Change really happens! And your brain is a big part of it
The brain is holds the mechanisms under change, and relationships are the rock fuel that make it go!
Neuroscience (the study of brain structure and functions) has taught us a lot about the way counseling can impact us. We have discovered all kinds of fantastic processes in our brains. I want to share a couple with you that guide a faster, more successful journey to health.
Neuroplasticity – Our brains don’t stop growing and changing like we thought they did! In fact, you are growing new brain cells every day. More impressive still is that when you learn and practice anything new, these brain cells form groups and pathways together that store your new learning. Over about a month your brain forms new pathways that it can readily use. This is how we learn new skills, change habits and live healthier lives. With empathy, practice, and care, you can rapidly heal what seems so broken and have a new experience.
The Right-Brain – This magical territory has long been described as the emotional, creative, dreamy twin to the logical, cold, functional left-brain. We have discovered just how vital our right-brain is to our wellbeing. When you are little your right-brain dominates and is learning about your world at light speed! Everything from the tone of voice your parents used, through to how often your environment changed impacted what your right-brain ‘encoded’ about the world. If emotions were soothed and your needs were met, then your right-brain ‘encodes’ this in such a way that you internalize the ability to regulate your own emotions. When we miss out on this developmental necessity life is hard. Counseling can help the right-brain re-learn this vital part of growing up that changes everything.
So what does this mean for counseling?
- A good relationship with your counselor changes and heals your brain!
- Your counselor should understand that your brain is able to change and grow, and that you can adapt and live in satisfying ways. They can help you make this a reality
- The moment-to-moment of your experience and emotions are vital. As you engage, feel, and discuss things with an understanding counselor you are helping to know yourself better, regulate your emotions, and feel more in control and alive. This truly changes your right-brain.
- We need face-to-face, meaningful contact to change and grow in the ways we were intended too. Healing by ourselves is helpful, but it will never quite harness all of our potential in the same way.
- Paying attention to all the aspects that make you up is important. Thoughts, feelings, behaviors, values, character, relationship styles, and coping strategies—these are all embedded in the flexible brain that you can learn to alter.
- You can train your attention and use if for your health.
I (Paul) am a little bit of a geek when it comes to the brain because it is so wonderful and has opened up so many possibilities for healing and growth. We work with an understanding of these things so that we can truly cultivate health. If this all interests you, we would be happy to experience it with you.
By Paul Loosemore