• John Omaha posted an update in the group Neuroscience For Therapists 3 months, 4 weeks ago

    By way of introducing myself and my approach to psychotherapy, here is a brief description of Affect Centered Therapy.
    Affect Centered Therapy
    Affect Centered Therapy (ACT) derives from a developmental model for psychopathology. The challenges a client faces today have their origin in childhood experiences beginning at birth if not before. ACT is an attachment-based therapy in which the psychotherapeutic attachment functions as means for repairing deficits from the developmental attachment of the client’s childhood. The therapy relies on a trauma model and on the neuropsychology of the unconscious for understanding the processes the client is enacting in many areas of his or her life.
    ACT comprises three essential phases. The first phase transmits skills of emotion regulation that clients did not receive in childhood. The second phase uncovers and resolves the misfortunes, adversities and/or traumas that set the client on a pathway to the current dysfunction. The third phase uncovers and overwrites the roadmaps or schemas learned early in life that the client unconsciously enacts currently. ACT is directive in its early stages. The therapist provides a structure within which the client’s self develops and organizes into a more adaptive and positively functioning form. ACT is not talk therapy. ACT has been used to successfully treat depression, anxiety, addictions, alcoholism, relationship difficulties, eating disorders including Crohn’s Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, sexual compulsivity disorders, and trichotillomania and other obsessive compulsive disorders.
    Phase one repairs deficits of emotion regulation. Clients are people who lack the skills to recognize, tolerate, and regulate a range of emotions. Affect Management Skills Training (AMST) remediates deficits of emotion management. As the client progresses through the AMST protocol, he or she and the therapist establish an emotion-based communication. The counseling office becomes a safe place to discuss and experience emotion. The therapist coaches the client to take these skills into the world outside the office. AMST uncovers and remediates missing resources, especially trust. AMST facilitates the client learning to live in his or her body, to experience emotions somatically. Acquisition of the AMST protocol is facilitated by tactile alternating bilateral stimulation (TABS) provided by a battery-powered device, the TheraTapper.
    Phase two uses the presenting problem to uncover the childhood experiences that set the client on a trajectory toward that problem. ACT proposes that the client has a relationship with the presenting problem whether it is alcoholism or depression or something else. Initially, through technique derived from Gestalt, the client is helped to uncover the parameters of the
    relationship. During this process the neural networks containing the presenting problem and the history behind it are opened. Next the client is helped to enter that network and “floatback” to the trauma coded scene, the pivotal event from which the presenting problem originated and developed. Resolution of the trauma employs an abreactive intervention, a reparative intervention derived from Gestalt, an unburdening intervention derived from Internal Family Systems therapy, and a redemptive intervention. As these interventions unfold, the wounded inner child is brought out of exile and into relationship with the adult client.
    Phase three uncovers and overwrites the roadmaps formed during the first 4 to 5 years of life. These roadmaps or schemas were formed before the developing brain could create narrative memories, so they are perforce unconscious. These schemas are held in two deep pathways in the brain. They are very rapidly deployed, automatic, rigid, emotion driven, and not available for evaluation by the frontal cortex. The schemas affect perceptions, thought, emotion responding, sensations, and behavior. Using the skills of Coherence Therapy, these pathways are raised to conscious awareness where they can be evaluated. Once raised to consciousness, alternative schemas can be developed (or they spontaneously appear) and employing the empirically supported process of memory reconsolidation, the more adaptive, more positively functioning schema overwrites the older pathway that motivates much of the psychopathology.

    • Hi John,
      Welcome to the Neuropsychotherapy community and thank you for your introduction to Affect Centered Therapy. I’m looking forward to your engagement with us here on these forums. As you may be aware I’m a big fan of Coherence Therapy and memory reconsolidation to create transformation and I’m excited to see this is very much a part of your approach.

Need Help?
Support Ticket
Skip to toolbar