Neuroscientific Therapies: a revolution in psychotherapy
When I had finished teaching my class in the Psychology faculty, some students approached me to ask me about a type of therapies that I had mentioned in my presentation: Neuroscientific Therapies .
I told you that it's about a form of therapy that takes advantage of the latest research in neurosciences. Then, I added that they are therapeutic options that help overcome phobias, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders and sadness states, among others, in a fast, deep, effective and permanent way in time.
Their faces mixed with surprise and disbelief said everything:
"And why have not we heard about them?"
To this question I answered that are therapies that are now expanding and that are becoming more and more known . Neuroscientific Therapies began in the 80s with the "EMDR" (Desensitization and Reprocess for the Movement of the Eyes) and it has been recently, in the first decade of the 21st century, when they have become popular.
From that point, the questions of the students were happening one after the other.
How do you work in Neuroscientific Therapies?
In EMDR, for example, it works by emulating the rapid movements of the eyes . Each night when we sleep we enter a phase of deep sleep (the REM phase) in which we move our eyes at high speed while we dream. This mechanism is totally natural and is a way for the brain to reprocess, or to reduce or even eliminate the stress experienced during the day or at other times in our lives. Hence one of the benefits 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. When thinking of a disturbing or stressful event while moving your eyes at high speed, the amygdala is activated in a way that produces a reduction in stress , which can cause the negative emotion to transform into a positive emotion, such as tranquility or acceptance.
But is all this scientific?
This question, formulated by one of the students, gave me the opportunity to explain that, for example, EMDR is one of the most widespread and studied neuroscientific therapies in the world . It is also true that it is one of the first that appeared. In our country there are hospitals that have it integrated within their protocols of action. For example, at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, in the sexual assault unit, it is the therapy that is most used to help people overcome their traumas and all the stress they have suffered.
As I told you more about these therapies, their faces began to indicate greater understanding and receptivity.
Are there more Neuroscientific Therapies?
Yes. Currently there are four main therapies, and new ones are being created every time. For example, there is Wingwave coaching , which is a therapy that allows to go to the origin of the trauma or of the disturbance. With a kinesiological testcalled O-Ring test, we can discover the beginning of the problem. The vast majority of blockages, traumas, phobias and limiting beliefs are found in the stage of the imprint , from birth to 6 or 7 years. When we work on the root of the problem we are releasing a great tension and allowing to unblock a lot of negative emotional charge.
Also included in Neuroscientific Therapies is the so-called Brainspotting , which allows detecting Brainspots or ocular points of access to experience. When someone has suffered a trauma and begins to relate it, their eyes are located at a point in space. This position of the gaze is not random, but rather it is a window to access the memory. Starting with the Brainspots, the person can reconnect with that experience but feeling like a spectator , which allows you to be calm while thinking about the event. This facilitates that the situation loses intensity and even that it can incorporate positive resources to 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 hemisphere is more rational. When we live a traumatic situation, such as the sudden death of a family member and we suffer a complicated or pathological duel, it may be that one of our hemispheres is overflowing . Through bilateral stimulation, covering one eye and another alternately, we facilitate the two hemispheres to connect.When this happens the levels of tension and anxiety are reduced and we are able to think about that event with peace and serenity.
So, can you make someone not afraid of anything?
It would be possible to help a person overcome their phobias and blockages, but we must not lose sight that not being afraid of anything is not very adaptive .
My professional ethics would prevent me from reprocessing the fear of doing something that would put your life at risk. What these therapies do allow is to help people who, for example, take a long time with a phobia such as getting into a car, an airplane or an elevator, can in a margin of 1 to 4 sessions perform what they fear. In these cases it can be adaptive to eliminate the focus of fear, since the person really needs to perform such actions in order to lead a normal life.
And the changes are permanent?
Totally. Lchanges are maintained in time because we work from the origin and passing through each of the feeder memories (other traumatic events that have added negative emotions), in such a way that the person has reprocessed or transformed all negative emotions by positive emotions.
At this point, the students told me that these therapies had not been taught in the faculty, but that they were eager to learn more about them.
In the end, knowledge advances as society does, and neurosciences are increasingly present in all areas of our lives. It's not magic, it's science .