The Neuropsychotherapist January 2018

The Neuropsychotherapist is the quintessential publication bridging the gap between science and the practice of psychotherapy for mental health professionals.

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1 min
from the editor

What is your story? As we enter the exciting possibilities of 2018, what is the story we carry with us and how does our story create our sense of self? These questions and more are dealt with in a fascinating contribution by Gail Noppe-Brandon about mindfully listening to client narratives. The way in which we shine a light on our story is very important. The way that we allow light to shine on us is also important when that light is from the Sun. This valuable source of Vitamin D is an important requirement for our mental well-being. Our interview with Dr. Lori Ann Russell-Chapin teaches us even more about the problem of SAD—seasonal affective disorder. There are many things we can do, starting with becoming more aware. Our Short Cut…

3 min
neuroscience, kindness, and compassion—doing something good for your brain

Seeing someone else in pain or suffering can be very difficult. Many of us experience a sympathetic sense of the pain and suffering within ourselves, and it can almost seem healthier to harden the heart and avoid taking it in. The trouble with that, though, is that it can lead to guilt, or feeling dissociated or disconnected, which is not very satisfying either. Olga Klimecki and colleagues from the Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, looked at the effects of cultivating compassion when confronted with the distress of others (Klimecki, Lieberg, Lamm, & Singer, 2013). They found that the principal empathetic response activated the anterior cingulate cortex and the anterior insula. These areas underlie the empathetic experience of pain. They are activated during the personal experience of pain as well as the imagined…

1 min
the psychotherapist’s essential guide to the brain

“This book presents a thorough and clear introduction to the neuroscience that’s essential to today’s psychotherapist. Matt Dahlitz has done so much withThe Neuropsychotherapist journal and this book takes a next step. It is an excellent resource. It truly is exactly what it says on the cover and provides engaging discussion on the pathology of oft-encountered disorders and their brain basis together with insights into how awareness of the neuroscience underpinning effective therapy can guide a therapist.” – Amazon UK Reviewer “Beautifully illustrated and filled with cutting-edge understanding of the interface of brain, body, mind, mental illness and psychotherapy, I can highly recommend this book. I feel I am pretty well-versed in neurobiology and yet this book had much to teach me, from the “default mode” in the brain to the complexities of…

2 min
physicists negate century-old assumption regarding neurons and brain activity

According to the neuronal computational scheme, which has been used for over a century, each neuron functions as a centralized excitable element. The neuron accumulates its incoming electrical signals from connecting neurons through several terminals, and generates a short electrical pulse, known as a spike, when its threshold is reached. Using new types of experiments on neuronal cultures, a group of scientists, led by Prof. Ido Kanter, of the Department of Physics at Bar-Ilan University, has demonstrated that this century-old assumption regarding brain activity is mistaken. These new types of experiments call the activity of hundreds of labs and thousands of scientific studies in neuroscience into question, and could impact research into the origin of degenerative diseases. In an article published in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers go against conventional wisdom…

3 min
smart people have better connected brains

Differences in intelligence have so far mostly been attributed to differences in specific brain regions. However, are smart people’s brains also wired differently to those of less intelligent persons? A new study published by researchers from Goethe University Frankfurt (Germany) supports this assumption. In intelligent persons, certain brain regions are more strongly involved in the flow of information between brain regions, while other brain regions are less engaged. Understanding the foundations of human thought is fascinating for scientists and laypersons alike. Differences in cognitive abilities – and the resulting differences for example in academic success and professional careers – are attributed to a considerable degree to individual differences in intelligence. A study just published in Scientific Reports shows that these differences go hand in hand with differences in the patterns of…

2 min
workouts to remember

The health advantages of high-intensity exercise are widely known but new research from McMaster University points to another major benefit: better memory. The findings could have implications for an aging population which is grappling with the growing problem of catastrophic diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Scientists have found that six weeks of intense exercise—short bouts of interval training over the course of 20 minutes—showed significant improvements in what is known as high-interference memory, which, for example, allows us to distinguish our car from another of the same make and model. The study is published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. The findings are important because memory performance of the study participants, who were all healthy young adults, increased over a relatively short period of time, say researchers. They also found that participants who experienced…