Brain Processes Informing Psychotherapy: Introduction | Reasons for Developing a Neurobiology of Psychotherapy | Neural Correlates of Basic Psychotherapeutic Processes | Neurobiological Empathy | Mirror Neuron Systems | Functional Imaging Studies of the Effects of Psychotherapy
on the Brain | Conclusion | Key Points | References | Suggested Readings
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."