Spot the Difference - comparing brain retraining programs.

Updated: Mar 16

Still trying to figure out what the pros and cons of the different programs are? In my last post, I focused mainly on the similarities between the programs, and today I talk about the biggest differences, between the different brain retraining programs from my experience. There are frequent questions in forums regarding which program is "best" or which to choose and this series of four posts should give you a bit of a guide.

One of the main differences between DNRS and Gupta is the parts work tools included in the Gupta program. Parts work (also known as internal family systems - ILS) is a way of working with elements that come up in a recovery journey - usually after some core brain retraining - around beliefs, resistance, procrastination, or other blocks. This is a process where you talk with your parts, and it can be incorporated into the Gupta 7-step process (rounds). The Primal Trust program also includes aspects of parts work integration. We are all generally familiar with feelings of conflict between different parts of us. Such as the part that wants a second slice of cake, and the part that doesn't. Parts work can be a fairly long process, but it does help to integrate these parts and reduce conflict that may prevent us from healing.

Which part is in charge?

There are also many independent coaches that do parts work or Internal Family Systems (LFS), which is another name for this process. It can take a while to talk with all the parts, and sometimes the parts are not obvious. I know I didn't gel with the standard practice of talking with parts and found another way that worked for me much quicker and easier. I use a transformative coaching method that works with parts via the subconscious with my clients, which speeds up the process, gets great results and we don't have to talk with each and every part!

Meditation is something else that is commonly mentioned but has a different emphasis between programs. DNRS is has a very small meditation component, and it gets very little focus within the program. Whereas Gupta has a much larger focus upon meditations, and this is used as a key tool from the beginning. Other programs also contain some meditation and I believe ANS rewire has larger mindfulness and meditative components (NB: I have not completed ANS rewire).

Some people find that meditation is an essential part of the healing process whereas others find meditation very difficult until they have completed a substantial portion of brain

Deep rest - one of the keys to rebalancing our nervous system

retraining first. I found meditation useful from the very start, but everybody is different. One great thing to note is that you can do brain retraining without meditation and still get results, and there are other people who have mostly used meditation and had results. So work with what works for you best! If you have tried meditation and had a lot of difficulty with it then you may be better at focusing on structured brain retraining practice for a while, and then trying again. I used a lot of iRest meditation practice to accompany my brain retraining (loved it so much I am now a level 1 teacher!). This style of meditation is guided, done primarily lying down, and has a body-based somatic approach.

Somatic experiencing or bottom-up body-based practices are not a focus of either DNRS or Gupta as these focus on Brain Retraining (top-down). See my first post for more info on top-down and bottom-up approaches). Some other courses do include this such as Primal Trust or Irene Lyon's programs. These tools are again a kind of next level for some people who need to start with the brain first, or for others, they find this is the first approach they use before moving to brain retraining. Many private coaches include somatic experiencing or teach other gentle somatic practices in their 1:1 sessions. You can also use yoga, Qui Gong, Hanna Somatics, or Feldenkrais to add to a brain retraining program for some gentle body presence.

After brain retraining for a while, activities that helps us get out of our heads and into our bodies are often the next step.

The approach to coaching is another core difference between DNRS and Gupta. Most of the programs have coaches that are affiliated with them. DNRS coaches can only be booked from within the DNRS online platform, however, Gupta coaches work independently and so you can see them even if you haven't started the program. Other platforms such as vital side, ANS rewire and Primal Trust include options around group and individual coaching. DNRS also has a 12-week group program that has multiple sessions times and runs regularly. These are live and face to face (not recorded). Gupta runs 12-week webinars, which are recorded, questions are asked via chat, and the first webinar is free when joining up.

As well as these in-program options, independent coaches are available no matter what program you choose, or even if you haven't picked one yet! Independent coaches can be valuable if they have experience both personally and professionally with multiple modalities and programs. This can give you that extra bit of information or guidance that may not be included inside a program.

As well as all I have shared so far, there are many smaller differences. Gupta covers some simple nutrition and sleep/wake cycle basics, as does ANSrewire. Both Gupta and DNRS have recently expanded their platforms to include more tools. DNRS has laughter yoga live sessions as an added extra for premium members. Gupta has a new app called iRise (additional cost) that has additional webinars and information.

Things are changing rapidly in this space and more programs and apps (hello curable!) which use neuroplasticity are coming out all the time (yep I have a course too!) as the research gets more well known. Most people need a toolbox, not a single program as healing changes in stages, and some things are best added (or removed) as time and our healing progresses. Next month I will be back with some more info about the programs available and how to choose what's best for you.

Check out my earlier posts on my journey, and program similarities to find out more. Happy retraining and see you next time!


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.

Based in sunny Australia, you can find out more about Luanne at or

Links to the programs discussed and coaching with Luanne:

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