Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bridging the Gap

At the beginning of this month, I attended a conference in Las Vegas where Dr. Allan Shore was the keynote speaker. His information was amazing! "Thick," but amazing. By thick I mean it was in-depth, profound, intellectually stimulating, and heavily documented by scientific research.

The premise of his talk was that the repair of the self, or healing, from early childhood experiences happens in the right hemisphere. The right hemisphere is our unconscious processor and our emotional self. He discussed how a child's brain needs meaningful human interaction to drive the brain's development and maturity. When these experiences are missed between the child and his caretaker, the neurological pathways are misaligned.

The great news is that repair and realignment of these neurological pathways is possible due to the plasticity of the brain. However, this repair does not come through intellectual or cognitive processing. The primary component of healing is the emotional bond. It has to happen through emotional communication and emotional connection. It is the right-brain-to-right-brain emotional communication that heals. The relationship is the key. In essence, and these are my words, it has to come through love.

Then at the end of this month, I attended the ATTACh conference in Charlotte, NC. I presented to a room of almost 100 parents. The energy in the room was so different from the conference in Las Vegas. At the ATTACh conference, the room was filled with parents struggling everyday just to get the basics of life accomplished, each desiring more information to be able to go back home and move out of a place of survival into a place of living. Yet, in Las Vegas, the atmosphere was more relaxed. The day was about informational learning and listening to the latest in scientific research. It was a day off work to earn continuing education credits then a night out in Vegas catching a show and having a nice dinner.

As I type this blog, I realize that we need to focus on bridging the gap between the intellectual and scientific understanding of trauma and the "real-life" parenting of trauma. The two need to come together in a more coherent way in order to put neurological science into action. Showing slides and talking about current neuroscience literature doesn't necessarily mean that the quality of life in families is being improved.

As I look back and realize the incredible contrast between these two trainings, I realize more than ever my mission in life. This is the essence of my work at the Beyond Consequences Institute -- to bridge the gap between neuroscience and parenting. Wow! This gets me fired up and rejuvenated to create more resources and ways to support you and other families.

If you have any ideas of how to I can help you or other families bridge this gap, post a note here. What more is needed to learn how to create these "right-brain-to-right-brain" interactions in your home? I welcome your feedback!