Apparently Licking the Lizard Can Beat All Kinds of Anxiety Disorders!

September 14, 2016


Okay, so there are probably reptiles and amphibians out there the licking of which will have some kind of temporary psychotropic effect. I haven't tried this, I don't recommend it and it's not what this blog is all about! No, I'm referring to what some popular models of the  human brain refer to as 'The Reptile' brain. The idea is that this most early evolved part of our brain along with the limbic system (hypothalamus and amygdala) is the seat of all our habits and automatic responses. It controls our body functions, it's responsible for the 'fight or flight' response and it's where we learn fear. Early experiences whether observed in significant others, in our environment or learned through direct experience create strong neural pathways which become triggered whenever a current situation or sensory stimulus 'matches' something similar in our history, and the same response is initiated.


Now this may suggest that we are not creatures of free will and certainly research conducted by Libet* and others does show that the Limbic system is responding to stimulus and generating actions a full half second before we are consciously aware of it - that's equivalent to 50 metres of brain real estate when travelling at the speed of neurones (Libet was studying how unconscious neuronal processes precede and potentially cause volitional acts which are retrospectively felt to be consciously motivated*). You are probably very familiar with the 'flinch' response, emergency stop or even that panic or phobic response that overwhelms you with the right trigger.


Now the thing is, often we don't actually want to respond the way we do, it's unhelpful, debilitating, irrational, but, the reptile brain isn't concerned with such sophisticated, conscious and logical value judgements, it just wants to keep us alive. And, if you're still having that phobic or anxious response, you are, ipso facto still alive so it's a 'good' or useful response! The good news is that we are able to create new neural pathways and replace old habitual responses with new 'desired' ones. Any form of therapy in a way is achieving this though traditional methods working with the 'conscious, self-aware part of our brain (Neocortex) can be slow and not aways completely successful.  This is where techniques such as BWRT (BrainWorking Recursive Therapy) and to some extent hypnosis and NLP come into their own, as they can help us to re-programme those neuronal pathways very quickly by working directly with the limbic system or, metaphorically, licking the lizard.


I have many clients who can testify to the effectiveness of these approaches.  Get in touch if you want to find out more or experience the change yourself.









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