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Haunted by memories

Joint British Academy/British Psychological Society Lecture, delivered by Professor Anke Ehlers FBA, on 13 September 2018 (venue: Royal Society).

After traumatic events (such as interpersonal violence, accidents, disasters, or war zone experiences) most people will initially experience unwanted distressing memories and nightmares. Eventually these memories will become less distressing for the majority of trauma survivors.

People who develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), however, may for years be haunted by recurrent distressing memories that appear to be happening in the ‘here and now’ and re-experience the same distressing emotions that they felt at the time. Why does re-experiencing persist in some people, but not in others? How can we help people with PTSD experience the trauma as something that happened in the past?

Professor Anke Ehlers FBA, Professor of Experimental Psychopathology, University of Oxford

Anke Ehlers is Professor of Experimental Psychopathology and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow at the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, and co-director the Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma. She is known for her work on psychological factors in anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorders and their treatment.

More about the Joint British Academy/British Psychological Society Lectures