In your initial consultation I will talk about your brain basics, how our thoughts determine our wellbeing, why we can struggle sometimes and what we can do about it.
It helps enormously if you can understand how your brain is working. At the front of your brain, you have your pre-frontal cortex. This is your conscious part, the part that is aware of world events and interactions. The PFC is attached to a vast intellectual resource, the intelligent mind, this is the part that only humans have which is why we have more advanced intelligence and build houses, drive cars and have jobs.
When we use this part of our brain, we are logical, methodical and positive – solution focused!
The other part of our brain is the original caveman part. The most influential part of this Primitive Brain is the amygdala – this is our fight/flight/freeze response. For those of you who have animals (and especially horses!) you will have heard this, I’m sure. Of course, we still need our amygdala in this modern-day world – to get us to jump back onto the pavement if a car beeps at us, to help increase our adrenaline before a competition – but we don’t need it to the extremes of cavemen days – there aren’t any polar bears or other wild tribesmen to fight off in our every-day life (generally, I would hope).
Our Primitive Brain and the amygdala unfortunately has not developed as quickly as our modern day world, so sometimes it will create a fight, flight or freeze reaction that ends up affecting us too much, we have renamed these primitive terms into unwanted pathologies:
Fight = Anger Issues
Flight = Anxiety
Freeze = Depression
So, in our sessions we need to work towards understanding exactly what is causing you to shift from your intelligent, logical, positive brain to your primitive, angry, anxious and depressed brain
Because the primitive brain has to operate from a negative perspective, it catastrophises and clings onto the smallest irrational and negative thoughts. The more time we spend thinking negatively, our brain creates neural pathways, think of this a bit like a stream – following the dips in terrain to travel along. The more time this negative stream is allowed to travel that route, the stronger the current will get and before we know it, we have a fast flowing river sending you and keeping you in a pool of negativity, depression and anxiety.
Luckily, our brain is capable of making changes in these pathways throughout our lifetime, this is called neuroplasticity. So those negative and primitive thoughts you have been stuck in are very easily and quickly reprogrammed following a bit of training. Just like going to the gym, you wouldn’t complete a single workout and expect muscles, so this new positive way of thinking may seem tricky at first, but stick with it for a couple of weeks and you will be on a roll.
Start out by writing one positive thing that has happened each day, as big or as small as you like. Then try three things. Then start writing down what you’re looking forward to tomorrow. You will notice changes quickly.
Solution Focused Therapists want to give you the tools to maintain your healthy brain function, in the nicest possible way, we don’t want you to keep coming back for years on end – we want to hand you the keys, so you can open the doors.