Possible neural mechanisms of psychotherapy for trauma-related symptoms: Cerebral responses to the neuropsychological treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder model individuals

Description

Psychotherapy is often effective for treating psychogenic disorders, but the changes that occur in the brain during such treatments remain unknown. To investigate this, we monitored cerebral activity throughout an entire session using a psychotherapeutic technique in healthy subjects. Since post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a typical psychogenic psychiatric disorder, we used PTSD-model volunteers who had experienced a moderately traumatic event. The technique used as psychotherapy was eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), a standard method for treating PTSD. The oxygenated haemoglobin concentration ([oxy-Hb]), a sensitive index of brain activation, measured using multi-channel near-infrared spectroscopy, revealed changes in [oxy-Hb] in the superior temporal sulcus (STS) and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). During a vital therapeutic stage, a significant reduction in the activation by forced eye movements was observed in the right STS, and a trend toward a reduction in the left OFC. The hyperactivation of the right STS on the recall of unpleasant memories, and its normalisation by eye movements, seem to reflect an important neural mechanism of the psychotherapy. These findings suggest that psychotherapy for traumatic symptoms involves brain regions related to memory representation and emotion, and possibly those that link memory and emotion, such as the amygdala.

Format

Journal

Language

English

Author(s)

Tamaki Amano
Motomi Toichi

Collection

Citation

“Possible neural mechanisms of psychotherapy for trauma-related symptoms: Cerebral responses to the neuropsychological treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder model individuals,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 29, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/24074.

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