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How PTSD causes haunting memories is the topic of our annual joint lecture

31 August 2018

This year's British Psychological Society joint lecture with the British Academy is entitled 'Haunted By Memories', and will focus on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in survivors of traumatic events.

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 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 post-traumatic stress disorders, and their treatment.

The joint British Academy/British Psychological Society lecture will take place on Thursday 13th September at The Royal Society in London.


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