How to be a good parent by Gunnel Minett

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Category: Education
     
 

Presentation Description

A slide presentation by Gunnel Minett. This presentation looks at startling new evidence on how neurology and recent pyschotherapy discoveries can help us understand what it takes to be a good parent.

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How to grow a healhty mind

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…0r why we are the way we are

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How to grow a healhty mind Introduction This presentation is designed to give an overview of what we need as children to develop a healthy brain that will make it possible for us to live as harmonious and well functioning adults. Recent development in neuroscience has helped improve the understanding of what we need to develop a healthy brain and the effects this has on our overall wellbeing. Scientific studies have established that the support and environment we experience as children has a great impact on how we live our lives as adults. As parents we need to understand children's needs and how to support them to develop their full potential. Sadly, much of parenting is still based on learnt behaviour that we got from our own childhood experiences. It usually leads to a mixture of 'inherited' worldviews and emotional reaction patterns. Not too long ago the common view was that children need a firm hand to develop into good human and social beings. Children without a firm guiding hand were said to become antisocial. This strict view has in later years been replaced by its opposite where children are seen as equal to their parents. Science has shown that both methods often lacks the reals support that children need. In this presentation we will look at how children develop and how parents (carers) can contribute in positive and negative ways so that they can offer the best support possibel.

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Overview Understanding the mind

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Overview Understanding the mind Understanding the brain

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Overview Understanding the mind Understanding the brain Understanding the parents role

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The mind Understanding the mind is to understand who we are. Usually we regard what goes on in the mind to be our ‘self’.

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The mind The mind interprets information from the inner and outer environment and co-ordinates functions

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Conscious/Unconscious Only a small part of the mind is conscious. In fact the ‘overall picture’ of what goes on in our lives is not in our conscious part.

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The conscious mind works on a ’need to know basis’ (like when we multi-task driving a car) Conscious/Unconscious

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The mind is like a lighthouse at sea ... Conscious/Unconscious

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To be able to focus on what we are doing in everyday life we are only aware of part/s of the picture Conscious/Unconscious

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..still a lot goes on under the surface Conscious/Unconscious

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..that we ignore unless we need to pay attention to it Conscious/Unconscious

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The first couple of years we are not self-conscious when we relate to the world. We experience in a different (more ’impersonal’) way than later on when we can relate to experiences from our ’self’. Conscious/Unconscious

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Because the brain develops in stages many functions are developed before we are self-conscious Conscious/Unconscious

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These are functions we have in common with most other mammals Conscious/Unconscious

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Jaak Panksepp divides these into seven main ’systems’ that are rooted in older parts of the brain and act more as emotional intelligence ’fuelling’ conscious thougths ( The Archaeology of Mind, Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions, Panksepp, Diven 2012) Conscious/Unconscious

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The SEEKING/EXPECTANCY system acts as a driving force for much in life. Problems here can lead to manic/(self)abusive behaviour and/or schizophrenia, depression etc. Conscious/Unconscious

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The FEAR system is the brain’s response to threats of physical danger and death, a very important feature for all mammals. Conscious/Unconscious

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The RAGE system deals with sources of irritation and fury in the brain. Not all intense anger comes from RAGE some is from SEEKING and some from FEAR. Conscious/Unconscious

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The LUST system deals with sexual desire and attachment, an important feature in particular for mammals living in social groups Conscious/Unconscious

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The CARE system deals with (maternal) nurturing. Almost all animals display this in one way or another. Conscious/Unconscious

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The GRIEF/PANIC system deals with sources of non-sexual attachment. A very important feature, in particular for children and old people for whom losing someone near may have serious consequences . Conscious/Unconscious

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The PLAY system deals with how the brain generates joyous rough and tumble interactions and is a very important feature. It is possible that too little play can be behind problems such as ADHD Conscious/Unconscious

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Conscious/Unconscious For more about consciousness go to: http://consciousnesstheories-minett.com

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Understanding how the brain works helps us understand how/who we are The Brain

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The brain is: a ”social organ” with great flexibility intended to handle relations with the outer world it can only develop in contact with other brains The Brain

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The Brain The brain can be divided into three major parts reflecting the evolutionary process Neocortex Reptilian brain Mammalian brain

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The Brain Basic functions are located in different parts of the brain Neocortex Reptilian brain Mammalian brain

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The Brain At birth the brain has only developed basic functions (like a new computer with only operating system).

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The brain’s development is tightly regulated by nature and starts immediate after conception. The Brain

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The Brain The brain needs around 20 years to develop

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The Brain We build the brain from experiences

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The Brain Each new experience creates neural pathways

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The Brain The brain has to be built from bottom up. We need the basic functions so that they can help develop the more advanced ones.

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Our genes/DNA holds the blueprint. It provides the potential for development. The Brain

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The Brain DNA needs audio, hormonal and electro-magnetic input to develop further

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The Brain DNA can communicate over distance

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The Brain One example of this may be ants that keep working if the queen is removed from the nest but stops immediately if she is killed.

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The Brain The environment influences how the DNA expresses itself

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The Brain The mother’s emotions have a strong impact on the DNA that controls the cellular structure of the foetus.

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The Brain This includes the outer environment during pregnancy

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The Brain Being a ‘super-mum’ carrying on as normal with a hectic lifestyle throughout pregnancy may have a negative effect on the unborn child

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The Brain Mother with happy feelings = larger forebrain = better social skills.

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The Brain Depressed or stressed mother/ environment = larger hindbrain = aggressive behaviour.

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The Brain Mother and child tend to harmonise their heartbeats.

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The Brain Even after birth parents may influence the expression of the child’s genes

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The Brain Parents’ behaviour can influence several generations

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The Brain ..both psychologically and physically

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Birth and After The ideal birth should be quite and undisturbed

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Birth and After …but life does not always allow this

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Birth and After sometimes saving lives means sacrificing basic needs

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Birth and After Fortunately the brain is capable of healing itself throughout life

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Our birth needs to follow a natural ’pre-programmed’ course Birth and After

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Birth and After Hormones are triggered that activate functions the baby needs to survive outside the womb.

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For instance early eye contact is essential to trigger further brain development phases Birth and After

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Our big and complex brain means we are born prematurely. Birth and After

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Birth and After At birth we only have the basic brain structure

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Birth and After Further development needs to be triggered by the environment

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We need interaction with environment to develop a ‘social brain’. Birth and After

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Birth and After Newborn babies ‘copy’ the content of the mother’s brain (later our ‘objective world’)

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Birth and After The different halves develop at different times. First the right side is most active then the left takes over etc.

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Birth and After The first 18 months the brain is very active to learn basic skills

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Birth and After We need to learn to walk (takes a lot of brain power)

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Birth and After Hand-eye coordination etc (equally difficult process to learn)

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Birth and After As early as three months of age we have formed the basic structure for how to handle all future relationships

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Birth and After At six months we have developed the basic stress response mainly copied from our mother’s reaction

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Birth and After Our life-long reaction to stress is determined by this early environment

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Breastfeeding plays an important role in brain development Birth and After

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Birth and After Breastfeeding helps the baby to ‘calibrate’ the eye-brain connection

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Birth and After Breastfeeding is seeing a face at the right distance in the best possible learning environment

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Birth and After Breastfeeding helps develop speech

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Birth and After Breastfeeding triggers calming hormones in mother and child and helps the baby handle stress

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Birth and After The first 9 months of breastfeeding is a critical period to stabilise the brain’s basic functions

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Birth and After We copy behaviour with the help of mirror neurons

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Birth and After Even very young babies try to imitate what they see in the face they are looking at.

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Birth and After Basic principle: Where attention goes neurones fire! Where neurones fire they can rewire! Neurones that fire together, wire together!

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Birth and After Important factor for neurotic behaviour

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Parents’ role Parents play an essential role in ensuring the best foundation for the developing mind

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Parents’ role Parenting is mainly learnt from previous generations

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Parents’ role Our parents teach us social skills, language, empathy, future parenting skills etc.

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Parents’ role “You can’t lie to a child because they pick up more signals from you than you know your are sending”. Bruno Bettelheim

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To begin with we need help with most functions from external supporting brains Parents’ role

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Parents’ role We need the right environment for the genes to develop their full potential

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Parents’ role Without the right environment we will struggle to develop into fully functioning human adults

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Parents’ role For parents who struggle to connect emotionally body contact can help

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Parents’ role Body contact is very important throughout life

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Parents’ role Caring and body contact is so deeply rooted it goes across species

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Parents’ role Body contact triggers endorphins

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Parents’ role Parents who have problems have to take responsibility and ask for help when needed

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Parents’ role Children who grow up with disturbed parents may struggle with body contact later on in life

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Parents’ role In particular in body oriented therapies is it essential to be aware of client’s with issues around body contact

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Parents’ role Little things can make a big difference for the child’s development

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Parents’ role Too many impressions can create chaos

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Parents’ role Child play is learning for life. Not just for learning (social) skills but also for calibrating the PLAY system in the brain.

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Parents’ role Like all animals we love to play and practice adult skills

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Parents’ role Even mice ‘laugh’ when they are tickled (Jaak Panksepp, Laughter Across the Animal Kingdom from Rats to Humans)

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Parents’ role Eye contact is so important it plays an essential role throughout life.

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Parents’ role Peek-a-boo is the favourite game for all children during the first part of their lives.

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Parents’ role Fear is essential for our survival and plays an important role for children (in moderation of course)

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Parents’ role A little adrenalin helps learning

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Parents’ role Bad parenting makes children act out

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Parents’ role It can be ‘real’ acting

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Parents’ role or co-dependent pleasing all the time

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Parents’ role It can be anger

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Parents’ role Anger is a strong and useful emotion to indicate something is wrong

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Unexpressed emotions can weaken the immune system Parents’ role

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Parents’ role Not enough attention can lead to feelings of shame

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Parents’ role Children can get addicted to TV and computers

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Parents’ role The brain develops differently with too much hand/eye coordination

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Parents’ role Teenagers live in a different world!

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Parents’ role Their brains are literary ‘out of synch’

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Parents’ role Their brains are involved in intense hormone fuelled development

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Parents’ role Their information processing changes

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Parents’ role They struggle with identity

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Parents’ role They need more sleep

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Parents’ role There is nothing personal in their changes

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In order to best deal with our personal life situation we create our own solutions or ’life strategies’ to take us through life Life strategies

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Our genes give us a sense of what we want and need in life Life strategies

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How this is expressed is down to genes and life circumstances Life strategies

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One thing we all have in common (with most mammals) are a set of Basic Needs; security nourishment being noticed belonging/acceptance Life strategies

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It is to meet our basic needs that we develop ”life strategies” Life strategies

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The need to adjust to life starts with instinct before we are fully aware Life strategies

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This lack of awareness is a major factor throughout life Life strategies

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Life strategies When we can’t achieve our goals

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Life strategies it tends to create mental problems

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With so much of our mind unconscious we tend to misunderstand ourselves Life strategies

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The key is to learn to understand the unconscious strive to meet our Basic Needs Life strategies

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The unconscious mind communicates via emotions Life strategies

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We need to understand our emotions Life strategies

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We need to learnt the difference between experiencing and expressing emotions Life strategies

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’Bad’ emotions usually have a positive origin Life strategies

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This never justifies their expression – it only offers an explanation Life strategies

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Rather than suppressing emotions we need to learn to understand and manage them Life strategies

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Life strategies Lack of attention early in life is often misinterpreted later on (shame)

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Life strategies Dependence on emotions indicates lack of care in childhood

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Life strategies Memories from childhood can be expressed in more than emotions (e.g. studies in USA have shown clear correlation between bottle feeding an breast fixation)

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Life strategies Psychological imbalance is also chemical imbalance in the brain

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Life strategies Attempts to self-medicate often lead to substance abuse

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Life strategies Lack of care can create a need to care for others

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Life strategies Early lack of body contact can be compensated by working with touch

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Life strategies Poor parenting can create good understanding as a therapist

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Life strategies Mirror neurons help activate empathy

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Life strategies but mirror neurons only activate similar material stored in your mind

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Life strategies We can never really know what goes on in another person’s mind

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Life strategies Being a carer or therapist can be a life strategy and a form of self-help by proxy

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Final Word For more information please go to www.breathwork-science.com

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