Document Type


Publication Date



Despite many treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), recovery is often moderate at best. and symptoms often persist after treatment. This mixed-method study explored whether an active imagination protocol could serve as an effective low-cost, drug-free intervention for complex PTSD or persisting symptoms after a traumatic event. Seventeen participants were assessed using the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS), Multiscale Dissociation Inventory (MDI), and the Ryff Scales of Psychological Wellbeing (PWB) before and after a four-session, one-to-one active imagination intervention. On average, all quantitative scores significantly improved from baseline, and every subscale improved. For the sample average, PTSD symptoms decreased by 32%, dissociation decreased by 29%, and wellbeing increased by 15%. A thematic analysis of follow-up interviews produced five themes: general reflections on the active imagination process, general benefits, effect on PTSD symptoms, attitudes about different parts of active imagination, and states of mind during active imagination. The major qualitative findings are of positive change with occasional radical improvement and personal transformation.