Dr. David Feinstein, after reading my 10-page summary of Model 5,
generously wrote me the following –
"I have never seen a more cogent, concise description of the reconsolidation process than in your first two pages! Anywhere. Congratulations! What I love as we get to page 4 is the conceptual flexibility of your Psychodynamic Synergy Paradigm. Whatever the phenomena that arise in the session, utilize the theoretical model that best fits it rather than trying to fit it into a limited theoretical model! A foundation for integrative psychotherapy beautifully articulated!"
UNDERSTANDING LIFE BACKWARD
BUT LIVING IT FORWARD:
Analyzing to Understand
but Envisioning Possibilities
to Incentivize Action
by Martha Stark, MD
Faculty, Harvard Medical School
Model 5 of my Psychodynamic Synergy Paradigm is an action-based, solution-focused, future-oriented psychodynamic model that conceives of the mind as holding infinite potential and of memory as dynamic and continuously updating itself on the basis of new experience (whether real or simply envisioned).
A constructivist model at heart, my freshly minted Model 5 is a quantum-neuroscientific approach to healing that is informed by the groundbreaking discovery that when implicitly held traumatic memories are reactivated in an embodied fashion, the network of neural synapses encoding those procedurally organized memories will become deconsolidated for a time-limited period. This unlocking – fueled by repeated and dramatic juxtaposition of old bad learned expectations with new good envisioned possibilities – will create opportunity for both rewiring the brain and reprogramming the mind by way of therapeutic memory reconsolidation.
More specifically, over the course of the past two decades, a dedicated group of cognitive neuroscientists (Verkhratsky & Butt 2007; Dudai et al. 2015), ever intent upon teasing out the neural mechanisms underlying the dynamic nature of memory, have been using advanced neuroimaging techniques to deepen their understanding of the brain’s remarkable neuroplasticity, that is, the brain’s innate capacity continuously and adaptively to reorganize itself in response to ongoing environmental stimulation – if certain conditions are met.
Indeed, repeated embodied juxtaposition of the reactivated experience of something old and bad with the intentioned experience of something new and good will create decisive – and potentially transformational – mismatch experiences. If these mismatch experiences are repeated often enough, forcefully enough, and joltingly enough within the critical time frame of four to six hours, then these ongoing violations of conditioned expectation will eventually trigger energetic disentanglement of the patient’s toxic past from her present and quantum advancement of the patient from entrenched inaction to intentioned action as growth-impeding and disempowering narratives are replaced by growth-promoting and empowering ones.
When therapeutic memory reconsolidation updates a traumatic memory, what is it that changes and what is it that remains the same? Importantly, the fact of the event underlying the traumatic memory will not change, that is, the episodic memory itself will remain intact. What will change, however, will be the affective coloring of the experience, how the patient positions herself in relation to it, and the relational narrative she constructs about self, others, and the world as a result of it.
Dudai Y, Karni A, Born J. 2015. The consolidation and transformation of memory. Neuron Oct 7;88(1):20-32.
Ecker B, Ticic R, Hulley L. 2013. A primer on memory reconsolidation and its psychotherapeutic use as a core process of profound change. The Neuropsychotherapist 1,82-99.
Feinstein D. 2019. Energy psychology: Efficacy, speed, mechanisms. Explore 15(5):340-351.
Stark M. 2021. Understanding Life Backward but Living Life Forward (International Psychotherapy Institute eBook).
Verkhratsky A, Butt A. 2007. Glial Neurobiology. Marblehead, MA: John Wiley & Sons Inc.