Sarah Peregrine Lord is a 2014 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University Seattle.

  • Philip Cushman, PhD - Committee Chair
  • Jennifer Tolleson, PhD - Committee Member
  • Lynne Layton, PhD, PhD - Committee Member


trauma culture, cognitivist ideology, warrior cult society, evidence-based therapy, treatment manuals, trauma-focused therapy, political psychology, trauma, PTSD, EMDR, CBT, Battlemind, hermeneutic, qualitative text analysis

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One hundred percent of evidence-supported psychotherapy treatments for trauma related disorders involve the therapist learning from and retaining fidelity to a treatment manual. Through a hermeneutic qualitative textual interpretation of three widely utilized evidence-supported trauma treatment manuals, I identified themes that suggested a particular constitution of the contemporary way of being—a traumatized self—and how this traumatized self comes to light through psychotherapeutic practice as described by the manuals. The manuals included: 1) a trauma focused cognitive-behavioral therapy for children; 2) an eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy for adults; and, 3) an early intervention and debriefing therapy series for post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma related problems of military service members. Through the interpretation, I conceptualized trauma as a way of human being in contemporary culture, and in particular, as an unacknowledged way of expressing enactments of dissociated, unformulated, or unarticulated political arrangements and events. I identified and interpreted the following shared themes and exemplars across the three manuals: mind-brain as protector and the political use of cognitivist ideology; the healed trauma survivor as functional worker; trauma as universal and culture-free; and, indoctrination into a social void of scientistic managed care. I discussed how trauma treatment manuals instantiate how to be human in contemporary society through compliance with managed care and the embodiment of scientistic and cognitivist ideology. I then discussed how the way of being that contemporary society creates and idealizes is one in which people easily assume the identity of trauma survivor: an enterprising, functional and fiercely individual member of a warrior cult. In the warrior cult society, to think or talk about social causes and public solutions to daily political suffering is thought of as either non-germane or dangerous; individuals are seen as free from all dependencies and social ties, able to overcome personal and public adversity by arming or forifying their brain and replacing thoughts in their computer-like mind. In conclusion, I raised questions about how evidence-based trauma therapies may contribute to perpetuating a particular constitution of self that has disavowed society’s violent ethics and practices