In this episode we discuss BrainWorking® Recursive Therapy with Shelley Kim Hall a clinical psychologist from Empangeni, KwaZulu Natal in South Africa.
Link to Audio Episode
In this episode we are discussing BrainWorking® Recursive Therapy with Shelley Hall.
What is BrainWorking® Recursive Therapy?
Shaz :: I’ve been hearing alot about BWRT lately. If you are looking for a therapist on the internet there are alot of practitioners that say they are BWRT certified. Could you tell is a little more about what BrainWorking Recursive Therapy is?
Shelley :: With absolute pleasure, it’s a really fantastic brand new therapy based in neuroscience. It was developed by Terence Watts in the UK. It is very much a solution focused therapy. Terence Watts looked at someone called Benjamin Libet in the early 80s, his work and experiments had proved that, we don’t have free will in the way we think of it.
The way I like to explain it is your brain is essentially like a computer. Your computer has a lot of programs. It gets information from our eyes, ears and bodies and then the computer has to match that information. Then it’s got to decide, is this an email or a photograph, once it’s done that it then gives responses.
So your brain is the same it gets information quickly and it’s got to sort it all out. It’s going to decide what you’re going to think, feel or what you’re going to do. And within a split second it’s done all of that and you are responding. Once the action is in process, we can then try and stop ourselves if we don’t like what our brain has given us to do. There is no real conscious control of that impulse as it’s arising in the first place.
BrainWorking Recursive Therapy works in works in that cognitive gap before conscious awareness.
Shelley :: I’m sure you’ve had that experience where you’re getting really angry with someone. But then you realize I don’t want to be angry, and you’re trying to pull back that anger. However that response has already happened, and the next time its the same response again.
BrainWorking Recursive Therapy is pretty powerful, because it actually works before that response. Most of those responses come from the amygdala very, very deep in the brain. BWRT works way before that in what we call the reptilian complex. That’s the animal part of the brain that is always the first to respond, that’s trying to allow us to survive. It’s always looking for threats and triggering our responses. You’ve heard of fight or flight, we are working right there to stop the response from happening.
Shaz :: In common terms, you are working in the lizard brain. That survival mode part of the brain way before you get to logic and that height of the brain. So how would BWRT work in a clinical setting? I mean when we are talking about the brain most people assume neurosurgery and that kind of thing. But how do you out from a clinical psychologist perspective actually put brainworking recursive therapy into action and actually start teaching people how to use that to prevent those, sudden flash anger responses?
But how do you out from a clinical psychologist perspective actually put Brainworking recursive therapy into action?
Shelley :: Well, it’s absolutely beautiful, there’s no wires as such involved, you’re not hooking you up to anything. Basically, we work through what people want to change. So we try to find out What are the past traumas? Where are they feeling they’re getting stuck, what is triggering anxiety, what is triggering depression, and sometimes you might even make a list.
And then you would directly targets those things on the person’s list. So you don’t teach them the technique, you actually use the technique in the therapy session. So it uses the engine of BWRT as it’s very, very natural, because it’s got that naturally occurring freeze response. We use the freeze response, but a synthetic version of it, which we induce therapeutically without any trauma.
We then use just your normal communication processes of that early brain to reorganize and neutralize the responses. And if we use that anger example again, where every time you see your boss, you feel that anger arising, we would work with one of your memories of a time when you got angry, we would induce the freeze response. And then this is the best part for me, the client chooses how they want to feel how they want to think how they want to respond.
It’s not hypnosis, where someone is giving you a suggestion, and then you get that suggestion stuck in your brain. So a person would actually create the response. And then we use our BWRT process, and few minutes later, you’ve got this whole new response. Now every time your brain now receives that same kind of information, you’re not even going to think about it, it’s very, organic, your brain’s automatically going to give the response that you have created.
Shaz :: I think a lot of us actually teach our lizard brains certain behaviors, obviously, through the years as we grow up, and, don’t have the ability to be able to reteach them and that’s where something like BWRT would come in.
BrainWorking Recursive Therapy for genetic memory and responses.
Shelley :: What’s interesting as well is that some of our programs we actually have from our genetics as well from our youth. Think of how sexual abuse is often a pattern within families. So sometimes people’s patterns of responses have actually come from their families experiences.
Or sometimes people don’t have one, if someone has no experience of trauma. And if they get hijacked, that’s why people get those flashbacks and they get the re experiencing, because the brain goes, what do I do with this information? How do I file this because I can’t match it up. So BWRT lets a person create the file for it. And then it’s done. That memory that really traumatizing memory, people know what happened, but it now means as much as your hair or your eye color there is, no emotional response associated with it anymore.
Shaz :: That is really intriguing , recently I watched about elephants and genetic memory. And would assume that humans, have the same thing. If sexual abuse is something that happens in families, then it gets passed from generation to generation, same as memories.
In simple terms, elephants, know don’t eat that berry because it’s going to make them sick. But they know that almost immediately which means that we’re born with that memory.
From a human perspective,if someone has grown up in, a war torn environment, they would naturally and instinctively be more cautious than somebody who’d grown up in a really luxurious environment, because that genetic memories being passed Down.
It’s already there. And having something like BWRT would start to help them by changing the response to “Actually, I’m not living in a war zone, I don’t need to be super cautious”. That’s absolutely phenomenal.
Does BrainWorking Recursive Therapy differ from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other therapies?
Shelley :: With CBT and a lot of those other therapies, a person has to learn skills, realize when they’re in one of those states, then put the skills into action. They have to go and find all the thoughts and feelings, things that they’re wanting to change. There’s quite a lot more work.
And yes, those therapies do work and they really do suit some people probably better than BWRT for some reason.
In my opinion BWRT is for me because it works a lot faster, so patients don’t need as many sessions. Patients feel it instantly because we asking them to imagine things.
The number of times when we done the client opens their eyes and they literally say “I can’t I can’t believe I feel so much lighter”. Or sometimes even during the process, I’ll see them kind of moving. And you can just almost imagine the stuff sort of physically detoxing from the bodies because there’s just such a sense of release. So if it hasn’t worked for some reason, we also know immediately. Like I say there’s no going home and rehearsing and a lot of times which is slightly frustrating on my part as someone doesn’t always realize that the change has even occurred because it’s that natural.
Would BrainWorking Recursive Therapy ever be used in conjunction with something like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Shelley :: Completely separated we don’t really like to mix. You would never mix say hypnosis and BWRT we try to keep them quite separate. Sometimes you might work more cognitively if you sense there is resistance. Because any therapy in the world when there is resistance, whether it’s conscious or subconscious It’s not going to work.
So sometimes you’ve got to work cognitively with somebody a little bit first or provide some psycho education. Like say, if someone’s family member committed suicide, and they’re feeling a lot of guilt around that. We might need to work a little bit cognitively first, to help the person understand what suicide is, and why people do that. Before we are able to use our grief protocol, and help them to let go.
Shaz :: That does make sense, if someone is resistant to something, you’re not actually going to be able to make the changes needed. The therapist would need to first work on the resistance in order to work on the next step to get make the change.
Earlier you said that you do a breakdown, with patients to see who the person is, what their past histories and traumas are. Then you build a model of who this person could be from there, would you then set out a therapeutic plan?
Is there a set therapeutic plan for BrainWorking Recursive Therapy sessions?
Shelley :: I will always be grateful to Prof Gertie Pretorius, she is one of my mentors. I have done some fantastic with her. Prof taught me that therapy is not the client walks in, sits down and therapy starts. There is always a few minutes where you are greeting each other.
In my opinion you must have goals, there has to be something that the therapist and patient are working towards. If not you’re going to be sort of just dawdling around because you don’t have specific goals. Therapists should conceptualize and then reach agreements with their patients. Of course, sometimes things might pop up. And then we can add those to our goal list.
Add more sessions if we need to, or sometimes you might find with BWRT, especially because your pathways are connected. We can have a list of 10 things that, has a knock on and actually knock some of those things off your list. Even though you didn’t work on them directly. So in that way, it is organic, but always do try to conceptualize and we agree on what it is we’re going to be doing.
Shaz :: That makes so much sense from a therapeutic process to actually have those goals. Otherwise, like you said, I’m going to be seeing my therapist for the next 30 years, because we’re not actually working towards something.
Is there anything else you can tell me about the Brainworking recursive therapy. That would actually help the public to be a little bit more aware of what the treatment options could be to deal with issues.
Is there anything else you can tell me about the Brainworking recursive therapy?
Shelley :: In South Africa, I run a training course for psychologists who are working with children, it really works very nicely.
BWRT is quite diverse and has three levels of training.
Level one we use for just more phobias, anxieties, traumas, performance, anxiety, if you have a lot of anxiety before you write a test, or oral that sort of thing. So it can knock out a lot of stuff, OCD, PTSD.
Level two is far more for deep seated things like gambling, porn addiction, basically, where you’re wanting to make a core identity change. So sort of a change to your personality, in some ways, we would use level two. And that is very, very structured. That’s over four sessions, you’ve got homework between the sessions, really, really nice.
Then level three is with psychoneurosis immunology, and that’s far more working with actual physical kind of illnesses.
I haven’t done that training personally for level three but level one and two are pretty powerful. So the big thing for me with BWRT is that you can feel it Immediately. Far fewer sessions are required. And you as a client are far more in control, because you’re actually choosing how you want him to respond to events. I think that, that’s pretty powerful. It’s putting the therapy process into your hands in many ways.
Contact Details for Shelley Kim Hall
Mobile Number :: 0630552172
Practice Address :: 5 Addison St, Empangeni Central, Empangeni, 3880
Email :: firstname.lastname@example.org