Neuroplasticity – The Science of Hypnotherapy

By Andrew Wilding

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When you consider the exhilarating strides in modern neurology and our recent ability to understand brain activity and learning, you may find proof if you were looking for it, that you can change the way you are thinking.

Neuroplasticity proves that YOU CAN CONTROL YOUR MIND. No matter what you are afraid of; no matter what you have mental blocks about; all your worries; all your anxiety; even depression – is merely neural programming – and that is learned behaviour.

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Artwork by Andrew Wilding showing neural networks as electronic connections in the brain

Neural Networks: Anywhere between 1 and 30 times a second, your neurons (brain cells) connect into tree-like formations within your brain, called neural networks

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Neuroplasticity is the term given to our brain’s ability to rewire itself, or re-learn. Lets unpack what this means – Why is neuroplasticity proof that we can control anxiety or depression? Reduced to it’s basic elements, neuroplasticity is just scientific evidence of learning, but it becomes far more exciting when you consider that:

1. You can naturally and easily learn a more positive way of thinking and feeling in your life, by “building” a new neural network. 

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2. This new neural network can become a habit of positive thinking, so that it becomes natural for you without any conscious effort. (Hebb’s Law of neural pathways: “Neurons that fire together wire together – Donald Hebb

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I’m sure you don’t need a brain surgeon to tell you that you can learn new things or create new habits, the biggest obstacle is connecting the dots, so lets see how that goes:

Neural Networks
Brain scientists tell us that, anywhere between 1 and 30 times a second, your neurons (brain cells) connect into tree-like formations within your brain, called neural networks. They connect information in the brain, such as memories, beliefs, values, logic, and emotion, via spontaneously forming neural pathways. Neural networks are the electronic circuitry of our thought and belief systems, but of course there are no “wires” in the brain. Neurons (brain cells) connect to each other electronically, literally like the lightning in the picture in that the connection is an electrical arc between neurons. (Hebb’s law is figurative.)

Neural Pathways
They are like the “branches” of the tree-like neural network. Neural pathways are not physical structures like blood vessels or nerves, they are spontaneous pathways of electrical current that connect neurons from different areas of the brain, in that nanosecond. The next nanosecond, the same neurons can connect in a totally different configuration – to form a different neural network.

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What does “Neurons that fire together wire together” mean?

When neurons “fire together” repeatedly, the pathway between those neurons becomes habitual, and the neurons “wire together”, because with continued use (practice) of the same neural pathway, the neighbouring neurons in the two areas of the brain that are connected by the initial pathway also fire together, and form a thicker, wider neural pathway. The more a neural pathway is used, the thicker it becomes (use dependency). As with any electrical circuit, thicker pathways mean more information at a greater speed.

The same is true for neural networks, as they are made up of neural pathways. The more the neural network is used, the stronger it becomes. Now imagine repeatedly firing (practising) a neural network that includes extremely positive memories, beliefs, values, emotions, and logical conclusions, using the correct neurolinguistic affirmation to cause your brain to think and therefore activate this positive neural network. If such training were to occur over the course of a few weeks using this positive neural network (belief system), the pathways would become thicker and stronger, and the positive belief system would become a habit, without any conscious effort on your part.

Motivation gurus are always banging on about routine and discipline and practising every day, and this is exactly why. If you get a chance I highly recommend John Kehoe’s book Mind Power, in which he talks about neuroplasticity in some detail. And if you have a chance to see Robin Banks, (Mind Power Spokesperson) don’t miss it – he’s brilliant!

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Hypnotherapy can give you the practice that you need to start the ball rolling, by installing a successful self-belief system into your subconscious, and training you to focus your mind into the state that you choose to be in, every day.

My one-on-one sessions are available on-line and in Cape Town.

Check your availability here.

Science Pg 3. Psychoacoustics & the Frequency-Following Response in Hypnosis

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MedicineNet.com Definition of Neuroplasticity

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