Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy



Brief Clinical Reports

PERITRAUMATIC EMOTIONAL “HOT SPOTS” IN MEMORY


Nick Grey  a1 c1, Emily Holmes  a2 and Chris R. Brewin  a3
a1 Traumatic Stress Clinic, London, U.K.
a2 Traumatic Stress Clinic and University College London, U.K.
a3 University College London, U.K.

Abstract

Individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) frequently report periods of intense emotional distress (“hot spots”) when asked to describe their traumatic experience in detail. “Primary” emotions felt during the trauma (i.e., peri-traumatically) are believed to consist mainly of fear, helplessness and horror. We report a preliminary investigation into the emotions associated with these hot spots. Patients with PTSD described a wide variety of emotions such as anger, humiliation and guilt present at the time of the trauma. The peri-traumatic cognitions associated with these emotions are also detailed.


Key Words: Posttraumatic stress disorder; emotional “hot spots”.

Correspondence:
c1 Reprint requests to Nick Grey, Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, Institute of Psychiatry, 99 Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, U.K. E-mail: n.grey@iop.kcl.ac.uk


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