RTM Therapy: What is Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories Therapy?

More than half of the U.S. population suffers from trauma at some point in life, and 12% of them go on to live with PTSD. Trauma can have strongholds on your psychology and impact and permeate every aspect of your life. Trauma is often characterized by intense fear, helplessness, or horror, and it can leave a lasting impression on our minds. RTM Therapy is a cutting-edge approach that can help you finally break free from trauma. We’ll explore the ways that trauma can affect our lives and discuss some strategies for healing.

Traumatic Memories

Most of us have experienced some form of trauma in our lives. Whether it was a car accident, a natural disaster, or something more personal, trauma can leave a lasting mark on our mental and emotional health.

Traumatic memories remain in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. These memories are different from regular memories because they are often accompanied by intense emotions, and this can make them very difficult to process. Reconsolidation is a natural mechanism that the brain uses to cope with trauma; this is when the brain revisits and re-evaluates a traumatic memory to try to make sense of it. Using this process can be helpful, but it can also be harmful.

Revisiting the memory too often can cause it to become “stuck” in the hippocampus, and the individual may start to relive the trauma over and over again. Reliving trauma is often debilitating and can lead to many mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories Therapy

Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories (RTM) is a trauma-focused therapy that does not involve cognitive behavioral techniques. Instead, it employs exposure to the trauma memory at brief intervals with the goal of reducing PTSD symptoms. 

RTM uses recently improved to focus on updating long-term memories. The process aims to change the original memory so that it is less noticeable and then include those changes in the main memory structure. Adding new information that contradicts an essential element of the original memory is called reconsolidation, and it’s a mechanism that updates long-term memory. Using this method can change the emotional tone and salience of memories, leading to quicker and greater responses than traditional exposure therapies.

How Does RTM Work?

RTM protocol therapy is a three- or four-step method that helps the individual to process and make sense of their traumatic memories. Reconsolidation happens first, and it’s when the brain revisits and re-evaluates a traumatic memory to try to make sense of it. The process can be helpful, but it can also be harmful.

Extinction is when the individual is exposed to the trauma memory in a safe and controlled setting to help them to process and make sense of it. Reconsolidation and generalization involve revisiting the trauma memory in a safe and controlled environment.

What to Expect in RTM Sessions

RTM sessions are normally ninety minutes long. Clinicians help patients visualize images to allow them to process the traumatic memories without experiencing the intense feelings again. Patients remain calm and relaxed during the treatment as they construct images in a safe environment. The treatments can completely eliminate traumatic nightmares, or flashbacks patients may have experienced and directly related emotional problems. After RTM therapy, people can remember past traumatic events without feeling trauma.

Benefits of RTM Therapy

RTM therapy is safe and effective, and there are many potential benefits. Some of these include:

  • Reduction or elimination of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Removing or reducing symptoms of anxiety
  • Treats symptoms of depression
  • Improvement of sleep quality
  • Better cognitive function
  • Increase self-esteem and confidence

Get Help with Trauma Recovery

Using RTM Therapy for treating trauma and managing PTSD is a promising development in the field of mental health. RTM Therapy has shown results in helping individuals to reduce or eliminate symptoms of PTSD, and it is a valuable resource in helping people manage their symptoms and recover from trauma.

If you are struggling with managing PTSD or another form of trauma, consider RTM therapy as a way to regain your quality of life. You don’t have to suffer any longer – trauma recovery is possible. Learn about our admissions process today and get help treating PTSD.

Medically Reviewed: November 17, 2022

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer | CWC Recovery Staff

Clinical Team

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Content on this page has been reviewed by CWC Medical Staff for accuracy.


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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