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June 2022

An orienting response model of eye movement desensitization

Author(s): Vaughan, K.

Journal/Book: J Behav Ther Exp Psychiat. 1996; 27: The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England OX5 1GB. Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd. 21-32.

Abstract: Dyck's (Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 1993) conditioning model of EMD provides a useful description of failure of habituation in post-traumatic stress disorder, but may not account for some common EMD phenomena. An alternative model proposes that the therapist's waving hand - in the presence of a trauma-related cortical set - triggers an intense orienting response (OR). Intrinsic effects of the OR facilitate continuing attention to the memory without avoidance, and provide for effective input of new trauma-related information. The person's neuronal model of the trauma alters to reflect his survival and current safety - as true outcome of the trauma - and associated conditioned responses extinguish. Proposals for experimental evaluation of the model are described.

Note: Article MS Armstrong, Level 4, 235 Macquarie St, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia

Keyword(s): POSTTRAUMATIC-STRESS-DISORDER; INFORMATION; EXPOSURE; IMAGERY; FEAR


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