Affective psychotherapy in post-traumatic reactions guided by affective neuroscience: memory re-consolidation and play

This is a review of the affective neuroscience dealing with the effects of traumatic events. We give an overview of the normal fear reactions, the pathological fear reaction and the character of emotional episodic memories. In this study we find that both emotions and emotional memories are a tripartite unit of sensory information, autonomic reaction and motor impulse (the PRM-complex). We propose that emotions and movements are part and parcel of the same complex. This is our main finding from the review of affective neuroscience; and from here we focus on psychotherapy with post-trauma reactions. The finding of the process of re-consolidation opens up for a new treatment approach: affective psychotherapy focused on re-consolidation. The meaning of re-consolidation is that an emotional memory, when retrieved and being active, will rest in a labile form, amenable to change, for a brief period of time, until it re-consolidates in the memory. This leads us to the conclusion that emotions, affects, must be evoked during the treatment session and that positive emotion must come first, because safety must be part of the new memoires. In the proposed protocol of affective psychotherapy based on re-consolidation the emotional episodic memory is relived in a safe and positive setting, focused in turns on the sensory experience, the autonomic reaction and the motor impulse. Then it is followed by a fantasy of a different positive version of the same event. All in all treatment should provide a series of new memories without fear related to the original event. With the focus on the motor program, the actions, there is a natural link to art therapy and to the mode of play, that can rehearse and fantasize new positive actions.

Tipo Pubblicazione: 
Author or Creator: 
Högberg G
Nardo D
Hällström T
Pagani M.
Dove Medical Press,, [Auckland, N.Z.] , Nuova Zelanda
Psychology research and behavior management 4 (2011): 87–96. doi:10.2147/PRBM.S10380
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Högberg G, Nardo D, Hällström T, Pagani M./titolo:Affective psychotherapy in post-traumatic reactions guided by affective neuroscience: memory re-consolidation and play/doi:10.2147/PRBM.S10380/rivista:Psychology research and beh
Resource Identifier:
ISTC Author: 
Ritratto di Marco Pagani
Real name: