Updated: Mar 15, 2022
Did you sing the title? I did! Today I will talk about the similarities between the different brain retraining programs from my experience. In my last post, I talked a little about my story and my journey through brain retraining programs. I tried a few in my two-plus years of retraining, and I see questions asked in the forums quite often such as "which program should I choose", or "should I swap programs"?
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a new program but many people get stuck in the choice, and this stuckness can be due to our brain's current need to do brain retraining itself!
Over the next three posts, I will discuss the similarities and differences from my experience with Gupta, DNRS, Lightening process, Regulate (Creating calm), And how to choose what's right for you. I will also mention a few I haven’t done, but are well known.
All brain retraining programs are based around a similar premise based around the same science of neuroplasticity.
Starting with the similarities, I think the most important point is this. All brain retraining programs are based around a similar premise, which is based around the same research into neuroplasticity. At its simplest neuroplasticity is the ability of our brain to change constantly. The adaptability and learning of the brain can both create pathways in the brain that can be problematic, which may cause us to get stuck in a fight/flight/freeze state, or we can use this knowledge to create pathways in our brain to support health, positive mood and a parasympathetic rest/digest/social state.
These basic steps include awareness/trigger, interruption, some form of acknowledgment, and visualization or mood elevation. This is a simple structure anyone can follow without a program, however, programs are useful in that they give you that structure, plus more information and support. This detailed information about why to do the program is essential because our brains can find it very difficult to believe it's possible to heal at first. We are essentially trying to heal our brain, with a malfunctioning brain. It can be difficult when you're inside to really see what’s going on objectively. Being part of a program you get to see that everyone else is in the same boat, and we are all working to improve our brain, with the brain that we've got at this time.
Starting with the basics, DNRS is filmed in a workshop or seminar-style, with the intention to complete the work within a few days and start quickly, whereas Gupta is a slower approach, building gradually. Both of these programs can be adapted to jump in quicker or start slower - however, that kind of detail isn't always clear inside a video format. Working with a coach is where you can nut out the details of what does and doesn't work for you. DNRS is also run in person so this option suits some people much better than online (although this requires travel).
Whatever you choose it can be adapted to suit your brain, situation and healing requirements
If you follow a program such as Gupta, lightning process, DNRS, Regulate, or Vitalside, you will learn the basics of their specific system of performing a structured brain retraining activity. They all involve slightly different details, however, at a higher level, they follow a similar framework.
DNRS prescribes a minimum of one hour of structured practice per day, and Gupta prescribes a minimum number of rounds. Gupta rounds can work out to be a shorter or longer time of structured practice. In my experience, DNRS rounds appear to mostly last from 10 to 20 minutes each. However, in Gupta rounds will often range from 1 minute to up to 20 minutes. The variation is mostly within the time taken in the visualization portion of the structured practice and Gupta also has more personalized variation in the length of some steps.
Regardless of which program you use you can try shorter or longer visualizations in your practice to see what works best for you! For myself, I used longer visualizations as I did not “see” images, so I would describe in great detail with words what I was doing in order to create an elevated emotion. For people who can see those images in their heads, the visualizations may take effect much quicker. For some people, the style of the structured practice does not quite suit. DNRS has a more prescriptive practice and Gupta is more fluid – so they each suit slightly different learning styles. Importantly any practice can be adapted by working with a coach, as no program is going to fit all brains!
Most programs also include daily awareness and interruption using structured practice or shorter modifications. As well as a specific allotted time for structured practice, daily awareness, moment by moment awareness is essential to catch and interrupt limiting thoughts. Most programs have tools to help you build your awareness and options for modifying the structured practice during the rest of your day. If you feel stuck this is an area where coaches can really bring a program to life for you, by helping you to notice thoughts, behaviors, or beliefs which you may not yet be aware of.
Gupta, DNRS, Regulate (creating calm), and Vital side programs also contain forums where you can post questions and read tips from people who are also retraining. This can be useful when you're first starting out, however, I do find that later on in retraining it often can be a hindrance because a lot of people are may talk about their symptoms. This leads me to another similarity between most of the programs. Language is key, and they all include an encouragement not to discuss symptoms too much, particularly when using words that increase the symptom such as saying something is severe or intense. It can be better to replace the specific details of the symptom with "IT" or "symptom" or use other minimizing words ( I used the word Quokka, hey it worked for me!).
Recognizing ups and downs are a normal part of the healing process, is an important concept in healing.
Using different words for downtimes such as "neuroplastic opportunity", having a "dip" or a "blip" is a preferred approach. You may have noticed that is also part of the protocol in public forums as well. This is because our brain is always listening to our thoughts, or what we say. The way we speak both to ourselves and to others is really important.
In the next post, I will get into the differences (and some more of the similarities) between the programs, to help you make the right choice for you. And remember, sometimes all you need is a coach to help you modify or understand the material in a way that works for you. So if you are struggling to get into or maintain your practice, reach out and get some help and you may be surprised at the results.
Happy retraining and see you in the next post!
P.S. - If you want to sing along to the song check this old sesame street classic out.
Luanne Hopkinson is a Nutritionist, Neuroplasticity Coach, iRest Level 1 Meditation teacher, and certified Safe and Sound protocol practitioner.
Luanne helps people get back to health and full food freedom using the tools she learned in her own wellness journey and her experience in clinical practice.
Links to the programs discussed and coaching with Luanne: https://flow.page/luanne
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