chapter  12
Phase 2 – specifi c trauma processing techniques
Pages 19

Specifi c trauma processing techniques target the client’s most traumatic event. All such techniques contain a certain degree of exposure. One of the modes of action of exposure can be explained by the bio-informational theory of Lang (1984), which describes three levels of emotional imagery: stimulus information (perceptual codes); meaning information (semantic codes); and response information (response codes). Processing problems exist when too much emphasis is placed on the response information during the emotional representation. By exposing the client as much as possible to all representations of the emotion, an associative process is set into motion whereby the different representations of the emotion affect each other. This cyclical associative process leads to an alteration of the emotional representation ( Figure 12.1 illustrates this process using anxiety as the emotion). The response information activates the suppressed stimulus information or meaning information, or both. This is how new information is introduced into the emotional representation, which in turn can alter the emotional representation and cause less anxiety. A time factor usually plays a role in the process. At the stimulus level initially, there is no distinction between ‘now’ and ‘then’, but this distinction becomes more apparent as the information is being therapeutically processed.