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Journal of Behavior Volume 3: Issue 1, Early Online

Posted on March 26, 2021 at 11:10 PM

A Pilot Study on the Effects of Simulated Re-Attachment, or Revisioning, on PTSD Inpatients’ Perceived Calmness and Happiness

Mark Rider, Lynn Heselton, James Seymour, Camille Drachman, Sandra Guilfoyle, Trish Seek, Susan Vose, and Dale DeNunzio

Abstract:

This is a retrospective analysis of data collected from patients during Revisioning sessions at a large inpatient psychiatric facility. Revisioning is an adaptation of mirror therapy for the treatment of complicated grief and PTSD instead of the more traditional purposes of relieving phantom limb pain. It has been suggested from individual case studies that Revisioning has potential to treat PTSD by activating the mirror neuron network. Patients attended between one to three Revisioning sessions. Results found that 94% of patients improved in perceived calmness and happiness during single sessions. 70% of patients improved on measures of ego repair from first to last session. Higher improvers in mood in single session Revisioning sessions had significantly greater ego repair before discharge than lower improvers.

Research: Sierra Tucson Treatment Center: World Psychiatric Association Virtual Conference March 10-13, 2021

Posted on March 26, 2021 at 11:05 PM

 World Psychiatric Association Virtual Conference

March 10-13, 2021

Mirror Neuron Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Inpatients with PTSD

Heselton L., Rider M., Seymour J., Drachman C., Guilfoyle S., Seek T., Vose S., & DeNunzio D.,

Sierra Tucson Treatment Center

 

INTRODUCTION

Mirror therapy was first developed by V.S. Ramachandran to decrease phantom limb pain in amputees and stroke victims. Neuroplasticity in the motor cortex was discovered to be the cause of the pain. The mirror therapy decreased the pain by reversing the neuroplasticity back to normal.

 This ‘simulated re-attachment’ has since been used by our group to address neuroplastic changes previously documented in subjects with PTSD. This includes dysfunction within the Mirror Neuron Network (MNN).

 Mirror therapy for PTSD, or ‘Revisioning’, has been found to activate the MNN through using a mirror to reconnect clients with pre- trauma positive identity states.

Revisioning was implemented at Sierra Tucson Treatment Center with PTSD patients in which mood and dissociation were monitored via Likert scales. 62 patients participated in one or more Revisioning sessions.

CASE EXAMPLE - HIGH DISSOCIATION

The following case will help exemplify Revisioning psychotherapy. One of the severest forms of PTSD is Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). DID is challenging due to the high risk for destabilization during trauma and integration work.

A 56-year-old female diagnosed with PTSD and DID had a history of cult abuse and sex trafficking. She presented with 425 alters within three subsystems. The goal of treatment was to reach a modified fusion of thoughts, feelings, physical bodies, ages, perceptions, positive memories of the past, and present-day memories into one adult self-state prior to trauma work.

Revisioning began with selecting the most nurturing, helping, healing alters out of the highest functioning of three subsystems and merging these together. After 9 sessions of only Revisioning Psychotherapy, she was able to achieve modified fusion of 142 child, adolescent and adult alters into one self-state.

In one session, the client drew the merged “Lead Helpers” represented by a tree, along with 18 alters ranging in age from 3 to 12 represented by separate pink circles. After Revisioning in the mirror, she performed guided mental imagery of moving the pink circles around the tree which then transformed into cotton candy and melted into the center of the tree. The client was tearful and put her arms around her solar plexus saying, “we are so happy to be solid and whole. It is like putting together a puzzle for the first time.”

 See change scores for this patient:

 HAPPY CALM DES2

PRE 3 2 84

POST 9 8 46

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS

94% of the 62 patients had significant

increases in ‘happiness’ and ‘calmness’ following Revisioning. These scores significantly predicted decreases in dissociation. 70% of treated patients had significantly lower dissociation scores, most after one session.

 No negative side effects such as suicidality, psychotic decompensation, increased dissociation, or emotional flooding were experienced following Revisioning. Brief grief reactions were experienced by some patients before calming and happiness increased, possibly due to mirror neuron- mediated increases in empathy regarding their lost pre-trauma identity.

Revisioning was well-tolerated by high dissociative patients due to the fact that traumatic events did not have to be re- lived. In this study, Revisioning was found to lead to rapid and stable integration, which then made trauma work more accessible. Because oxytocin is involved in MNN activation, future studies should investigate the neurohormonal effects of Revisioning.

 

Important Message Re: Virus Concerns

Posted on March 12, 2020 at 11:15 AM

This message is for all of my past, current, and future clients:

I am here to provide support during this stressful time. I am hoping all of you remain physically healthy during this time. If you decide to increase protection from the virus, here are a few options:

Video counseling is now available. We can use a video service, similar to FaceTime, called Google Duo. Google Duo is private with end-to-end encryption. The connection is excellent, even with limited Wi-Fi. Google Duo can be downloaded (free) on your phone (Android or iPhone), iPad, tablet, or computer. Please see this link for more information:

https://support.google.com/duo/answer/6386089?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en

4. Payment is available through this website. On the Home Page, click on button labeled Web Store

 

Correct Dissociation: Try Revisioning Psychotherapy

Posted on August 26, 2018 at 2:45 PM

Dissociation is a way to shut down and protect from frightening threats to survival (i.e., a scary parent or a scary experience). Dissociation is created by fear from the past and is manifested in present situations that are frightening reminders of the past. Dissociation is one of the key elements to recognize, understand and correct to fully recover from childhood or adult trauma.

Dissociation is on a continuum. Lower levels of dissociation can be found in personality disorders and adults who have experienced trauma. Higher levels of dissociation can be found in Dissociative Identity Disorder. Dissociation is evident by lack of memories of childhood or in your adult life, lack of connection to your body, lack of connection to a full range of emotions and discord between conflicting thoughts.

Revisioning is new psychotherapy that can rapidly repair all levels of dissociation; from Personality Disorders all the way to the most complex level of Dissociative Identity Disorder. Revisioning Therapy activates and repairs the Mirror Neuron Network of the brain. The Mirror Neuron Network is the connecting network that can be activated to re-connect the missing pieces of memory, emotions, and thoughts and separate ego states. This therapy utilizes the most recent advances in the field of neuroscience to repair the ego structure so that you can have a restored memory (that includes positive memories), a comprehensive, full range of emotions, and solid self-identity.

For those who experience dissociation, I recommend Revisioning Therapy first to repair, restore, build and connect ego strengths. Once you have a continuous range of memories, thoughts, feels and body connections, then you will be feeling whole on the inside. This improvement is often so significant that sometimes people choose this as a stopping point in therapy. If you decide to have an even more comprehensive treatment, I can then do EMDR to resolve specific traumatic memories.


Connect with People: Try Revisioning Psychotherapy

Posted on August 26, 2018 at 1:55 PM

Connecting with people and getting your needs met can be a struggle for those with a childhood history of difficulty connecting to a parent or caregiver. Let's look at a few examples. Sometimes a parent is not there for the child some or all of the time. This can be due to an adoption, divorce, parent travel, alcoholism or other substance use. If a parent is not present, the child will not be familiar with openly sharing feelings and getting their needs met. Adults with this childhood assume that others will not understand them and will not meet their needs.

In the second situation, a parent or caregiver may only intermittently meet their child's needs. This may be due to many possible factors such as family financial stress, parents experiencing mental illness or substance use. This creates a heightened sense of anxiety in the child as they fear their needs will not consistently get met. The adult with this childhood would experience anxiety about others meeting their needs. The adult would simultaneously work "too hard" to get their needs met along with oversensitivity about other's refusal or inability to meet their needs.

In a third situation, the parent or caregiver may be scary due to mental illness or substance use. This results in the paradox of the child wanting to connect to the caregiver to get their needs met and wanting to run away at the same time. The child adapts to this situation by creating two or more parts of their personality to adapt to this paradox. This creates internal disconnection as they fear the people that they desire a connection with. It may be confusing for others to understand intermittent behaviors to connect and then disconnect.

In all three examples, the Mirror Neuron Network of the brain has been damaged. The Mirror Neuron Network is the connecting and empathy pathway of the brain that is developed through healthy and consistent connections with caregivers. Revisioning is new psychotherapy that can repair the Mirror Neuron Network. The unmet needs of the child ego state can be integrated and merged with the adult self. This results in an easier, closer, less confusing and emotionally satisfying connections with others.


Heal from Trauma: Try Revisioning Psychotherapy

Posted on August 26, 2018 at 1:35 PM

 When a person goes through a trauma, there is often damage to the psychological structure of a person (ego). A person in a crisis selects only some parts of the self to cope with the trauma. A person facing a trauma will automatically and unconsciously utilize the part of themselves that is most useful to deal wiht the present crisis.  After the trauma event,  it may feel like a part of themselves got lost along the way. They wonder, "what happened to the old me? I used to do this activity or I used to be interested in that topic". They may say things like: the trauma "took a piece of me" or "shattered me" or "left me a changed person." Often people feel emotionally weaker and unable to face the challenges that were previously easy. The missing piece of trauma treatment is often ego repair. It is important to reconnect the pre-trauma self with the post-trauma self. The lost traits and strengths of a person can be restored. Trauma forces a person to utilize their personal strengths in new, previously unrecognized ways. One's strengths seem to be buried with the trauma. Therapy can restore and enhance these strengths in a powerful way. Revisioning Psychotherapy can restore pre-trauma ego strengths and combine them with the positive growth that has occurred because of the trauma. In my opinion, trauma therapy is not complete until the ego has been restored and made stronger. It is important to feel like you've got your old self back again-only better.

Heal from Trauma: Try EMDR Therapy

Posted on August 26, 2018 at 1:30 PM

Most people have experienced trauma in their lives. It is hard to go through life without living through many traumas. Some common examples include an automobile accident, divorce, termination from a job, death of a family member, rape, a serious illness, child abuse.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is a well-researched, effective and internationally recommended psychotherapy to resolve traumatic memories. It is based on the theory that a person can not be fully emotionally present during trauma and so the brain splits the memory apart into separate pieces into the right and left hemisphere of the brain. These pieces of the trauma can be images, physical sensations, feelings, and thoughts. These pieces of the trauma can be re-lived in the form of a flashback whenever you are reminded of the trauma in your daily life. EMDR is an information processing therapy that combines information from both brain hemispheres together and helps you to be able to understand the trauma from a new perspective. Once the pieces of the trauma are combined together, the trauma can be anchored in the past (where it belongs) as you bring the positive learning, emotional recovery and growth to the present. EMDR can effectively resolve symptoms of re-living the trauma such as intrusive negative thoughts, emotional distress, and upsetting imagery.

If you feel stuck re-living a distressing memory from the past, I would suggest trying EMDR. I have been trained by Francine Shapiro, the founder of EMDR. I have used EMDR for the past 20 years with excellent results. It is possible to decrease the intensity of emotional suffering for one or many traumatic events in your life. 


A Broken Heart and Broken Mirror Neurons

Posted on April 25, 2016 at 3:10 PM

I’m sorry that your friend has died. I know how close you were. So close that you may feel the emotional and physical pain that your friend experienced. So close that you may feel like a piece of yourself is missing now. I feel sad knowing that you are suffering; which is why I have devoted my life to finding a solution.

Being with a person for as little as 30 minutes links them to you through the Mirror Neuron Network (MNN). The connecting and empathy neurons of the brain are called Mirror Neurons. When the MNN is activated, Oxytocin is produced. Oxytocin is a powerful bonding hormone that links a mother with her baby and increases whenever we hug someone. When we become separated from a loved one, the MNN becomes “broken” and we experience the painful yearning of wanting to reconnect. Grief can be shared through the MNN and affect hundreds and even millions of people. Who has not felt sadness about the tragic deaths of Robin Williams, Steve Irwin and Princess Diana?

The sadness of losing a loved one is painful and the yearning to reconnect is so powerful that many people experience complex and prolonged grief. Some may feel survivor’s guilt since they were not able to prevent a friend’s death. In my experience working with Traumatic Grief, I think this is why the rate of suicide of Veterans exceeds the rate of death in combat. It is painful to watch a brother die and not be able to stop it.

What if there were a solution to the intense suffering of losing a loved one? What if you could look at photos and have happy memories? What if you could think about a friend or loved one and feel connected and whole again? What if it were possible to directly heal the MNN that has been “broken” from grief? Now there is a way to repair the MNN with a new psychotherapy method called Revisioning. Revisioning is the fastest available psychotherapy to heal many forms of complicated or prolonged grief; including Traumatic Grief and Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder.

Grief affects all of us. If you feel unable to function in your daily life because of grief or have chronic numbness, depression or physical symptoms, then it is important to contact a mental health professional. If you are feeling suicidal, text anonymously anytime 741-741 to reach a counselor or call the 24-hour line 1 (800) 273-8255. Veterans 1 (800) 273-8255.

For more information about Grief and Revisioning, contact Lynn Heselton, MSN, APRN, PMHCNS-BC. Read more about Revisioning in my new book, Revisioning: Rapid Mirror Neuron Psychotherapy for Grief and Trauma (2016) by Dr. Mark Rider and Lynn Heselton.

Creative Commons License
A Broken Heart and Broken Mirror Neuron Network by Lynn Heselton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 

Rapid Treatment for the Broken-Hearted

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Revisioning is a unique treatment, unlike any other grief treatment. Revisioning is a powerful catalyst for rapid and profound changes with normal uncomplicated grief as well as very complex, difficult to treat grief. Revisioning improves the range of possible types of grief from simple to Traumatic Bereavement all  the way to Persistent, Complex Bereavement Disorder. This treatment is very effective for even the most painful deaths such as Suicide, Homicide, and Death of a Child. Unresolved Grief is a frequent, unrecognized comorbid issue in Depression, Panic Attacks, PTSD, Suicide Attempts and Substance Abuse. Revisioning is a new treatment with the amazing ability to resolve decades old grief and prevent recent grief from escalating into a life time of suffering.


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