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Mind/Body Healing Dr. Robert Weissfeld About NeurOntogenics

Inseparable from emotional maladaptation is mental maladaptation.  When emotions are strong, the mind generally becomes very active attempting to escape the discomfort of the strong emotions.  This may take the form of development of mental activity to directly escape the emotional state (e.g. throwing oneself and one’s work or hobby). It may take the form of development of mental activities like like strategizing, worry, self judgment or self talk  as an attempt to compensate for the situation assumed to be causing the emotional discomfort.  While true creativity and useful mental activity may arise within this state, as well,

most mental activity is by its nature adaptation.

It is part of the purpose of the brain to generalize and categorize experience.  Without this adaptive capacity we would not be able to survive. Yet, this very essential capacity can have a side effect of removing us from direct connection to our experiences. When this capacity overrides our creativity by creating fixed mental reactions to new situations it becomes maladaptation.

Our brains have an interesting tendency known as confabulation, creating plausible explanations for that which we do not understand. To be able to obtain a sense of security by predicting and thus potentially controlling our environment, we have a built-in need to find some way to make sense of events. When we were young and didn't  possess mature  self-awareness to see the process in action, the tendency was to explain things with the assumption that whatever happened in the world was our fault.

Example: When Sue was young, her mother, struggling to deal with a job and 3 children, would often be distracted and not listen to what Sue had to say.  This was made worse by the fact her brothers were active and unruly thus demanding much more Of mother’s attention. To explain this to herself, Sue concludes that she is uninteresting, and that girls are just not as important as boys, a conclusion which finds support in general culture.

Now an adult, Sue wonders why she is just has the tendency to disappear when she is in a group of people, particularly when there are men around.  She also notices that she spends an inordinate amount of mental energy strategizing about doing things that will be noticed.

Anything which we believe about ourselves or the world around us, whether negative or positive, can become problematic when it gets in the way of a deeper and truer expression of ourselves.  Believing oneself to be a ‘good’ person, for example, may seem like a good thing.  But what do we mean by good?  Does it mean we don’t defend ourselves or get angry when someone is taking unfair advantage of us? Do we feel guilty when other people are in pain because that is what ‘good’ people do?

The idea of being a ‘good’ person, with all of its implications, gleaned from parents, teachers, religious training or anywhere else only serves to separate us from direct connection to our actual realness and goodness.

Mental maladaptation takes form in confusion, worry, fixed rigid ideas about oneself and the world, self-judgment, stubbornness, compulsiveness and lack of creativity.

Part of stress and trauma also lies in the judgment or meaning that we place on an event.  A notable observation is that after the elimination of emotion around an issue, individuals will often report that the idea that something has happened - the mentally generated belief that this has happened to me - is the last piece of discomfort remaining from a stressful memory.  This discomfort will generally be relieved by appropriate treatment, leaving an equanimity -only the basic memory without mental  interpretation or emotional reaction.

Mental function (thoughts and beliefs) and maladaptation