Rewiring The Brain

Recently I attended a workshop on Coaching. It introduced me to the phrase ‘rewiring of the brain’. Jeffrey Schwartz has done pioneering work in this subject.

Stated in a nutshell, it means that it is possible to change yourself, ‘the adult brain can indeed change….and the mind can change the brain’. Schwartz worked on patients who suffered from OCD [Obsessive Compulsive Disorder]. What make them different are the constantly intruding obsessive thoughts. People who do not suffer from OCD have their share of such thoughts which results in a person not giving his best performance.

Schwartz recommends a four step formula to OCD patients [quoted here from ‘Reclaiming Virtue’] that, I feel, can be applied by anyone who wants to ‘rewire the brain’.

Relabel the obsessive thoughts as symptoms of a disease and false signals.

Reattribute these thoughts by learning to think and say, “This thought reflects a malfunction of my brain, not a real need to wash my hands again”.

Refocus on a constructive behaviour, such as “I’ll go out to my garden and work”.

Revalue the obsessive thought realising that there is no intrinsic value or inherent power.

Schwartz is a researcher in the field of ‘Self Directed Neuroplasticity’. His work emphasises the role of ‘will’ in changing oneself, and also shows a technique.