Clinical Translation of Memory Reconsolidation Research:
Therapeutic Methodology for Transformational Change by Erasing Implicit Emotional Learnings Driving Symptom Production – by Bruce Ecker
International Journal of Neuropsychotherapy, 6(1), 1-92 (2018). doi:10.12744/ijnpt.2018.0001-0092
            ABSTRACT.  After 20 years of laboratory study of memory reconsolidation, the translation of research findings into clinical application has recently been the topic of a rapidly growing number of review articles.  The present article identifies previously unrecognized possibilities for effective clinical translation by examining research findings from the experience-oriented viewpoint of the clinician.  It is well established that destabilization of a target learning and its erasure (robust functional disappearance) by behavioral updating are experience-driven processes.  By interpreting the research in terms of internal experiences required by the brain, rather than in terms of external laboratory procedures, a clinical methodology of updating and erasure unambiguously emerges, with promising properties:  It is applicable for any symptom generated by emotional learning and memory, it is readily adapted to the unique target material of each therapy client, and it has extensive corroboration in existing clinical literature, including cessation of a wide range of symptoms and verification of erasure using the same markers relied upon by laboratory researchers.  Two case vignettes illustrate clinical implementation and show erasure of lifelong, complex, intense emotional learnings and full, lasting cessation of major long-term symptoms.  The experience-oriented framework also provides a new interpretation of the laboratory erasure procedure known as post-retrieval extinction, indicating limited clinical applicability and explaining for the first time why, even with reversal of the protocol (post-extinction retrieval), reconsolidation and erasure still occur.  Also discussed are significant ramifications for the clinical field’s “corrective experience” paradigm, for psychotherapy integration, and for establishing that specific factors can produce extreme therapeutic effectiveness.