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Effect of the EMDR Psychotherapeutic Approach on Emotional Cognitive Processing in Patients with Depression

  • Myrna Estela Rosas Uribe (a1), Ernesto O. López Ramírez (a2) and Ignacio Jarero Mena (a3)

The current investigation, framed within the emotional cognitive science field, was conducted with three patients with major depression. They participated in a therapeutic process which involved EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Data were obtained in the clinical practice through a longitudinal one subject study design, including: emotional valence identification within affective priming experiments; and depressive emotional representation studies, the data of which was analyzed using multi-dimensional scaling. The first ones had the purpose of observing the therapeutic impact over the emotional cognitive bias mechanism regarding depresogenic words related to traumatic experiences; and the second, to analyze modifications on depressive schemata. The results showed that EMDR had a positive effect both on emotional cognitive processing and on long-term memory conceptual organization. In the discussion section, interesting remarks are made on the incorporation of emotional cognitive science tools to the EMDR clinical practice.

La presente investigación enmarcada en el campo de la ciencia cognitiva de la emoción, se llevó a cabo en tres personas, que fueron diagnosticadas con depresión mayor y que participaron en un proceso terapéutico que involucró la aproximación EMDR (por sus siglas en inglés -Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing-). La recolección de datos se realizó en la práctica clínica mediante el diseño de estudios longitudinales de un solo sujeto, dentro de los cuales se consideraron a la vez estudios de identificación de valencia emocional bajo el paradigma de facilitación afectiva, y de análisis de representación emocional depresiva bajo la técnica de escalamiento multidimensional. Los primeros se realizaron para observar los cambios en el mecanismo de sesgo cognitivo emocional sobre las palabras depresogénicas relacionadas a experiencias traumáticas y los segundos, para analizar cómo se modificaban los esquemas depresogénicos. Los resultados muestran que EMDR impactó tanto el procesamiento cognitivo de la información emocional, como la organización conceptual en memoria a largo plazo. En la sección de la discusión se hacen señalamientos interesantes sobre la integración de las herramientas de la ciencia cognitiva de la emoción a la práctica clínica.

Corresponding author
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Myrna Estela Rosas Uribe. Universidad Veracruzana. Sistema de Enseñanza Abierta. E-mail:
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The Spanish Journal of Psychology
  • ISSN: 1138-7416
  • EISSN: 1988-2904
  • URL: /core/journals/spanish-journal-of-psychology
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