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Blanket, G. Fertuck, E.A. (2015). Journal Watch: T. Fischmann, M.O. Russ, & M. Leuzinger-Bohleber (2013). Trauma, dream, and psychic change in psychoanalyses: A dialog between psychoanalysis and the neurosciences. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7:877.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 63(6):1241-1244.

(2015). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 63(6):1241-1244

Research News & Reviews

Journal Watch: T. Fischmann, M.O. Russ, & M. Leuzinger-Bohleber (2013). Trauma, dream, and psychic change in psychoanalyses: A dialog between psychoanalysis and the neurosciences. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7:877.

Review by:
Gennady Blanket

Eric A. Fertuck

At the Sigmund Freud Institute (SFI) and BIC (Brain Imaging Center) in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Brain Function in Frankfurt, Tamara Fischmann, Michael O. Russ, and Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber have combined neuroscience with a psychoanalytic approach to treating trauma and depression, in an ongoing program of investigation called the Frankfurt fMRI/EEG Depression Study (FRED).

The main purpose of the study is to detect lasting neurobiological changes in the brain function of chronically depressed patients who have undergone long-term psychoanalytic therapy. The investigators hypothesized that psychoanalytic therapy modifies the memory of the trauma, altering the topology of brain circuits and hence the manner in which memories are recalled. Additionally, they hypothesize, changes in patients’ dreams during the course of psychoanalytic therapy would coincide with meaningful changes in brain activity, as seen through fMRI scanning.

During the recognition of trauma-related memories, specific areas of the brain of patients and healthy controls were highlighted. For example, an emotional memory activated such brain areas as the amygdala, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, whereas episodic memory and self-relatedness processing activated the medial prefrontal cortex, the parietal cortex, and the temporal poles; autobiographical memory activated the medial frontal cortex and the hippocampus. It was expected that at the end of the psychoanalytic therapy study the patients’ brain activity would change more for patients than for a group of healthy controls.

In the study, 16 patients diagnosed with recurrent major depressive disorders were recruited from an ongoing long-term outpatient depression study in Germany.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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