Neurological Mechanism of Change Presentation

Presented by Melissa Benintendi, MA, LPC

Presented by:
Melissa Benintendi, MA, LPC

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Somatic Therapies can be utilized by clinicians more effectively when conceptualized through the neurological theories of interoception, information processing and memory reconsolidation. A model put forth by Khalsa et al. (2018) in response to the combined research presented at a conference focused on interoception revealed the elements of an interoceptive experience and how information processing flows during an interoceptive experience. Memory reconsolidation has been identified as the neurological editing process that produces change in the human nervous system in response to new learning (Ecker, 2017; Ecker & Bridges, 2020). When the model of information processing during interoception is combined with the steps of memory reconsolidation, what emerges is a potential road map for somatic therapies to follow that not only describes why somatic therapies work but also how to increase their effectiveness.

A current challenge somatic practitioners face is enacting the wisdom of the robust lineage of somatics while progressing practice in response to emerging evidence from clinical neuroscience. As new information emerges from other fields of study the task is to integrate what is relevant without losing the foundation of the carefully cultivated somatic traditions. Rather than the two competing, it is possible to understand our clinical work at a deeper, more nuanced level when we look through the evolving lens of neuroscience. Because most clinical practice is aimed at the goal of change, it is most useful to look at emerging information focused on the neurological change process. We find this by looking at emerging evidence regarding interoception, information processing and memory reconsolidation.

Melissa Benintendi MA, LPC is an owner and the Director of Clinical Embodiment at Beyond Healing Institute in Springfield, MO. Melissa began her career as a trauma therapist primarily practicing EMDR. She is now an international EMDR consultant and trainer and specifically focuses on practicing EMDR with a somatic orientation. She is a coauthor and trainer of Somatic Integration and Processing, which is a case conceptualization model that teaches therapists to understand their work through the lenses of somatic psychology, interpersonal neurobiology and adaptive information processing models. She is also a cohost and creator of ‘Notice That – An EMDR Podcast’ which reaches an international audience of over 40,000 listeners monthly. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Transpersonal and Somatic Psychology through the California Institute of Integral Studies. Melissa has also been trained in CranioSacral Therapy and Reiki Energy Healing and utilizes both in her private practice.

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