When you go to see a counsellor the therapeutic process attempts to establish understandings between thoughts and emotions, ideas and possibilities, allowing new brain connections to help you live more effectively.
Your brain (the human brain) developed over hundreds of thousands of years, and goes on developing, will go on developing for many more years.
The Somatic brain (enteric nervous sytem) came first in the evolutionary process and is located in the gut. It mainly provides us with the ability to digest food. It produces, along with other hormones, serotonin which is crucial to our well being. The brain stem…
The Cerebellum (reptillian) brain operates muscle coordination, the instant reactions we have in order to survive.
The Limbic (emotional brain) is above the brain stem, in the centre of the brain. This monitors and operates relationships, feelings and your educative process… learning new things. Past events and current events… they are linked and this part of your brain is your center of your brain… what happens here affects other parts of your brain.
The Cortex (right and left hemispheres) is the latest development… offering imagination, curiosity, consciousness, awareness andmost importantly the ability ot consider the future.
The corpus callosum is the means by which the two halve of the brain connect… words, ideas and conscius material. Also, connecting, but to a lesser extent, is the anterior commissure, communicating more primitive, unconscious emotions, raw material from the Cerebellum, reptillian brain.
The left half of the cortex is the academic professor, operating language, logic and reason, forms and shapes. The left side of the brain takes over when you are dispirited and attempts to organise rigid attitudes… maybe a survival instinct taken up when the Cortex evolved and absorbed part of the reptillian brain. The left cortex configures and makes sense of the inspiration and enlightened ecstacy of the right side, organising and making practical decisions.
The right half is the emotional or feeling side, living in the ‘here-and-now’, experiencing the arts, feelings (intensity of) time and recognition. When people experience depressed feelings it is probably this part of the brain that has checked out… no longer appreciating music or feelings of connectedness. The right cortex identifies and imagines possibilities and insight, reacts to inspiration and creates new ideas and thoughts from experience and thought.
Failing to integrate the reptillian brain and the later developed cortex results in a breakdown which impedes the ability to moderate more primitive responses.
Ideally the two sides of the cortex and the older and later developed aprts of the brain will work together. That is the goal for counselling, psychological therapy and spiritual and personal development.
Men and Women
There is more tissue in the corpus callosum and anterior commissure in women than in men. Women also have greater connection between the two halves of the ‘thalamus (massa intermedia) which communicates signals very fast indeed and is the scene of automatic triggering. Women seem to be able to process emotional thoughts more efficiently, faster than men.
Women usually argue emotionally very well. Men resort to using their strength with physical activities, fighting.
Women multi-task, using both sides of their brain to resolve complex issues. Men use the most effective process avaivlable, more focussed on one area at a time.
Women seem to be more prone to depressed feelings possible because of the degree to which they process feelings and reflect upon this process through their larger corpus callosum. Men probably work out their depressed thoughts with physical activities, rather than ruminating over sad thoughts.
There is a growing and sustantiated interest in the subject of emotional intelligence. evidence shows that our emotional responses are reflected througout our body… in the brain, the heart, the nervous sytem and the immune system.
The peace and extreme contentment found in meaditative states is attributed to the alignment of the brain and the heart; the mind and the body.
This part of your brain determines how you reason; your thinking. Balancing ideas and thoughts with actions appropriate to the situation. This area is responsible for delaying gratification, establishing motivation, and allows humans to adapt.
The most successful organisms are the ones able to adapt.
The prefrontal cortex enables you to determine and differentiate within a complex of conflicting thoughts and ideas in order to reach a predetermined goal or the making of “executive” decisions. Knowing the past, experiencing the present and understanding future consequences within a structure we call culture or society is a prerequisite for effective thought-action-behaviour.
The prefrontal lobes begin to grow from conception and devolops over various stages to the age of mid twenties where it is assumed to be compete. Over the years the prefrontal lobes connect to every other part of the older brains.
Give me a child until they are seven and I will give you the adult.*
At around the age of 11 the brain locks development so far into place,
…critical axon structural properties include their diameters and the thickness of the special insulation (myelin) around many fibers. Large groups of myelinated axons, which connect various regions in the brain, appear visibly as “white matter”. Axons of the major pathways in the human brain, such as those of the corpus callosum (which connects the two halves of the brain) or the corticospinal tract (which connects the brain to the spinal cord and the rest of the body), continue to develop throughout childhood and adolescence…. **
which enables the brain to process faster and more efficiently. It also locks in all so far learned habits, good and bad. Later on in life it is harder to make changes because of this process. It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Not impossible though… learning new tricks can be the very thing that moves you forward.
*The quote is: “Give me a boy until he is seven and I will give you the man.”