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Open AccessConcept Paper

Treatment of Intrusive Suicidal Imagery Using Eye Movements

Department of Clinical Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Department Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Stephen A. Levin Building, 425 S. University Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6018, USA
Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, Youth as a Social Phenomenon–Youth Studies, University of Groningen, Grote Rozenstraat 38, 9712 TJ Groningen, The Netherlands
Department of Clinical Psychology, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 129, 1018 WS Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Division of Psychology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 714;
Received: 24 April 2017 / Revised: 19 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue From Understanding Suicide Risk to Preventing Suicide)
Suicide and suicidal behavior are major public health concerns, and affect 3–9% of the population worldwide. Despite increased efforts for national suicide prevention strategies, there are still few effective interventions available for reducing suicide risk. In this article, we describe various theoretical approaches for suicide ideation and behavior, and propose to examine the possible effectiveness of a new and innovative preventive strategy. A model of suicidal intrusion (mental imagery related to suicide, also referred to as suicidal flash-forwards) is presented describing one of the assumed mechanisms in the etiology of suicide and the mechanism of therapeutic change. We provide a brief rationale for an Eye Movement Dual Task (EMDT) treatment for suicidal intrusions, describing techniques that can be used to target these suicidal mental images and thoughts to reduce overall behavior. Based on the available empirical evidence for the mechanisms of suicidal intrusions, this approach appears to be a promising new treatment to prevent suicidal behavior as it potentially targets one of the linking pins between suicidal ideation and suicidal actions. View Full-Text
Keywords: suicide; suicidal mental imagery; flash-forwards; intrusions; preventive intervention; eye movement dual task (EMDT) suicide; suicidal mental imagery; flash-forwards; intrusions; preventive intervention; eye movement dual task (EMDT)
MDPI and ACS Style

Bentum, J.S.; Sijbrandij, M.; Huibers, M.J.H.; Huisman, A.; Arntz, A.; Holmes, E.A.; Kerkhof, A.J.F.M. Treatment of Intrusive Suicidal Imagery Using Eye Movements. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 714.

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