Reconsolidation therapy – Brunet Method is a research-based effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dr. Alain Brunet at McGill University has spent two decades developing what he rightly considers to be the first curative intervention for a psychiatric disorder. In this article, I provide the basics of the Brunet method of reconsolidation therapy. Further articles will follow that will offer a more detailed analysis of the reconsolidation phenomenon and the history of Dr. Brunet’s seminal work.
What You Need to Know About Reconsolidation Therapy Before Seeking Treatment
Before starting any therapy, educating yourself well enough to know the basic facts is always a good idea. As a leader in reconsolidation therapy for PTSD, my goal is to provide important information about the therapy and how it is used to treat symptoms effectively. Let’s cover some common questions clients have before starting reconsolidation therapy.
What is Reconsolidation Therapy for PTSD?
Reconsolidation therapy is a form of psychotherapy used to treat people who struggle with an array of distressing symptoms following a traumatic event they either lived through or witnessed. The aim of Reconsolidation Therapy – Brunet Method is to literally transform a traumatic memory into a bad, ordinary memory. The overwhelming emotional component dissipates which finally allows the memory to be put in the past, where it belongs, rather than constantly lurking into consciousness and wreaking havoc in the person’s life. It is the emotional component of the memory that is the target of Reconsolidation Therapy, not its content. In other words, the therapy does not erase the memory. Rests assure, clients continue to remember what happened! However, they no longer experience the distress they used to when remembering their trauma. Once the memory stops exercising its emotional tyranny, PTSD symptoms subside and clients are able to lead a full life again.
How Does the Therapy Unfold?
Reconsolidation Therapy – Brunet Method is surprisingly straightforward and short. I urge you not to doubt its efficacy because of its simplicity and short duration! Once clients have completed a thorough intake with the therapist and are judged to be good candidates for the therapy, they receive written information to give to their doctor in order to obtain a prescription for Propranolol. This is a safe medication that has been used to treat high blood pressure since the 1960s. Clients take one Propranolol pill one hour prior to their scheduled therapy session. During a session, clients read out loud the story they wrote about their trauma. They do so only once. This is in sharp contrast to exposure therapy during which clients are asked to read their story over and over during a session and between sessions. It is no wonder the drop-out rate for exposure therapy has been documented to be as high as 50%. Once the story is read, the therapist provides encouraging comments and asks clients about their level of distress. The session is then over! Clients return one week later for another session. A maximum of 6 sessions are completed.
What Is The Success Rate?
Reconsolidation Therapy – Brunet Method is successful in 70% of people treated! This means that people no longer meet the criterion for PTSD. A very important feature of this therapy is that there is no relapse in symptoms. To fully understand how unique this outcome is, consider the following. Exposure therapy, a type of cognitive behavioral therapy often used to treat PTSD, carries a 50% relapse rate. More precisely, half the people who respond positively to exposure therapy relapse one year post-treatment. Reconsolidation Therapy – Brunet Method heals the traumatic memory. That is why I say that at My Recon Therapy inc, “we heal your life by healing your memories!”
Does The Age Of The Traumatic Memory Matter?
It does not matter if clients experienced their trauma decades ago as long as they are able to write one page recounting their story. However, what is crucially important is that clients are able to feel their emotions when they remember their trauma. Clients who are cut-off from their emotions are not candidates for Reconsolidation therapy. This presentation falls under the dissociative type of PTSD and requires a different therapeutic approach.
Some clients are not necessarily cut-off from their emotions but rather are uncomfortable expressing their emotions in the presence of the therapist. In this scenario, the therapist may conduct sessions prior to commencing treatment in order to build trust and gently encourage these clients to express how they feel.
Is This Type Of Treatment Dangerous?
Reconsolidation therapy is very safe. Some may be apprehensive about having to take Propranolol and wrongly assume they have to take it every day for the whole duration of the therapy. Propranolol is only taken one hour before the therapy session at a dosage that is dependent on a client’s height. It has a half-life of 4 to 5 hours which means it is eliminated from blood plasma in 8 to 10 hours. Propranolol is only available through a prescription provided by a client’s doctor. It cannot be taken by people with severe asthma, low blood pressure, and heart disease.
What If I Have Experienced Multiple Traumas?
Trauma is ubiquitous and unfortunately, some have gone through their share of traumatic experiences. For instance, consider people whose occupation involves being exposed regularly to traumatizing situations. Obvious examples of such occupations are firefighters, law enforcement officers, paramedics and military members. But regular exposure to traumatic events is present in many other professions: 911 operators, correctional officers, emergency room personnel, forensic mental health professionals and war correspondents are a few other examples.
Cases of multiple traumas are evidently more challenging to treat. Nevertheless, Reconsolidation Therapy – Brunet Method can still be applied in such cases. It requires a very thorough analysis of a clients’ trauma history as well as a judicious and creative application of the reconsolidation protocol.
In sum, the Brunet method of Reconsolidation Therapy is a short, safe, and effective treatment for PTSD developed after years of research by Dr. Alain Brunet. I closely followed Dr. Brunet’s research for many years. In August 2019 I learned that he had formulated a new therapy for PTSD based on his research findings. I did not hesitate to immediately sign-up for the training offered to clinicians! I never regreted this decision and I use Reconsolidation Therapy as my first line of treatment for PTSD.
If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, I am here to help. Contact me for a free 20 minutes consultation to discuss whether reconsolidation therapy is right for you.