The theory of the structural dissociation of the personality proposes a precise description of the psychological phenomena involved in the integration of traumatic memories. According to this theory, memories are successfully integrated in a narrative—that is, stored in an adaptive memory network—when there has been synthesis of the different elements (affects, cognitions, images, sensorimotor reactions, behaviors) for each moment of a particular event, and when realization has occurred. Realization implies personification and presentification. Personification is the ability individuals have to feel that they have experienced (traumatic) events. Presentification is the ability to realize that the event took place in the past and is over now. In this article we present these concepts and how they relate to eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) psychotherapy and its underlying hypothesis of adaptive information processing. The article describes how EMDR therapists can use these concepts to better understand the reprocessing of their clients and possible blocking of this reprocessing. Understanding the concepts of synthesis, personification, and presentification makes it possible for EMDR therapists to choose the specific supportive interventions and cognitive interweaves that will best support the adaptive information processing. Such psychological phenomena should attract more attention in the future in EMDR clinical research and practice.
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Copyright © 2019 EMDR International Association
Piedfort-Marin, O. (2019). Synthesis and Realization (Personification and Presentification): The Psychological Process of Integration of Traumatic Memories in EMDR Psychotherapy. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 13(1), 75–88. https://doi.org/10.1891/1933-3188.8.131.52
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research