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Catalyze Brain Change: From Incremental Skills to Quantum Learning

Catalyze Brain Change: From Incremental Skills to Quantum Learning

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Catalyze Brain Change: From Incremental Skills to Quantum Learning

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  1. Catalyze Brain Change:From Incremental Skills toQuantum Learning San Francisco CAMFT May 4, 2014 San Francisco, CA.

  2. Catalyze Brain Change:From Incremental Skills toQuantum Learning Linda Graham, MFT Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain For Maximum Resilience and Well-Being

  3. All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming. - Helen Keller

  4. Resilience • Deal with challenges and crises • Bounce back from adversity • Recover balance and equilibrium • Find refuges and maximize resources • Cope skillfully, flexibly, adaptively • Shift perspectives, open to possibilities, create options, find meaning and purpose

  5. Premise of Workshop • Different neural activities underlie • Different levels of client functioning, thus • Different mechanisms of therapeutic change • Harness neuroplasticity of brain • Teach self-directed neuroplasticity to clients • Increase effectiveness of any modality

  6. The field of neuroscience is so new, we must be comfortable not only venturing into the unknown but into error. - Richard Mendius, M.D.

  7. Neuroscience of Resilience • Neuroscience technology is 20 years old • Meditation shifts mood and perspective; impacts immune system and gene expression • Oxytocin can calm a panic attack in less than a minute • Kindness and comfort, early on, protects against later stress, trauma, psychopathology

  8. Neuroplasticity • Growing new neurons • Strengthening synaptic connections • Myelinating pathways – faster processing • Creating and altering brain structure and circuitry • Organizing and re-organizing functions of brain structures

  9. The brain is shaped by experience. And because we have a choice about what experiences we want to use to shape our brain, we have a responsibility to choose the experiences that will shape the brain toward the wise and the wholesome. - Richard J. Davidson, PhD

  10. Evolutionary legacy Genetic templates Family of origin conditioning Norms-expectations of culture-society Who we are and how we cope…. …is not our fault. - Paul Gilbert, The Compassionate Mind

  11. Given neuroplasticity • And choices of self-directed neuroplasticity • Who we are and how we cope… • …is our responsibility • - Paul Gilbert, The Compassionate Mind

  12. Mindfulness and Empathy Awareness of what’s happening (and our reactions to what’s happening) “What are you noticing now?” Acceptance of what’s happening (and our reactions to what’s happening) “Oh, sweetheart! This is painful; this is hard. And it makes complete sense that you would feel the way you do. Two most powerful agents of brain change known to science

  13. Effective Agents of Brain Change Consciousness Self-Awareness Mindfulness Self-Reflection Compassion Empathy Attention Circuit Resonance Circuit Self-Directed Neuroplasticity

  14. Practices to Accelerate Brain Change • Presence – primes receptivity of brain • Intention/choice – activates plasticity • Perseverance – creates and installs change

  15. Conditioning – Skills and Patterns • The brain learns from experience • Encodes learning, behaviors, skills in neural circuitry • Patterns of response become automatic habits • Develops or de-rails pre-frontal cortex • CEO of resilience • Inner secure base, personal sense of self • Therapeutic relationship = re-parenting

  16. New Conditioning – New Resources • New skills, behaviors, capacities • Develop resilient coping • Antidote negativity bias of brain • Strengthen resources; take in the good

  17. Re-conditioning – Rewiring Patterns • Stabilize functioning • Reduce stress, defensiveness • Heal trauma • Window of tolerance – equilibrium • Memory deconsolidation – reconsolidation

  18. De-conditioning – Quantum Learning • Default network • Mental play space • Open spacious awareness • Insights, aha!s, breakthroughs

  19. 6 C’s of Coping • Calm • Compassion • Clarity • Connections to Resources • Competence • Courage

  20. Conditioning:How the Brain Learns in the First Place • Experience causes neurons to fire • Repeated experiences, repeated neural firings • Neurons that fire together wire together • Strengthen synaptic connections • Connections stabilize into neural pathways • Conditioning is neutral, wires positive and negative

  21. Attachment Styles - Secure • Parenting is attuned, empathic, responsive, comforting, soothing, helpful • Attachment develops safety and trust, and inner secure base • Stable and flexible focus and functioning • Open to learning • inner secure base provides buffer against stress, trauma, and psychopathology

  22. Insecure-Avoidant • Parenting is indifferent, neglectful, or critical, rejecting • Attachment is compulsively self-reliant • Stable, but not flexible • Focus on self or world, not others or emotions • Rigid, defensive, not open to learning • Neural cement

  23. Insecure-Anxious • Parenting is inconsistent, unpredictable • Attachment is compulsive caregiving • Flexible, but not stable • Focus on other, not on self-world, • Less able to retain learning • Neural swamp

  24. Disorganized • Parenting is frightening or abusive, or parent is “checked out,” not “there” • Attachment is fright without solution • Lack of focus • Moments of dissociation • Compartmentalization of trauma

  25. Pre-Frontal Cortex - Functions • Regulate body and nervous system • Quell fear response of amygdala • Manage emotions • Attunement – felt sense of feelings • Empathy – making sense of experience • Insight and self-knowing • Response flexibility

  26. Mindfulness Comes to West Mindfulness: Focused attention on present moment experience without judgment or resistance. - Jon Kabat-Zinn Attention and allowing Awareness and acceptance

  27. Mindfulness • Pause, become present • Notice and name • See patterns as patterns • Step back, dis-entangle, reflect • Catch the moment; make a choice • Shift perspectives; shift states • Discern options • Choose wisely – let go of unwholesome, cultivate wholesome

  28. Between a stimulus and a response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. The last of human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. - Viktor Frankl, Austrian psychiatrist, survivor of Auschwitz

  29. Autobiography in Five Short Chapters – Portia Nelson I I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk I fall in. I am lost…I am helpless It isn’t my fault. It takes me forever to find a way out.

  30. II I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place But, it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

  31. III I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in…it’s a habit My eyes are open, I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

  32. IV I walk down the same street There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. V I walk down another street. -Portia Nelson

  33. Clarity It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptive to change. - Charles Darwin Every moment brings a choice, and every choice has an impact. Julia Butterfly Hill

  34. New Conditioning • Experience creates brain change • New experiences: new learning, new skills, new behaviors • New memory, new circuitry

  35. Negativity Bias – Positive Emotions • Brain is hard-wired to notice and remember negative and intense more than positive and subtle; how we survive as individuals and as a species • Leads to tendency to avoid experience • Positive emotions activate “left shift,” brain is more open to approaching experience, learning, and action

  36. Positive Emotions-Behaviors Gratitude Awe Generosity Compassion Delight Serenity Love Curiosity Kindness Joy Trust

  37. Positive Emotions • Less stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness • More friendships, social support, collaboration • Shift in perspectives, more optimism • More creativity, productivity • Better health, better sleep • Live on average 7-9 years longer

  38. Gratitude • 2-minute free-write • Gratitude journal • Gratitude buddy • Gratitude in the middle of the night

  39. Take in the Good • Notice: in the moment or in memory • Enrich: the intensity, duration, novelty, personal relevance, multi-modality • Absorb: savor 10-20-30 seconds, felt sense in body

  40. Circle of Support • Call to mind people who have been supportive of you; who have “had your back” • Currently, in the past, in imagination • Imagine them gathered around you, or behind you, lending you their faith in you, and their strengths in coping • Imagine your circle of support present with you as you face difficult people or situations

  41. Positivity Portfolio • Ask 10 friends to send cards or e-mails expressing appreciation of you • Assemble phrases on piece of paper • Tape to bathroom mirror or computer monitor, carry in wallet or purse • Read phrases 3 times a day for 30 days • Savor and appreciate

  42. Re-conditioning • Managing survival responses • Rewiring shame • Rewiring trauma

  43. Window of Tolerance • SNS – explore, play, create, produce….OR fight-flight-freeze • Baseline physiological equilibrium • Calm and relaxed, engaged and alert • WINDOW OF TOLERANCE • Relational and resilient • Equanimity • PNS – inner peace, serenity…OR Numb out, collapse

  44. Keep Calm and Carry On Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace amidst the storm. - author unknown

  45. Hand on the Heart • Touch • Deep breathing • Positive Emotions • Brakes on survival responses • Oxytocin – safety and trust • Relationships as resources

  46. Oxytocin • Hormone of safety and trust, bonding and belonging, calm and connect • Brain’s direct and immediate antidote to stress hormone cortisol • Can pre-empt stress response altogether

  47. Calm through the Body • Hand on the Heart • Body Scan • Progressive Muscle Relaxation • Movement Opposite

  48. Calm – Friendly Body Scan • Awareness • Breathing gently into tension • Hello! and gratitude • Release tension, reduce trauma

  49. Progressive Muscle Relaxation • Body cannot be tense and relaxed at the same time • Tense for 7 seconds, relax for 15 • Focused attention calms the mind

  50. Calm and Strength through Movement • Power posing • Body posture of difficult emotion • Body moves into opposite posture • Return to first posture • Return to second posture • Find a position in the middle