Since developing Reconsolidation Therapy™, Dr. Alain Brunet has seen and treated hundreds of patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Due to the numerous clinical trials published, Dr. Brunet has demonstrated the effectiveness of his therapeutic method to the scientific community by successfully treating 70% of patients who can say they no longer suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Testimonials from the victims of attacks included in the “Paris Mémoire Vive” protocol
Following the attacks in Paris, Alain Brunet proposed to use his therapy on a larger scale by treating the numerous patients suffering from PTSD. A protocol which was the first of its kind, “Paris Mémoire Vive“, was set up in France in May 2016. With the protocol in place, 400 patients were treated using Brunet’s reconsolidation method. In fact, 200 physicians were trained in the Brunet Method™ and 20 Parisian hospitals integrated this innovative therapeutic trial. The victims’ stories and testimonies, as well as the doctors’ impressions are described below.
Before following Dr. Brunet’s protocol, any daily occurrence, even the most ordinary, would trigger my memories of the attack. I had lumps in my throat, palpitations, headaches, the sweats and I broke down regularly.
I had sleepless nights filled with insomnia and nightmares. My fear of public spaces prevented me from working at my job as a sales assistant in a department store.
Now, after six weeks of treatment, I can go outside without jumping at the slightest sound. I can drive again without feeling stressed. I returned to work and can cope with the ambient noise of the crowd. I enjoy walking in the Old Nice and going for drinks on a terrace with friends. I can fall asleep without the fear of having a nightmare.
A weight was lifted off of my shoulders, which allowed me to move forward. I am confident about my future, even though I will never forget the event, as it will always be a part of me.
Doctors’ Opinions of Emmanuel’s Treatment
By the end of the fourth week, Emmanuelle improved. According to the figures analyzed by the doctors, the intensity of Emmanuelle’s symptoms decreased substantially. She was already below the threshold (under 44), which allows doctors to diagnose a patient in a state of post-traumatic stress. Her symptoms have also decreased by more than 50%.
A week after her 6th session, Emmanuelle attended a final meeting to evaluate her progress. Her psychiatrist, who agreed to participate in the protocol and treatment using Reconsolidation Therapy™, was surprised by the results. The treatment proves to be effective, showing satisfactory results in a short period of time when compared to conventional psychotherapies: “In just six weeks, we saw an improvement that could not be obtained within six months of traditional therapy.”
After witnessing what was described as a war zone near his home, Max returned to the Café de la Bonnebière, where five lives were taken. Three months after completing his treatment, Max was able to return to the scene; something he never thought he would be able to do.
He remembers Lucie, a woman he helped. He held her hand and comforted her until help arrived. “I constantly have these memories in my head. However, what changed for me is that I am able to talk about it without having this pain, this stress. I no longer have the same film playing in a constant loop in my head, day and night.
Today I feel very good, both during the day and night. Although the memory will always remain, the treatment relieved the rumination and intensity of my emotions attached to the memory.
Doctors’ Diagnosis of Max’s Treatment
For the first time in six months since completing his treatment, Max reads his story to the doctor, retelling his experience from November 13, 2015. What kind of impact do his emotions have on his memory? During this evaluation, the doctor is able to make his final assessment. When Max reread his account of the violent scenes, he says “It still scares me, but before I couldn’t even read it, even though I was the one who wrote it.” Max also completes the questionnaire on PTSD:
During the last week, to what extent have you been affected by these stressful episodes? “Not at all”
During the last week, to what extent have you been disturbed by repeated dreams? “Not at all”
During the last week, to what extent have you abruptly felt like this stressful episode would reoccur? “Not at all”.
Max’s score on the questionnaire indicates a near absence of symptoms. His doctor concludes that overall, Max has returned to an almost normal state.
Description of the Diagnosis and the Reconsolidation Method
An event is considered “traumatic” when a person is confronted with death, the fear of dying, or when their physical integrity or that of another person is threatened. Physicians must first establish a PTSD diagnosis and then apply the Reconsolidation Psychotherapy Protocol.
Eligibility for the therapeutic protocol
The goal of physicians is to ensure that the symptoms are only related to an experienced event, as the treatment is only intended to treat a specific emotional memory.
Here are some examples of questions physicians ask their patients in order to determine on a scale if the person actually has PTSD, and if they are eligible for the therapeutic protocol:
- Do you feel deeply hurt when confronted with cues that remind you of the traumatic event?
- Do you sleep well? Do you have difficulty falling asleep?
Description of the Therapeutic Method
Reconsolidation Therapy™ involves the use of a beta-blocking tablet called propranolol. The patient must take the propranolol 90 minutes before a session of psychotherapy in order to receive its full effect, as the molecule directly impacts the emotional brain.
The patient is asked to write a narrative of their trauma, in as much detail as possible, and must read it aloud at each session.
In order to weaken the emotional intensity of their memory, the patient repeats the same procedure at each weekly session, under the same conditions. In 70% of the cases, the patient feels more at ease by the end of the fourth session.
Testimonies from Road Accident Victims and Victims of Aggression who have Developed a PTSD
For 30 years, Alain Brunet has met hundreds of people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Through the numerous clinical trials he conducted since 2005, Dr. Brunet has helped many people return to a normal life. All of these victims have suffered a severe traumatic shock and have undergone Reconsolidation Therapy™. Here are their testimonials.
One evening in November, I was driving on the highway, and there was freezing rain. Suddenly, I saw a big truck across the road, and lost control; I was about to go under the truck! I forcefully grabbed onto the steering wheel and ended up on the side of the van. Unexpectedly, a second truck emerges and hits the first truck hard. I saw the driver die instantly, crushed by the impact. The paramedics removed a leg! My whole life stopped; these images were stuck in my head. I suffered from flashbacks and sleeping disorders. I stopped working and was on antidepressants. I tried different therapies, but nothing relieved my symptoms!
When I started Dr. Brunet’s Reconsolidation Therapy™, I was told that I had to write my memory. This in itself was very painful, and I wasn’t sure if I would return for my second treatment. But after a week, the session was already less intense. As the sessions progressed, it was like describing a movie scene; I no longer had any emotion attached to the memory.
I remember the experience being negative, but just like any other memory. I no longer felt like I was in danger. In fact, I feel like I am back to the way I was before the accident. This experience has been very liberating.
Alain Brunet’s Diagnosis of Virginie’s Treatment
At the beginning of each treatment session, Virginie is required to a tablet of propranolol. She is then asked to write down her traumatic memory. After she has written her story, physiological measurements are marked and confirm Virginie’s level of distress. Her increased pulse, slight sweating, and the tense muscles of her forehead show that she relives her emotional memory as intensely as the day of the accident.
After six weeks, Virginie’s story is read for the last time. After taking the physiological measures, we can see that the signs of distress have disappeared. Virginie still remembers the accident, but the intense emotion attached to it has disappeared.
Joël, 43, was held at gunpoint. “Twelve years ago, two armed men entered the pet store that I managed. They put a gun to my head and threatened to kill me.”
One of the criminals hit his head with the gun, and Joël played dead.
For years, he has had nightmares and flashbacks. He broke up with his partner and he quit a job he loved! Although usually an optimistic person, Joël says, “Inside, I felt like I was dying.”
During his first visit with Dr. Brunet, Joël wrote the details of his trauma. Once a week, for six weeks, he took a beta-blocker and read his story. At first it was agony.
“I realized that all those emotions that I thought were erased, were not,” he says. But by the fifth session, Joël noticed a distinct change. “I wanted to smile. Suddenly, it was not me anymore.”
Doctor’s Diagnosis During Joel’s Treatment
During his last session, the doctor tested Joël’s physiological responses: his heartbeat, sweat, and facial muscles. His reactions were also tested when reading his narrative vs neutral narratives, such as a story about a beach. His physiological responses were similar in both scenarios. “The fire has been put out,” he says.
The statistics from Dr. Brunet’s treatment is convincing: the participants’ symptoms dropped by 50%. In fact, 70-80% of his subjects no longer meet the criteria for PTSD.
“People don’t want to erase their memories. They want to remember them, but without the pain.”
What is so fascinating about this research is the role it has on the function of memory. We often think of memory as a separate entity that is neatly wrapped in a loop, but our memory of a unique experience is scattered across different areas of the brain.
The neutral elements of the event – I was going home, a man attacked me – is located in the hippocampus. But the emotional trauma associated with this event – the anger against the man and the horror of this moment – is located in the amygdala. “When the memory is recalled, these two parts emerge together, like the sound and the image of a film”, says Alain Brunet.
Today, we are able to target the fear aspect of memory, but leave the details of what happened intact. “People cherish their memories, even their bad memories. They do not want them to be erased. They want to remember, but with less pain.”