Critical considerations for the positive memory-posttraumatic stress disorder model

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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) includes changes in processes such as encoding and retrieval for both traumatic and positive memories. However, most work has predominantly focused on traumatic memories. Thus, Contractor and colleagues proposed a Positive Memory-PTSD model, which highlighted potential benefits associated with and mechanisms underlying positive memory retrieval/processing among individuals reporting PTSD symptoms. To enhance research on and clinical impacts of this model, the current review provides critical considerations for the Positive Memory-PTSD model. Drawing from emerging research and clinical observations, we (i) clarify that the model addresses specific versus overgeneral positive memories; (ii) underscore the importance of considering the heterogeneity in, and transitionary nature of, affect processes following positive memory retrieval; and (iii) highlight the rationale for considering trauma type/count and co-occurring conditions, as potential moderators of relations between positive memory processing and PTSD. Hereby, we provide an updated Positive Memory-PTSD model and implications for positive memory interventions drawing from this model.

Publication Title

Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy