Chapter 29. Brain Processes Informing Psychotherapy

George I. Viamontes, M.D., Ph.D.; Bernard D. Beitman, M.D.
DOI: 10.1176/appi.books.9781585623648.376267



Successful psychotherapy is correlated with discrete brain changes (Etkin et al. 2005; Roffman et al. 2005) because psychotherapy, like medication, ultimately targets neuroanatomical structures and modulates their function. Early evidence suggests that concepts such as extinction, free association, cognitive restructuring, and repression can be mapped onto the brain (Roffman et al. 2005). Because of the direct correspondence of therapeutic processes to specific neural phenomena, and the power that knowing the details of these phenomena can provide, we argue that psychotherapists should learn the brain. The rationale that supports our opinion is presented in the first section of this chapter, "Reasons for Developing a Neurobiology of Psychotherapy."

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