Neuroscientific therapies: a revolution in psychotherapy

When I finished teaching my class at the Faculty of Psychology, students approached me to ask me questions about a type of therapy that I had mentioned in my presentation: Neuroscientific therapies.

I told them it’s a form of therapy that takes advantage of the latest research in neuroscience. I then added that these are therapeutic options that help to overcome phobias, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and states of sadness, among others, in a rapid, deep, effective and permanent way over time. .

Their faces mixed with surprise and disbelief said it all:

“And why haven’t we heard of it?”

To such a question I replied that these are therapies which are developing at the moment and which are more and more known. Neuroscientific therapies began in the 1980s with EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and only recently, in the first decade of the 21st century, have they become popular.

From that moment on, the students’ questions followed one another.

How do you work in neuroscientific therapies?

In EMDR, for example, it works by mimicking rapid eye movements. Every night when we sleep, we enter a deep sleep phase (the REM phase) in which we move our eyes at high speed while dreaming. This mechanism is completely natural and is a way for the brain to reprocess or even reduce and even eliminate the stress that is felt throughout the day or at other times in our life. Hence one of the advantages of being able to sleep properly.

Based on this knowledge, the EMDR therapist applies a series of sets or horizontal movements with the fingers, while the patient follows them with the gaze. Thinking about a disturbing or stressful event while moving your eyes at high speed, the amygdala is activated so as to reduce stressThis can turn the negative emotion into a positive emotion, such as calm or acceptance.

But is all of this scientific?

This question, asked by one of the students, led me to explain that, for example, EMDR is one of the most widely used and studied neuroscientific therapies in the world. It is also true that it is one of the first to appear. In our country, there are hospitals that have integrated it into their protocols of action. For example, at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, ​​in the sexual assault unit, it is the therapy that is used the most to help people overcome their traumas and all the stress they have suffered.

As he told them more about these therapies, their faces began to indicate greater understanding and receptivity.

Are there more neuroscientific therapies?

Yes. There are currently four main therapies and new ones are being created. For example, there is the Wingwave Coaching, Which is therapy that allows you to get to the source of the trauma or disorder. With a kinesiological test, called an o-ring test, we can find out where the problem starts. The vast majority of blockages, traumas, phobias and limiting beliefs are found in the printing step, From birth to 6 or 7 years old. When we work on the root of the problem, we release a great deal of tension and allow a lot of negative emotional charge to be released.

So-called neuroscientific therapies are also included Brainspotting, Which can detect Brainspots or ocular access points to the experiment. When someone has suffered a trauma and begins to relate it, their eyes are placed at a point in space. This gaze position is not random, but is a window to access the recording. Brainspots, the person can reconnect with this experience but feel like a spectator, This allows you to be calm while thinking about the event. This makes it easier for the situation to lose intensity and even incorporate positive resources into the event.

the TIC (Brain Integration Therapies), are based on the idea that each of our hemispheres processes information in a different way. The right hemisphere is more emotional and the left is more rational. When we are going through a traumatic situation, such as the sudden death of a family member and complicated or pathological grief, one of our hemispheres may be overflowing. By bilateral stimulation, alternately covering one eye and the other, we facilitate the connection of the two hemispheres. When this happens, the levels of tension and anxiety are reduced and we can think about this event with peace and serenity.

So, can you make sure that someone is not afraid of anything?

However, it would be possible to help a person overcome their phobias and blockages keep in mind that not being afraid of anything is not very adaptive.

My work ethic would prevent me from retreating my fear of doing something that would endanger your life. What these therapies do is help people who, for example, have a long-standing phobia like getting in a car, plane or elevator, can do what they fear within a range of 1 to 4. sessions. In these cases, it may be adaptive to remove the hotbed of fear, as the person really needs to perform these actions in order to lead a normal life.

And are the changes permanent?

Totally. Lchanges are maintained over time as we work from the beginning and walk through each nourishing memories (Other traumatic events that added negative emotions) so that the person has retreated or turned all negative emotions into positive ones.

At this point, the students told me that these therapies weren’t taught in college, but were eager to learn more about them.

Ultimately, knowledge advances as society progresses, and neuroscience is increasingly present in all areas of our lives. It’s not magic, it’s science.

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