If you want to change your life, change your mind - Terry Martin
What neurophysiology is telling us is that when we change to a new set of thoughts and behaviours the brain will re-jig itself by creating new neural pathways and undoing the old ones. Carla Shatz described this succinctly with the phrase “neurons that fire together wire together” or alternatively “use it or lose it”. What this means from a counselling and therapy perspective is that old behaviours are not fixed within our brains and by focusing on a new action or an alternate perspective this will become the norm and the old behaviour becomes less dominant. For example, you may have a behaviour that has a compulsive quality that’s hard to stop. From a neurological perspective this repeated behaviour would fire particular neural pathways in the brain and the more you do that behaviour more neural connections are created and strengthened. However, by doing an alternative, and continuing to do an alternative action or thought, then that neural pathway is reinforced so to speak and the old behaviour or thought loses its potency therefore becoming less compulsive, that is, use it or lose it! The key is repetition, so you could say that practice makes perfect.
I think its important to add that change is a relatively complex process and there are more facets to its genesis. In Gestalt practice we advocate the theory that describes change as a paradox because change occurs when there is an acceptance of oneself as you are right now in this moment, whatever that is, the good, the bad and the ugly. With acceptance, according to the 'paradoxical theory of change', change spontaneously occurs of itself.
On the surface these two perspectives appear to be at odds with each other where one advocates intention by doing something and the other recommends no action. For myself the reconciliation occurs through choice because acceptance of oneself can still sit beside a healthy decision to chose one behaviour over another. The acceptance part advocates acceptance of all parts of our self so there is no rejection or judgement about who we are even those parts of ourselves we don't like.
Hope this day finds you well.
Counselling and Psychotherapy team.