How the Science of Memory Reconsolidation Advances the Effectiveness and Unification of Psychotherapy

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To continue the discovery work, the therapist now guided Tina to imagine, just a little bit, how it will feel when she is no longer apathetic, actually has some interest and motivation in her own pursuits, and also mentions something about her pursuits to her parents. That is the discovery technique of symptom deprivation, often used in Coherence Therapy (Ecker and Hulley 2019). It is not a rehearsal for the client to then remain symptom-free after the session, which is explained to the client. Rather, any distress that develops due to being without the symptom during the exercise begins to reveal the emotional learning that the symptom is urgently necessary for avoiding that particular distress.

A further implicit learning was emerging, and to bring it more fully into explicit expression, the therapist now invited Tina to let this sentence complete itself without pre-thinking: “If they know I’m doing things that matter to me—”. Tina said it once, and then again, and then very quietly she said: “She’ll take it.”