Rewiring the Brain
This article is about rewiring the brain to reverse damage caused by childhood trauma.
The image above is a picture of axons moving their positions in the brain. A major university did brain scans on some of Dr. Hegstrom’s clients.
Among them were violent criminals who had served their time in prison. After 26 weeks within Dr. Hegstrom’s program, their brains look much different. After a year on the program, the brain shows more rewiring than at 26 weeks.
In some areas judges have been ordering prisoners to take Dr. Hegstrom’s Life Skills Program. Usually 75 – 85% of parolees can be expected to commit crimes again and return to prison.
Eight judges were asked how many of the parolees they had ordered to take the Life Skills Program returned to prison. They said that of all of the people they had ordered to take the course in the past five years, none had returned to prison.
Their brains had been rewired.
Scars remain after forgiveness
A teacher in Newfoundland was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform.
She had the children take out a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry.
Now, even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it.
That is what happens when a child bullies another child. They may say they’re sorry, but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home.
Arrested brain development
Bullying and other forms of trauma can arrest a child’s development. The trauma can cause the adrenalin-dispensing system to be in a constant state of alert waiting for fight or flight.
When the child reaches puberty, the excess adrenalin prevents three chemicals (dopamine, seratonin and norepinephrine) to be produced in sufficient quantities. These three chemical are necessary for normal development in the brain. As a result, part of a person’s personality can remain like that of a prepubescent child.
The five types of prepubescent traumas that can put the adrenalin-producing system to stay on high alert are:
- Rejection in the original family,
- Emotional abuse and
- Physical abuse.
The late Dr. Paul Hegstrom was an expert in the field of prepubescent trauma. He said that it can lead to serious problems such as
♦ Disrespect for authority figures,
♦ Domestic violence,
♦ Anger management issues,
♦ Inability to love,
♦ Inability to parent properly and
♦ Inability to resolve conflict.
The main reason Dr. Hegstrom is an expert in the area of prepubescent trauma is because he was violently raped at the age of eight. For much of his earlier adult life he was an emotional mess. He eventually started a research project trying to find out how to make himself into a decent person. He found out how to “rewire his brain”.
Watch the television interview between Dr. Paul Hegstrom and Sid Roth.