and pass through my thoughts gently?
Why did you leave me with a handful of emptiness, like hollows of empty spaces in time?
Kindness was not mine as you were as a raging bull, ripping me apart and tearing me to pieces.
I wish that with you, I would have had even one true kiss.


I am haunted by nightmares and I am afraid because there isn’t anyone to stand guard.
I try to sneak by as I tiptoe, but every step brings me closer to you, to yet another dagger impatiently waiting to be thrust deep into my soul.
I feel as if I am surrounded by fires that long to destroy me and in moments of unbearable pain, I almost beg them to.


My eyes can’t see the birds and my ears can’t hear their song as I am damaged forever.
It does not matter how long I cry and wish it all away.
I am as a defiled flower, you have forgotten in the barren field of your heart.
To sleep, To die, To Nevermore cry  To sleep, to die, to nevermore cry.
The dawn brings this day as the days before, deepening the wounds, rising up black before my eyes.
I cannot escape for nowhere can I hide from you.
These days appear as nights and I welcome the rain, the gray, as I dress in shades of you.
And when I couldn’t live with you anymore,
I told you as I did so many times before.
You fell to your knees, crying and resting your head upon my breasts that held my broken heart.
You grasped my hand and pledged your love to me and said that you were sorry.
You said that you would never hurt me again.
I made promises that I loved you and I stayed with you as I did so many times before.
But then, after days too few of happiness as so many times before, you inflicted on me all of the agony of all my yesterdays’ with you and I was swallowed alive as so many times before.
And when I couldn’t live with you anymore, I told you as I did so many times before.
You fell to your knees, crying and resting your head upon my breasts that held my broken heart.
You grasped my hand and pledged your love to me and said you were sorry.
You said that you would never hurt me again.
Finally I made no promise that I loved you and I did not stay with you anymore.
I feel as death, yet death itself eludes me though I cry out its name, though I cry out in vain.
Please, to sleep, to die, to nevermore cry.
To die.
To die.
Why not I?

Mind Theatre Scripts

The Repair of Sense of Self Script  will offer you a way to learn to love yourself.
The Psychological Confrontation Script  will offer you a way to confront your abuser.

These mind theatre scripts are generally performed through hypnosis however they cannot be performed that way here. I have created and altered these scripts so that they can be performed in a relaxed state. These mind theatre scripts offer you a safe place in your mind to right the wrongs committed against you. You need to make a recording or somehow be able to listen so as not to interrupt your relaxed state. Maybe someone can read them to you.

Note: Read the scripts a few times until you feel comfortable and ready.

Note: During the scripts, if you are unable to see into your mind or have a sense or if you feel troubled, it’s okay. Relax for a few minutes more and then you can try again. If it seems like it is not working, just open your eyes and stop for today. It’s okay.

The Repair of Sense of Self Script
This script offers you a way for you to learn to love yourself.

Protective Shield: The intention is for you to feel safe and protected.
  1. Sit in your favorite chair and get comfortable.
  2. Close your eyes and take a deep breath and relax.
  3. Now imagine that a beautiful white light is just above your head. This is a protective and spiritual light with healing and relaxing powers. It will give you a sense of peace. Let it flow into your body through the top of your head, down to your feet, healing and relaxing you. Feel at peace as your body is filled with this beautiful light. Now imagine that the light is completely surrounding the outside of your body.
  4. Take a deep breath and relax.
Happy Memory: The intention is for you to find a happy memory to return to whenever you need to or want to.
  1. You are more relaxed now than you have been in a long time.
  2. Let you mind roam free until you come across a happy memory. Indulge yourself in this happy memory and remember it. See or sense where you are, who is with you, what you’re wearing and what’s happening that made this a happy memory for you.
  3. Take a deep breath and relax.
  4. If you have unrelated thoughts, simply let them pass through your mind.
  5. Don’t focus on them but don’t stop them.
  6. Go back to your happy memory and remember it as you take a deep breath and relax.
Abreaction: This is when you see or sense something that is troubling to you.

  1. If you see or sense anything that troubles you, do not be afraid.
  2. You will relive it in a detached manner and you will not suffer any pain, any psychological or physical distress as you did when it happened. This was in the past and it cannot hurt you anymore.
  3. Watch it from a distance, as if it is a movie and imagine yourself holding the remote control and then change the channel back to your happy memory.
Therapy: The intention is to repair your damaged sense of self and distorted feelings and belief system of what you believe to be true about yourself and the world.

  1. Think about when you first felt unloved. When you are ready, if you are ready, your mind will let you see or sense the first time you felt unloved. If you have a problem remembering when you first felt unloved or seeing or sensing this, think back to childhood birthdays as a guide in time.
  2. Call yourself by your name but add a word to distinguish between you today and you when you first felt unloved. I’ll use the word “baby”.
  3. Move closer to be at eye level with your baby you. Do this even if you have to get down on your knees.
  4. Now look into the eyes of your baby you and gently touch your face. Then lovingly and warmly embrace your baby you. It’s okay to cry if you want to and it’s okay if your baby you cries also. You may need to cry to feel better. Now tell your baby you, “I love you”.
  5. Say it again. Say it once more. Say it aloud. Scream it if you want to.
  6. Deep down, you do love yourself and you are lovable. You may not believe it now, but in time, you will. Linger at this moment for as long as you want to.
  7. It’s okay if you feel lightheaded and have tingling sensations in your body as your suffering leaves your heart, mind, and soul.

  1. Breathe deeply and relax.
  2. When you’re ready just open your eyes.
  3. You will be okay.
  4. Write down whatever you remember. If you have forgotten some things, don’t fret, because if they are important, they will come back to you.

The Psychological Confrontation Script
This script offers you a way for you to confront your abuser.

Protective Shield: The intention is for you to feel safe and protected.

  1. Sit in your favorite chair and get comfortable.
  2. Close your eyes and take a deep breath and relax.
  3. Now imagine that a beautiful white light is just above your head. This is a protective and spiritual light with healing and relaxing powers. It will give you a sense of peace. Let it flow into your body through the top of your head, down to your feet, healing and relaxing you. Feel at peace as your body is filled with this beautiful light. Now imagine that the light is completely surrounding the outside of your body.
  4. Take a deep breath and relax.
Happy Memory: The intention is for you to find a happy memory to return to whenever you need to or want to.

  1. You are more relaxed now than you have been in a long time.
  2. Let you mind roam free until you come across a happy memory. Indulge yourself in this happy memory and remember it. See or sense where you are, who is with you, what you’re wearing and what’s happening that made this a happy memory for you.
  3. Take a deep breath and relax.
  4. If you have unrelated thoughts, simply let them pass through your mind.
  5. Don’t focus on them but don’t stop them.
  6. Go back to your happy memory and remember it as you take a deep breath and relax.
Abreaction: This is when you see or sense something that is troubling to you.

  1. If you see or sense anything that troubles you, do not be afraid.
  2. You will relive it in a detached manner and you will not suffer any pain, any psychological or physical distress as you did when it happened. This was in the past and it cannot hurt you anymore.
  3. Watch it from a distance, as if it is a movie and imagine yourself holding the remote control and then change the channel back to your happy memory.
Therapy: The intention is to repair your maladaptive coping skills and behavior patterns.

  1. Think about someone who has hurt you. When you are ready, your mind will let you see or sense someone who has hurt you. Do not exempt anyone for any reason.
  2. You are not afraid. Remember that this person cannot hurt you anymore. This is your day.
  3. When you do see or sense images, stay with it.
  4. If you see more than one person who has hurt you, tell them to get in line and they will. Select one person, and tell this person to step forward and stand alone, and tell the others to stand back and watch and they will.
  5. Notice that there is a wastepaper basket on the floor next to you. There is also a table next to you with paper and a pen. Hold them in your hands.
  6. Now focus on this person who hurt you. Tell this person in detail what he or she did to you, and how you have suffered. Do not hold back. There aren’t any restrictions. Just get all your feelings out. It’s okay to cry if you want to. You may need to cry to feel better. Just let it happen.
  7. When you are finished talking, look at the paper you have been holding and see that it is filled with everything you just said and have felt. Now, as you look at this person who hurt you and crumble the paper. As you do this, you can feel all of your pain and suffering leaving you as it seeps deep into, and is forever trapped, in the creases and crevices of this paper. Don’t worry or be afraid that not all of your pain and suffering will fit because it will. Squeeze this paper as hard as you can. Destroy it with your own hands right before your own eyes and before this person who has hurt you. Now face the wastepaper basket and throw this paper away, along with all of your pain and suffering that you have endured. Just toss it where it belongs, in the garbage. And as you do this, the person who hurt you fades away, because he or she does not have any more power over you anymore. He or she cannot hurt you anymore. You have the power. You feel so relaxed and good.
  8. It’s okay if you feel lightheaded and have tingling sensations in your body as your suffering leaves your heart, mind, and soul.
  9. Now, lastly, if you see more people who have hurt you still standing in a line, notice that their faces are pale, because they are very worried as they have all just been witnesses. Tell them you will deal with them on another day, when they least expect it. Tell them to go, to get out of your sight. Just dismiss them.

  1. Breathe deeply and relax.
  2. When you’re ready just open your eyes.
  3. You will be okay.
  4. Write down whatever you remember. If you have forgotten some things, don’t fret, because if they are important, they will come back to you.

Appendix: Glossary of Traumatology

This glossary deals with psychological responses to extreme events and only relates indirectly to physical injuries.
Did you suffer a psychological trauma which caused damage to your sense of self? This reference identifies all traumas.


7 Cs: Developed by Søren Buus Jensen between 1996 and 2002 as a possible framework for organizing early emergency interventions. 1 Culturally sensitive and contextually appropriate interventions. 2 Coordination of all services. 3 Community oriented public mental health approach. 4 Capacity building: training, support and supervision. 5 Clinical services. 6 Care for the Caretakers. 7 Comprehensive data collection, analysis and evaluation.[1]


Abreaction: The release of emotional energy, thought to have a cleansing effect on the traumatic experience. Sigmund Freud adopted the term from the work of Josef Breuer. Freud and his era saw abreaction as a therapeutic end in itself. A more recent, linked concept is Trauma Reconstruction. Abreactions also happen spontaneously, e.g. flashbacks.[2][Shabtai Noy]

Abusive Behavior Observation Checklist: Means of assessing the extent or threat of domestic violence.[3]

Accelerated Recovery Program: see Compassion Fatigue.

ACE: Adverse Childhood Experiences

Acute Stress Disorder/Acute Stress Reaction (ASD): is a DSM-IV classification for a condition where symptoms are similar to PTSD but for where the disturbance lasts for a minimum of 2 days and a maximum of 4 weeks and occurs within 4 weeks of the traumatic event. ASR is related the ICD-10 Classification. [4][Paul Burns]

Adjustment Disorder of Adult Life: DSM-II published in 1968 replaced Gross Stress Reaction with ADoAL, under the heading of Transient Situational Disturbance. ADoAL was seen to occur without a pre-existing mental disorder. DSM-II listed only three examples of ADoAL - unwanted pregnancy, combat fear and death-row prisoners. [5][Paul Burns]

Agnosia: Building on Hermann Munk's concept of Mind Blindness (Seelenblindheit), Sigmund Freud introduced the term Agnosia to describe the inability to identify familiar objects. Current usage may refer to loss of perceptual recognition in sight or other senses. Agnosia is sometimes linked to reactions to extreme events. [Paul Burns]

Amnesia: "An inability to remember certain facts and experiences that cannot be attributed to ordinary forgetting". Richard McNally (2003) It may be difficult to establish to what extent amnesia is psychogenic, e.g. major stress, as opposed to organic, e.g. a head injury. Anterograde amnesia refers to loss of memory of events after an event and retrograde to loss of prior memories. McNally states, "Psychogenic amnesia must not be confused with traumatic amnesia postulated to explain why someone might not remember childhood sexual abuse. Classic psychogenic amnesia begins immediately after the precipitating event; involves loss of personal identity; involves massive retrograde memory loss, not merely loss of memory for the precipitating event; rarely lasts more than a few weeks; and usually ends suddenly rather than gradually." (p189) [Paul Burns]

AMT: see "Anxiety Management Training"

Analogue Trauma: Simulation of trauma such as a stressful film shown to the subjects of an experiment. First use not known. [Paul Burns]

Anterograde Amnesia: see amnesia

AP: see Apparently Normal Personality

Alexithymia: Coined by John Nemiah and Peter Sifneos (1970) to indicate a marked difficulty in experiencing, identifying, and communicating emotions. It is a description of the disruption of cognition and affect rather than a recognised disorder in itself. [Paul Burns]

Anhedonia: The term L'anhédonie was created by Théodule Armand Ribot (1896) to describe the loss of ability to experience pleasure or the loss of interest in activities that previously gave pleasure as features of depression. Anhedonia also has become recognised as a possible symptom of PTSD. Bessel van der Kolk sees it as one of a number of numbing responses[6] [Paul Burns]


Anxiety Management Training (AMT): A programme of relaxation and awareness training with elements of cognitive behavioural therapy first used in 1971. AMT was devised by Richard M. Suinn (1990) to promote self-control of anxiety symptoms over 6 -8 sessions by deactivating arousal and responding to early signs of stress. [Paul Burns]

Apparently Normal Personality: Charles Samuel Myers (1940) proposed the ANP and Emotional Personality (EP) to account for different reactions to trauma in WWI. "The EP was the part of the personality that remained fixed in the original traumatic experience, suffering vivid, painful sensorimotor memories of the trauma, i.e. hypermnesia. The ANP was the part of the personality associated with partial or complete amnesia of the trauma, detachment, and numbing."[7][8][Paul Burns]

ARP: see "Accelerated Recovery Program"

Associated Symptoms: "problems that don't come directly from being overwhelmed with fear, but happen because of other things that were going on at the time of the trauma".[9] See also Secondary Symptoms. [Paul Burns]

ASD: see "Acute Stress Disorder"

ASR: see "Acute Stress Reaction"


BASK/BASKIM: The BASK model of dissociation was proposed by Bennett Braun[10]. B = Behaviour, A = Affect, S = Somatic Sensation, and K = Knowledge. Whitfield[11] suggested adding Identity, Imagery, and Memory and making the mnemonic BASKIM. [Paul Burns]

Battered Child Syndrome: First used by Charles Henry Kempe et al. (1962) and focusing on physical injuries inflicted by adult carers. While BCS is now replaced by Child Abuse, which attends to mental as well as physical health, the work of Kempe is recognised for advancing awareness of child mistreatment. [Paul Burns]

Battered Woman Syndrome: Leonore Walker (1979) defined BWS as "the psychological, emotional and behavioural reactions and deficits of victims and their inability to respond effectively to repeated physical and psychological violence." The reactions include low self-esteem, self-blame, anxiety, depression, fear, suspiciousness and loss of belief in the possibility of change. As well as symptoms, BWS incorporates models such as learned helplessness, deficient coping mechanisms and cyclical phases within a violent relationship. The mixing of symptoms with other factors is one reason why BWS is not widely used as a distinct diagnosis even though any violence, especially when it is repeated, life-threatening and anticipated with limited chances of escape, is likely to contribute to traumatic conditions such as PTSD. Review by Mary Ann Dutton[3] [Paul Burns]

BBTS: See Brief Betrayal Trauma Survey[4]. See Betrayal Trauma.

Betrayal Trauma: The term was first used by Jennifer Freyd in 1991 and refers to trauma induced at least in part by the abuse of trust. Betrayal Trauma may occur without an immediate threat to life and for this reason it is sometimes contrasted with fear-based trauma. The betrayal may be by an individual, e.g. parental abuse, or by an institution, e.g. a prison ignoring violence against the vulnerable. A betrayed person might be overwhelmed by feelings of shame to such an extent that the violation of trust is not recognised. See also Betrayal Trauma Theory. Jennifer Freyd’s Own Overview[5] [Paul Burns]

Betrayal Trauma Theory: Proposed by Jennifer Freyd (1996) and explaining how people who are abused by trusted, needed others (e.g. caregivers) process and remember information in ways that are adaptive. Betrayal trauma perpetrated by a trusted caregiver occurring in concert with a person's continuing need to depend on that caregiver, often leads to the inability to know or recollect that betrayal until such time as the betrayed person is no longer dependent on the betrayer. Such amnesia is seen as less about reducing pain and more about promoting survival by allowing people to maintain relationships with those who provide for their most basic needs. Jennifer Freyd’s Own Overview[6] [Paul Burns]

BICEPS: Brevity, Immediacy, Centrality, Expectancy, Proximity, Simplicity - principles of Military Psychiatry, most of which are discussed under P.I.E. Centrality refers to treating combat stress reaction separately from other casualties and secluding those with behaviour that might undermine the recovery of other personnel. [Paul Burns]

Bimodal/Biphasic: Describing the contrasting sets of trauma symptoms. Bessel van der Kolk (1994 ) writes, "... the trauma response is bimodal: hypermnesia, hyper-reactivity to stimuli and traumatic reexperiencing coexist with psychic numbing, avoidance, amnesia and anhedonia ... These responses to extreme experiences are so consistent across traumatic stimuli that this biphasic reaction appears to be the normative response to any overwhelming and uncontrollable experience." [Paul Burns]

BP/BPM: "Blood Pressure"/"Beats per minute" - two possible measures of anxiety. See also Heart Rate. [Paul Burns]

Breathing Retraining: An anxiety management technique in which clients learn to focus on exhalation, slower breathing and pauses between breaths. There are many web references but none that I have seen identify the source of this training or its first use as a part of therapy. [Paul Burns]

Brief COPE: See COPE Inventory.

Briquet's Syndrome: Another name for somatization disorder, after Paul Briquet, a French Physician who wrote about it in 1859. [Paul Burns]

BWS: See "Battered Woman Syndrome."

Bystander Traumatisation: See Secondary Traumatisation.


CAN: "Child Abuse and Neglect"

CAPS, CAPS-1, CAPS-2 & CAPS-CA: Versions of the Clinician Administered Post-traumatic Stress Scale which uses items based on DSM III criteria. CAPS-CA is the Child and Adolescent version Further details from NCPTDS

CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocate, e.g. for an abused or neglected child.

CBI / CBT Cognitive Behavioural Interventions / Therapy: For example, see Cognitive Restructuring, Implosive Therapy, Systematic Desensitization and Anxiety Management Training.

CDSG: Criminal Death Support Group

Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome: Used by Roland Summit (1983) to describe how a child responds to abuse. CSAAS pays particular attention to the role of secrecy, feelings of helplessness, impact on self-concept, behaviours in response to feeling entrapped, and the stress of disclosure. There have been criticisms that CSAAS does not meet criteria for being a syndrome. Summit (1992) said that CSAAS should not be used for diagnosis or forensic purposes. The concept is relevant to understanding how delayed disclosures and retracted allegations may occur. [Paul Burns]

Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome: see Hyperventilation Syndrome

Circumscribed PTSD: see Elaborated PTSD

CISM: Critical Incident Stress Management

Cognitive Processing Therapy: Developed by Patricia Resick and Monica Schnicke (1992) for survivors of rape. It includes elements of exposure and other cognitive therapy. [Paul Burns]

Cognitive Restructuring: First use not yet identified. CR is a component in several approaches to therapy. The goal is to change unhelpful thinking through identification of dysfunctional thoughts, re-evaluation of beliefs, and replacing destructive ideas with constructive ones. [Paul Burns]

Cognitive Rituals: see Compulsive Cognitions

Cognitive Therapy for Trauma Related Guilt: Developed by Edward Kubany (1998) and building on his work identifying erroneous beliefs in survivors of extreme events. It involves a trauma history assessment, assessing guilt, identifying trauma related guilt beliefs, psychoeducation, dialogue to correct faulty thinking, and homework assignments. [Paul Burns]

Combat Severity Indices: In his Traumatology article (available as pdf) Shabtai Noy (2001) reviews the literature and lists as objective indicators “…the length of stay at the battlefront, the number of actual combat days, the proximity of enemy fire, the number of comrades wounded and killed in action (WIA & KIA) in the vicinity of the soldier and ratios of these, e.g. number of WIA divided by combat days, etc.).” [Paul Burns] Combat Stress Determinants In his Traumatology article (available as pdf) Shabtai Noy (2001) includes the following as factors influencing the prevalence and type of Combat Stress Reaction. 1)Status of the War – e.g. winning, extent to which troops are moving when in combat 2)Quality of Leadership and Social Support 3)Norms and values of individuals and group 4)Available routes of evacuation - e.g. are psychiatric symptoms tolerated? 5)Who is available to listen and what behaviour is assumed to be most effective with them? 6)Expectation effects – e.g. someone fearing a gas attack may exhibits symptoms of poisoning without gas 7)•Intensity and duration. See also Combat Severity Indicators [Paul Burns]

Combat Stress Reaction: According to Solomon (1993) an acute reaction of anxiety that may feature numbing, fainting, restlessness, psychomotor retardation, stuttering, withdrawal, vomiting, disorientation, paranoid thoughts and guilt. Shabtai Noy (2001) (available as pdf) proposes that CSR and the associated deterioration of functioning be seen as attempts to communicate to the system that combatants cannot take any more. See also Combat Severity Indicators and Combat Stress Determinants.

Co-morbid / Comorbid: A simultaneous diagnosis, e.g. PTSD and Chronic Depression. See MCHP's Concept Dictionary for a fuller description of medical usage. [Paul Burns]

Compassion fatigue: First used by Carla Joinson in 1992 in an article on nursing. The concept of CF was expanded and related more explicitly to trauma by Charles Figley (1995). Figley (2002, p.3) writes that "Compassion fatigue is a more user friendly term for secondary traumatic stress disorder, which is nearly identical to PTSD except that it applies to those emotionally affected by trauma of another..." Figley (2002) pp 4 & 7) compares PTSD and CF stressors and a list of CF symptoms. Introduction to CF by Charles Figley. See also Secondary Traumatisation [Paul Burns]

Compassion Satisfaction: Term used by Beth Hudnall Stamm (2002) and Charles Figley for the ability to be sustained in the face of potentially distressing work. As Stamm (2002) puts it, " well as the cost of caring there are also positive payments that come from that caring." See also ProQOL [Paul Burns]

Completion Principle proposed by Mardi Horowitz (1986, pp 93-94) as a contribution to explaining intrusion phenomena. The principle "summarises the human mind's intrinsic ability to process new information in order to bring up to date the inner schemata of the mind and the world." Horowitz suggests that until traumatic experiences have been integrated they are stored as a particular type of memory with an "intrinsic tendency to repeat the presentation of contents." [Paul Burns]

Complex Trauma or complex post-traumatic stress disorder (complex PTSD): Judith Herman (1992) proposed that trauma is best understood as a spectrum of conditions rather than as a single disorder. She proposed that the syndrome following prolonged, repeated trauma be called "complex post-traumatic stress disorder." NCPTSD C-PTSD fact sheet including symptoms. See also Continuous Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Cumulative Trauma Disorder, DESNOS, Enduring Personality Change, Type I & II Trauma. [Paul Burns]

Complicated Grief: see Traumatic Grief

Compulsive Cognitions Term: Used by Padmal de Silva and Melanie Marks (1999) for the repeated replaying of details of an extreme event, when people feel they have no or little choice but to do so. This can include reviewing images in a strict sequence. The images may be of what was actually witnessed, or an attempt to fill in gaps caused by amnesia or lack of knowledge, or may dwell on what might have happened had some factor been different. The authors link their term to “cognitive rituals", used by Stanley Rachman (1971). [Paul Burns]

Concentration Camp Syndrome: In the late 1940s people working with Holocaust survivors began to identify symptoms such as apathy, anger, anxiety, disturbed sleep, anhedonia, intrusive thoughts, difficulty concentrating, hypervigilance, depression, illogical feelings of guilt, impaired relationships and psychosomatic conditions. Later, Leo Eitinger (1980) and others linked the Syndrome more with the severity and length of imprisonment and less with the patient's pre-camp personality. See KZ Syndrome for first use. [Paul Burns]

Conditioned Emotional Response: An emotional reaction to a stimulus that has been learned, perhaps with little or no conscious awareness. Lawrence Kolb (1984) described how these might be significant in some reactions to extreme events. John Briere (2002) writes; "These…responses are not encoded as autobiographical memories, but rather as simple associations between certain stimuli (e.g., the sudden raising of a hand) and certain responses (e.g., fear, leading to flinching). As a result they are not 'remembered', per se, but rather are evoked or triggered by events that are similar to the original abuse context…" Discussed in John Briere (2002) chapter available as pdf. [Paul Burns]

Confabulation: Providing untrue details or elaborate stories, especially when not lying knowingly but in response to inability to recall the facts. Confabulation is sometimes associated with reactions to extreme events but also with brain injury and malnutrition. Roberta Sachs & Judith Peterson (1996) list reasons for confabulation. It is used to help hide gaps in time, to normalize past and present experiences, to shield against the intolerable, for secondary gain, to idealize the image of a significant other, and to keep secrets. Jacob Driesen's Glossary provides definitions of Personal , Momentary & Spontaneous Confabulations. [Paul Burns]

Conflicts Around Nurturing and Contagion: Robert Jay Lifton (1968) reported how Hiroshima survivors had difficulty with relationships because of their ambivalent feelings about their condition. The identity of being a survivor raises suspicions that others cannot understand and therefore any help offered is counterfeit nurturance. Contagion refers to the suspicion that there is an invisible death taint. More recently these concepts have been incorporated into understanding the mental anguish of those with HIV. These conflicts are part of Lifton's Characteristics of Survivors. [Paul Burns]

Conservation of Resources or COR Model of Coping: First proposed by Stevan Hobfoll (1989). Stress is seen to result from loss of things valued by an individual, or a threat to resources, or failure to gain resources. [Paul Burns]

Constriction: Defined by Judith Herman as "the numbing response of surrender: detached states of calm or dissociation impeding voluntary action, initiative, critical judgment and perception of reality." She places it alongside Hyperarousal and Intrusion as one of the three main categories of PTSD symptoms. In her book (1988, p 45) Judith attributes the term to Janet who noted that amnesia could be due to a "constriction of the field of consciousness". Earlier in her book (pp 43-43) Judith writes: "When a person is completely powerless, and any form of resistance is futile, she may go into a state of surrender...the helpless person escapes from the situation not by action but rather by altering her state of consciousness... Perceptions may be numbed or distorted with partial anaesthesia or the loss of particular sensations." [Paul Burns]

Constructivist Self Development Theory: CSDT was first expounded by Lisa McCann and Laurie Pearlman (1990). "Constructivist" refers to how each of us creates a unique, mental model of the world and events. These internal representations influence expectations, perceptions and other behaviour. "Self Development" emphasises the importance of early experiences and, in trauma work, the need to deal with disrupted development of self capacities and beliefs about self and the world. In CSDT trauma is seen as the result of interaction between experiences to date and the developing self's resources and mental models. Discussed in relation to self harm in pdf article by Pearlman et al. [Paul Burns]

Contact Victimization: Used by Christine Courtois (1988) to describe the impact on a therapist of dealing with the trauma of others. See also Secondary Traumatization. [Paul Burns]

Continuous Traumatic Stress Syndrome: Term coined by Gill Straker et al. (1987) to describe the plight of residents in South African townships subjected to frequent, high levels of violence by forces of the apartheid government, vigilantes and conflict within the black community. Attempts to respond to the PTSD of residents was hindered by inability to protect from further trauma. In part the term was created as PTSD was seen as insufficient in such a context. See also complex post-traumatic stress disorder. [Paul Burns]

Convoy Fatigue: Discussed but not defined in Virtual Naval Hospital pdf Chapter by John Mateczun. See also War Sailor Syndrome [Paul Burns]

COPE Inventory: A self-report measure developed to assess a broad range of coping responses, e.g. following disasters, by Charles Carver et al. (1989). A shorter version known as the Brief COPE is also available. View the Inventories. This website invites use and translation of COPE. There are already Spanish versions. [Paul Burns]

COR: Conservation of Resources

Counterdisaster Syndrome: Defined by Beverly Raphael (2000, p133) as "... a relatively non-productive behaviour pattern sometimes seen in the post-disaster and recovery phases. Here people are overactive, over-conscientious but with loss of efficiency. Bustling activity of a purposeless nature is characteristic of this syndrome. People may be unwilling to finish their shift, be over-involved and believe they are indispensable, even thought their efficiency is in fact diminished. This behaviour should as far as possible be prevented by clear lines of responsibility, tours of duty and personal awareness." [Tony Taylor]

Counterfeit Nurturance: see Conflicts Around Nurturing and Contagion

CPA: "Child Physical Abuse"

CPT: "Cognitive Processing Therapy"

CPTSD / C-PTSD: "Complex PTSD". see Complex Trauma

C-PTSD / C-R PTSD: "Combat Related PTSD"

CR: "Cognitive Restructuring". Also used for Conditioned Response.

Cross Traumatisation: Disabling reactions to the traumatic experiences of others, presumably based on the metaphor of cross infection. First use not known. [Paul Burns]

CRB: "Clinically relevant behaviour"

Criminal Death Support Group: Based on work of Edward Rynearson (2001) and run for those who have lost someone as the result of violence and as a result are now involved in the criminal justice system. The group offers advocacy, support and information. [Paul Burns]

Critical Incident Debriefing / Critical Incident Stress Debriefing: The use of group activities to help people involved in extreme events to make better sense of what happened and their reactions to it. The original Marshall Type Debriefing was used post-combat. There are a number of different approaches including Critical Incident Stress Management, Psychological Debriefing, Psychological First Aid, Group Stress Debriefing and Multiple Stressor Debriefing. Online information - 2002 Review by Litz et al. [Paul Burns]

Critical Incident Stress Management: CISM is the Everly and Mitchell (1999) approach to Critical Incident Debriefing. The approach includes Introduction, Facts, Thoughts, Reactions, Symptoms, Teaching, Re-entry / what support is needed, follow-up and referral as needed. [Paul Burns]

CSA: "Child Sexual Abuse"

CSAAS: "Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome"

CSDT: "Constructivist Self Development Theory"

CSR: "Combat Stress Reaction"

CTD: "Cumulative Trauma Disorder"

CTT: "Cognitive Trauma Therapy" or "Coping with Trauma Training"

CT-TRG: "Cognitive Therapy for Trauma Related Guilt"

Cultural Trauma: First use not yet identified. The impact on a group of people of ordeals such as enslavement, genocide, colonisation or massive disruption of traditional ways of life. The trauma may last many generations. Some individuals suffer more, perhaps because they are more aware of loss or because of other factors such as family influences, isolation or greater exposure to discrimination. Cultural trauma does not imply that all or most would display symptoms associated with, for example, PTSD. Further information. [Paul Burns]

Cumulative Trauma Disorder: Ibrahim Kira (2001) appears to have been the first to write about CTD in relation to extreme events though the idea of compounded trauma has existed much longer, e.g. see Complex PTSD. Kira recognises different types of CTD. “There are distinct groups of cumulative trauma disorders that result from different sequences or patterns of trauma within a life. Both similar and varied traumatic events may contribute to a CTD. Thus, an infant repeatedly rejected by carers may develop Cumulative Attachment Trauma Disorder. And an adult refugee may develop Survival CTD from disparate events before, during and after flight. The much rejected infant, the oft-traumatized refugee and other kinds of accumulated trauma present distinctive, symptomatic features.” (personal communication, 2003). More information in Kira’s 2001 Taxonomy of Trauma article as pdf. Cumulative traumatic stress may be greater not simply because of repetition but also because of fearful anticipation, feelings of powerlessness and the frequency of the events. CTD is also used for the results of repeated physical traumas such as tennis elbow. [Paul Burns]


Da Costa's Syndrome / Disease: First described by Arthur Myers (1870) but named after Jacob Da Costa (1871) who related the condition to reactions of soldiers in the American Civil War. Symptoms include breathing difficulty, palpitations, chest pain, sweating, dizziness, fainting, great fatigue, exhaustion following minor effort, numbness and paresthesia. The symptoms of the more recent Hyperventilation Syndrome overlap. Also known as Soldier's or Irritable Heart, Effort Syndrome and Neurocirculatory Asthenia. [Paul Burns]

DARVO: Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. Acronym first used by Jennifer Freyd (1997) to describe the responses that wrong doers, particularly sexual offenders, may display when confronted. "Reverse Victim and Offender" describes attempts to reverse roles so that the accused presents as victim and the accuser is cast as perpetrator. Jennifer Freyd’s Own Overview [Paul Burns]

Death Guilt: A survivor's misgivings about having survived when others did not. The guilt may be compounded by beliefs that may have no or little rational basis, e.g. that certain actions if taken or avoided might have made a difference. Death Guilt is one of Lifton's Characteristics of Survivors. [Paul Burns]

Death Imprint: Robert Jay Lifton first used this term in relation to the use of atomic weapons in Japan. In his 1979 book he wrote that, "The death imprint consists of the radical intrusion of an image-feeling of threat or end to life." (pp 169 -170). The intrusion may be sudden or gradual. The degree to which death as represented by the image is unacceptable is linked to the level of anxiety. Anxiety and difficulty assimilating the experience are linked to the image being sudden, extreme, protracted or its association with the grotesque, absurd, premature and unacceptable dying. The Death Imprint is one of Lifton's Characteristics of Survivors. [Paul Burns]

Debriefing: see Critical Incident Debriefing. This also lists a number of different types of debriefing. The APA Historical Database records the first use of debriefing in psychology was in a 1964 article by Stanley Milgram describing the post-experimental measures taken in his stress-inducing studies of obedience. [Paul Burns]

Defusing: An NCPTSD article which includes guidelines on defusing says the term has been used "to describe the process of helping through the use of brief conversation... Broadly speaking, defusings are designed to give survivors an opportunity to receive support, reassurance, and information. In addition, defusing provides the clinician with an opportunity to assess and refer individuals ... More specifically, defusing may help the survivor shift from survival mode to focusing on practical steps to achieve restabilization. It may also help survivors to better understand the many thoughts and feelings associated with their experience." Others (e.g. Council for Exceptional Children and Joseph A. Davis) put more emphasis on emotional venting. As yet I have not found a source that identifies the origin of "defusing" in relation to support for people who have undergone extreme events. [Paul Burns]

Delayed PTSD: DSM-IV advises to specify PTSD "with delayed onset" if the symptoms appear at least six months after the stressor. In his NCPTSD overview of PTSD, Matthew J. Friedman notes that, "Longitudinal research has shown that PTSD can become a chronic psychiatric disorder that can persist for decades ... Patients with chronic PTSD often exhibit a longitudinal course marked by remissions and relapses." [Paul Burns]

Demobilization: Within debriefings, particularly in the CISM approach, a short, transitional group intervention following an extreme event. Further information from Battle Born. [Paul Burns]

Depersonalisation / Depersonalization: (UK / US spellings) First used by Gerard Heymans (1904). A form of dissociation involving emotional detachment and disorientation relating to the perception of self, body or mental processing. E.g. having the sense of watching oneself or a feeling like a character in a dream. There is a different usage in existentialism referring to a loss of personal identity and feelings of anonymity in complex society. [Paul Burns]

Derealisation / Derealization: (UK / US spellings) First used by Edward Mapother (reference sought) Changes in perception such that the environment seems unreal or alien or has the feel of a movie or stage set. [Paul Burns]

DESNOS: Disorders of Extreme Stress, Not Otherwise Specified - often equated with Complex Trauma and sometimes linked to Enduring Personality Change. Significant disturbances in the following are linked to DESNOS. 1)Awareness (including amnesia, dissociation & depersonalisation)2)Perception of Self, Perception of Perpetrator 3)Relationships with Others 4)Personal Beliefs. According to Bessel van der Kolk (1996a), DESNOS was an attempt to make DSM-IV more comprehensive by reflecting research that linked persistent trauma to the compromise of the fundamental sense of self and ability to trust. However, the American Psychiatric Association did not formally recognize DESNOS as a diagnostic entity and instead listed it as a proposed additional criteria set to PTSD. A Trauma Center 2001 pdf article by Toni Luxenberg et al. includes DESNOS diagnostic criteria and a discussion of these. [Andrew Leeds & Paul Burns]

DET: Direct Exposure Techniques / Therapies. See also DTE.

Dialectic of Trauma: Judith Herman's (1992) term for "The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud..." with their associated symptoms of numbing and reliving horrific experiences. [Paul Burns]

DID: Dissociative Identity Disorder, see under Tertiary in Dissociation

Disassociation: Robert Dilts (see below) attributes this concept to Milton Erickson. According to Dilts "Disassociation involves moving to or 'associating' into a different perspective" and is therefore distinct from dissociation which involves loss of elements of experience without necessarily changing perspective. Robert Dilts includes information on both terms in his online Encyclopaedia of NLP. [Paul Burns]

Disaster Syndrome: was first use by Anthony Wallace (1956) to describe responses to a tornado but since used for behaviour following a variety of extreme events. The phases noted by Wallace were: 1)Dazed, disorientated, stunned, apathetic and passive 2)Heightened suggestibility, altruism, grateful for help, personal loss minimised, and concern for loved ones or the wider community 3)Euphoric identification with the community that has suffered and energetic involvement in restoration 4) Euphoria diminishes and more ambivalent feelings emerge, perhaps with the need to search for an explanation. The syndrome has been questioned by other researchers, e.g. the extent of apathy has been challenged. [Paul Burns]

Disenfranchised Grief: Kenneth Doka's (1998) term for a griever receiving significantly less support because the loss is not socially acceptable. Lack of support may contribute to traumatic grief or other complications. [Paul Burns]


Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified: - see DESNOS

Dissociation: Colman (2001) defines dissociation as: Partial or total disconnection between memories of the past, awareness of identity and of immediate sensations, and control of bodily movements..." Van der Kolk, van der Hart & Marmar (1996b) propose that dissociation is used in three distinct but related ways. 1)Primary - when confronted with overwhelming threat and unable to integrate all that is happening into consciousness, sensory and emotional elements may not be integrated into personal memory and identity, remaining separated from ordinary consciousness. Fragmentation is accompanied by ego states that are distinct from normal states of consciousness - e.g. flashbacks 2) Secondary - once in a traumatic / dissociated state further disintegration of elements of the experience can occur, such as the sensation of leaving the body and observing what happens at a distance thereby limiting the experience of pain. 3)Tertiary - (also known as Dissociative Identity Disorder) when people develop distinct ego states that contain the traumatic experience. One state may contain and express the fear or anger and another may appear to be unaware of the trauma. See also Somatoform Dissociation

Dissociative Flashback Episode: Now usually abbreviated to Flashback.

Dissociative Identity Disorder: see under Tertiary in Dissociation

Double Dissociation: see Visual Kinesthetic Dissociation

DSM-IV / DSM-IV-TR: The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, 4th Edition, published 1994. It specifies criteria for mental disorders, including PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder. DSM-IV is reproduced in part at BehaveNet. Conditions linked to extreme events are listed under Anxiety Disorders and Dissociative Disorders. TR refers to Text Revision. DSM-IV-TR was updated in 2000 but without changes directly related to traumatic conditions. DSM-IV is listed in this dictionary's References under APA. See also ICD-10. [Paul Burns]

DTE: Direct Therapeutic Exposure - collective name for therapies involving controlled exposure to stimuli that produce unpleasant affect.

Dual Representation Model of PTSD: Chris Brewin et al. (1996) proposed that the complex phenomena of trauma is the result of the interplay between situational accessible memories (SAMS) and verbally accessible memories (VAMS). SAMS lead to spontaneous, intrusive images using sensory and visio-spatial cues rather than verbal information. Brief pdf article by Brewin. Updated model in Brewin & Holmes (2003). [Paul Burns]


Early Insomnia: see Insomnia.

Effort Syndrome: see Da Costa's Syndrome

Elaborated PTSD: Robert Kohlenberg and Mavis Tsai (1998) propose that the symptoms of PTSD are elaborated through repetitive, more frequent and longer-lasting trauma at the hands of a trusted caretaker. They suggest this has implications for treatment and contrast EPTSD with Circumscribed PTSD. CPTSD symptoms develop from limited physical trauma and correspond with the DSM-IV PTSD symptoms. [Paul Burns]

Embedded Trauma: As yet no definitions or first use found. The term usually suggests that the shock of an overwhelming event has become fixed in one or more parts of the body, often resulting in disrupted energy flows. The client now may have no awareness of the extreme event or even the resulting dysfunction. Less frequently the implication is that the trauma is fixed more in the nervous system. I have found one author who has used embedded trauma to refer to the sort of situations peace keeping forces are asked to respond to. [Paul Burns]

EMDR: see Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Emotional [[[contagion|Contagion]]: Defined by Katherine Miller et al. (1988, p254) as an affective process in which "an individual observing another person experiences emotional responses parallel to that person's actual or anticipated emotions". [Paul Burns]

Emotional Debriefing: I have not been able to identify the origin of this term or a comprehensive description of the approach. ED appears to be a form of critical incident debriefing. One site lists the aims of ED as "... to recognize potential stress, acknowledge it as a normal response and provide a supportive and structured setting to allow people to cope more effectively", and appears to link this text to a UK Health & Safety Publication. [Paul Burns]

Emotional Hotspots: see Hot Spots

Emotional Personality (EP): see under Apparently Normal Personality

Emotional Processing: Defined by Stanley Rachman (2001) as "a return to undisrupted behaviour after an emotional disturbance has waned." Acknowledging that "most people successfully process the overwhelming majority of the disturbing events that occur in their lives", Rachman identified four factors that give rise to difficulties or facilitate emotional processing: 1)State (fatigue vs. relaxation) 2)Personality (neuroticism, inner-oriented vs. broad competence, self-efficacy, stability) 3)Stimulus (predictable, mild, safe, progressive, small chunks, controllable) 4)Associated Activity (concurrent stressors, need to suppress expression, intense concentration on separate task). Since residual emotional disturbances may not be evident, Rachman proposed "test probes" involving exposure to relevant stimulus material to evaluate the degree of emotional processing. [Andrew Leeds]

Enduring Personality Changes (EPC): Those not attributable to brain damage and disease ICD-10 lists this diagnostic category under "Disorders of Adult Personality and Behaviour" and specifies that it "includes permanent changes after catastrophic experiences (such as hostage taking, torture, or other disaster) or severe mental illness” but excludes changes due to brain injury or disease. The changes include permanent hostility and distrust, social withdrawal, feelings of emptiness and hopelessness, increased dependency and problems with modulation of aggression, hypervigilance and irritability, and feelings of alienation. EPC is sometimes linked to Complex PTSD and DESNOS but the latter two are not part of ICD. See DESNOS for how this features in DSM-IV. [Paul Burns]

EP: "Emotional Personality", see under Apparently Normal Personality

EPTSD: "Elaborated PTSD"

Extreme Event: A term preferred by some as, unlike "Traumatic Event" or "Potentially Traumatic Event", it does not risk suggesting that it is the event alone that leads to trauma. While an extreme event may traumatise some, others may be relatively unscathed. Hence "reactions to extreme events" rather than "traumatic reactions" or "PTSD". See discussion in a chapter of a thesis by Anthony Theuninck (Thesis contents) [Paul Burns]

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: An approach to psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro. While it uses elements of longer-established therapies EMDR is most distinctive in its use of induced eye movements. 1999 review at NCPTSD. [Paul Burns]


Fear Networks: see Fear Structure

Fear Structure: Along with Fear Network, Fear Structure refers to how information about frightening experiences has been organized in the nervous system to produce anxiety in response to certain stimuli. Lang (1977, 1979) described "fear structures" as consisting of information about: 1)•the feared stimulus 2)verbal, physiological and behavioral responses 3)meaning of the stimulus and response. Foa & Kozak (1986) state that for anxiety to decrease the fear structure must be activated and cognitive and affective information incompatible with fear be made available and integrated. [Andrew Leeds]

FGC / FGM Female Genital Cutting (or Circumcision) / Mutilation: Further information The FGM Education and Networking Project.

Flashback: Defined by Stephen Sonnenberg (1985) as "altered states of consciousness in which the individual believes he or she is again experiencing the traumatic event." Sonnenberg went on to say that, "As dramatic as a full-blown flashback can be, it is but one point on a spectrum of more or less subtle alterations in consciousness experienced by those suffering from PTSD." This is consistent with DSM IV which, under PTSD, lists "dissociative flashback episodes" as one way of acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring. Flashbacks may be visual, auditory, olfactory, felt in the body or involve a combination of senses. Chris Brewin & Emily Holmes (2003) note that the "..images and sensations are typically disjointed and fragmentary." First use in relation to trauma sought. [Paul Burns]

Flashbulb Memory: Roger Brown and James Kulik (1977) proposed that sudden, dramatic, and emotionally arousing events leave vivid, detailed and enduring memories. There have been questions about the extent to which such memories are accurate. More Information - article by Ebbesen & Konecni. [Paul Burns]

Flooding: Imaginal Flooding / Implosive Therapy

Formulation of Meaning: Robert Jay Lifton's (1968) term for a survivor's need to find meaning that makes sense of the trauma and the world she or he now inhabits. One of Lifton's Characteristics of Survivors. [Paul Burns]

FR: "Full Remission"


Frozen Fright: Martin Symonds (1980) describes this as terror induced, pseudo-calm, detached behaviour. He suggested a victim of sudden and unexpected violence might experience frozen fright after initial shock and disbelief. [Paul Burns]

Fugue: A form of dissociation in which an individual leaves one lifestyle and starts a different one for a period of time, possibly in a new location. During the fugue state the person may claim no recollection of identity though habits and skills are retained. Later, the person may claim amnesia of the fugue period. From Latin fuga - a flight and implying a flight from reality. [Paul Burns]


Ganser Syndrome: After Sigbert Ganser who in 1898 noted in prisoners brief psychoses followed by amnesia. Modern usage refers to behaviours such as "approximate answers" (e.g. replying that a cow has five legs); clouding of consciousness; somatic conversion symptoms; and hallucinations. DSM II categorised trauma as an Adjustment Reaction to Adult Life and listed Ganser Syndrome as a possible identifier. DSM IV lists the syndrome as one of the identifiers for Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Further information from Emedicine and Who Named It. [Paul Burns]

Gross Human Rights Violation (GHRV): Exaples include torture, disappearance or murder. [Paul Burns]

Gross Stress Reaction: The 1952 DSM I term for stress following exposure to an environmental trauma and appearing under Transient Situational Personality Disorders. DSM I made no reference to delayed after-effects. Information on the evolution of PTSD. [Paul Burns]

Grounding: There are different meanings but often often related to being connected calmly to the here and now, awareness of the body and the free flow of energy within and beyond the body/mind. The first therapeutic use of grounding was in the 1950s by Alexander Lowen and John Pierrakos (Lowen,1975). In trauma work grounding often refers to interventions used to avoid further dissociation or limit distress, e.g. as a flashback begins. Clients might also be helped to develop the ability to ground themselves. Types of grounding within trauma work include: 1) A series of questions about features in the room - e.g. What colour is the door? 2) Drawing attention to features in a room - e.g. Notice the grain of the wooden bowl. 3) Directing attention to parts of the body - e.g. Notice how your left foot is touching the floor. 4) Providing information about time and place - e.g. Remind yourself it is August 2003 and you are in ... 5) Changing physiology - e.g. What happens when you look up at the ceiling? / Breathe more slowly. [Paul Burns]

Group Stress Debriefing: An approach to Critical Incident Debriefing developed by Lars Weisæth (2000) for emergency services and the military. It requires briefing prior to the risk of exposure to extreme events. The debriefing examines what happened, actions, compares what happened to what was expected and planned, and personal responses. [Paul Burns]

Guilt: see Trauma Related Guilt


Historical Group Debriefing: see Marshall Type Debriefing

Historical Trauma: First use not yet identified. HT appears to be used in two senses. One refers to an individual having experienced trauma previously, especially if unresolved or contributing to current trauma. The second usage is similar to Cultural Trauma. E.g. Robert Prince (1998) uses HT " denote an event of a social nature ...that has an impact both on the development of individual persons and the further stream of history." [Paul Burns]

Homicide Trauma Syndrome: Term given by Ann Burgess (1975) to symptoms linked to violent death and which she described as, "... acute grief reaction to the double impact of untimely death and homicide of a loved one, followed by a long-term reorganization process of the life style of the family. This trauma syndrome develops as a result of the bereavement process and the complicating socio-legal factors of homicide'. Symptoms include terror, avoidance, flashbacks and dreams of dying. [Paul Burns]

Hopelessness Theory: Building on the theory of learned helplessness, Lynn Abramson et al.[12] suggests that perceptions of how negative the event is and how long its impact will last for are major determinants of the extent of hopelessness. See also Psychological self-tools[13]. [Paul Burns]

Hostage Identification / Response Syndrome: see Stockholm Syndrome

Hot Spots: aka Peritraumatic / Emotional Hot Spots "...refer to the specific parts of the trauma memory that cause high levels of emotional distress, that may be difficult to recall deliberately to mind, and that are associated with intense reliving of the trauma." (Nick Grey et al. 2001, p367). First use within trauma sought. [Paul Burns]

HR / HRR: "Heart Rate" / "Heart Rate Response". Elevated heart beat in the acute posttrauma period may also be associated with subsequent PTSD. See Richard Bryant et al. (2003).

HTQ: "Harvard Trauma Questionnaire"

HVS: "Hyperventilation Syndrome"

Hyperaccessibility: First used by Daniel Wegner and Ralph Erber (1992) to describe a form of heightened memory recall. Wegner notes that, "People trying not to think about a target thought show such hyperaccessibility - the tendency for the thought to come to mind more readily even than a thought that is the focus of intentional concentration - when they are put under an additional mental load or stress." Writing about posttraumatic reactions, William Flack et al. (1998) refer to hyperaccessibility as the "extreme ease of retrieval...of trauma related memories." [Paul Burns]

Hypermnesia: Enhanced powers of memory linked to use of drugs, hypnosis or reactions to trauma. [Paul Burns]

Hyperventilation Syndrome: Edward Newton points out that HVS has long defied precise definition but summarises it as "a condition in which minute ventilation exceeds metabolic demands, resulting in hemodynamic and chemical changes that produce characteristic symptoms." Stuart Turner & Alexandra Hough in a chapter on HVS and Torture Survivors present a table from C.J. Margarion listing symptoms (abridged below) under the headings: 1) General - e.g. fatigue, sleep disturbance, headache, poor concentration 2) Neurologic - e.g. Numbness, giddiness, visual disturbance, impaired thinking 3) Respiratory - e.g. breathing difficulties, yawning, frequent clearing of throat 4) Cardiovascular - e.g. Chest pains, palpitations 5) Gastrointestinal - e.g. bloated sensation, belching, flatus, heartburn, lower chest pain, dry mouth, lump in throat 6) Musculoskeletal - e.g. muscular tightness, cramps 7) Psychiatric - e.g. anxiety, irritability, depersonalisation, phobias, panic attacks. [Paul Burns]

Hysteria: Alluding to its varied usage in history, in 1884 Ernest-Charles Lasègue ruled that, "The definition of hysteria was never given and never will be." It had been seen as a disease of women but by the time of Lasègue hysteria implied a nervous disorder. Andrew Colman (2001) lists hysteria as, "A once-popular name for a mental disorder characterised by emotional outbursts, fainting, heightened suggestibility and conversion symptoms..." Many of the notions of hysteria overlap with modern terms for reactions to extreme events. See also Traumatic Hysteria. [Paul Burns]


ICD-10: The World Health Organisation International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, 1992. ICD-10 Mental Disorders summary. ICD-10 definition of PTSD. ICD-10 also includes Enduring Personality Change following extreme events. [Paul Burns]

IES & IES- R: "Impact of Event Scale" and a revised version. The IES is a 15 item, self-rating questionnaire which also provides ratings for intrusion and avoidance - more information from Grant Devilly. The IES-R has 22 items and also assesses hyper-arousal - more information. [Paul Burns]

IHT: "Image Habituation Training"

Illusion of Centrality: The experience of those who believe a disaster is impacting only on them and not on a wider population or area. This is most likely to happen in the early stages of a sudden catastrophe. As yet I have not established who first used the term or noted the phenomenon. [Paul Burns]

Image Habituation Training (IHT): IHT is a form of imaginal flooding developed by Kevin Vaughan and Nick Tarrier (1992) that uses audio tapes made by the trauma survivor and visualisation. [Paul Burns]

Imagery Rehearsal Technique: An approach to alleviating frequent nightmares using cognitive imagery, developed by Barry Krakow and colleagues since 1988. Individuals learn that disturbing dreams are part of a larger dysfunction of the human imagery system. Imagery exercises are taught, at the core of which is the capacity to change waking imagery. Learning this skill is seen to promote changes in sleeping imagery and reduce bad dreams. Discussed in NCPTSD article. [Barry Krakow & Paul Burns]

Imagery Rescripting: A treatment devised by Mervin Smucker et al.(1995) using imaginal exposure, cognitive restructuring and mastery imagery (replacing negative images with positives). [Paul Burns]

Imaginal Flooding / Implosive Therapy: An exposure therapy using systematic imagining or recall of the incident that led to trauma. The aim is to eliminate the fear response through repeated exposure. The approach was first used by Thomas Stampfl building on the work of N. Malleson. NCPTSD article. [Paul Burns]

Implosive Therapy: see Imaginal Flooding / Implosive Therapy

Initial Insomnia: see Insomnia.

Injury Severity Score: An anatomical scoring system that provides an overall score for patients with multiple injuries. One use if to provide a measure of injury after a driving accident. Further information. [Paul Burns]

Insomnia: Disrupted sleep is a symptom of many complaints, including reactions to extreme events. Initial or Early Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep after retiring. Middle Insomnia or Broken Sleep refers to interrupted sleep which is then difficult to return to. Late or Terminal Insomnia refers to early morning awaking, especially when tired yet unable to sleep. People with PTSD often report insomnia and this may involve all three stages. For many people insomnia has less stigma than other symptoms and therefore exploring sleep patterns may be a good place for a clinician to begin developing a fuller understanding. [Paul Burns]

Intergenerational Trauma: First use not yet identified. The transmission of trauma from one generation to another. Depending on context this might be within a family, a local community or people and the trauma might be precipitated by a wide range events. While IT might be limited to two generations it should not be assumed this is the case. Multigenerational Trauma conveys more clearly transmission over several generations.

Interoceptive Exposure / Desensitization Interoceptors: Changes within the body, such as altered blood pressure, breathing or sugar levels may act as stimuli to fear and other resposnes. IE aims to extinguish negative reactions to such fluctuations. First use not identified. [Paul Burns]

In vivo Exposure Therapy: Systematic and careful use of actual or "live" stimuli rather than imaginal ones to reduce the level of fear response. This might involve bringing the stimuli to the client, such as the aftershave used by a rapist, or taking the client to a specific environment. [Paul Burns]

IR: "Imagery Rescripting"

IRT: "Imagery Rehearsal Technique"

Irritable Heart: see Da Costa's Syndrome

ISS: "Injury Severity Score"

Istanbul Protocol: A set of UN adopted guidelines for documentation of torture and its consequences also known as The Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Available as pdf from Physicians for Human Rights. [Paul Burns]



KED: "Kendrick Extrication Device".

Kindling: Using the analogy of a small fire being used to start a large one, a progressively increasing, neural response that leads to a profound change in behaviour. The phenomenon was first observed in rats tha, after conditioning, began to have epileptic fits in response to voltages that would normally be too low to cause fits. It has been suggested that extreme events may sensitise similarly areas of the brain. Further information Robert Scaer 2001 on David Baldwin's site. [Paul Burns]

Krigsseilersyndromet: see War Sailor Syndrome

KZ Syndromet / Syndrome: see Concentration Camp Syndrome. Abbreviated from Konzenstrationlager. Frederick Hocking (1981) thought the first use of KZ Syndrome was probably by Knud Hermann and Paul Thygesen (1954).


Late Insomnia: see Insomnia.

Learned helplessness: Martin Seligman et al. (1968) first used this concept in relation to animals and later related it to humans and trauma (Seligman et al.1971). Learned Helplessness is most likely to develop in children or adults placed in situations where over time attempts to reduce stress make no useful difference. Individuals appear to learn to respond with passivity and numbing strategies. Discussed in relation to the development of PTSD and addiction in NIAAA article available as pdf. [Paul Burns]

LEC: "Life Events Checklist"

Life Beliefs Model: Ronnie Janoff-Bulman (1992) suggested that susceptibility to trauma may be linked to shattered assumptions, challenges to three types ofbeliefs acquired as we grow: 1) That we are invulnerable / bad things happen to other people 2) Life has meaning and purpose 3) We are reasonably good, respectable people with ability to cope. [Paul Burns]*Life Events Checklist: The trauma assessment part of CAPS.

Lifton's Characteristics of a Survivor: Robert Jay Lifton (1968) listed five psychological issues in survivors of major trauma - the death imprint, death guilt, psychic numbing, conflicts around nurturing & contagion, and struggles with the formulation of meaning. Further information [Paul Burns]

LOC: "Loss of Consciousness"

Loss of Consciousness: Onno van der Hart et al. (2000) suggested that LOC "is an important contributing factor to fixation in trauma" as it reduces the ability to integrate experience. The paper is available at David Baldwin.


Marshall Type Debriefing: Also known as Historical Group Debriefing. A group process used after an organic unit (e.g. military, school, police, fire fighters) has gone through an extreme event. Led by the commander, the process is focused on what happened rather than what individuals feel. Expression of feelings, however, is respected and legitimized. The goals of this debriefing are to promote group functioning, unity, cohesion and leadership by minimizing the inherent conflicts and anger that may come from not seeing the whole picture. As unit cohesion and leadership are supportive, it is assumed that through strengthening the organization such debriefing also prevents individual pathology. Named after Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshall whose work influenced the development of Critical Incident Debriefing. [Shabtai Noy] Further information from Virtual Naval Hospital.

MCET: "Multiple Channel Exposure Therapy"

Medical Illness-Related Psychological Distress: For some individuals receiving a diagnosis or dealing with a serious illness may produce symptoms consistent with PTSD. For some patients aspects of their treatment might induce intense fear, helplessness or horror. The relationship between PTSD and Medical Stressors is discussed by Elizabeth Mundy & Andrew Baum 2004. [Paul Burns]

Medical Stressors: see Medical Illness-Related Psychological Distress

Memory Recovery Therapies: As yet the earliest identified use of this term was by D. Stephen Lindsay & J. Don Read (1994, p282). They used MRT to refer to psychotherapies that place a high value on actively searching for repressed, traumatic memories in such a way as to leave the client vulnerable to suggestions resulting in implanted memories. Discussed in Ken Pope Article on Memory, Abuse, and Science. See also Trauma Search Therapy [Paul Burns]

Mental Defeat: Developed by Anke Ehlers and others since 1997 and defined as "the perceived loss of all autonomy, a state of giving up in one's own mind all efforts to retain one's identity as a human being with a will of one's own" (Ehlers et al. 2000). Mental defeat has been shown to predict chronic, posttraumatic stress disorder, and poor response to exposure treatment. [Anke Ehlers]

Middle Insomnia: see Insomnia.

Mowrer's Two-Factor Theory: Orval Hobart Mowrer (1960) proposed that fear is acquired by classical conditioning and maintained by operant conditioning if the subject finds that avoidant behaviour reduces anxiety. More information in TRAUMATOLOGYe article [Paul Burns]

Multigenerational Trauma: First use not yet identified and a formal definition is sought. See Intergenerational Trauma

Multiple Channel Exposure Therapy: Developed since 1991 by Sherry Falsetti as a treatment for comorbid PTSD and panic disorder, using elements of Cognitive Processing and Panic Control Treatment. Discussed in 1997 NCPTSD Quarterly article by Falsetti. [Paul Burns]

Multiple Loss Syndrome: Multiple Loss Syndrome refers to the impact of multiple losses leading to complex grief and mourning issues that do not allow sufficient opportunity to work through thoughts and feelings. The earliest use of this term is found in a paper presented to the 1992 International AIDS Conference by Sandra Jacoby Klein. MLS can be interpreted in a broader sense to reflect losses other than death that are experienced by a grieving population. These include but are not limited to loss of health and energy, community, hope for the future, job stability, independence, and validation of relationships. In a 1993 article Klein describes three symptoms; "Grief that people feel, a posttraumatic stress type response, and burnout affecting a person's ability to be present." Multiple Loss Syndrome may also refer to the experience of a community devastated by deaths and other losses. See also Klein (1998). [Paul Burns & Sandra Jacoby Klein]

Multiple Stressor Debriefing: An approach to debriefing developed by the American Red Cross (1991) for use at disasters, especially those where people travel to be of service. The model has four phases - identifying what was distressing, exploring feelings, coping strategies, and preparation for return home. Discussed in article by Armstrong et al. [Paul Burns]

Muselman: Nazi concentration camp prisoners' slang for an inmate who had given up. As a result of repeated traumatisation, starvation, exposure to the elements, exhaustion and despair, a person who reached the Muselman stage usually died within weeks. Muselmänner is a German word for "Muslim" and Robert Lifton (1968) writes that the slang term derives from mistaken notions of fatalism in Islam. See also Mental Defeat [Paul Burns]

MSD: "Multiple Stressor Debriefing "

MVA: "Motor Vehicle Accident". See also MVC.

MVC: "Motor Vehicle Crash". Alan Stewart and Janice Lord (2002) have suggested that "crash" replace "accident " in traumatology for two reasons. Firstly, crash encompasses a wider range of causes. Secondly, most fatal crashes are not accidents as they result from avoidable behaviour such as intoxication. [Paul Burns]


Narrative Exposure Therapy: A treatment for trauma resulting from organised violence using ideas from Testimony Therapy and CBT developed by Frank Neuner, Margarete Schauer and Thomas Elbert. "A form of exposure for clients with PTSD which encourages them to tell their detailed life history chronologically to someone who writes it down, reads it back to them, helps them integrate fragmented traumatic memories into a coherent narrative, and gives that to them at the end as written testimony..." Neuner's full definition Further information. [Paul Burns]

Narrative Memory: Bessel van der Kolk & Rita Fisler (1995), citing earlier works as well as their own research, distinguished between Narrative and Traumatic Memories. The former contain semantic and symbolic meaning, are adaptive, evoked at will by the narrator and can be condensed or expanded depending on context. Traumatic memories are dominated by images, sensations and feelings, do not condense or change over time and are automatically triggered. Their article is available at David Baldwin's Trauma Information. [Paul Burns]

NAT: "Non-accidental trauma", especially in relation to children's physical injuries. [Paul Burns]

Natural Debriefing: Informal talking to family, friends and co-workers about an extreme event, feelings during and afterward the event and other reactions to it. Discussed in APA article by Fullerton et al. [Paul Burns]

Natural Protest Sequence: definition sought

Negative Symptoms of PTSD: see Positive and Negative Symptoms of PTSD

NET: "Narrative Exposure Therapy"

Neurocirculatory Asthenia: see Da Costa's Syndrome

Nightmares: By themselves bad dreams are not evidence of previous trauma. In DSM-IV “Nightmare Disorder” is not used if there is another diagnosis, such as PTSD. Further information: James Pagel’s medical overview of Nightmares and Disorders of Dreaming and Alan Siegel’s Mini-course for Clinicians and Trauma Workers on Posttraumatic Nightmares. [Paul Burns]


Ongoing Traumatic Stress Syndrome: see Continuous Traumatic Stress Syndrome


Panic Control Treatment: Developed by Michelle Craske and David Barlow (1993) from a cognitive-behavioral perspective. It aims to reduce panic through education, cognitive restructuring, breathing retaining and interoceptive exposure. Discussed in 1995 article by Barlow and Julia Turovsky. [Paul Burns]

Paraesthesia / Paresthesia: (UK / US spellings) An abnormal sensation with no obvious cause which may be linked to reactions to extreme events. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, pins & needles, burning, or creeping sensations. The skin is often involved but sensations deeper within the body are also reported. [Paul Burns]

PCL: PTSD Checklist

PCT: "Panic Control Treatment"

PD: "Peritraumatic Dissociation"

PE: "Prolonged Exposure"

Peritraumatic Dissociation: Term used by Charles Marmar (1997) for dissociation experienced as a traumatic event happens. PD "... may take the form of altered time sense... profound feelings of unreality... experiences of depersonalization; out-of-body experiences; bewilderment, confusion, and disorientation; altered pain perception; altered body image or feelings of disconnection from one's body; tunnel vision; and other experiences reflecting immediate dissociative responses to trauma." Marmar and others have noted that the extent of PD may be an important indicator of later difficulties following an extreme event. See also Dissociation. 1997 article as pdf. [Paul Burns]

Peritraumatic Distress: Distress experienced as an extreme event unfolds. [Paul Burns]

Peritraumatic Emotional Hotspots: see Hot Spots

Phase Oriented Treatment: see Stage Oriented Treatment

P.I.E., P.I.E.B. & P.I.E.S.: These abbreviations represent principles used for dealing with traumatic stress, especially in battlefield conditions. Proximity, Immediacy, Expectancy plus Brevity or Simplicity. Proximity refers to treatment near to the front line. Immediacy refers to a response as soon as stress symptoms interfere with effectiveness. Expectancy requires that those treated are encouraged to expect to return soon to their units. Brevity indicates that treatment is brief. Simplicity means that treatment uses simple methods and the use of readily understood terminology. See also BICEPS. P.I.E. is discussed by Arieh Shalev in an ISSTS pdf .[Paul Burns]

Positive and Negative Symptoms of PTSD: Positive (in the sense of present) symptoms are intrusive thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks. Negative (in the sense of missing or reduced functionality) include anhedonia, numbing and feelings of detachment and estrangement. [Paul Burns]

Posttorture Distress Syndrome: Andreas von Wallenberg Pachaly (2000, p 269) argues that PTDS should be distinguished from PTSD because both the traumatic events and effects of torture are more severe. While he makes clear that the final definition of PTDS needs to be agreed, von Wallenberg Pachaly suggests it is a "..diagnostic entity in which victims of torture manifest at least several of the following symptoms..." - anxiety, depression, feelings of resignation, guilt, apathy, fear, suspiciousness, aggressiveness, sudden weeping, intensive rage, irritability, suicide attempts, introversion, drowsiness, exhaustion, memory difficulties, lack of concentration, disorientation, sleeping difficulties, paresthesia, sexual and psychosomatic disturbances. [Paul Burns]

Posttraumatic /post-traumatic

Posttraumatic Embitterment Disorder: Michael Linden (2003) has proposed PTED as a distinct subgroup of adjustment disorders. Core criteria include a single, precipitating negative life event, an ensuing negative state marked by embitterment, intrusive memories of the event, multiple additional somatic and psychological symptoms, impairment in daily activities and no obvious other mental disorder that can explain the reaction. PTED may apply when symptoms persist for longer than 3 months and everyday performance is impaired. [Paul Burns]

Posttraumatic Growth: Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun report that among survivors of diverse traumatic circumstances they have found five forms of posttraumatic growth - 1) more intimate, emotionally open relationships with others; 2) the recognition of new possibilities for one's life path; 3) a more profound appreciation for what life has to offer; 4) an enhanced sense of personal strength; 5) religious or spiritual development. [Paul Burns]

Posttraumatic Psychosis: This term has at least two meanings. It may refer to a psychosis that follows a head injury. This is sometimes called Psychosis Secondary to Traumatic Brain Injury - more information. Alternatively, it refers to psychotic comorbidity or PTSD with Psychotic Symptoms. How extreme events and psychosis relate to each other, including the possibility of psychosis itself being a traumatic experience, is reviewed in a 2003 pdf article by Anthony Morrison et al. [Paul Burns]

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Model: The model assesses and describes the effects of sexual abuse in terms of DSM-IV PTSD symptoms. Clinicians who follow the PTSD model focus on helping traumatized children reduce symptoms of PTSD by verbalizing repressed emotions. Other ways of conceptualising and responding are the Trauma Outcome Process and the Traumagenic models. [Paul Burns]

Post-Vietnam Syndrome: This appears to have been used first by Chaim Shatan (1972, 1973). Robert Jay Lifton is also associated with the origins of this term. Shatan identified that PVS onset was typically 9 to 30 months after Indo-China service. Those afflicted reported apathy, cynicism, alienation, depression, mistrust, fear of betrayal, poor concentration, insomnia, nightmares, restlessness and impatience. Shatan linked these symptoms to delayed and massive trauma, grief, guilt, resentment at being a scapegoat, anger and numbing. In time PVS symptoms were seen to be similar to responses to other types of extreme event, leading to the emergence of PTSD. The origins of PVS and how it contributed to the development of PTSD is documented by Ben Shephard (2000). [Paul Burns]

PPT: "Post Traumatic Therapy"

PR: "Partial Remission"

Primary Dissociation: see Dissociation

Primary / Secondary Stressors: Primary Stressors are those inherent in the extreme event, such as what was immediately experienced or witnessed, especially those things most contributing to a traumatic response. Secondary stressors follow the period of immediate threat or horror. They include pain and other physiological factors such as dehydration through internal bleeding as well as psychological stressors such as isolation, confusion, lack of information about loved ones, or treatment that is experienced as uncaring or humiliating. Discussed in Arieh Shalev pdf chapter.

Primary / Secondary / Tertiary Traumatic Stress Disorder: In 1992 Charles Figley proposed Primary Traumatic Stress Disorder should refer to those with symptoms derived from direct exposure to an extreme event, Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder be used for disorders displayed by those supporting those with primary experience, and Tertiary Traumatic Stress Disorder refer to the supporters of supporters. Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder is used as a collective name for forms of Secondary Traumatization but Primary and Tertiary are less frequently used. See also Secondary Traumatic Stress. More information in pdf. [Paul Burns]

Professional Quality of Life Scale: - see ProQOL

Prolonged Exposure: Extended use of imaginal or in vivo exposure.

ProQOL: Professional Quality of Life Scale: Compassion Satisfaction and Fatigue Subscales, formerly called Compassion Satisfaction and Fatigue Test. It was developed by Beth Hudnall Stamm and her colleagues. There are French and Spanish versions. Free use of ProQOL is allowed and the manual is available as a pdf file. More Information. [Paul Burns]

Proximity Effect / Stress: Sandra Verbosky and Deborah Ryan (1988) first used Proximity Effect in their report on partners of Vietnam veterans to describe the stress of living with another's unresolved trauma. [Paul Burns]

PTA: "Post Traumatic Amnesia". May refer to physical trauma such as concussion. See also Traumatic Brain Injury [Paul Burns]

PTE: "Post Traumatic Epilepsy". Generally refers to epilepsy following physical trauma. See also Traumatic Brain Injury [Paul Burns]

PTH: "Post Traumatic Headache". Generally refers to headaches following physical trauma. [Paul Burns]

PTSD Checklist: A self report rating scale available in both Military and Civilian versions. Further info. [Paul Burns]

PTSD-FR / PTSD-PR: PTSD in Full Remission - no clinically significant residual symptoms of PTSD / Partial Remission - still some clinically significant symptoms of PTSD. Further info. - Dawn Johnson et al. (2003) article on clinical relevance of PR - abstract. [Paul Burns]

PTSD: spelling of Both DSM-IV and ICD-10 use "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder", as do several dictionaries. Some dictionaries use "Post-traumatic Stress Disorder". I have found no dictionary using Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This glossary uses Posttraumatic Stress Disorder unless quoting. [Paul Burns]

PTSD Model: "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Model". The use of "model" may imply another way of understanding trauamtic stress.

PTSD-O: "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder - Organic". A clinical distinction suggested by Wolfram Schüffel and Tilmann Schunk (2001). While some with PTSD are very aware of psychological symptoms such as intrusive thoughts others present somatic or organic symptoms. However, psychological symptoms of PTSD may precede an individual's focus on somatic symptoms. More information in pdf format. [Paul Burns]

PSEI: "Potential Stressful Events Interview." Assesses recent, low magnitude stressors, high magnitude events through life, and responses to these. More information from NCPTSD

Pseudodissociation: The presentation of DID symptoms because people believe they have such symptoms or that this behaviour is expected of them. James Chu (1988, p196) suggests poor therapeutic practices may encourage pseudodissociation. [Paul Burns]

Psychache: Edwin Shneidman's (1993, p51) word for "... the hurt, anguish, soreness, aching, psychological pain in the psyche, the mind. It is intrinsically psychological - the pain of excessively felt shame, or guilt, or humiliation, or loneliness, or fear, or angst, or dread of growing old, or of dying badly, or whatever. When it occurs, its reality is introspectively undeniable. Suicide occurs when the psychache is deemed by that person to be unbearable." [Paul Burns]

Psychic numbing: Term used by Robert Jay Lifton (1968) to describe the muted emotional response of Hiroshima survivors. He suggests that cessation of feeling begins as a defence against death anxiety and death guilt. Psychic numbing now appears to be used interchangeably with numbing and emotional numbing to describe reduced affect, whether or not fatalities or a threat of death was involved. Psychic Numbing is one of Lifton's Characteristics of Survivors. [Paul Burns]


Psychogenic Amnesia: see Amnesia

Psychogenic Death: Death resulting from psychological causes, especially when death is believed to be imminent and unavoidable. This might follow a curse, being told of a serious illness or from multiple causes such as in Muselman. James Tyhust (1958) appears to be the first to use the term in relation to disasters. In his Impact Phase people typically react adaptively to threats but occasionally remain in a state of denial or psychogenic death that adds to their danger. Discussed in Carole Tarantelli (2003). [Paul Burns]


Psychological Debriefing: This term is often used to refer to the family of early interventions using debriefing after an extreme event. This dictionary uses Critical Incident Debriefing for the collective term as Psychological Debriefing is used by Atle Dyregrov (1997) and Beverly Raphael (1986) for their respective approaches. Raphael's process begins with Introduction/rules and then works through Initiation into disaster, Experience, Negatives and positives, Relationships with Others, Feelings of victims, Disengagement, and Review/close. Dyregrov's approach uses seven stages - Introduction, Expectations & what did happen, Thoughts & sensory impressions, Emotional reactions, Normalisation, Future planning & coping, and Disengagement. Further information online: brief -Lynn Seiser, more detailed - Litz Review 2002, Dyregrov 1988 - Psychological Debriefing – An Effective Method? [Paul Burns]

Psychological First Aid: First used by Robert Pynoos and Kathi Nader (1988) in relation to a fatal shooting at school. PFA can be seen as a approach to Critical Incident Debriefing in which more emphasis is placed on support and less on revisiting experiences. One format developed by Chris Freeman et al. (2000) promotes at the initial stage practical help, comfort, education about trauma, protection from further stress, care of immediate needs. The middle stage involves some telling of the trauma story, identifying support and a final stage of identifying future needs. [Paul Burns]

Psychosocial Trauma: The Liberation theologist and psychologist Ignacio Martin-Baró (1984) used "trauma psicosocial" to describe the social impact of political, cultural and economic oppression. While some individuals witness or endure more than others, pervasive fear, grief and poverty take their toll on the wider community. At its worst, adults become so overwhelmed that they care inadequately for traumatised children. Martin-Baró's usage is discussed in an article by Yaya de Andrade & Joan Simalchik in a CPA pdf newsletter. Others use PT in a less politicised sense while still referring to the wider consequences of social strife. Occasionally PT is used in relation to accidents and natural catastrophes. The implication in all usages is that there needs to be a response which goes beyond immediate or obvious casualties. [Paul Burns]

PTE: "Potentially Traumatising Event". See also Extreme Events.

PTED: "Posttraumatic Embitterment Disorder"

PVS: "Post-Vietnam Syndrome"



RAMH: "Rapid Assessment of Mental Health Needs of Refugees"

RTS: "Rape Trauma Syndrome"

Rape Trauma Syndrome: First used by Ann Burgess and Linda Holmstrom (1974) who identified the syndrome from interviews with survivors of sexual assault. DSM III subsumed RTS under PTSD. Some are critical that PTSD was developed largely from studies of adult, male war veterans and offered little to those working with survivors of rape. RTS is seen as is a cluster of emotional responses to sexual assault including the profound fear associated with such attacks. Further information [Paul Burns]

Recovered Memory: Defined by Heidi Sivers et al. (2002, p169 pdf file) as, "The recollection of a memory that is perceived to have been unavailable for some period of time." Jennifer Freyd Overview. See also Traumatic Amnesia.

Repetition Phenomena: Defined by Roderick Ørner and Peter Stolz (2002) as "Contemporaneously observed or reported reactions, manifested behaviours, feelings, cognitions, memories, or physical sensations, expressed on their own or in combination, that involve some degree of reexperiencing of significant past events (e.g. intrusive reexperiencing of trauma, recreation of trauma, transference, recurrent dreams, and acting out)." Their article reviews repetition and its relationship to memories, drawing on both empirical and therapist sources. [Paul Burns]

Resilience: The capacity to be relatively unscathed by events. Frederic Flach (1990, p40 ), writing about PTSD, defines resilience as, "The efficient blending of psychological, biological and environmental elements that permits human beings... to transit episodes of chaos necessarily associated with significant periods of stress and change successfully.” [Paul Burns]*Restorative Retelling Group: Based on the work of Edward Rynearson (2001) and run for those struggling to come to terms with a violent loss at least six months after the death. The group seeks to moderate trauma, separation, distress and promote resilience before more direct engagement of images of death. [Paul Burns]

Retraumatisation: (1) stressful and unhelpful re-experiencing of trauma. (2) being reminded of something unpleasant. (3) a further experience of a traumatic event, such as repeated violence. [Paul Burns]

Retrograde Amnesia: see Amnesia

Revictimization: (1) Physical, sexual or emotional abuse experienced by an adult who was abused as a child. (2) Becoming a serial victim, such as a road accident victim who then witnesses loss of family in a natural disaster. (3) Further abuse of a person already victimised, especially when the trauma is compounded or symptoms are reactivated. 94) The process of seeking redress for victimization requires the complainant to undergo other unwelcome or emotionally draining experiences, e.g. a medical assessment or court appearance. (5) The revival of trauma symptoms that occur through chance encounters or unfortunate interventions. (6) Attempting to deal with unresolved traumatic experiences, e.g. by re-enacting or exposing oneself to further risks of being abused. [Paul Burns, with help of Trauma-Professional & Traumatic-Stress Forums]

RRG: "Restorative Retelling Group"

RTA: "Road Traffic Accident". See also MVC.


SAFER Model: James Chu (1998 pp 78-84) uses this acronym to emphasise the important components of the initial work in Stage Oriented Treatment, before abreaction is considered. S = Self-care and Symptom Control, A= Acknowledgement of the impact of traumatic experiences, F = Functioning and living a more normal life, E = Expression of unspeakable feelings and learning to dispel unwanted ones, R = building relationships that are mutual and collaborative. [Paul Burns]

SAMS: "Situationally Accessible Memory". See Dual Representation Model.

Script-Driven Imagery / Script-Driven Symptom Provocation Paradigm: As there was concern about the effectiveness of using identical stimuli for all subjects in an experiment aiming to recreate symptoms of trauma or other phenomena, the script-driven approach was developed. A subject constructs a personal narrative of the relevant experience and a script derived from this is later read as the stimulus. Changes in physiological or brain activity are recorded. Discussed in NCPTDS article. [Paul Burns]

Secondary Dissociation: see Dissociation

Secondary Symptoms: Defined by Eve Carlson & Joseph Ruzek in an NCPTSD article as "problems that come about because of having post-traumatic re-experiencing and avoidance symptoms". See article for examples . See also Associated Symptoms. [Paul Burns]

Secondary Stressors: see Primary / Secondary Stressors

Secondary Traumatic Stress: Charles Figley (1995, 2002) defines STS "as the emotional, cognitive, and physical demands to cope with the traumatic and emotional material of clients." Beth Hudnall Stamm (1997 pdf) suggested using STS as "the broadest term" for conditions associated to working with the effects of trauma on other. She envisaged STS including "...other terms, such as 'compassion fatigue' and 'vicarious traumatization', and even some forms of 'countertransference' ..." See also Primary / Secondary / Tertiary Traumatic Stress Disorder [Paul Burns]

Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder: see Primary / Secondary / Tertiary Traumatic Stress Disorder

Secondary Traumatization: Term first used by Robert Rosenheck and Peter Nathan (1985) to describe their observations that the children of trauma survivors displayed PTSD symptoms, but to a lesser extent than the traumatised parent. Their term is now used for other forms of secondary traumatic stress. [Paul Burns]

Shareability: Jennifer Freyd's (1983) term for the extent to which information is shareable, and easy to communicate to another individual without loss of fidelity. Lack of language to describe subjective experiences limits shareability. Freyd's Shareability Theory proposes that over time low shareability contributes to memories, e.g. a child's experience of abuse, being altered to forms that are more readily communicated. Jennifer Freyd's own overview [Paul Burns]

Self-efficacy: Refers to self-belief rather than skills. Albert Bandura (1977) proposed that an individual's sense of personal mastery has significant effects on mood and behaviour. Some have suggested that self-efficacy measures predict longer-lasting reactions to extreme events. e.g. Guido Flatten et al. pdf [Paul Burns]

Self-soothing: Part of healthy development for a child is learning to do things that reduce anxiety or provide comfort in ways that are not likely to add to our problems. Children growing up in disturbing environments often fail to acquire appropriate self-soothing skills. Adults reacting to more recent trauma may need to be encouraged to use former skills and to acquire additional ways of self-soothing. A web reference for self-soothing skills further information is sought. No definition or first use found as yet. [Paul Burns]

Self-Trauma Model: The model, developed by John Briere since 1992, suggests that dissociation is often used as a way to avoid being overwhelmed by traumatic stress. This may happen after early and severe mistreatment produces both easily triggered conditioned emotional responses and disrupted learning of affect regulation skills. Reduced affect regulation makes it easier for an individual to feel overwhelmed by distress associated with traumatic memories and thus encourages avoidance, including dissociation. Avoidance reduces chances of learning new ways of coping and may mean there is never sufficient exposure to traumatic memory; thereby blocking the processing of the conditioned emotional response. For a fuller explanation and implications for treatment see John Briere (2002) chapter available as pdf. [Paul Burns]

Sense of Coherence: Aaron Antonovsky (1987) suggests individuals tend to see the world as more or less comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful but that some events may disrupt these beliefs, especially when the event is viewed as a random or senseless. According to Antonovsky's salutogenic model, the nature of an individual's SOC has implications for how she or he responds to stressful situations. More information in a 1999 pdf German government report in English on the Antonovsky's Salutogenic Model. [Paul Burns]

SD: "Systematic Desensitization"

SDR: "Stress Response Dampening"

Sequela / Sequelae: From the Latin sequi, to follow. Symptom(s) or a condition that result from a disease or events that have gone before. [Paul Burns]

Sequential Traumatization: First used by Hans Keilson (1979 / 1992) following his study of child survivors of Nazi persecution. He identified different stages of trauma, such as occupation leading to heightened fears, direct persecution including deportation, separation and concentration camp experiences, and post-war experiences. Discussed in Berghof Handbook for Conflict Transformation. [Paul Burns]

Seven C's: - see 7 C's

Shattered Assumptions: see Life Beliefs Model

SIA: "Stress Induced Analgesia"

SIDES & SIDES SR: "Structured Interview for Disorders of Extreme Stress" & "Self-Report Instrument for Disorders of Extreme Stress": More information from The Trauma Center and in David Pelcovitz et al. 1997. [Paul Burns]

Silencing Response: Anna Baranowsky coined the term in 1997, building on Yael Danieli’s (1980) studies describing a "Conspiracy of Silence" among therapists of trauma survivors. Danieli reported a tendency for therapists to limit their work when the client's memories appear unbelievable or incomprehensible or arouse strong feelings in the therapist. Baranowsky (2002) conceptualises the Silencing Response as the inability of caregivers to listen attentively due to their own emotional response to the client's experiences. The response may involve redirecting the client to other topics, minimizing or neglecting discussions of the client's trauma memories. A series of assumptions lead to the Silencing Response, e.g. 1) this will hurt the client or me 2) this cannot be true 3) if this happened to you it could happen to me [Paul Burns]

SIT: "Stress Inoculation Training"

Situationally Accessible Memory: - see Dual Representation Model

Sleep Paralysis: "...a condition in which someone, most often lying in a supine position, about to drop off to sleep, or just upon waking from sleep realizes that s/he is unable to move, or speak, or cry out. This may last a few seconds or several moments, occasionally longer. People frequently report feeling a "presence" that is often described as malevolent, threatening, or evil. An intense sense of dread and terror is very common." (J. Allan Cheyne, University of Waterloo website on this topic) The term appears to have been coined by Samuel Wilson (1928) though Silas Weir Mitchell (1876) called similar symptoms “night palsy.” Cultural interpretation and folk terms for sleep paralysis such as "incubus experience", "witch riding" and "old hag attack" are discussed by Cheyne et al. (1999). [Paul Burns helped by correspondence from J. Allan Cheyne]

SoC: "Sense of Coherence"

Soldier's Heart: see Da Costa's Syndrome

Somatization: The process through which people express emotional distress and conflict in a physical rather than a verbal language. The individual may communicate dissociated, trauma-related feelings through the language of uncomfortable or painful physical sensations, health symptoms, and sometimes anxiety about having a physical illness. More information - Article by Hal Rogers [Paul Burns]

Somatoform Dissociation: The lack of the normal integration of sensorimotor components of experience, e.g., hearing, seeing, feeling, speaking, moving, etc. In an article, available online, on this topic Onno van der Hart et al (2000) sets out a schema for somatoform dissociative symptoms Negative (or Continuous) and Positive (or Intermittent). These two categories are further broken down into Symptoms of Motoric Dissociation and Symptoms of Sensory or Perceptual Dissociation. See also Dissociation. [Paul Burns]

SPAARS: "Schematic Propositional, Associative & Analogical Representation Systems". A model developed by Tim Dalgleish and Mick Power (Dalgleish 1999) which accounts for emotional responses in terms of order of meaning, different types of representation and memory. A short critique is included in an online paper by Carien van Reekum. [Paul Burns]

Stage Oriented Treatment / Phase Oriented Treatment: James Chu (1998, pp 75-91), among others, advocates psychotherapy for serious traumatic conditions should be in three stages. The first, which may need to be lengthy, focuses on "fundamental skills in maintaining supportive relationships, developing self-care strategies, coping with symptomatology, improving functioning and establishing a basic positive self-identity." See also SAFER above and ISTSS article. [Paul Burns]

[Stockholm syndrome]]: A form of Traumatic Bonding. In 1973 a bank robbery in Stockholm resulted in hostages being held for five days. Irka Kuleshnyk (1984) proposed that the syndrome features one or more of the following: 1)Positive feelings by the captive to his or her captor 2) Negative feelings by the captive towards the police and authorities 3)Positive feelings by the captor to his or her captives. Terror has been suggested as one of the factors contributing to the syndrome. The term has been linked to other forms of abuse such as concentration camp prisoners, POWs, cult members and incest survivors. There are a number of related terms including Survivor Identification Syndrome, Hostage Identification Syndrome, Common Sense Syndrome and Hostage Response Syndrome. Wikipedia states Nils Bejerot coined Stockholm Syndrome but provides no reference. [The syndrome is discussed in a report (.pdf) by Trevor Markesteyn and a paper by Dwayne Fuselier; Paul Burns]


Stress Inoculation Training: Developed by Donald Meichenbaum (1985), SIT uses a cognitive behavioural framework to help people be more aware and better interpret perceptions, reduce stress through relaxation and better problem solving, and apply the learning to real life situations. In the first stage client stressors are explored and ways of better coping with them. The first stage of SIT is called ‘conceptualisation’. In stage two the individual learns positive coping for stressful situations. The last stage consolidates gains and promotes increasing healthy interactions with the external world. [Paul Burns]

Stress Response Dampening: Robert Levenson et al. (1980) proposed a link between alcohol use and its potential to reduce of the awareness of stress. [Paul Burns]

Stroop Test: Sometimes used in research on trauma. Subjects are shown lists of words in different colours and asked to name the colour of words. An individual’s response time for a word with emotional charge usually takes significantly longer. [Paul Burns]

Structured Interview for Disorders of Extreme Stress: see SIDES

STS: "Secondary Traumatic Stress". See also Primary / Secondary / Tertiary Traumatic Stress Disorder

STSD: "Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder". See also Primary / Secondary / Tertiary Traumatic Stress Disorder

Subjective Units of Discomfort: SUDS were first used by Joseph Wolpe (1958) and are perhaps now better known from their use in EMDR. Clients or experimental subjects are asked to rate their discomfort on a numerical scale. In EMDR the SUDS scale goes from 0 (neutral or no disturbance) to 10 (the highest disturbance imaginable). [Paul Burns]

Subthreshold PTSD: First use not yet identified. Defined by Randall D. Marshall et al. (2001) as having some but not all of the symptoms of PTSD listed by DSM IV. Marshall's research suggests that there may be significant symptoms and impairment without the full criteria for PTSD being met. Information on Marshall Research. [Paul Burns]

SUDS: "Subjective Units of Discomfort"

Survivor Syndrome: Between 1960 and 1980 it was reasonable to assume this term referred to survivors of Nazi Concentration Camps. Now the term by itself may refer to surviving other forms of extreme event and even experiences, e.g. job loss, that are unlikely to involve the type of threat usually associated with trauma. See also Concentration Camp Syndrome [Paul Burns]

Systematic Desensitization: A treatment introduced by Joseph Wolpe (1958) and mainly used for phobia and specific anxieties. SD involves understanding what provokes least and most anxiety, learning relaxation techniques, then associating relaxation with the least provoking stimuli. Confidence in ability to relax is developed by associating with progressively more threatening stimuli. (SD was one of the influences on EMDR in which Shapiro replaced muscle relaxation with eye movements - see NCPTDS.) [Paul Burns]


T, T - 1, T-2 & T + 1: Notation developed by David Grove to represent "moments" relating to a traumatic event.

T-1 = Trauma minus 1, the moment just before the worst moment of the experience.

T-2 = Any experience before T-1.

T = The worst moment of the experience as perceived by the client, when affect is at its most intense.

T+1 = The moment after the trauma when the memory is resolved. Duration of these "moments" may range from one tenth of a second to several hours. In this model, while other parts of the person continue to evolve a trapped fragment does not move beyond T-1 and symptoms develop linked to this. [Paul Burns]

Terminal Insomnia: See Insomnia.

Terror Management Theory: Developed and researched by Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg & Tom Pyszczynski from 1991 onwards. TMT suggests that individuals adopt certain beliefs to alleviate the fear of death. The research has explored the role of terror management processes in many areas ranging from altruism to terrorism. TMT is discussed in an article on Growth and Terror Management by Davis & McKearney, available as pdf. [Paul Burns]

Tertiary Dissociation: see Dissociation.

Tertiary Traumatic Stress Disorder: see Primary / Secondary / Tertiary Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Testimony Therapy: An approach to working with victims of political violence first used in Chile by Elizabeth Lira & Eugenia Weinstein (1983, published under the pseudonyms Cienfuegos, J. & Monelli, C. and listed under these names here). Those who have experienced or witnessed human rights violations are encouraged to talk or write about their traumatic experiences with a view to promoting emotional recovery and, if the survivor agrees, providing a resource for social justice. Further information at University of Konstanz, in article by K.S. Pope and CMHR Bosnia. [Paul Burns]

TIR: "Traumatic Incident Reduction"

TMI: "Traumatic Memory Inventory"

TMT: "Trauma Management Therapy" or "Terror Management Theory".

TOP: "Trauma Outcome Process"

Torture: Defined under UN Human Rights as "... any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity..." Other references in CODT are Istanbul Protocol and Posttorture Distress Syndrome. Further resources at Ken Pope. [Paul Burns]

Transitional States: James Tyhurst (1958) proposed three phases for extreme events. 1) Impact is the period of danger, typically with a focus on what is happening and what needs to be done. Often there are clear memories of this time. Occasionally an individual responds unhelpfully - see Psychogenic Death. 2) Recoil is the intermediary phase, marked by strong emotional expression, disbelief and possibly exhaustion. 3) The Posttraumatic Phase sees an attempt to integrate the extreme event and return to some sort of normality. [Paul Burns]


Trauma Management Therapy: TMT was developed by B. Christopher Frueh et al (1966). It combines individual flooding with group work to develop social skills, anger & issue management and emotional rehabilitation. [Paul Burns]

Trauma Membrane: For those who have experienced an extreme event, a social network that reduces the chances of encountering stimuli that might add to or reactivate trauma. The membrane may be functional or dysfunctional, perhaps depending on how long it is kept in place. The term was first used by Jacob D. Lindy et al (1981, p 476) who noted that family, friends or professionals often acted to protect a survivor from from what they perceived as further stress and in so doing defined what was helpful and unhelpful. In the case of a group who share an extreme event, the membrane might be largely made up by group members' own attitudes and actions. Occasionally Trauma Membrane has been used to refer to an individual's internal defence mechanisms but, as yet, I have found nothing arguing for an extension of the original meaning. [Paul Burns]

Trauma Outcome Process: TOP was first proposed by Lucinda Rasmussen et al. (1992) and further developed as a practice model for assessing and treating survivors and perpetrators of child sexual abuse. It is based on the premise that there may be three possible outcomes in response to a traumatic experience. 1) Internalisation of emotions leading to self-destructiveness 2) externalisation of their emotions leading to abusiveness, and 3) expression of emotions leading to understanding and integration of the experience. Further information in pdf format See also PTSD Model. [Paul Burns]

Trauma Reconstruction: A concept linked to the older one of Abreaction. The construct of "Trauma Reconstruction" emphasizes revisiting the traumatic memory in order to reconstruct cognitively a whole picture from the disassociated fragments. More information - online article "PTSD and the Consciousness Restructuring Process". [Shabtai Noy]

Trauma Related Guilt: Edward Kubany (1998) and others have shown that guilt is a common response among survivors of different types of extreme events. Kubany has also identified a number of different types of erroneous thinking that generate or sustain guilt. The broad headings for these errors are - Faulty beliefs about pre-outcome knowledge, Faulty conclusions about justification, Faulty conclusions about causal responsibility, Faulty conclusions about wrongdoing, and Assuming affect associated with a thought is evidence of its validity. [Paul Burns]

Trauma Search Therapy: Involves a therapist assuming that the client's current issues are due to traumatic experiences, usually in childhood. Such therapy would focus on helping the client to discover such memories. The term Traumatic Search Therapy was not created by therapists using such an approach but by people highly critical of the work of a number of therapists seen to be exposing their clients to the risks of implanting or exaggerating memories. The first identified use is by Pamela Freyd in 1993. See also Memory Recovery Therapies and Recovered Memory. [Paul Burns]

Trauma Treatment Protocol: TTP was developed by Grant Devilly (1999) from the work of Edna Foa (1991). It uses prolonged imaginal and in vivo exposure, elements of Stress Inoculation Training. Extended cognitive therapy is interwoven with the exposure during the final stages of treatment. Further information in slide format. [Paul Burns]


Traumagenic Model / Dynamic: David Finkelhor & Angela Brown (1986) put forward this model to explain how and why sexual victims have a range of responses. Their dynamic variables are traumatic sexualization leading to distortion of attitudes and feelings, perceptions of betrayal, feelings of powerlessness, and stigmatisation. The latter refers to negative thoughts and feelings such as guilt, shame and lowered self-esteem. See also PTSD Model. [Paul Burns]

Traumatic Amnesia: This could refer to amnesia following a physical injury but in the context of psychological trauma usually refers to the a loss of memory of abuse in childhood. The possibility of such loss has been much challenged. E.g. See McNally quote under Amnesia.

Traumatic Bonding: First written about by Donald Dutton and Susan Painter (1981). Dutton (personal communication 2003) defines Traumatic Bonding as "the development of strong emotional ties between two persons in a relationship characterized by a power imbalance and intermittent reinforcement such as those developed in a battering relationship where abuse is used in short bursts followed by a cessation of abuse. Over time this pattern constitutes negative reinforcement. Both affective and cognitive aspects of the interpersonal relationship are affected.” [Paul Burns]Traumatic Brain Injury Refers to neurological damage following physical trauma. Rollan Parker (2001, pp 179 - 188) has written about the overlap between concussive brain trauma and dissociative disorders. Stephen Joseph & Jackie Masterton (1999) discuss two theoretical routes through which PTSD might develop in people with brain injuries. [Paul Burns]

Traumatic Grief: Holly Prigerson et al (1995) listed symptoms that might distinguish between ordinary and traumatic or complicated grief. These symptoms are included in an online article - Managing Grief after Disaster. Complicated grief has elements of separation distress (e.g. crying, searching) and posttraumatic stress (e.g. disbelief, shock). Prigerson suggests that complicated grief comprises a discrete set of symptoms above and beyond bereavement-related depression and anxiety. [Paul Burns]

Traumatic Incident Reduction: or TIR was developed by Frank Gerbode. The TIR website describes it (in part) as, " is a brief, one-on-one, non-hypnotic, person-centered, simple and highly structured method for permanently eliminating the negative effects of past traumas. It involves repeated viewing of a traumatic memory under conditions designed to enhance safety and minimize distractions." See also article at David Baldwin [Paul Burns]

Traumatic Memory: see Narrative Memory

Traumatic Memory Inventory: The TMI instrument gathers data on characteristics of traumatic memories that distinguish them from non-traumatic memories. Discussed in pdf. chapter on traumatic memory by Bessel van der Kolk et al. [Paul Burns]

Traumatic Hysteria: Jean-Martin Charcot's term for an hysteria caused by heightened emotions or sensations during an injury. Charcot (1825 - 1893) identified that the victim's beliefs about injury were significant both in determining the severity of the hysteria and speed of recovery. [Paul Burns]

Traumatic Neurosis: Coined by Hermann Oppenheim, a German Neurologist who published a book with this title in 1889, based on work with survivors of accidents. He believed the physical and mental shock of concussion could alter molecules in the brain leading to either "hysteric and neurasthenic phenomena" or a combination of these neuroses. Other meanings were given to traumatic neurosis over time. The term is much less used since the introduction of the PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder. Andrew Colman (2001) defines it as "any neurosis precipitated by a trauma". Article outlining historical views on traumatic injury and neurosis. [Paul Burns]

Traumatic Stress Schedule (TSS): A 117-item interview to assess traumatic experiences in the general population that have occurred within the past year, developed by Fran Norris (1990). [Paul Burns]


TRGI: "Trauma-Related Guilt Inventory more information"

TSS: see "Traumatic Stress Schedule"

Two-Dimensional Model of Trauma: Jennifer Freyd (2001) suggests that more severe traumatic reactions are likely following both terror and social betrayal. Freyd hypothesizes that these two dimensions relate to somewhat separate reactions. The terror dimension leads to arousal and anxiety and betrayal leads to dissociation. More information by Jennifer Freyd. [Paul Burns]

Two Factor Model: Mardi Horowitz (1976) proposed that reactions to extreme events could be seen as alternating phases of intrusive phenomena and avoidance or denial. The model emphasises the importance of the individual's belief system at the time of an extreme event and suggests a process that runs from Event, through Outcry, Denial, Intrusion, Working Through and Completion. The flow is generally one way apart from those who alternate between Denial and Intrusion. [Paul Burns]

Type I & Type II Trauma: Lenore Terr distinguishes the effect of a single traumatic event, which she calls "Type I" trauma, from the effects of prolonged, repeated trauma, which she calls "Type II." Her description of the Type II syndrome includes denial and psychic numbing, self-hypnosis and dissociation, and alternating between extreme passivity and outbursts of rage. Type II is similar to Complex Trauma and DESNOS. [Paul Burns]


UCR: "Uniform Crime Reports". FBI collated statistics on felonies.


Validity of Cognition: The VoC is a seven point rating scale devised by Francine Shapiro (1995) as part of the EMDR procedure. It is used to assess the strength of beliefs. 1 = feels completely false, 7 = feels totally true. [Paul Burns]

VAMS: "Verbally Accessible Memories". See Dual Representation Model.

Verbally Accessible Memory: see Dual Representation Model.

Vertical Splitting: Heinz Kohut (1971) described two kinds of splitting of awareness. The traditional view was of horizontal layering of conscious, pre-conscious and the unconscious. Studies of dissociation have led to a model where consciousness is also split vertically, such that in one state an individual can access certain information and feelings which are not available or fully available in another state. More information in online article Dissociation and Disorders. [Paul Burns]

Vicarious Traumatisation: First used by Lisa McCann & Laurie Anne Pearlman (1990) and described as referring to "a transformation in the therapist (or other trauma worker's) inner experience resulting in empathetic engagement with the client's trauma material." Pearlman and Karen Saakvitne (1995, p. 31) More information in pdf Work-related secondary traumatic stress, 1997 NCPTSD article by Beth Hudnall Stamm. [Paul Burns]

Visual Kinesthetic Dissociation / Rewind / Reframe: Also known as Fast Phobia Cure, and Double Dissociation Method. Generally attributed to Richard Bandler and John Grinder (1979) though Robert Dilts (see below) traces elements back to Milton Erickson and Fritz Perls, and Paul Koziey & Gordon McLeod (1987) see similarities in the work of Eric Fromm. Lewis R. Wolberg (1945) describes using a private theatre to view events as a form of hypnotic intervention. VKD aims to help an individual view fearful stimuli without the usual physical or kinesthetic response. Traumatology review of VKD and its application to trauma by Anne Dietrich. Dilts discusses and includes instructions for VKD in his online Encyclopaedia of NLP. [Paul Burns]

VKD: "Visual Kinaesthetic Dissociation"

VoC: "Validity of Cognition"

VRGET: see "Virtual Reality Graded Exposure Therapy".


War Sailor Syndrome: From Krigsseilersyndromet. A high proportion of the Norwegian merchant sailors who took part in WWII convoys displayed symptoms of traumatic stress, sometimes much delayed, linked to their inability to exert control over the great and prolonged risks facing wartime crews. WSS symptoms included anxiety, disturbed sleep, fatigue, irritability, apathy, impaired memory and concentration, dizziness, profuse sweating, loss of appetite, impotence, and somatic pains. WSS symptoms were first described by Adam Egede-Nissen and the term was coined by Finn Askevold (1976-77). Askevold noted the similarity between the symptoms of war sailors who had suffered largely from psychological stress and those of Holocaust survivors who had suffered physically as well as mentally. The comparison of WSS and Concentration Camp Syndrome helped to establish the role of psychological stressors. See also Convoy Fatigue. [Paul Burns]





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The Psyche Workshop

Abuse and Consequences
The Psyche Workshop

My captivation with the mind, together with my humanitarian nature, my varied professional training and experiences, my therapy talents, and through my past and ongoing extensive research and studies, has guided me on a journey in which I am blessed in that I am able to help people. In addition, through my personal past, I have learned to turn my misery into time well spent. Helping others has always been where my heart is and my lifelong desire, both personally and professionally. My goal is to continue on this path.
About Me: My Professional Life
About Me: My Professional Life

Rosalie Marie Musumeci

Bless the Abused
Bless the Abused

Bless the Abused Facebook Page
Real stories of abuse.
Awareness and support.
You can tell your own story without using your name.
Intimacy Therapy for Men: Trouble in Paradise
Intimacy Therapy for Men: Trouble in Paradise

Therapy for Emotional and Sexual Intimacy (Male Sexual Dysfunctions and Fetishes)

Sad Truth about Elder Care

Sad Truth about Elder Care

In February 2008 my mom became sick. Well my research left me in a fatal state of dismay and disgust. This is my research study about Nursing Homes / Rehabilitation Facilities.
Tears of My Family
Tears of My Family

Fact or Fiction is about my son, Joseph and my rendition of how the protect and serve aspect of the law is not law after all..
Brothers Forever Together is about the loss of my nephews, Steven and Matthew.
"Cremate me and throw my ashes down the sewer" is about the loss of my brother Joseph.