The intrusion diary is a helpful tool for recording the frequency and content of intrusive memories in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Intrusions can be defined to the client as any unwanted cognitive (or bodily) experience - but are most easily understood as memories.
Clients can be encouraged to keep a record of which intrusive memories they experienced that day, and to rate the 'nowness' of each memory (i.e. how much each intrusive memory felt like it was happening again in the present). This record can be used to inform treatment decisions regarding which memories (or parts of memories) need to be targeted in treatment. It can also be used at multiple time points throughout memory processing to determine whether processing/reliving is having an impact upon the content or 'nowness' of memories being worked upon.
- Grey, N., Young, K., Holmes, E. (2002). Cognitive restructuring within reliving: a treatment for peritraumatic emotional "hotspots" in posttraumatic stress disorder. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 30, 37-56.