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Reconsolidation Therapy

Julie trained with Dr. Alain Brunet, the developer of Reconsolidation Therapy™ for PTSD and adjustment disorder / stress reactions related to other types of extra-ordinary stressors such as relationship betrayals, heartbreak, prolonged grief, harassment and bullying. The therapy helps to reduce the emotional distress, intrusive thoughts, debilitating fear, and profound psychological pain of betrayal, extreme stress or trauma while retaining the memory of what happened. She is able to provide this therapy online or in-person. An initial intake session can help to determine whether this modality might be right for you. 

Reconsolidation Therapy™ is based on recent developments in neuroscience and our understanding of how traumatic memories are stored and can get "stuck" in the nervous system. The method combines the use of a pharmacological agent (a beta-blocker) with specifically designed psychotherapy to reduce the distress associated with trauma memories. Research in multiple clinical trials has demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for people who have been exposed to an intense emotional shock (i.e. an accident, aggression, attacks, or natural disasters). This therapy is able to resolve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in as few as 6 sessions representing a significant advance in psychotherapy for trauma.

Reconsolidation Therapy™ has been used with individuals internationally in studies conducted in Canada, USA, France, and Nepal. Participants report that 50% of symptoms have decreased during clinical trials and 70% of patients undergoing this 6-week treatment have shown significant improvements.  

How Reconsolidation Therapy works:

The Role of the Amygdala in Memory

When an event becomes stored in our memory, two parts of the brain are simultaneously activated: the amygdala and the hippocampus. They represent the memory control center.

The hippocampus contains our episodic memory and holds the details of what happened, while the amygdala retains the emotions attached to the event. If an emotional event is worth remembering, the amygdala and the hippocampus save the memory in the long-term memory. Typically, the stronger the emotion, the more memorable it will be.

If you recall an important (non-traumatic) memory, you will remember some of the emotion attached to it, but less intensely. For individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, memory does not fade over time. It is constantly relived by the individual, with the same intensity experienced at the time of the event.

The Emotional Deterioration of Memory

More recent discoveries about the brain and how memory works have shown that when we recall a memory, it is possible to change it.

This was (re)discovered by James Misanin (1968), Susan Sara (1997) and Karim Nader (2000). Through their experiments on rats, they demonstrated that a memory is malleable when it leaves the "memory folder." As a result, it is possible to intervene to reduce the emotional part of the memory that is too intense, in order to also decrease its distressing symptoms.

In Reconsolidation Therapy™ we disrupt the chemical process of re-recording the memory by using a combination of memory reactivation and the blocking of reconsolidation, caused by the beta-blocker medication. The reconsolidated memory generated is thus emotionally deteriorated and PTSD symptoms are reduced. Although you still retain the memory, the physiological and emotional charge associated with it is much less intense.

Who can benefit from Reconsolidation Therapy?

Individuals who are experiencing persisting symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder such as being easily startled, feeling on-guard or on-edge, having intrusive memories of a traumatic event, experiencing negative emotions and thoughts, feeling like you are reliving the event and so on, may benefit from this therapy.  For those who have experienced a single traumatic incident (or more than one similar type of incident) as an adult are more likely to benefit particularly within 6 sessions.  For more complex or early life traumas this modality may not be suitable, or may take more sessions and require other types of modalities to be effective.   

You will also require an assessment by Julie, followed up by an assessment by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner to prescribe the beta-blocker medication to be used in the therapy sessions.

For further information contact Julie.

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