The nature of traumatic memories has implications for how trauma-related material is accessed, confronted, and processed in psychotherapy. Traumatic memories are generally encoded and accessed differently from non-traumatic or narrative memories. In contrast to narrative memories, traumatic memories are more likely to:
- lack in verbal narrative and context;
- involve primary sensory stimuli (visual, kinesthetic, auditory)
- be encoded in the form of vivid sensations and images that are not accessible by linguistic means alone;
- be state dependent;
- be difficult to integrate via assimilation or accommodation because they are stored differently
- dissociated from conscious control
- “fixed” in their original form and remain unaltered by the passage of time.