Effects of “Visual Schema Displacement Therapy” (VSDT), an abbreviated EMDR protocol and a control condition on emotionality and vividness of aversive memories: Two critical analogue studies

Suzy J.M.A. Matthijssen*, Lucinda M. van Beerschoten, Ad de Jongh, Irene G. Klugkist, Marcel A. van den Hout

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Background and objectives: Visual Schema Displacement Therapy (VSDT) is a novel therapy which has been described as a treatment for stress and dysfunction caused by a traumatic event. Although its developers claim this therapy is quicker and more beneficial than other forms of trauma therapy, its effectiveness has not been tested. Methods: We compared the efficacy of VSDT to an abbreviated EMDR protocol and a non-active control condition (CC) in two studies. In Study 1 participants (N = 30) were asked to recall three negative emotional memories under three conditions: VSDT, EMDR, and a CC, each lasting 8 min. Emotional disturbance and vividness of the memories were rated before and after the (within group) conditions. The experiment was replicated using a between group study. In Study 2 participants (N = 75) were assigned to one of the three conditions, and a follow-up after 6–8 days was added. Results: In both studies VSDT and EMDR were superior to the CC in reducing emotional disturbance, and VSDT was superior to EMDR. VSDT and EMDR outperformed the CC in terms of reducing vividness. Limitation: Results need to be replicated in clinical samples. Conclusions: It is unclear how VSDT yields positive effects, but irrespective of its causal mechanisms, VSDT warrants clinical exploration.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)48-56
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


    • EMDR
    • PTSD
    • Trauma therapy
    • Visual Schema Displacement therapy
    • VSDT
    • n/a OA procedure

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