• Memory Reconsolidation, Neuroscience and Coherence Therapy

    When ZHUCHI was conceived, our primary goal was to bring world-class training to the Hunter and surrounding regions. We also wanted to try and identify emerging therapeutic interventions, offer training in approaches new to the "world stage". Wherever possible ZHUCHI is about bringing cutting edge research and practice to practitioners.

    With the revelations that neuroscience has brought about human brains, emotions and behaviour, it is a logical assumption that practitioners will need to embrace and incorporate these findings into their "therapy rooms".  Indeed, by bringing the Neuopsychotherapy series to the region, ZHUCHI is enabling individuals to do this.

    Coherence Therapy is an approach that is demonstrating great efficacy in merging neuroscience with talking therapy to bring about profound and lasting change for individuals and couples. 

    The following article sheds a little light on Coherence Therapy, and gives readers a better understanding of its background, origins and aims.  We include some video examples of the therapy in action. 

    For nearly a century, ever since Pavlov's work, the available evidence seemed to imply that once an emotional reaction pattern is consolidated - stored in the brain’s long-term, “implicit memory” circuits - it is indelible, permanent for the lifetime of the individual.

    Under the assumption of indelibility, the best one can do to get free of an ingrained "negative" reaction is to merely suppress and override it by counteracting it with a preferred "positive" response learned and built up to compete against the unwanted one. Common examples in psychotherapy are the learning of a relaxation technique to counteract anxiety or panic and the cultivation of new beliefs to counteract existing ones.

    Counteracting in one form or another therefore became the approach of most therapies, such as the cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused and “positive” therapies now in widespread use.

    It is well recognised, however, that an unwanted implicit memory circuit is still fully intact even when it is successfully blocked through counteractive and extinction-like methods. The old response can therefore flare up again, and so ongoing vulnerability to relapse is an inherent weakness of these approaches.

    The clinical landscape changes fundamentally with neuroscientists' recent discovery of memory reconsolidation, a form of neuroplasticity that allows an emotional learning or schema stored in long-term implicit memory to be actually erased, not just overridden and suppressed by the learning a preferred response. For more information on reconsolidation, click here.

    Coherence Therapy consists of the same process identified by neuroscientists for reconsolidation to occur. How is this fundamentally different from counteracting? If a therapy client is guided to actually dissolve the underlying emotional learning or schema generating his or her anxiety, for example, that anxiety would simply no longer arise. There is then nothing to counteract and no possibility of relapse. The anxiety ceases with no need for a counteractive process of teaching relaxation techniques or any other way of building up a non-anxious state.

    That is the type of deep, lasting change that Coherence Therapy generates, as described in numerous publications. The discovery of reconsolidation now provides a neurophysiological understanding of why such change can actually take place in a therapy session.

    Many therapists produce such life-changing, transformational shifts from time to time. Coherence Therapy is designed to make that kind of profound change a regular occurrence in a therapist's practice.

    Watch “Theory and Practice of Coherence Therapy” for more about CT.

    ZHUCHI is hosting a two-day workshop Creating transformational change: The fundamentals of Coherence Therapy on 31 July and 1 August 2015.

    This article has been gratefully reproduced from the Coherence Psychology Institute's website.  This website has a host of useful information, articles, interviews and videos for practitioners interested in learning more about this approach:  http://www.coherencetherapy.org/index.htm

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