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:
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.
Very well presented! Clear and informative. Good balance between theory and practice. Time just flew!! - Nimisha Patel, LCSW, RD/LD
Two CE credits will be provided by GoodTherapy.org for attending this web conference in its entirety.
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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
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