Does neuroscience hold promise for the further development of behavior therapy? The case of emotional change after exposure in anxiety and depression

  • De Raedt R
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Abstract

Over the last few years, the integration of biological and psychological models has become increasingly important in clinical psychology. This paper presents a neurobiological framework for exploring how neuroscience research may be valuable in the context of new developments in behavior therapy. The importance of the cortical-subcortical circuitry of emotion processing for investigating the working mechanisms of exposure therapy is illustrated by current neuroimaging research. The implication is that during exposure therapy the focus of attention must be fully directed towards the emotional content of the threatening situation to facilitate prefrontal control over the amygdala and that new contextual information, of emotional salience, must be added to create inhibitory projections from the hippocampus. In addition, some possible mechanisms of action for different therapeutic approaches to both anxiety and depression and the role of neuroimaging techniques in predicting treatment outcome are discussed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Affective disorders
  • Behavior therapy
  • Exposure
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Neuroscience

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Authors

  • Rudi De Raedt

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