Treatment of intrusive suicidal imagery using eye movements


Suicide and suicidal behavior are major public health concerns, and affect 3–9% of the population worldwide. Despite increased efforts for national suicide prevention strategies, there are still few effective interventions available for reducing suicide risk. In this article, we describe various theoretical approaches for suicide ideation and behavior, and propose to examine the possible effectiveness of a new and innovative preventive strategy. A model of suicidal intrusion (mental imagery related to suicide, also referred to as suicidal flash-forwards) is presented describing one of the assumed mechanisms in the etiology of suicide and the mechanism of therapeutic change. We provide a brief rationale for an Eye Movement Dual Task (EMDT) treatment for suicidal intrusions, describing techniques that can be used to target these suicidal mental images and thoughts to reduce overall behavior. Based on the available empirical evidence for the mechanisms of suicidal intrusions, this approach appears to be a promising new treatment to prevent suicidal behavior as it potentially targets one of the linking pins between suicidal ideation and suicidal actions.






Jaël S. van Bentum
Marit Sijbrandij
Marcus J. H. Huibers
Annemiek Huisman
Arnoud Arntz
Emily A. Holmes
Ad J. F. M. Kerkhof

Original Work Citation

van Bentum, J. S., Sijbrandij, M., Huibers, M. J. H., Huisman, A., Arntz, A., Holmes, E. A., Kerkjof, A. J. F. M. (2017). Treatment of intrusive suicidal imagery using eye movements. International Journal Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(7), 714. doi:10.3390/ijerph14070714



“Treatment of intrusive suicidal imagery using eye movements,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed November 29, 2021,

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