It’s a lovely warm, sunny summer day and you’re taking a walk in the countryside. You find yourself confronted with a gate and you want to get across a field to the other side but there’s no obvious path. You decide your only option is to just walk straight across the field through the rich, long grass to get to the gate at the other side of the field. When you arrive at the other side you open the gate and when closing it you notice your steps have left indentations, footprints, a pathway in the grass.
A few hours later someone else happens upon the same gate, sees your footprints and knows that it’s a pathway so simply opens the gate and following in your footsteps walks across the field.
At the end of the summer all the grass has been worn away by people walking across the field. There’s now a well –trodden path.
A person from the National Trust comes along, sees the well -trodden path and decides that rather than wearing away the earth completely they had better put down a much more substantial stone path.
What’s the point of this tale? Well, it’s to illustrate the concept of Neural Pathways. The human brain is made up of neurons, special brain cells that connect to each other by means of electrical impulses. Our brain lays down pathways, neural pathways, sequences in which the neurons in our brain fire and connect.
Sometimes these pathways or ways of thinking don’t work well for us, we get stuck in a neural rut and often that is why individuals and couples come to seek help in therapy. That process of therapeutic help or change has to do with another aspect of the brain something called Brain Plasticity or Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is one of the reasons I’m in business! It is to do with the brain’s amazing capacity to change, to rewire, to reinvent itself, to lay down new neural pathways, new ways of thinking.
The paths in the field became well –trodden and worn out but our brains have the capacity to change, transform and reinvent themselves. And in my experience it is the process of counselling/psychotherapy that can facilitate that change.
“I had an idea when I started therapy that it was quite an indulgent thing to do, that I should get in and out as quickly as possible. In fact, it became a regular meeting for around two years
A lot of the early sessions were quite emotional, I cried a lot. It helped to have someone to talk to who really listened. I think the greatest progress came after those initial sessions though, once I had let out some of the more raw emotions that I was feeling and built up trust with Allan through doing so. Allan helped me to explore assumptions about myself and other people’s opinions of me that I hadn’t even realised I had been making. Self awareness only takes you so far – having someone reflect back to you, in the safe space created by therapy, what it feels like to talk to you, to build a relationship with you, brought me far more insight that i could have found on my own.
Over time, the process of therapy greatly changed my view of myself and my approach to social situations, and a number of people close to me have commented on how much more at ease with myself I seem.”