Unlocking the Emotional Brain
Eliminating Symptoms at Their Roots Using Memory Reconsolidation
Foreword by Robert A. Neimeyer
Routledge – 2013 – 244 pages
Psychotherapy that regularly yields liberating, lasting change was, in the last century, a futuristic vision, but it has now become reality, thanks to a convergence of remarkable advances in clinical knowledge and brain science. In Unlocking the Emotional Brain, authors Ecker, Ticic and Hulley equip readers to carry out focused, empathic therapy using the process found by researchers to induce memory reconsolidation, the recently discovered and only known process for actually unlocking emotional memory at the synaptic level. Emotional memory's tenacity is the familiar bane of therapists, and researchers have long believed that emotional memory forms indelible learning. Reconsolidation has overturned these views. It allows new learning to erase, not just suppress, the deep, unconscious, intensely problematic emotional learnings that form during childhood or in later tribulations and generate most of the symptoms that bring people to therapy. Readers will learn methods that precisely eliminate unwanted, ingrained emotional responses—whether moods, behaviors or thought patterns—causing no loss of ordinary narrative memory, while restoring clients' well-being. Numerous case examples show the versatile use of this process in AEDP, Coherence Therapy, EFT, EMDR and IPNB.
"Ecker's, Ticic's, and Hulley's Unlocking the Emotional Brain, like some earlier classics, draws from, adapts, and integrates the very best of the best currently available concepts and techniques into a powerful and accessible psychotherapeutic method. What sets this book apart is how these elements are mixed, matched, and delivered to each individual client. Packaged in a highly engaging read, psychotherapists of all sorts will find many resources which will enhance as well as ease their work."
—Babette Rothschild, MSW, LCSW, author of The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment
"Unlocking the Emotional Brain is one of the most important psychotherapy books of our generation. It brings the recent groundbreaking brain research on memory reconsolidation to the mental health field…. This is the first psychotherapy book to delineate the sequence of experiences the brain requires to heal. This is big, important information that is applicable across many treatment approaches. No matter how good a therapist you already are, reading this book will make you better."
—Ricky Greenwald, PsyD, founder/director, Trauma Institute & Child Trauma Institute, and author of Child Trauma Handbook and EMDR Within a Phase Model of Trauma-Informed Treatment
"Drawing on the latest developments in neuroscience, Bruce Ecker, Robin Ticic and Laurel Hulley provide an innovative approach to psychotherapy that is very much of the 21st century. In this book filled with both groundbreaking neuroscience and provocative case examples, they describe how to tap into the reconsolidation process in therapy. If you want to know what's happening that is new in psychotherapy, this is the place to start."
—Jay Lebow, PhD, clinical professor of psychology at Northwestern University and editor of Family Process
"A major contribution to the field and a must read for any therapist interested in the process of transformation and healing. Beautifully written, the authors present an elegant integration of neuroscientific findings and psychotherapy technique, resulting in a step by step method for relieving longstanding symptoms and suffering. Even the most seasoned clinician will be inspired to learn from these masters."
—Patricia Coughlin Della Selva, PhD, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UNM School of Medicine and author of Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy: Theory and Technique
"Read this book and you will never do therapy in the same way again! These authors show you how to do effective therapy rooted in the science of the mind."
—Jon Carlson, PsyD, EdD, ABPP, distinguished professor at Governors State University and coauthor of Creative Breakthroughs in Therapy
"A refreshing and audacious book that throws open the doors and blows the dust from the corners of clinical practice…. [O]ffering a 'virtually theory-free' methodology…, the authors…add a startlingly effective process to the repertoire of every clinician [and] build powerful alliances across clinical approaches…"
—Ann Weiser Cornell, PhD, author of Focusing in Clinical Practice: The Essence of Change
"A transtheoretical, effective and efficient approach, nicely grounded in recent neuroscience, for deep, transformational change in pernicious emotional implicit learnings…. This is a significant 'breakthrough' book…. I recommend it most highly!"
—Michael F. Hoyt, PhD, author of Brief Psychotherapies: Principles and Practices
"Imagine the founders of diverse therapy methodologies discussing how they achieve deep, lasting, transformational change and agreeing it's due to one basic process. Building on state-of-the-art neuroscience to identify that core process, the authors develop an approach that is theory-free, nonpathologizing, empathic, experiential, phenomenological, and nonspeculative, and that hones therapy while not cramping the therapist's unique contribution—an integrationist's dream!"
—Hanna Levenson, PhD, author of Brief Dynamic Therapy
"A unique, creative, and insightful book that…fits with recent neuropsychological findings on how the brain can alter and even eliminate old painful memories. This book is on the forefront of books that are using neuropsychological findings to illuminate psychotherapy."
—Arthur C. Bohart, PhD, professor emeritus at California State University and coauthor of How Clients Make Therapy Work
Neimeyer, Foreword. Part I: Emotional Coherence: A Unified Framework of Behavioral, Emotional, and Synaptic Change. Maximizing Effectiveness and Satisfaction in Clinical Practice. Memory Reconsolidation: How the Brain Unlearns. The Focused, Deep Psychotherapy of Emotional Unlearning. Moments of Fundamental Change: Map and Methods. Emotional Coherence and the Great Attachment Debate. A Framework for Psychotherapy Integration. Part II: Coherence-Focused Therapy in Practice. Sibson, A Father’s Tormenting Guilt: Deep Resolution in Seven Coherence-Focused Sessions. Martignetti, Up On Top From Down Below: Cessation of Compulsive Drinking Using Coherence Therapy. Geoghegan, Bypassing Bypass Surgery: Using Emotional Coherence to Dispel Compulsive Eating. Connor: Hearing Hostile Voices: Ending Psychotic Symptoms at Their Coherent Roots. Glossary. References. The Authors. Online Supplements .
Bruce Ecker and Laurel Hulley are the originators of Coherence Therapy and coauthors of Depth Oriented Brief Therapy: How To Be Brief When You Were Trained To Be Deep – and Vice Versa, the Coherence Therapy Practice Manual and Training Guide, and the Manual of Juxtaposition Experiences: How to Create Transformational Change Using Disconfirming Knowledge in Coherence Therapy. Ecker is codirector of the Coherence Psychology Institute, has taught for many years in graduate programs, and has been in private practice near San Francisco since 1986. Hulley is director of education and paradigm development of the Coherence Psychology Institute and co-founder of the Julia Morgan Middle School for Girls in Oakland, California.
Robin Ticic is director of training and development of the Coherence Psychology Institute and is in private practice near Cologne, Germany, specializing in trauma therapy and clinical supervision of trauma therapists. She has served as a psychologist for the Psychotraumatology Institute of the University of Cologne for many years, provides a low-fee counseling service for parents, and is author of the parenting guide How to Connect With Your Child, published in English and German.