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Behav Res Ther. 1999 Aug;37(8):715-40.

Treatment of childhood memories: theory and practice.

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Department of Medical, Clinical and Experimental Psychology, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.


With the growing interest of cognitive behaviour therapy in early developed psychopathology like personality disorders there is an increased need for therapeutic methods for more directly treating pathogenic schemas. Exploring and reinterpreting memories of early childhood experiences that are assumed to have contributed to the pathogenesis are more and more viewed as a promising way to modify core schemas. Experiential methods seem to be the most effective. This article discusses two main forms of these methods: (i) imagery with rescripting and (ii) role play, both of childhood interactions with key figures. For both, protocols are provided as guidelines for clinicians and to stimulate standardization so that this new field can be opened for experimental research. Theoretical views are discussed as to why these methods might be so effective in treating chronic problems that originated in childhood.

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