chapter  5
19 Pages

Stepping into the affect

One of the aims of the CRM is to identify and isolate the emotional complex underlying the presenting distress. This distress can then be looked at and oriented towards so that it can be assimilated. Although intense emotions are usually encountered during processing, it is not necessary for them to be released with full expression; therefore this is not to be confused with catharsis or abreaction. Likewise, it is not necessary to be exposed to the emotions at full intensity until they dissipate and new stimulus-response learning has occurred, as happens with exposure treatments and habituation to the memory of the traumatic experience. In CRM it is often suffi cient to “step into” the underlying emotion – to bring it into full awareness – for the resolution to occur. The physiology of the affect is altered so that reconsolidation of all aspects of the memory, from body to neocortex, can occur. CRM works via “. . . the updating of prior emotional memories through a process of reconsolidation that incorporates new emotional experiences . . .” (Lane et al., 2014); this is therefore consistent with other psychotherapeutic modalities, having in common emotional arousal and memory reconsolidation disposing to benefi cial change (Lane et al., 2014). We argue that CRM’s focus on resourcing, often relationally, through the body’s physiological state allows the client to access a deeper level of emotional experience than is commonly encountered with other modalities. There is debate about when an affectively toned body sensation registers in conscious awareness as an emotional feeling; for convenience and brevity we sometimes use the word “feeling” for both states and hope that the context maintains necessary clarity.