Dissociative amnesia following combat trauma in various wars has been extensively documented. In this article, we describe theoretical constructs related to dissociative amnesia, and integrate them with clinical practice through the presentation of a case. Although there is ample documentation of this condition in combat soldiers, in actual clinical practice such dissociative amnesia is probably underdiagnosed and undertreated. This may be detrimental to therapeutic progress, given the fact that ongoing memory deficits constitute one of the core symptoms of chronic PTSD in combat veterans. As illustrated in our case example of combat-induced generalized dissociative amnesia, combat-induced amnesia may also reflect previously existing dissociated traumatic memories that become reactivated during trauma. In this case, intensive treatment using hypnosis within a larger therapeutic milieu involved both the uncovering and processing of recent dissociated traumatic experiences, and, by necessity, other traumas of the past.
- Combat-related PTSD
- Dissociative amnesia