Neuropsychotherapy is a meta-framework taking into account the dynamic interplay between the mind, body, society, and environment upon well-being. By understanding the mechanisms of our biology/neurology, the processes of our psychology, and the influences of social interaction, it is believed a holistic therapeutic practice can be formulated.
“Neuropsychotherapy aims to change the brain, but it does not directly target primarily the brain but focuses on the life experiences encountered by the person. The brain specializes in the processing of life experiences. Life experiences are meaningful with regard to the needs that are embedded within the brain structures of each human being. Neuropsychotherapy strives to shift the brain into a state that enables these basic needs to be fully satisfied. The best method for improving the health of the brain, then, is to ensure basic need satisfaction.” (Grawe, 2007, p. 424)
The definition of Neuropsychotherapy may seem broad, but that is precisely the point. Armed, for example, with microscopic insight into the activity of a particular neural network involved with a clients fear, as well as a macroscopic view of their interpersonal relationships and environment, gives the neuropsychotherapist a thorough grasp of the clients situation. With the knowledge that there is a dynamic and powerful influence between the mind, brain, people, and environment, the eclectic clinician can choose from a large palate of therapeutic practices to achieve a desired outcome without being philosophically shackled to one approach. Similarly the therapist who holds dear to a particular school will find valuable insight into a clients conditions by understanding with more clarity what’s ‘under the hood’, so to speak, in the neurology and biology of the client, and possibly refine the therapeutic approach with this new understanding.
This does mean, however, that the therapist must have a multidisciplinary approach to study, analysis, and possibly intervention. It does not mean the therapist need explain to clients their condition in terms of neurology and chemistry (although some clients may benefit from such explanations), but that a depth of understanding does exist by the professional who is dealing with the extreme complexities of a fellow human. We would like to propose that the Neuropsychotherapist is one who works within a biopsychosocial paradigm toward holistic therapy, with an increasing depth of knowledge of all these levels of our being.
For an overview of Neuropsychotherapy, see Grawe, K. (2007). Neuropsychotherapy: How the Neurosciences Inform Effective Psychotherapy. New York, Psychology Press. The late Klaus Grawe defines Neuropsychotherapy as a neuroscientifically informed psychotherapy, and we stand on this foundational understanding while enlarging the scope of considerations to a broader biopsychosocial perspective.