Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 24

FEATURE // MENTAL TRAINING II
Dr. Tant:
"What you are
describing here relates
to the whole area of
rational, conscious
reformulations of troublesome emotions and
beliefs via self-talk,
which is the province
of cognitive-behavioral therapy, often referred
to as CBT in my field. It is great stuff, especially
when it is kept purely positive. I describe it to my
patients as being a sort of mental hygiene regimen, to be used routinely to maintain a good
attitude, just as they would brush their teeth
daily or try to get enough sleep. Abundant
research supports its usefulness for treating
many psychological disorders and enhancing
many types of performance.
"Opportunities for using it in competition
come up all the time for me. Just yesterday, I
shot a 2700 match at an indoor range where the
temperature was stuck at around 86 degrees
and I had come dressed for about 70 degrees, at
most. Even as I knew I was in for a long ordeal, I
told myself that everyone was in the same boat,
reminded myself that I tolerate heat better than
many due to my low metabolism and that, in any
event, it was going to be good practice for the
outdoor season. I didn't shoot well, but I didn't
sink into the negativity and I enjoyed the match.
"The CBT/self-talk approach is easy to
understand, well-researched and a great place
to start for anyone because it is so accessible.
Its hallmark quality is the suppressing of unwanted beliefs through the installation of counteracting beliefs or positive self statements. Studies
in animals and humans have shown that the
old (negative) learning remains encoded in
our brains alongside the newer (positive)
learning. The old learning may not be active,

but suppressing it is only temporary unless
we periodically refresh the more positive,
desirable thoughts and beliefs that we seek.
(Yes, like brushing our teeth!)
"There is newer (2004 and later mostly)
research however, that fits beautifully into the
neuroplasticity model that you described earlier.
The research establishes that the brain has a way
of completely, not just temporarily, revising what
it knows, erasing memories without just sidelining them or suppressing them. Termed "memory
reconsolidation, it is a process that rewires a
"
memory or belief when three key steps occur:
(1) Reactivation of the original learning (belief,
negative self statement, etc.) in an emotionally
real way, (2) Creating or encountering a mismatch with the belief or expectation while the
original learning is activated (produces instability
in the original learning), and (3) Within a period
of about five hours, installing a new learning
that contradicts, or at least alters somewhat, the
problem thoughts. (This process is not what
behavioral scientists call 'extinction,' which
appears to be a form of suppression and not true
elimination of memory. Memory reconsolidation has been demonstrated for various types of
memory (e.g., procedural memory, declarative
memory, classical fear conditioning) and applied
in a whole range of psychotherapies, though
rarely explicitly. According to Ecker, et al. (2012)
in Unlocking the Emotional Brain, (p. 26): "As of
this writing, this [three step process] is the only
behavioral process known to neuroscience that
achieves true eradication of an emotional learning, and it does so through the only known
form of neuroplasticity capable of unlocking
the synapses maintaining an existing learning:
memory reconsolidation.
"The relevance for our purposes here is that
knowing about memory reconsolidation gives
the shooter a powerful tool to transform negative

...knowing about memory reconsolidation gives the shooter a powerful tool to
transform negative experiences and do it when they are at their most intense.
24 SSUSA JULY 2014



Shooting Sports USA - July 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - July 2014

Contents
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - Cover2
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - Contents
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 5
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 6
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 7
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 8
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 9
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 10
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 11
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 12
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 13
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 14
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 15
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Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 17
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 18
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 19
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 20
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 21
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 22
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 23
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 24
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 25
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 26
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 27
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 28
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 29
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 30
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 31
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 32
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 33
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 34
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 35
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 36
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 37
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 38
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - 39
Shooting Sports USA - July 2014 - Cover4
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