Everywhere I turn these days I keep running into information in the realm of brain science, including something called brain plasticity or neuroplasticity. The whole thing sounds nerdy, I admit.
If words like “prefrontal cortex” cause you to break into a cold sweat then relax, and let me give you a couple of highlights from this area that you might find interesting. So how DO counselling and brain science connect?
Counselling is about making changes in our lives in different ways, and as it turns out, making changes to the brain is one of these ways. So what does changing one’s brain actually look like? It’s not like we can get in there and put a different outfit on it. (What’s with the grey anyway?)
Neuroplasticity, according to Wikipedia “refers to changes in neural pathways and synapses which are due to changes in behavior, environment and neural processes, as well as changes resulting from bodily injury”. In other words, the actual physical processes in the brain are more “plastic” or changeable than originally thought.
If you’re up for it, this page defines a synapse and has a handy little picture which might bring back memories of high school biology. It’s the way that information gets sent around in our brains, and just to put this process in perspective, the number of synapses in the brain is in the trillions.
That’s probably enough of an introduction to the topic for now, but stay tuned for more, including more brain facts and ideas for how to get those neurons firing in the direction of positive mental health.
(An aside, I would recommend checking out lumosity.com, where you have a chance to put the old noggin to use and give it some training with fun and challenging brain games).