Judy Zehr who directs clinical education for the Institute just alerted EBT providers to a wonderful video of Louis Cozolino, author of The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy. His work has influenced EBT, and how I think about The Damage Control Tool, the importance of it for the treatment of depression.
When the brain’s fear center, the amygdala is wired with early memories of abandonment, we respond to current day experiences — the rudeness of the cashier, the friend who doesn’t return the call – as if they will die. Abandonment means death for primates, and the challenge is to rewire the hippocampus which puts the amygaloid terror into perspective, questioning that fear response. Depression seems like an illness of low stress, but it is actually a reflection of high stress, and that is why The Damage Control Tool is so powerful.
The point with this tool is to meet the brain where it is: in fear, in terror, which means the cortisol cascade is affecting focus and concentration so keeping it simple is key, and they giving ourselves what we all need, which is whatever mirrors a responsive parent, what they would do in that situation. That’s evolution for your, fitting with lock in key precision to calm the brain and return to states of well-being that increase the chances of survival in the long term.
So that’s where getting an index card or two can be quite the ticket. You write the words down:
I will not judge myself or others.
Know it will pass.
Then you repeat it out loud to another person 10 times. Then you do that again. Then you take a shower and shout it. Then you go for a walk and shout it and then you get back on the phone and say it to another person 10 times. Then you start from the top and do it again. This is downloading the wiring of secure attachment, and such treatment needs to be combined with healthy lifestyles, good medical care, and the other four EBT tools, but it’s a great start.
So if you know someone who is depressed, let them know that it’s not them. It’s just a wire, and there is help. They are not alone, and get out your own index card and read those words to yourself, and to them. Downloading Mom is something the whole world needs right now, so why not start at home?