Have you ever wondered whether people can truly change? It is an age-old question, that has sparked debate the world over. Maybe you have been frustrated by your own behaviours – habitual over-eating, trivial anxieties or emotional outbursts. You’ve seemingly tried everything – routinely conjuring a “new you” by sheer willpower – but the change just hasn’t stuck.
But all hope is not lost. There is an exciting new therapy that attempts to “reset” the neural pathways that inform your behaviours, reactions and beliefs. It is called Brain Working Recursive Therapy® – or BWRT for short – and it has changed many people’s lives for good.

BWRT is based on the premise that neural pathways can be reimagined and changed, and that your “go to” reaction can therefore be altered. Neural pathways are the reactions to stimuli that is hardcoded into your brain. As you learn about the world, develop beliefs and experience feelings of pain and joy, patterns are created in the brain that act as shortcuts. Neural pathways contain information relating to sensory, physical and emotional experiences, as well as your thoughts, beliefs and behavioural patterns.Even information relating to chronic sickness and autoimmune disorders are stored in these pathways.

BWRT is organised into three distinct levels; each level addressing different issues, but closely connected to the others. Level 1 is an efficient short-term therapy where the original neural pathways – which often create fears, phobias, anxiety, panic, PTSD and depression – are replaced with the client’s preferred neural pathways. As soon as these pathways are “reset”, the brain will select the new neural pathways when the client is exposed to a related traumatic trigger.

BWRT Level 2 is used for more serious issues regarding identity and beliefs of the self. The work centers on the idea that behaviour and beliefs cannot be changed if a client is still clinging to an old identity. By reimagining the client’s identity, issues like depression, OCD, eating disorders, as well as addictions to alcohol, pornography and gambling can be addressed.

BWRT is based on belief that there are strong links between the brain, the body and the mind and that the brain can influence the biological processes in the body. After all, the brain controls all the physiology and workings of the systems in the body, and plays a very important part in the body’s immune system.

The brain also stores information regarding experiences of sickness and associated treatments, medications, symptoms, side effects, bodily experiences and pain. It even stores the emotional effects of the sickness, the prognosis, the opinions of medical professionals, and all the fear mongering articles you found during one of your exasperated Google searches. All of this information becomes part of the neural pathways in the brain relating to that ailment. Upon any trigger regarding the ailment, the brain automatically chooses a response – as quickly as in a third of a second, long before you are even aware that an action was taken. This rapid reaction, too, is stored within a neural pathway in the brain.

This is where BWRT Level 3 comes in. New, preferred neural pathways are developed by the client on how to react to the sickness, as well as the symptoms and the beliefs regarding the sickness. With BWRT Level 3, the brain can be used to activate, accelerate or influence the body and associated physiological systems.

Before developing these new neural pathways, the client needs to understand a few things about the sickness, such as which part of the brain is involved, which organs are affected, the affected nerves and lymphatic systems, the role of hormones and enzymes, and the influence of the immune system. This information is simplified with diagrams indicating the routes of nerves and the inter linkages with the lymphatic systems.

With the BWRT Level 3 therapeutic process – or “protocols” – the new neural pathways are developed and cemented in the brain. Level 3 can initiate or accelerate processes in the body that have previously not functioned optimally, as well as manage the symptoms, side effects, discomfort or pain related to the condition. It is not suggested that these therapies can “cure” a medical condition; but it can help the client to deal as effectively as possible with the condition.

An important requirement before undergoing Level 3 therapies, is that the client must have consulted a relevant professional medical practitioner. This medical practitioner will also be informed of the BWRT process. Additionally, relevant issues need to be resolved with Level 1 work before Level 3 work can commence. It is a known fact that stress can be involved in the development of a sickness. With Level 1 questionnaires, stress-related issues can be discovered and addressed, which may bring improvement on a psychological level.

In my experience, clients suffering from serious sicknesses such as chronic autoimmune disorders and inflammatory conditions, can benefit from Level 3 therapy. It can not only bring relief or improvement to the condition, but can also help the client adopt a better mindset about the sickness. I saw a client a few months ago who suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or CFS). After the BWRT Level 3 therapy sessions, he reported: “I have been in stable health for the last couple of months , and although I’m as yet not as productive as I wish to be, I managed to be quite productive, which I’m very happy with it.”

So don’t beat yourself up for not changing by sheer willpower alone. The brain is incredibly effective in enforcing learnt behaviour and reactions. Next time, consider addressing hardcoded neural pathways through therapies such as BWRT in order to affect meaningful change.

To learn more about BWRT, go to www.bwrt.org

Written by

Doreen Hofmeyr

Counselling Psychologist and Level 3 trained BWRT practitioner at Paardevlei Therapy Centre