Issue #16 (July 2015)
How effective is psychotherapy? According to Bruce Ecker, the history of efficacy studies has not painted a bright picture for psychotherapy, regardless of the techniques used. As therapists we may have our outstanding moments, and some practitioners seem to demonstrate some very effective outcomes with their clients, but averaged across the profession it seems that psychotherapy has not been doing much better than placebos. What is this “glass ceiling” limiting so much therapy from exceeding the effectiveness of mere positive expectancy on the part of the client? What in therapy, if anything, can reliably produce profound change? These are the questions Ecker endeavours to answer in the address we feature this month, “Psychotherapy’s Mysterious Efficacy Ceiling: Is Memory Reconsolidation the Breakthrough?”
We also hear from Efrat Ginot in her article “A Neuropsychological Model of the Unconscious and Therapeutic Change”, where she looks at the “unconscious maps”, or schemas, that drive our automatic responses. The pervasive nature of unconscious automaticity in every aspect of our mental/neural lives makes it a pertinent topic for the psychotherapist. For therapist and client alike, the reflective awareness of such unconscious processes is an important, if not critical, aspect of gaining prefrontal dominance over what would by default be subcortical, habitual, and automatic responses to the world around us.
In our Spotlight department we join Dr. David Van Nuys as he interviews Michele Rosenthal about trauma and recovering a sense of self—a delightful conversation with someone who is not only an accomplished therapist but herself a trauma survivor. I trust we can all benefit from Michele’s story and insights.
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PSYCHOTHERAPY’S MYSTERIOUS EFFICACY CEILING: IS MEMORY RECONSOLIDATION THE BREAKTHROUGH?
Psychotherapy in general may not have the efficacy we imagine it does. Bruce Ecker summarises 20 years of research into the transformational process of psychotherapy and what mechanisms are really making a difference in therapy.
A NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL MODEL OF THE UNCONSCIOUS AND THERAPEUTIC CHANGE
Psychologist-psychoanalyst Efrat Ginot takes a neuropsychological perspective of the mechanisms of the unconscious and its propensity for automaticity.
- From the Editor: Matthew Dahlitz
- Spotlight: Interview with Michele Rosenthal – David Van Nuys
- Book Review: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy – Matthew Dahlitz
- Prefrontal Muse: The Truth About Good People & Bad Decisions – Karen Young