“You can teach an old dog new tricks”

Neuroscience and Psychotherapy.

Go to the profile of Nicola Vanlint
Mar 23, 2016
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In short: By integrating our experiences which have formed our way of being and becoming aware and reflecting on our behaviours, thoughts and feelings we can make sense of our lives and create better well-being.

It has been scientifically proven that this process also facilitates the rewiring and integration of parts of our brain that are disconnected. Without integration, our lives can feel confusing or stuck.

Finding a therapist that you feel comfortable and at ease with to facilitate this process is paramount for any psychotherapy to be effective. So it okay to be choosy.

In a little more detail: In all of Dr Daniel Siegel, MD literature, about the ‘mindsight approach’ and the latest science that emerges in the exciting field of interpersonal neurobiology, there is a common nominator for psychological well-being.

Interpersonal Integration; the honouring of difference, promoting of linkages, being interconnecting and attuned to oneself, are all fundamental to our overall well-being. When integration isn’t present, he says we can either be in a place of chaos or rigidity and emotional self-regulation always comes from integration. Talking therapy can facilitate us to reflect on our life and become aware of our own internal working models of behaviour.

By having this awareness we can change the structure and function of the brain. Talking therapies can assist to cultivate neuro integration, so the parts of the brain that connect widely separated areas together: the Corpus Callosum which connects the left and right hemispheres, the hippocampus, which connects various forms of memory and the prefrontal cortex which connects the ‘whole shebang’ together.

Due to neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity (or “plastic”) research has shown that many aspects of the brain remain changeable, even into adulthood.

Which means the saying that “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” isn’t actually true!

Qualitative research has shown that essential for any psychological therapy to be beneficial is the therapeutic alliance; the attachment between therapist and client. A therapist can only facilitate a client to promote integration and wellbeing if the patient feels an empathic connection. This has been shown to bring about the most positive outcome in psychotherapy.

It is reasonable to meet more than one therapist, or communicate with, several therapists and then decide. The downside is that it can be expensive although many therapists now offer reduced price initial consultations or free phone consultations.

Go to the profile of Nicola Vanlint

Nicola Vanlint

Psychotherapist / CBT Counsellor / Wellbeing Radio Presenter

Who am I? A constellation of events and experiences which have formed who I am today, just like everybody else. I have experienced emotional imbalance in different forms during my life, one of which was the horror of panic attacks. These encounters lead me to expand my self-awareness, firstly through attending therapy, then through various workshops and years later attaining a qualification in counselling. I have a passion for acquiring and sharing knowledge of how to gain and maintain our psychological wellbeing and increase mental health appreciation. I am far from a journalist, in fact I am dyslexic, which I did not discover until the age of twenty eight. I have learnt to accept and embrace my imperfections. Join me on a voyage of self-awareness and psychological wellbeing, where your thoughts and feelings are very welcome!

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