Each participant in Navigating Systems has the opportunity to do two neurofeedback sessions during each of the three on-site training times. Neurofeedback decreases the reactivity present to the group and to new ideas; it promotes less reactivity often present in the group learning; it promotes individual self-regulation; and it increases one’s ability to learn.
Neurofeedback* tunes the learner to hear, see, and comprehend differently. It prepares the brain to manage or to decrease the reactivity that is present when engaging a new way of thinking about one’s self, one’s family, and one’s work. Bowen family systems theory challenges one’s emotional assumptions. Neurofeedback assists the participant in keeping an open mind while being more present.
Neurofeedback trains the brain to develop one’s own ability to be aware. First, it helps the ability to see one’s self and the patterns of reactivity that are present in different relationships. Secondly, it increases the ability to see the complexity of the family, work and social system as a whole and one’s place in it. This is the groundwork to being able to respond in relationships in a less automatic, more neutral, more creative, and more skillful way in all relationships.
Neurofeedback interrupts chronic anxiety. It interrupts inefficient reactivity at the level of the brain and decreases unrealistic perceptions of threat.
In Bowen theory, chronic anxiety is the patterned reactivity that is a product of development and adaptation to all of life challenges. Chronic anxiety is more than a feeling state; it is the patterned nature of physiology, emotion, and psychology and the inability to recover from challenge. It is the sustained reactivity that is a by-product of an unrealistic perception of fear-based threats. This reactivity can be observed in the level of emotional reactivity to triggers that are a part of the past. These triggers are a part of the multigenerational experience that lives in the individual in this lifetime.
Within differentiation of self is the idea that one develops more ability to regulate their reactivity in relationships and to address basic automatic functioning in relationships. Key to differentiation of self is an increase in self-regulation. This includes a well-developed ability to identify one’s own reactivity patterns in relationships and to be able to interrupt or redirect the automatic behaviors.
The more chronic anxiety and reactivity are present, the less able one is to see systems and to learn and apply Bowen family systems theory. Learning and applying theory is iterative. Meaning, one leans into uncomfortable situations and learns more from the experience. As one learns more, one can see and understand the system better. When one can understand the system better, one’s actions are less automatic and they become more thoughtful.
Over the years of working with neurofeedback, the clearest example is that individuals are more able to appreciate the impact of emotional cutoff and to move towards it, rather that dismissing it or continuing to argue about it.
Neurofeedback supports being able to understand, comprehend, and apply ideas in new ways. It promotes the ability and willingness to move towards the difficult and threatening relationships in the past. This increases one’s ability to relate in difficult family situations, and importantly, increases one’s ability in one’s professional life. Neurofeedback increases one’s ability to effectively manage one’s self in more and more complex, intense, and challenging personal and professional situations.
Neurofeedback is not everything, but it lubricates what is possible in one’s own family and in one’s own professional life.
*Navigating Systems incorporates NeurOptimal, a neurofeedback technology that provides a mirror to the system of the brain, just as Bowen family systems theory provides a framework to experience one’s self as a part of family and work systems.