Let's talk brain science. Really, it can help.
So much of how we use our brains or interact with others' brains is so confusing! I'm here to help. Schedule a free 20 minute consultation today and let's get you on the path to taking charge of your own thoughts rather than leaving them to be authored by the well worn path of your inner or outer critic.
A little knowledge, in easy to understand terms and fun artful exercises, goes a long way in changing the way you let your brain automatically take charge of your life.
Your Limbic System vs your Pre Frontal Cortex
Made up of complex structures deep in your brain, your Limbic System is the part of your body's nervous system that is responsible for how you handle the tough emotional situations that life throws at you. Understanding the science behind voluntary & involuntary human behaviors can mean the difference between a loud emotional reactive outburst, and a calm grounded response that is appropriate to the problem in front of you. The Limbic part of the brain basically acts on instinct and responds to perceived danger.
Your Pre Frontal Cortex (PFC), is the area of the brain responsible for executive function, planning, analytics, attuned communication and fear regulation. When it's "offline," you basically find yourself trying to problem solve with pure emotion rather than sound logic. (And usually there is a lot of yelling or crying involved.)
Here's why understanding how your unique brain works is so important during key life stages:
❏ PARENTING: Kids under the age of 6 haven't developed the PFC area yet, and it won't be fully formed until about age 26 — so when you ask "what were you thinking?" Chances are they just weren't. This explains a lot about why they can't seem to find their shoes in the morning, no matter how many times you remind them. No amount of punishment or discipline will make this part of the brain grow faster. The good news is, there are things you CAN do, which can be done in a loving and caring way, yet still hold the limits you need to keep them safe, healthy, educated and let you get through your day.
❏ ADULTING: Creative professionals are talented in ways others are not, because they actually use their brains differently. No, you are not a freak, or stupid, just because you can't spell or do well in math, or stay fully focused or organized. It is because you problem solve with a different part of the brain. Once you understand how your unique brain works, those big feelings can be used for your craft, and you CAN learn to regulate them when you need to. Adulting while overly emotional just doesn't work out very well. (Just ask your ex or your boss.) If you are reading this, you probably already know that.
❏ AGING: As we get older, our brains naturally age along with us. In some cases, brain changes can occur such as with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's, and others causing memory loss, verbal language difficulties, confusion and frustration. Many of the issues can be traced to injury or damage to the brain structures in the Limbic System and PFC which affect memory, word formation, cognition and executive function. I can help you learn more about what is going on inside your brain and explain what to expect and how to adapt to the challenges that lie ahead. While Art Therapy can't fix these changes, it can help ease the emotional strain and provide cognitive stimulation & non-verbal alternative ways to communicate or make important human connections.
❏ GRIEVING: When someone we love dies, the extreme stress and emotional toll leaves our Limbic system on overload, flooded with memories, and conflicting sensory input. When bereaved, our PFC basically just checks out and is in a fog. This is why it seems so hard, perhaps even cruel for people to have to handle so many logistics after a death. It also can explain the dramatic family dynamics that also happen. Understanding how your brain is functioning during the grief process, can help you regulate your emotional system, if only enough to get you through the things you have to do each day. Tools I share can't make events reverse, but they can help ease the weight of the loss.
The Science of Professional Art Therapy.
Professional Art Psychotherapy is so much more than can be found in an Adult Coloring Book.
As a nationally Board Certified Art Therapist, I have spent years honing my skills with a Bachelors degree in both Psychology and Art Direction, a Masters degree in Marriage & Family Therapy/Art Therapy, 3000+ hours of training and internships before taking and passing several extensive board exams by both the State of California Board of Behavioral Sciences and the American Art Therapy Credentials Board. In other words, I take the blending of of art & neuroscience very seriously, as should anyone you trust with the care of your loved one or yourself.
Here is the official definition of Art Therapy from the American Art Therapy Association:
Art Therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. Art Therapy, facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art Therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change.