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Autobiographical memory coherence, emotional processing and exposure treatment. Leuven Belgium,  

Posted on : 07 June 2017

Project Description

ProjectExposure therapy is treatment of choice for most anxiety disorders. Basic research concerning the mechanisms of exposure are dominated by a learning psychology approach (extinction; establishment of inhibitory associations). Less attention has been paid to the memory processes involved; and in particular to the (autobiographical) memory base that embeds these (conditioned) learning experiences within a broader narrative. One of the factors that has received increasing interest concerns the coherence of these autobiographical narratives. Research shows that persons who develop more coherent narratives about personally relevant experiences (a) demonstrate higher levels of psychological well-being, and (b) seem more resilient with respect to negative life circumstances.In addition, research on exposure treatment for PTSD and studies from within the 'expressive writing' literature (which has a strong exposure component) show that positive treatment effects go hand in hand with increased levels of memory coherence. Restructuring memory for adverse experiences and creating a meaningful and coherent narrative for these events, seems to be a beneficial component within exposure treatment. In this research project, we will (a) expand on previous findings that show beneficial effects of coherent narratives, (b) conduct more firm tests of the mediating role of coherence in treatment, and (c) experimentally manipulate coherence in the context of a clinical randomized controlled trial.ProfileYou have a master s degree in psychology (or educational sciences). Candidates for the PhD position should have an active interest in state-of-the-art research in clinical psychology.You obtained good grades. Master students that will graduate in July 2017 are also invited to apply.


3000 Leuven Belgium

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