Last week I talked about quantum theory and the shift for me in how I coach Imago Relationship Therapy and stated: “because of advances in the neurosciences, our neural pathways are more malleable that we previously thought. We can create new neural pathways.”
The Brain That Changes Itself
In his ground breaking book, The Brain that Changes Itself (2007), Norman Doidge introduced readers to neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change its own structure and function in response to activity and mental experience. Our brains aren’t rigidly hardwired as was once believed, but they can change, and be rewired. Indeed what is unique about the brain is this: Its circuits can through mental experiences and activity form, un-form, and re-form in new ways.
The case history that stood out when I read the book was of a paralyzed stroke victim. The undamaged arm was deliberately tied down. By forcing the patient to use the arm and leg affected by the stroke, the patient was, over time, able to create new neural pathways. This allowed him to regain much of the use of his arm and leg that had been affected by the stroke.
Emptying the Space Between
Similarly with couples, if they treat each other in positive ways and eliminate any negativity in the present day Space Between, they too can create new neural pathways, that then heal the damage that was done in childhood. Insight into the wounds of the past can be helpful, for sure. Although more important, I now believe, is to pay attention to how couples treat each other in the Space Between.
It is a real energy field. You can tell when there is tension in the Space Between. It is either tension free or it is not. There is no middle ground. By committing to Zero negativity in the Space Between couples begin to rewire their brains for connection.. They can create or recreate their original wholeness which was characterized by joy, peace, safety and connectedness.
Refilling the Space Between
The flip side of the zero negativity coin is to refill the Space Between with positives – affirmations and appreciations. I encourage couples to say them out loud – thanks a lot, I appreciate when you did …, you did a great job etc. From an old brain perspective if I am constantly hearing affirmations, my old brain can relax. This is not the enemy over there, this is my ally; we are on the same team. Over time, new positive neural pathways will be created. The older negative ones shrivel up from non-use following the axiom – use it or lose it.
Quantum Theory & Neuroplasticity
The two go together. Quantum theory tells us that everything is connected. An intimate relationship is a piece of the much larger universe. And neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change its own structure and function in response to activity and mental experience assures us that in fact we can rewire our brains for connection. Neuroplasticity is not limited to stroke victims. Positive interactions and zero negativity in the Space Between in the present moment heals the pain of the past for couples.