Despite the human ability to achieve great things, we cannot always remain objective about our behavior, feelings, and thoughts. Mental and emotional challenges shape us as we grow up, but so does the genetic potential inherited by our parents. As a result of either genetics or breeding, people from all walks of life sometimes require therapy to manage various issues, including stress, fear, and other emotions.
In children and adults, higher stress hormones can affect normal neural development or function, leading to irregular neural activity that can interfere with their ability to deal with life.
People often grapple with the differences between psychotherapy or biochemical changes (sometimes both) with medications. However, these two processes have a similar effect yet change the brain differently.
Treatments with medications impact the areas of the brain connected to emotional processing and psychosomatic symptoms. Then again, psychotherapy affects changes in the frontal and temporal cortex of the brain – the areas that control thoughts and memories. By identifying and changing these thought patterns, therapists have a powerful weapon that helps to initiate long-lasting changes in their patients.
Therapy resolves integration problems within the brain, and here are the five amazing things that happen:
1. Neuron Growth and Improved Connectivity
During therapy, people enter an enriched environment that provides a social learning experience. In addition, every step of the appropriate therapy process helps enhance neuron plasticity, growth, and connections. The challenge of the correct psychological stimulation encourages neuron growth and improves connectivity thanks to an increase in the blood supply.
2. Encourages Neural Learning
During a therapy session, the therapist brings the patient to a state of mild or moderate stress and psychological arousal to encourage the activation of growth hormones. These growth hormones help with neural learning that promotes positive changes.
Stress can have several effects on the body, and when too low, it allows no motivation for change. Then again, when it is too high, people tend to feel dissociation and cannot think clearly.
Therapy brings patient stress levels to the right point to encourage programming the neurons to make effective changes.
3. Helps to Regulate Strong Emotions
One of the greatest benefits of therapy is learning how to keep strong emotions in balance. The therapist uses soothing and modeling techniques to achieve emotional balance through repeated internal regulation cycles, helping to integrate neural circuits.
Research shows that this approach helps the growth of the inhibitory feedback from the prefrontal cortex, helping to soothe the emotional limbic system.
The better a person can regulate their sub-cortical, subconscious emotional responses and impulses, the better their consciousness. The reasoning is that the verbal cortex remains engaged during times of intense emotions.
Therapy teaches people to learn about creating a safe internal environment that prepares them how to avoid overwhelming feelings from their past or in their daily lives.
4. Better Neural Communication
Another thing that happens to the brain with therapy is the ability to integrate feelings and thoughts, leading to better communication between these two neural systems. Unfortunately, we tend to have a reduced capacity for thought and language when under stress, meaning we cannot process meaningful experiences. Often, this leads to them escaping our coherent consideration.
The “neomammalian” cortex is only capable of consciousness and verbal communication. On the other hand, the limbic system (responsible for our emotions, learning, and memory) unconsciously influences our actions. Therapy effectively encourages the integration between these two systems using deliberate language (spoken, written, symbols), helping to promote our most primitive feelings.
As we learn to integrate feelings with thoughts through these new forms of narratives, decision-making improves considerably.
5. Removing Distressing Memories
Distressing memories are difficult to erase, but some scientists argue that their complete erasure supports transformational change. Creating safe memories to help erase old memories can give sufferers some reprieve from stress, even if it’s just for a few years.
Therefore, therapy encourages new learning, helping people to confront irrational fears and ways to anticipate triggers. As a result, patients can learn to manage the re-emergence of stressful thoughts, allowing them to carry on with their lives with more wisdom and less distress.
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Psychotherapy by itself lays a robust neurobiological foundation to help with physical changes in the brain, allowing better functioning, integration, and regulation of neural systems. In addition, these changes support improved mental health thanks to the changes in the frontal and temporal cortex, helping to regulate emotion, thinking, and memory.
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