Scientists say that one day 90 minute cures could be replaced with surgery

March 2, 2017

Imagine the scene. A client comes to see me with a phobia, or PTSD. I do some very careful questioning to establish the root of the issue;  how they 'do' their problem'; how they know it's a 'problem' and how they will know when they don't have it anymore. The last one always gets them thinking - in the right way. And I pay close attention to everything they are telling me, verbally and non-verbally.


 I then use powerful and evidence-based therapies to 'interrupt' their problem. To dis-connect the cognitive memory from the 'emotional response'. To change the emotional response completely and in accordance with what they want. The memory is still there, but the feeling and their behaviour changes. This is often done in one session with reliable and long-term effects.


Now if you have suffered from a fear, phobia or PTSD, you'll know what a dark and lonely place it can be. Needless to say my client leaves with a smile on their face and spring in their step to a world that has changed for them. 




Now, imagine another scene. A mouse has a phobia of saccharin created in them through repeated poisoning with Lithium Chloride. They are then taught to associate a certain 'tone' with an electric shock. This creates a 'fear' memory and a 'freeze' response whenever they hear it. 

Scientists then 'magically' link the two so that the mouse then freezes at the taste of saccharin. Incredible.


Using Optogentics (the use of light to manipulate genetically modified neurones), the same scientists then 'decouple' the overlapping responses so that the mice no longer freeze when they taste saccharin, although the fear itself is not removed. In other words the memory is not erased, but the behavioural response is changed. Notice any similarities?


The upshot to all of this is that 'one day' scientists believe they may be able to help those with traumatic memories by use of surgical procedures. (You can read about the research here). Now I genuinely believe that this research has some validity and may well have future benefits. But I ask you, if you have such an issue now, would you rather wait until scientists have perfected surgical treatment, or just come to see someone like me?



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