A word tracking task as an alternative to horizontal eye movements in the reduction of vividness and emotionality of aversive memories in EMDR

Description

When treating a patient with PTSD, therapists often use eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). In EMDR patients make horizontal eye movements (HEM) while the image of a traumatic memory is recalled. Various studies showed that making HEM during recall of an aversive memory results in a decline in vividness and emotionality of this memory. This study aimed to create an alternative task that would be less physically demanding for the therapist than applying HEM. This task should, according to the working memory (WM) hypothesis, tax the WM as much as HEM. To accomplish this goal, a word-tracking task (WTT) was created in which an oval that moved over a matrix with color-words had to be followed with the eyes. Experiment I showed that the WTT taxes WM, though not as much as HEM. In experiment II, both the WTT and HEM resulted in a decrease in vividness and emotionality of an aversive memory. The results obtained raise questions about a supposed linear relationship between the WM-taxing and EMDR-efficacy of tasks. Further investigation of this relationship is recommended. Also recommended is further study in a clinical population. The WTT seems to be a good alternative for horizontal eye movements in EMDR.

Format

Journal

Language

English

Author(s)

Annemarie J. A. Altink
Patricia van Terwisga
Frouke D. G. Helms
Sophia H. Oostenbroek

Original Work Citation

Altink, A. J. A., van Terwisga, P., Helms, F. D. G., & Oostenbroek, S. H. (2012). A word tracking task as an alternative to horizontal eye movements in the reduction of vividness and emotionality of aversive memories in EMDR. Social Cosmos, 3(2), 185-199

Collection

Citation

“A word tracking task as an alternative to horizontal eye movements in the reduction of vividness and emotionality of aversive memories in EMDR,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 22, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/21454.

Output Formats