I’ve posted about Doidge’s work several times before. He has a new book out: The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity
There was a review/interview in the Guardian the other day. The author or editor subtitles the piece: Do you believe you can think yourself well, changing the very structure of your brain over time through rigorous training? Norman Doidge does… — that is an irresponsible and misleading understanding of what Doidge is talking about. This isn’t about “thinking” oneself well, it’s about developing new habits and the brain then develops new neuro-pathways which allows us to change our experience. This is also what Bessel van der Kolk is talking about when he speaks to healing trauma in, The Body Keeps Score.
I’m sharing a very brief excerpt from the Guardian’s article on the book — one that talks about who is actually benefitting from these ideas…
The people you focus on in the book seem to share an unusual willpower. Do neuroplastic techniques require a particular cast of mind?
You are correct that they are unusual, and I think there is a reason. When you are going against paradigm, whether you are a clinician or a patient who is willing to try something, you are going to get someone who is quite high on openness psychologically and very conscientious, because to do a lot of these interventions you have to apply yourself diligently. High openness and extreme conscientiousness don’t often go together, but when they do it’s a killer combination. (read more of the article here)
And yes, that’s us, the readers of this blog…going against paradigm and healing ourselves with openness and conscientiousness. These are qualities that can be contagious. Right now we operate in a society telling us we’re full of shit (or more politely that what we do is “woo”). Just think what happens when people start understanding what is possible. Others will start to open up and see the possibilities too. This is why education and sharing our journeys are both critically important. None of what we do is unscientific by the way, it’s just that science doesn’t know how to measure what we’re doing. In fact, my own personal methods to learn about my own body/mind has employed the scientific method. It’s not something that can be generalized to others and therefore does not qualify as “evidence based” but my methods are scientific as well as intuitive.
There are a lot of things that help us change our brain. In fact developing any habit over time will change our brain (for positive or negative). I was not kidding when I entitled one of my posts: I can feel both dance and music changing and healing my brain’s neurons. Granted I don’t know exactly what is going on but I can discern the difference between negative and positive growth sensations and respond to them accordingly. This is, in part, how my healing is being informed. I can also feel yoga doing in this way and I can feel the food I eat and the herbs that support my system too.
The hypersensitivity many of us now as a result of the iatrogenic drug injuries actually allows us to feel things others do not. That is the silver lining. We KNOW this stuff once we start paying attention. We may not be able to articulate exactly what we know but we can come to trust it as a sort of guidance. All the practices I do these days help support a neuroplastic healing change in my body/mind/spirit.
These are lost arts and that is also suggested in the article in the Guardian when they talk about other cultures and other times having known how to heal in these ways.
I’m cutting and pasting my neuroplasticity collection below. You can always find it at the top of the page in the drop-down menus.
Neuroplasticity: enormous implications for anyone who has been labeled with a psychiatric illness
We can change how our brain functions. We can change the very structure of the brain. There are enormous implications here for anyone who has ever been labeled with a psychiatric illness. We can change and heal our minds and brains and we need not do it in detrimental fashion with neurotoxic medications. (but if we’ve gone that route, we can also heal the damage done)
Self-compassion and awareness are the qualities we need to start to heal our mind and body. Bringing mindfulness to a problem is the beginning of change. Paying attention to a process is changing the process! Even before any behavior changes.
This is another collection of links I will be placing in the navigation menu above. it will be updated as appropriate.
- The Emerging Mind: (neuroplasticity and much more)
- More info on neuroplasticity — a reader favorite topic on this blog
- Neuroscience of change, another take on neuroplasticity: self-compassion and awareness to start
- How meditation can reshape our brains (and revisiting neuroplasticity)
- Contemplative neuroscience — more on neuroplasticity
- Neuroplasticity: change your behavior, change your brain
- The Mystical Brain: call it neuroplasticity if that’s more comfortable for you
- The brain that changes (grows, heals and repairs)
- Neuroplasticity of the brain — Steven Morgan
- Meditation, trauma and neuroplasticity
- The brain man – more neuroplasticity
- Recovery through mind training —a journey of meditation in Buddhism
- Your brain on exercise
- The Brain Benefits From Persistent Sensory Experience: there is always hope for healing and recovery
- Yoga: Changing The Brain’s Stressful Habits
- Willpower and choice…we can do simple things to strengthen our capacities to make healthy choices
- Limbic Kindling — hardwiring the brain for hypersensitivity
- “I wrote a new story for my nervous system” — neurosculpting, neuroplasticity
- Body-Centered Inquiry
- Inhabiting our bodies in meditation