Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Brain Gym®: Potential for Changes Over Time

As I review my postings on this blog site, I see many of them are about the surprising and sudden shifts experienced in a single Brain Gym® session, that reveal abilities that have been waiting to be tapped.
I want to share that this is not always the case. Sometimes, what’s available and appropriate for the mind-body system is to make smaller shifts, over time.
To illustrate this concept I’m taking this opportunity to share an excerpt[1] from my book, Educate Your Brain, drawn from Chapter 12, “Make Lasting Change with Edu-K Balancing.” This selection begins by discussing where challenges to whole-brain integration come from, and goes on to answer the key question about changes over time.
Does balancing make a permanent change?
As we’ve discussed previously, I find that challenges seem to arise from two main sources:
• lack of initial patterning (due to issues such as retained infant reflexes or insufficient time spent crawling, for example)
• learned reaction patterns that are developed through trauma or stress
When a block exists because the person never got the movement he needed in infancy or childhood, the changes that result from balancing are, in my experience, lasting. It’s been six years since Henry’s balance, and he hasn’t slipped back into not being able to read. (Click here for Henry's story.)
When a block exists because of emotional trauma or stress, for which we learned a survival-based compensation, my experience is that a balance helps us return to a more integrated, whole-brain state and creates the strong awareness of the change we’ve made. In many cases, especially when we are really ready to change, this is enough to completely resolve the old situation. However, we still have the choice of whether to use the new pattern or the old one.
Do you need to keep balancing for the same goal?
The answer often is, “That depends.” I like to say that some clients arrive with an “issue” and others arrive with a “project.” Phobias, fears, and the emotional charge around certain specific situations or people in a person’s life typically fall into the “issue” category. They are usually resolved very well in a session or two, and the change is often quite remarkable. Over time, the person may recognize that addressing the issue again (perhaps from a different angle) would be helpful, but in the meantime, the change achieved is enough to be a tremendous relief. Alexa’s resistance to studying English grammar was an “issue.” (Click here for Alexa's story.) 
“Projects,” on the other hand, are situations that are grounded in a deeper overall challenge. Progress of some kind may still be seen by the end of the first session, but additional sessions are often necessary for the kind of change the client (or her parent) is seeking. Depending on the nature of the individual, it may take several balances, or a series over a number of months or even years, to do the re-learning necessary to resolve her key challenges.
Of course, it’s impossible to know ahead of time if a client is dealing with an issue or a project. I would never have believed that Henry would go from not reading at all to reading fluently in a single session (although by now I have seen that kind of shift again and again). As a Brain Gym consultant, I can make my best guess, but I’ve learned never to think I know something for sure; I continue to be surprised.
Changes over time
Here’s the story of a “project” that continued over about two years, with a learner who had many challenges to overcome.
I started working with Brandon when he was about to enter second grade. Born prematurely, he’d been late in achieving key developmental milestones and still had significant coordination and learning issues.
Our first sessions were a slow introduction to a variety of Brain Gym movements, one or two at a time, interspersed with playing with the various balls, streamers, and hoops in my office. His mother and I always participated along with him.
Initially, our sessions were simply an immersion in these activities. I’d share a new movement, like Lazy 8s, which he would draw over and over on my whiteboard. Then he’d make a beeline for his mother’s lap and curl up for several minutes, evidently taking time out to integrate and incorporate this new learning. Then he’d get up and want to do it again. Often he’d continue to do his new movements at home.
Informal goals would arise out of our play experiences. For example, one day Brandon asked for a ball-tossing activity, but he was consistently missing his catches, so I asked, “Which Brain Gym movement do you think will help you today?” He pointed to his choice on my learning menu chart, and his mother and I joined him in rubbing Brain Buttons and then doing a bit of Cross Crawl and Double Doodle. Sure enough, his next attempt showed more coordination, his hands closing more successfully around the ball. Before long, he was catching much more reliably.
Soon he was arriving at my door with his own goals: “I want to be able to run fast!” He’d dash across my office, all elbows and knees and feet stepping unevenly. But after a playful Dennison Laterality Repatterning, his arms were more in sync with his legs, and his stride was more even as he ran.
A bit at a time, I could see that Brandon was building a stronger foundation for coordinated movement. His success was evident in the look on his face as he ran and hopped, skipped and rolled during our sessions. His teacher began reporting that Brandon was participating more fully in physical activities at school, as well, and that his focus was more easily sustained in class.
At this point, Brandon’s mother took the Brain Gym® 101 course, where she learned how to support him at home with these simple movements and use a modified balance process to address his goals between our sessions together. She also provided Brandon’s teacher with a copy of Brain Gym® Teacher’s Edition, and soon his whole class was benefiting from the movements as well.
After about six months of sessions, Brandon gained interest in reading. He’d had special help in school and coaching at home since first grade, and he knew the basics of sounding out words, but he’d resisted reading on his own. Now, rather than insist that his mother read to him, he began taking up books himself, spending time immersed in stories.
As we continued our work together, our sessions became focused on his desire to improve in reading, writing, and math. Our bi-weekly sessions had drifted farther apart, to every four weeks or so.
By the end of third grade, Brandon declared, “I think I’m done.” Indeed, he’d come a long way. He was now reading at just about grade level and was taking joy and pride in his ability to write and do math. He was also more coordinated as a runner and enjoyed sports activities, at which he was rapidly becoming skilled.
Brandon’s mother still brings him back for occasional sessions, but the bulk of our “project” feels complete. She said, “It seems like he’s caught up with where he is supposed to be. I’m so happy to see the way he’s learning and how pleased he is with his own accomplishments.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Edu-K "balance" process, you have several choices.
• Book an individual session with a Brain Gym instructor near you. Instructors around the world can be found at this link
• Learn to facilitate Brain Gym balance sessions yourself! Take the Brain Gym® 101 course, which is  also offered around the world. 
• If you're in the Phoenix, Arizona, area, or would like to visit, I have a Brain Gym® 101 course coming up on November 11-12-13, 2016, and will soon have others posted for 2017. 
• You can learn a bit more about the balance process by reading Chapter 12 of my book, Educate Your Brain. 

With all best wishes,


Kathy Brown, M.Ed.
Educational Kinesiologist
Licensed Brain Gym® Instructor/Consultant
Author of Educate Your Brain
WEB: www.CenterEdge.com
BLOG: www:WholeBrainLiving.com
BOOK: www.EducateYourBrain.com

[1] Brown, Kathy. Educate Your Brain. Phoenix: Balance Point Publishing, 2012. 130-133. 
Original article from Educate Your Brain Copyright© 2012 Kathy Brown. All rights reserved
©Copyright 2016 Kathy Brown. All rights reserved.
Brain Gym® is a registered trademark of the Educational Kinesiology Foundation 
Ventura, CA  •  www.braingym.org
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