Nudging the brain towards healthier choices...
In the not too distant past nudge theory was popular, thanks to David Cameron thinking it could subtly encourage brits to engage in healthier lifestyles. This is technically a form of manipulation, albeit manipulation with the public's interest at heart (as well as huge economic savings for the government).
Now, scientists at UC Berkeley think they have found an area within the brain, the orbitofrontal complex, where decision making takes place. They propose that a device could be created that can acknowledge when an unhealthy decision is about to be made, then interacting with that decision to shift it towards a healthy behaviour. This could be fantastic for a wide array of addictions, including food or substance misuse.
Whilst the notion of a device to change behaviour is great, do we really need an expensive piece of kit to shift our neural patterns? The human brain is so plastic that everything we do in life creates new neural patterns (1).
The human brain is made up of billions of neurons, making up trillions of synaptic connections, all form to make us who we are.
Within my work I am interested in incorporating neuroscience into psychotherapy to deliver more effective treatments, and a technique that I am currently studying is helping me to do just that. Once I have qualified in it I shall discuss this further, although I have noted many successes already. It works in a similar way to the device proposed by UC Berkeley, although requires nothing intrusive. It's a modern method that is helping improve the results I see in my clients. I am currently using it as an adjunctive treatment with people with a broad array of concerns, but have tried it with people with phobias, fears, and anxieties with apparent great success already.
Within my extant clients I have seen their confidence boosted - their entire demeanour change.
This week I commence another interesting journey, treating generalised anxiety disorder! It's an exciting prospect as should the method prove successful then GAD could be significantly improved in as few as 3 sessions. Much faster, and more effective, than the anti-anxiety tablets on the market.
It's an exciting time in the field of psychology. The NHS is starting to use this new method to great effect and in my small practice I am noticing amazing effects too.
Keep your eyes peeled for updates as I progress through this training. If you'd like to book in for a session please contact me. The impact on anxiety is something that needs to be seen to be believed.
I'm a doctor of psychology, born in Guernsey, educated at a tertiary level in Bristol, Bath, and London. Having worked and trained with some of the leading Health Psychologists in the UK, and having a passion about how Health Psychology can truly benefit many people, I now want to spread the word, as well as offer consultations to people wanting to make changes in their lives.