EMDR practitioners’ beliefs about memory


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a widely used treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. The idea behind EMDR is that lateral eye movements may mitigate the emotional impact of traumatic memories. Given the focus on changing patients’ memories, it is important that EMDR practitioners have detailed knowledge about human memory. We explored beliefs and ideas about memory in samples of EMDR practitioners (Study 1: n = 12; Study 2: n = 41), students (Study 1: n = 35; Study 2: n = 24), and researchers (Study 2: n = 30). All groups seemed to be aware of the fallibility of memory. However, a majority of the surveyed EMDR practitioners (70–90%), students (around 90%), and researchers (66.7%) endorsed the controversial idea of repressed memories. Scepticism and endorsement of problematic ideas about memory-related topics may co-exist within one and the same group. In clinical settings, this might be problematic, because a strong belief in repressed memories might lead therapists to suggestively seek for such memories in patients.






Sanne T. L. Houben
Henry Otgaar
Jeffrey Roelofs
Ineke Wessel
Lawrence Patihis
Harald Merckelbach

Original Work Citation

Houben, S. T. L., Otgaar, H., Roelofs, J., Wessel, I., Patihis, L., & Merckelbach, H. (2019). EMDR practitioners’ beliefs about memory. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice.



“EMDR practitioners’ beliefs about memory,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 20, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/26225.

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