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The Memrec Method

MEMREC works for

As a result of the groundbreaking research by Professor Merel Kindt and many colleagues worldwide, we are now able to offer the Memrec treatment. This treatment is unique for two reasons: it is brief and effective. 80% of our patients has overcome their fear after 1 treatment session. 

The effect of the method has been established in scientific research, and it can now be offered to the larger public.

Important part

The intake is an important part of the treatment process. We only start the actual treatment when we think it can be successful. If we think we may not be able to take away the complete fear, or if you have a fear that we cannot treat well, we are open about this.

First indication

On our website you can find quite some information about which fears we are able to treat. By getting in touch with us, we can already share our first thoughts on the effectiveness of our treatment for your fear or PTSD.

Do our quick self test to find out directly if the treatment could work for you.

After that, we have a (digital) questionnaire to get some insight into your situation and to determine if there are any (medical or other) reasons not to do the treatment. If this is the case, we will let you know right away.

Get to know each other

Then we plan our first appointment: the personal intake interview. We can do this in our clinic in Amsterdam, or via Skype. This interview will take about an hour, en the objective is to establish what it is that you fear, or how you have been traumatized. If you have a fear of spiders, for example, we will determine which type(s) of spiders it concerns, and which behavior or physical attributes of the spider you are especially afraid of. This helps us to decide how to set up your treatment, to help you in the best possible way.

Medical check

The last part of the intake process is a medical check. The reason for this is that treatment according  to the Memrec Method includes taking one Propranolol pill (one time only). Propranolol is a widely used medicine that is usually taken on a daily basis to reduce high blood pressure, or more incidentally for migraines or test anxiety, for example.

Even though you will only take one pill, we want to make sure that there is no reason to assume any abnormal reaction (e.g. because you take other medicins that do not go well with Propranolol). That is why we ask you to fill out a form about your medical condition, including a check with your personal general practitioner. This form will be looked at by our doctor Emmeke Eijkelkamp. In some cases, additional consultation with your doctor may be needed.

Plan the treatment

Our waiting lists are relatively short, also for the intake interviews. So it will not take long before you know when you can be treated for your fear. We will find a date and time that suit you well. To make things easy for you, this can also be in the evening or during the weekend.

No preparations needed

On the day of your treatment you do not need to do anything special. You will come to our clinic in Amsterdam, where our colleague Maartje Kroese will pick you up downstairs to welcome you. After a cup of tea you will see the therapist who you already met during the intake interview (in most cases this will be Merel Kindt), and the treatment can start.

Exposure to fear

While being coached by your therapist, you will briefly be exposed to the object, animal or situation you fear. This usually takes no longer than a few minutes, depending on your specific situation. At a certain point in time, the therapist will give you a pill (a beta blocker), after which you leave the treatment room. You will not return to this room anymore.

Rest

Research has shown that the chances of success of the treatment are higher when you take a good rest after the treatment. This is why you will stay with us for a few hours. You can do whatever you want, and we will take good care of you.

After this, you can return to your home or hotel. You can drive a car or take public transport like you normally do. A good night’s sleep is important this first night, so make sure you do not have plans for the evening.

Test session

The effect of the Memrec Method to treat fear is only noticable after a night’s sleep, because your brain will process the change during your sleep. To determine how successful the treatment has been, we therefore invite you to our clinic for one last time. This can be the day after your treatment or a few days later, whichever suits you best. You will be exposed to the object of your fear again, so you can experience the effect of the treatment.

Free of unnecessary fear

80% of the clients of that received fear treatment from Merel Kindt do not experience the feelings of fear or anxiety anymore towards the specific object or situation that used to trigger the fear response. Rationally, you know that your former object of fear may be dangerous (at least, if this is the case, like with snakes or heights), but the excessive emotional reaction has disappeared.

The limitations and strong physical reactions that were caused by your fear, now belong to the past. It took you half a day, but if all went well, you will experience the freedom on a daily basis.

Considering the change in the brain that the Memrec Method triggers, you can safely assume that the same fear will not return, and that the effect will not wear off.

Reviewing that one neurological connection

Fear has a function

The fear reflex is an important survival mechanism: it prepares all parts of your body to fight or flight in case of danger. The increased heartbeat and rapid breathing, for example, help to provide the muscles with more oxygen. However, in case of a specific phobia there is an unnecessaryneurological connection between the fear reflex and something relatively undangerous or even unimportant (such as spidersthunderstorms, or crossing a road), and with PTSD it is often the memory of the traumatic experience. This can lead to a disproportionate reaction, like tension, sweating and rapid heartbeat, or meticulously avoiding specific places or situations.

Cause not always clear

It is not always clear when and how this unnecessary neurological connection was developed. This can happen after a shocking event such as a robbery or accident, but fear (e.g. for snakes) is not always directly related to an incident (e.g. a car accident). Many people are unable to find the reason for their fear or even determine how long they have lived with their fear.

The fear is confirmed over and over again

Fortunately, our brain is very good at learning and unlearning things. Every time the brain uses or activates a neurological connection, the brain also checks if this connection should be reviewed at that time. This means that the unnecessary connection in the brain that is causing the feelings of fear or anxiety, is not permanent. Moreover: scientific research has shown that every time such a neurological connection is activated – so every time someone with a phobia experiences his/her hear, the connection could be changed. However, without intervention, this does not happen, and the fear will remain unchanged.

Taking away the fear permanently

Based on this knowledge Professor Dr. Merel Kindt and her teams at the Universities of Maastricht and Amsterdam (Clinical Psychology) have developed the Memrec Method, an effective treatment for fear and phobias. They discovered how someone with a  fear can be treated in such a way that the brain permanently breaks the unnecessary link with the fear reflex. During the next sleeping cycle after the treatment (during the so-called reconsolidation of the long term memory) the unnecessary link will be reviewed and permanently broken. At that moment, the fear has disappeared. One session of less than one hour is usually sufficient (sometimes we need more time when the fear cannot easily be reproduced). The Memrec method influences the ’emotional memory reconsolidation’. In other words, it causes the neurological connection that is responsible for the fear to not be reconfirmed, but rather be adjusted to a more proportionate reaction.

Living without your fear

In most cases the treatment is successful after one treatment session: the fear has disappeared. We know this, because a test session (evaluation interview) is part of each treatment trajectory. During this session, we confront you once more with your (former) fear. For our clients, it is often a bizarre experience to  still have a sharp memory of their fear but not feeling anxious now. Or in case of PTSS: that they can vividly remember the traumatic experience, while the strong emotional response has disappeared. This effect is the result of the adjustment of the neurological connection that was responsible for the fear response. There is no reason to assume that the effect is only temporary, or may wear off over time, since the connection in your brain has been permanently changed.

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