We are social beings, Since far back in our ancestral past, talking about our challenges, doubts, fears and conflicts has been a fundamental part of the human experience. Sharing these with a willing, interested listener helps us reflect and consider solutions with which we can take on the next chapter of our personal life story.
In contemporary life, whether we call it psychotherapy, counseling, or “the talking cure,” one of the most important elements is the relationship between counselor and client. Study after study has shown this to be true and accounts, by itself, for about one-third of the changes people make, regardless of the therapy methods used. It’s important that the relationship allow people to be open, honest and sincere, while reducing the natural tendency to protect ourselves and pretend to be something other than what we are.
Over the last 100 years, there have been far more psychotherapy/counseling methods developed than any individual could ever possibly try. However, in the words of Dr. Louis Cozolino, “All forms of therapy, regardless of theoretical orientation, will be successful to the degree to which they foster neural growth and integration.” Therapy methods are often weighted more towards some brain areas than others and we may select a therapy method partially based on the client’s goals as well as their brain’s characteristics. For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focuses primarily on the frontal lobe and involves improving the person’s ability to rationally think through an emotion or a problem and arrive at better solutions.
There is a huge empirical literature on CBT and it can be very helpful for many common problems. Many of the experiential therapies, such as Gestalt Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, and Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT), are more interactive and help people become more aware of their emotions, how to better express them and understand the feelings of others. EFT frames this within an understanding of the attachment and bonding process we experience early in life and that we apply to all our relationships. These therapies include many neural areas from the limbic system, the precuneus/cuneus, the social cognitive network, and the frontal lobe.
The clinicians of Brain Health Northwest have been trained in a wide range of therapy methods. Like anyone else, each of us tend to have ones we know better than others. We will work to make a good match to your needs and preferences, keeping in mind your goals and, of course, your brain! Included among them are: Behavior Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Emotion Focused Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, EMDR, Dream Work, Collaborative Couple Therapy (Biofeedback-assisted couples’ therapy), and many others.
Cozolino, L. (2017). The neuroscience of psychotherapy: Healing the social brain. WW Norton & Company.