Date of Conferral







Brent Robbins


Traumatized individuals may use one or several emotional defensive strategies to cope with their experience; one method is via autobiographical amnesia which may influence the efficacy of amnesiac patients’ psychological adjustment during a sensitive period. Little research has addressed the potential of how emotionally invariant structural features may impact the reconsolidation of autobiographical memory, which in turn may support patients to complete successfully psychotherapeutic treatment or intervention. This phenomenological study addressed how lived experiences (i.e., invariant emotional and behavioral conscious states) may play into patients’ transformational memory of some or all of the traumatizing event details. To answer these questions, this study implemented a qualitative phenomenological design formatted around researcher-generated interview protocols and used memory reconsolidation theory, multiple trace theory, and transactional theory of stress and coping to provide context to this study’s findings. A nationwide call for study participants produced a random selection of 15 eligible clinician or patient participants. The Modified Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen phenomenological analysis method was used. The study essence statement revealed three themes combining emotion and cognitive processes, and behaviors prior to trauma memory recall. Not all of the clinician participants became immediately aware of the patient’s recall during treatment. Positive social change implications may include reducted therapeutic duration, accurate and expedient identification of the return of patients’ autobiographical memories, and lowered risk of sudden or unexpected patient psychological or emotional trauma realization.