TRP Applied to Sound

When we play a sound tone through stereo headphones, we hear it through both our left and right ears. If the difference between the tone’s left ear and right ear frequencies is 1000 Hz or more, our brain can detect the difference, called a binaural beat. Binaural beats create an auditory illusion, sounding like a rhythmic beat. Sustained listening to binaural beats influences our brain, producing associated brain waves. Neuroscientists mention two possible synchronization mechanisms, entrainment and interhemispheric coherence (Garcia-Argibay et al., 2019, p 358). Binaural beats reportedly “can affect mood, performance on vigilance tasks, and anxiety” (Le Scouarnec et al., 2001).

Research has been done on these effects. These have shown that Binaural beats have been used in a wide-range of exercises to reduce pain perception and anxiety (Garcia-Argibay et al., 2019) as well as to promote relaxation, meditation (Jirakittayakorn & Wongsawat, 2017) and healing. For example, binaural beats have been used to reduce anxiety in patients undergoing (1) day surgery so they can be “street ready” quickly following the procedure (Padmanabhan et al., 2005) and (2) dental surgery (Isik et al., 2017). Both report significant anxiety reduction in pre-operative patients. However, remaining uncertainty about mechanisms and efficacy indicate a need for further research (Orozco Perez et al., 2020). The following strategies are presented with this caveat in mind.

Reconsolidation-Based Sound Model

Reconsolidation Enhancement by Stimulation of Emotional Triggers (RESET) is a reconsolidation-based treatment model that uses binaural beats to target PTSD. While binaural beats are usually generated as “sine” waves which have a pleasant sound, RESET uses a “square” wave pattern to generate binaural beats, creating a grating sound. RESET developed by Lindenfeld and colleagues (Bruursema & Lindenfeld, 2015; Lindenfeld et al., 2019a, Lindenfeld et al., 2019b; personal communication, September 6, 2020, Lindenfeld et al., 2020, Lindenfeld et al., 2021), integrates neurofeedback into a reconsolidation protocol.

RESET uses a neurofeedback hardware device (Bio-Acoustical Utilization Device or BAUD) supplemented by measuring equipment to map the brain (for example, surface qEEG and LORETA analysis, Lindenfeld et al, 2019a) to determine the brain’s emotional frequencies, identifying the unique frequency activated and locked into place by the initial traumatic experience. RESET employs silent recall of the traumatic event to reactivate the locked frequency. Details of the event are not verbally shared, so the exercise, if facilitated by a helper, is “contentless.” A way to view this process: once the binaural beats are entrained to the reactivated brain frequency, a TRP mismatch is set in motion by changing this entrained binaural sound to one with less painful associated emotions. This unlocks and resets the reactivated frequency, triggering reconsolidation, resulting in symptom relief.

CT has an in-depth explanation of how a similar process meets TRP through “dual focus” in NLP (Ecker, 2015). Ecker hypothesizes that in a group of therapies including NLP, tapping and progressive counting, attention is anchored to a sensory stimulus in a safe environment while the person attends internally to upsetting emotional learning, creating the mismatch (Ecker, 2015). In my view, a binaural beats exercise may create a similar therapeutic process. Additional fMRI-based research is needed to refine understanding of these mechanisms (Lindenfeld, personal communication, September 6, 2020). However, while explanations of these underlying mechanisms are in “early days,” needing refinement, end results demonstrate efficacy. Weighing pros and cons: for people already suffering from (1) intrusive, unbidden re-living of trauma or (2) circumscribed life-styles due to a phobia, potential benefits of a helping protocol that includes re-experiencing a troubling event, coupled with available safeguards plus stress reduction can be weighed against a time-limited emotional upset.      


Small-sample research studies have demonstrated initial efficacy of RESET therapy (Lindenfeld et al., 2019a: Lindenfeld et al., 2019b, Lindenfeld et al., 2020, Lindenfeld et al., 2021) with the caution that follow-up will be needed to check if positive changes are maintained. It is hypothesized that reconsolidation and not extinction is produced using this protocol. Progress achieved by extinction would be partial and temporary, not maintained over time (Ecker & Bridges, 2020). So, as the authors suggest, follow-up would be helpful to check if gains endure (Lindenfeld et al., 2019a, Lindenfeld et al., 2019b; personal communication, September 6, 2020). Specialized training for RESET Therapy and the BAUD is available.


Bruursema, L. Richard & Lindenfeld, George. (2015). Resetting the Fear Switch in PTSD: A Novel Treatment Using Acoustical Neuromodulation to Modify Memory Reconsolidation. DOI:10.13140/RG.2.1.4695.9446.

Ecker, B. (2015). Using NLP for memory reconsolidation: A glimpse of integrating the panoply of psychotherapies. The Neuropsychotherapist, 10, 50–56.

Ecker, B., Bridges, S.K. (2020). How the Science of Memory Reconsolidation Advances the Effectiveness and Unification of Psychotherapy. Clin Soc Work J (2020).

Garcia-Argibay, M., Santed, M.A. & Reales, J.M. (2019). Efficacy of binaural auditory beats in cognition, anxiety, and pain perception: a meta-analysis. Psychological Research 83, 357–372 (2019).

Le Scouarnec, R. P., Poirier, R. M., Owens, J. E., Gauthier, J., Taylor, A. G. & Foresman, P. A. (2001). Use of binaural beat tapes for treatment of anxiety: a pilot study of tape preference and outcomes. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 2001; 7: 58–63.

Lindenfeld, G., Rozelle, G., Hummer, J., Sutherland, M. R., & Miller, J. C. (2019a). Remediation of PTSD in a combat veteran: A case study. NeuroRegulation, 6(2), 102–125.

Lindenfeld, G., Rozelle, G., Soutar, R., Hummer, J., & Sutherland, M. (2019b, Winter). Post-traumatic stress remediated: A study of eight combat veterans. New Mind Journal. Retrieved from

Lindenfeld, G. L., Hummer, J.T. and Billiot, K. (2021). Anger and Aggression: A New Beginning? Family Court Review, 59: 161-170. 

Jirakittayakorn, N. & Wongsawat, Y. (2017). Brain Responses to a 6-Hz Binaural Beat: Effects on General Theta Rhythm and Frontal Midline Theta Activity. Front. Neurosci. 11:365. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2017.00365.

Orozco Perez, H. D., Dumas, G. & Lehmann, A. (2020). Binaural Beats through the Auditory Pathway: From Brainstem to Connectivity Patterns.eNeuro.2020;7(2):ENEURO.0232-19.2020. Published 2020 Mar 19. doi:10.1523/ENEURO.0232-19.2020.

Padmanabhan, R., Hildreth, A. J., & Laws, D. (2005). A prospective, randomised, controlled study examining binaural beat audio and pre-operative anxiety in patients undergoing general anaesthesia for day case surgery. Anaesthesia, 60(9), 874–877.