University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The effect of EMDR versus EMDR 2.0 on emotionality and vividness of aversive memories in a non-clinical sample

Matthijssen, S.J.M.A., Brouwers, T., van Roozendaal, C. and de Jongh, Ad (2021) The effect of EMDR versus EMDR 2.0 on emotionality and vividness of aversive memories in a non-clinical sample. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 12 (1). p. 1956793. ISSN 2000-8066

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Background: Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a treatment meant to reduce vividness and emotionality of distressing memories. There is accumulating evidence that working memory taxation is the core of the working mechanism of EMDR therapy and that EMDR derives its effect by taxing the working memory (WM) with a dual task while actively keeping a disturbing memory in mind. From a theoretical stance, based upon assumptions derived from the WM theory, the effectiveness of EMDR therapy could be improved by several adaptations.

Objectives: To test the assumption that integrating these elements into the standard EMDR protocol would enhance EMDR therapy, this adapted version of EMDR (i.e. EMDR 2.0), was compared to standard EMDR in a laboratory setting. It was hypothesized that EMDR 2.0 would be more efficacious than standard EMDR, and show a greater decrease in emotionality and vividness than standard EMDR therapy. Our second hypothesis was that EMDR 2.0 would be more efficient than standard EMDR in that this variant needs less session time and a smaller number of sets (i.e. approximately 30 seconds of WM taxation).

Method: Non-clinical participants (N = 62, 79% female, mean age = 35.21) with a disturbing autobiographical memory were randomly allocated to receive either EMDR or EMDR 2.0. Emotionality and vividness of the memory were measured pre- and post-intervention, and at 1- and 4-week follow-up.

Results: The results showed no difference between EMDR and EMDR 2.0 in decreasing emotionality and vividness, and no difference in session time. However, participants in the EMDR 2.0 condition needed fewer sets than those in the standard EMDR condition.

Conclusion: The notion that EMDR 2.0 is more efficient is partially supported by the results showing participants needed less sets than in standard EMDR to reach the same results. Future research with clinical samples is warranted.

Item Type: Article
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© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: PTSD, EMDR, EMDR 2.0, emotional memories
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
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Copyright Info: Open Access article
Depositing User: Janet Davidson
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2021 09:39
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2021 15:16

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