There are three large-scale neural networks in the brain. The default mode network functions in autobiographical memory, self-oriented and social cognition, and imagining the future. The central executive network functions in engagement with the external world, goal-directed attention, and execution of actions. The salience network mediates interoception, emotional processing, and network switching. Flexible, balanced participation of all three networks is required for the processing of memory to its most adaptive form to support optimal behavior. The triple network model of psychopathology suggests that aberrant function of these networks may result in diverse clinical syndromes of psychopathology (Menon, 2011). Acute stress causes a shift in the balance of the large-scale networks, favoring the salience network and rapid, evolutionarily proven survival responses. This shift results in memory being processed by the amygdala and hippocampus, with limited participation of the prefrontal cortex. Typically following the resolution of stress, balance of the three networks is restored, and processing of memory with prefrontal cortex participation resumes spontaneously. The Network Balance Model of Trauma and Resolution posits that failure to restore network balance manifests clinically as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with inadequately processed and dysfunctionally stored memory (Chamberlin, 2014). Using eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy as an example, the model illustrates how the phases of the standard protocol activate specific networks, restoring network balance and the optimal processing of memory. The model offers a physiological mechanism of action for the resolution of psychological trauma in general, and EMDR therapy in particular.
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Chamberlin, D. E. (2019). The Network Balance Model of Trauma and Resolution—Level I: Large-Scale Neural Networks. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 13(2), 124–142. https://doi.org/10.1891/1933-3126.96.36.199
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research