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Brainwaves – where mind and body meet. ‘Psychology for All’ BPS Event, March 2011 Melissa Foks – Neurofeedback Practitioner. Mind. The human mind is a relational and embodied process that regulates the flow of information and energy. Daniel J Seigel MD (clinical prof of psychiatry UCLA).

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Brainwaves where mind and body meet
Brainwaves – where mind and body meet

‘Psychology for All’

BPS Event, March 2011

Melissa Foks – Neurofeedback Practitioner


The human mind is a relational and embodied process that regulates the flow of information and energy.

Daniel J Seigel MD (clinical prof of psychiatry UCLA)

‘The mind uses the brain to create itself’

Daniel J Seigel MD (clinical prof of psychiatry UCLA)

Author of:

‘The Mindful Brain’


Human brain
Human brain

  • Brain pic

Left hemisphere
Left hemisphere

  • Language, logic, sequencing, maths, science, verbal memory, problem solving, seeing the detail, approach behaviour (curiosity/openness).

Right hemisphere
Right hemisphere

  • Social awareness, eye contact, humour, empathy, insight, intuition, music, spatial awareness, non-verbal memory, seeing the whole picture.

Occipital lobe
Occipital lobe

Visual processing, locating objects in space, seeing colours, recognising drawings.

Temporal lobe
Temporal Lobe

Verbal memories, word recognition, reading, audition, spoken language, emotion, music, facial recognition, social cues.

Parietal lobe
Parietal Lobe

Maths, naming objects, complex grammar, sensory integration, spatial awareness, sense of direction.

Sensori motor strip
Sensori-motor strip

Motor skills, manual dexterity, sensory and motor integration/processing, physical stillness. Also attention, mental processing, calm emotion.

Frontal lobe
Frontal lobe

‘the organ of civilisation’

Executive function & all pro-social behaviour.

Working memory, concentration, planning, initiative, cause & effect thinking, memory, positive emotion, social awareness, empathy, insight, intuition, morality, regulation of autonomic nervous system.

Nature or nuture
Nature or Nuture?

  • What accounts for dysregulation?

  • Environmental factors – even at a cellular level – Bruce Lipton

  • Responding to environment=learning

  • Neurons fire up in response to information – when?

Conditions for learning
Conditions for learning

  • Repetition

  • Emotional arousal

  • Novelty

  • Careful focussing of attention

Growth death of neurons
Growth/death of neurons

neurons that fire together wire together – when new synaptic connections are made, learning occurs.

  • The neural architecture of the brain is changed (plasticity)

  • Non-use leads to atrophy

We are
We are…

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act,

but a habit.”

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)

Survival mechanisms
Survival mechanisms

  • Pre-date development of neo-cortex (complex learning)

  • Pain drives us away from danger

  • Pleasure rewards us for life-promoting and reproduction activities

Fight or flight response
Fight or flight response

Endocrine & Sympathetic nervous system flood body with corticoids (cortisol & adrenaline) increases muscle tension breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, brain wave frequency.

Rest & repair functions switch off (e.g. immune response, digestion)

Return to rest repair
Return to rest & repair

Messages from thalamus go to

  • Limbic system (olfactory bulb, amygdala, hypothalamus, hippocampus, cingulate gyrus) automatic action.

  • Frontal cortex – rational evaluation.

  • When threat has passed, return to parasympathetic mode.

Creativity a double edged sword
Creativity - a double edged sword

  • Body cannot distinguish between an external or internal threat

  • Thoughts can be as poisonous as snakes

  • Thoughts of past & future cause emotions to switch on sympathetic arousal in the absence of a physical threat

  • Inhabiting survival mode is dis-ease

Experiential aversion
Experiential aversion

  • Reaction to feelings is the problem

  • What’s wrong with me?

  • We develop an aversion to ourselves

  • Thinking mind tries to fix it as if it were an external threat

    Mind the gap!

From doing to being
From doing to being

  • You don’t get out of quick sand by kicking harder

  • Purely cognitive strategies are not the answer

  • Responding differently to our thoughts


  • A major emphasis on ‘mindfulness’


‘Mindfulness means paying attention

in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally’

Jon Kabat-Zinn

The paradox
The paradox

  • By accepting what is, change is allowed to happen. An active process.

  • When we stop trying to get across the gap it disappears.

  • Mind and body re-integrate.

    (not positive affirmations, faking it til you can make it etc)

Benefits of mindfulness
Benefits of Mindfulness

  • 8-weeks of MBCT causes measurable changes in brain function

  • Increase in left frontal activation

  • Positive mood, approach behaviour

  • Increased immune response

    Davidson et al 2003


Mindsight, Daniel Siegal

Buddha’s Brain - the practical neuroscience of happiness love & WisdomRick Hanson

The Mindful Way through Depression, Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal & Jon Kabat-Zinn

A Symphony in the Brain, the evolution of the new brainwave biofeedback, Jim Robbins

The Happiness Trap, Russ Harris





    Contact Melissa Foks at:

    [email protected]

Thank you for your attention
Thank you for your attention 