Imagery and the transformation of meaning in psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder : a hermeneutic case study

Karpelowsky, Belinda Jodi (2005) Imagery and the transformation of meaning in psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder : a hermeneutic case study. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




This study discusses the assessment and treatment of a 21-year old male who had suffered multiple traumas, which had culminated in the death of his younger brother. He presented with Acute Stress Disorder. The literature review examines a diverse range of theorists and discourses, that have addressed the psychological consequences of trauma and highlights the complexity of the phenomena involved. The case study, located in the South African context, aims to sensitise the reader to the unique dilemmas facing each trauma survivor, and serves to highlight specifically those areas, which are pertinent and further more contribute significantly to the recovery process. The case narrative consists of a detailed synopsis of the therapy process, extracted from the session record notes documented at the time. Several other sources of information, including contributions from the participant, were used to verify and validate the accuracy of the data included. The narrative is written in a style that conveys the intensity of the nature of trauma work and the manner in which both patient and clinician are frequently confronted with very difficult emotional work. Finally the discussion examines the case narrative through the use of a set of carefully selected hermeneutic questions. These focused on (I) key concepts from the work of Robert Lifton who highlights the existential dimensions of the impact of trauma; (2) the role of the image in encapsulating the complex traumatic and post-traumatic experience of the survivor as well as facilitating the emotional processing of the trauma is examined; (3) the contribution to the process of therapy of aspects of the therapeutic relationship; and (4) the concept of recovery in relation to the question of what constitutes 'trauma work'. In conclusion, several meta-theoretical issues related to trauma, the strengths and weaknesses inherent to the research and relevant future areas of research are highlighted.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Post-traumatic stress diesorder, Psychotherapy, Imagery
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Psychology
Supervisors:Edwards, Dave
ID Code:2907
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:31 May 2012 06:38
Last Modified:31 May 2012 06:38
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