Autobiographical Memory Narratives in Psychotherapy: A Coding System Applied to the Case of Cynthia


  • Jefferson A. Singer Connecticut College
  • Laura Bonalume University of Milan-Bicocca



autobiographical memory and psychotherapy, coding memories in therapy, memory narratives and therapy, case study, clinical case study


Recent cognitive and psychodynamic oriented therapies have converged on the powerful role that narrative processing plays in psychotherapy. Although previous coding systems have examined specific aspects of memory narratives, there are no comprehensive methods for coding segments of clinical evaluations or psychotherapy sessions that zero in on the unit of a briefly recounted autobiographical memory narrative.   The present single case study aims to introduce and to demonstrate the Coding System for Autobiographical Memory Narratives in Psychotherapy (CS-AMNP; Singer & Bonalume, 2008) with a young female client whom we  call "Cynthia."  We applied this autobiographical memory narrative approach to the diagnostic interview of Cynthia in evaluation for psychotherapy and compared predictions based on its results to the clinician’s report of Cynthia's actual therapeutic outcome.  This study demonstrates the utility of the coding system for personality assessment and case conceptualization in the service of ongoing treatment.  In addition, implications of this coding system for future research, clinical practice, and training are discussed. 

Author Biographies

Jefferson A. Singer, Connecticut College

Laura Bonalume, University of Milan-Bicocca

Laura Bonalume, PhD
Department of Psychology 
University of Milan-Bicocca 
Milano, 20126, ITALY 





How to Cite

Singer, J. A., & Bonalume, L. (2010). Autobiographical Memory Narratives in Psychotherapy: A Coding System Applied to the Case of Cynthia. Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, 6(3), 134–188.