Synaptic Self - by Joseph LeDoux

Synaptic Self - by Joseph LeDoux

Another Book Report just posted.

Synaptic Self: How our Brains Become Who We Are
oseph LeDoux
Penguin Books, 2002

It’s just one paragraph in Synaptic Self, but it may be the key to how tapping works:

Studies of fear conditioning have also revived interest in a strange but possibly very significant phenomenon in memory research – reconsolidation.  The recent discovery, made by Karim Nader and Glenn Schafe in my lab, is that protein synthesis in the amygdala seems necessary for a recently activated memory to be kept as a memory.  That is, if you take a memory out of storage you have to make new proteins (you have to restore, or reconsolidate it) in order for the memory to remain a memory.  One way of thinking about this is that the brain that does the remembering is not the brain that formed the initial memory.  In order for the old memory to make sense in the current brain, the memory has to be updated…The practical effect of this is that it might be possible some day to have trauma victims recall their trauma in the presence of some drug or other brain alteration that reduces the stranglehold of the memory on the person’s psyche. Page 161

This paragraph is the closest neuroscience explanation I’ve found for how EFT might do its work.  First, some memory or emotion or event has happened in a person’s life, and now produces a negative impact on their emotional or physical state. Normally when that memory arises, it retriggers the amygdala’s fear reaction and creates stress again.  With tapping, the memory arises in a different setting ( a setting of love, where the words have already been spoken, “Even though I have this fear,  I DEEPLY AND COMPLETELY LOVE AND ACCEPT MYSELF).  The combination of vocalization and of tapping on acupressure points may provide a different enough setting for proteins to form in new ways and for the memory to reconsolidate in a context of love rather than the original fear mode.   The practical experience of tapping, whether or not this really defines the physical mechanism, surely does “reduce the stranglehold of the memory on the person’s psyche.”

Read the full book report.