Neuroplasticity: Our Brain’s Innate Ability to Heal

Neuroplasticity: Our Brain’s Innate Ability to Heal
Research in the last ten years has disproven the theory that the brain is unchangeable after we become adults.  What they have in fact discovered is that the brain is able to create new neural networks and pathways, something that has been termed “neuroplasticity”.  This means that we are able to change our thoughts, behaviors, and mood patterns.

Neural pathways are strengthened through repetition, which is why some of our worst habits can be difficult to break.  But just as these behaviors have been reinforced they can change and even be extinguished.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing  (EMDR) is based on the assumption that people who have experienced a trauma or have PTSD have stored the memory of the trauma in their nervous system.  This is why many people report feeling like they are re-experiencing the trauma as if it was happening again years or even decades after the event(s) occurred.   The amygdala, which is the part of our brain that detects threat, cannot tell the difference between past and present and this is the reason why the body will respond as if the trauma is still happening.

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EMDR is an evidence-based approach to rewiring the brain, allowing clients to create and strengthen new neural pathways.  It can be difficult at first facing a trauma, but by using various techniques therapists are able to decrease the intensity of the memory and change how the client’s brain is processing the event.  Research has found that EMDR tends to work more quickly and effectively with trauma than other modalities.

You don’t have to have a trauma history in order for EMDR to help rewire your neural networks.  It works to alleviate all kinds of difficulties including but not limited to anxiety, depression, anger, and phobias.  It also has been used as a performance enhancer by allowing someone to repeatedly see themselves achieving something or staying in a certain state, such as giving a speech successfully or keeping anxiety or negative beliefs in check during a race.  If you’d like to learn more please feel free to email me or set up a free consultation to discuss how EMDR can help you.


Shapiro, F (2001).  Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR); Basic principles, protocols and procedures.  New York, NY; The Guilford Press.
Van Der Kolk B. (2014).  The body keeps the score: Brain, mind and body in the healing of trauma.  New York, NY: Viking.