Essential Neuroscience Wisdom for Psychotherapists Part 3: Memory Reconsolidation: A Brain Research Advancement that Guides Clinical Breakthroughs and Unifies the Psychotherapy Field

Presented by Bruce Ecker, MA, LMFT on 01-24-2014 at 9 a.m. Pacific

In the psychotherapy field there are dozens of different models of the process of change. Each is couched in the theoretical concepts and metaphors of its particular therapeutic system, and each requires the particular methods of its home system. Until now, we've had no rigorous, empirical, bedrock knowledge of deep, lasting change that is independent of theoretical schools—no universally valid knowledge that all clinicians could use for consistently guiding real breakthroughs in their sessions. Such knowledge would unify the therapy field by revealing the critical subset of ingredients that are shared by the panoply of effective therapies.

Just such decisive and clinically invaluable knowledge has emerged in the last decade from neuroscientists' research on learning and memory. Studies in labs around the world have identified how the brain unlearns—not how it merely regulates and suppresses a particular response rooted in subcortical emotional learning, but how it physically unlocks synapses and unlearns and actually erases the root emotional learning, ending the emotional and behavioral responses maintained by that learning.

Memory reconsolidation is the name of this innate process of the brain for profound, targeted unlearning. Remarkably, it went unnoticed by researchers for a century. On the level of neurons and synapses, memory reconsolidation is a potent form of neuroplasticity—the only known form of neuroplasticity capable of unlocking and erasing an emotion learning.

On the behavioral, experiential level, reconsolidation is brought about by a well-defined sequence of experiences that therapists can facilitate—and have already been doing so, with great versatility of technique—to dispel a broad range of problems and their underlying emotional themes. The presence of this critical sequence within several widely used therapies, such as AEDP, coherence therapy, emotion-focused therapy, EMDR, and interpersonal neurobiology, has recently been demonstrated.

In this presentation, psychotherapist Bruce Ecker will explain and illustrate the memory reconsolidation process using case examples that show its emotional depth and richness, its use of the client-therapist relationship, its potency for creating a liberating shift that releases the grip of lifelong themes of distress, and the effortlessness with which such shifts remain in effect permanently.

This web conference is intermediate instructional level and designed to help clinicians:

  1. Identify the component elements of an implicit emotional learning that make symptom production an adaptive and coherent necessity.
  2. Define memory reconsolidation and how it differs from emotional regulation.
  3. List the sequence of experiences required by the brain for memory reconsolidation and erasure to occur.
  4. List the verifiable markers of transformational change that both neuroscientists and clinicians use to confirm that reconsolidation and erasure have occurred.

This teleconference is the third in a series of four presentations on neuroscience's contributions and relevance to psychotherapy. Participants are welcome to register for any one event or all four. The fourth presentation will include a panel discussion with the three presenters, moderated by GoodTherapy.org's CEO, Noah Rubinstein. If you have any questions about this web conference or would like more information, please contact us here.

How the Web Conference Works

Attendees who register for this event will log in to the web conference center by using a computer and calling in to the teleconference line. Attendees will be able to ask live audio questions via phone and/or submit text chat questions via computer. Live streaming video and/or document sharing will also be available to participants. Alternatively, attendees may dial in to the teleconference line only, though attendees dialing in by phone only will be unable to ask questions.

Before the scheduled event, all registered attendees will be sent a reminder email with specific instructions on how to log in to the web conference center, as well as links to optional handout materials if applicable.

This event will include lecture and question-and-answer periods. A recording of the web conference will be available to members in GoodTherapy.org's Continuing Education Archives within two weeks. Members of GoodTherapy.org can receive continuing education credits for attending this event by logging in to the GoodTherapy.org Member's Area.

This teleconference is the third in a series of four presentations on neuroscience's contributions and relevance to psychotherapy. Participants are welcome to register for any one event or all four. The fourth presentation will include a panel discussion with the three presenters, moderated by GoodTherapy.org's CEO, Noah Rubinstein.

403.5CE hours and counting!

All are available to GoodTherapy.org members at no additional cost.

Continuing Education (CE) Information

Two CE credits will be provided by GoodTherapy.org for attending this web conference in its entirety.

GoodTherapy.org is also an Approved Education Provider by NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals (provider #135463). Of the eight counselor skill groups ascribed to by NAADAC, this course is classified within counseling services.

GoodTherapy.org is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements.

GoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. ASWB Approval Period: March 30, 2016 through March 30, 2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. Social workers participating in this course will receive two clinical continuing education clock hours.

GoodTherapy.org is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content and is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

GoodTherapy.org, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395.

Registration Information

This web conference is available at no cost to GoodTherapy.org members.

This event has already taken place. An audio recording for this event may be available in the Member's Area.

Highlights

There is a disappearance of the distressed emotional theme or ego state that the target learning had been generating, and there's a disappearance of the unwanted presenting symptoms: the behaviors, emotions, thoughts, and body sensations that the target learning had been producing. Those things disappear because their very source was an emotional learning that now no longer exists. These changes are markers of transformational change. And another distinctive marker of transformational change is the effortlessness with which these changes persist permanently. Once dissolution of the target learning occurs, nothing needs to be done to maintain these changes. - Bruce Ecker, MA, LMFT

Event Reviews from Members

Very well presented! Clear and informative. Good balance between theory and practice. Time just flew!! - Nimisha Patel, LCSW, RD/LD

Meet the Presenter

Bruce Ecker, MA, LMFT

Bruce Ecker, MA, LMFT

Bruce Ecker, MA, LMFT, is a co-founder of coherence therapy and the Coherence Psychology Institute, where he also serves as co-director. For more than seven years, Bruce has worked to translate results of neuroscience research into clinical practice, with a focus on memory reconsolidation. He collaborated with Laurel Hulley on several publications, including Coherence Therapy Training Guide and Practice Manual and Depth Oriented Brief Therapy. Their most recent book, Unlocking the Emotional Brain, was co-authored with Robin Ticic. Bruce maintains a private practice in California, and he travels internationally teaching at conferences and workshops and for graduate programs. For additional resources and information on Bruce and his work, please visit www.coherenceinstitute.org

Continuing Education Provider Approvals

  • ace
    GoodTherapy.org is Approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content. APA approval applies to all events listed after May 2011.
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    GoodTherapy.org has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6380. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. GoodTherapy.org is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • Logo
    This course has been approved by GoodTherapy.org, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #135463. GoodTherapy.org is responsible for all aspects of their programming.
  • ace
    GoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 03/30/2016 – 03/30/2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 2 clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • GoodTherapy.org, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395.