Deep Brain Reorienting

Deep Brain Reorienting (DBR) is a gentle, non-invasive, body-oriented technique that is helpful for the healing of trauma, attachment and developmental wounds. Deep Brain Reorienting aims to access the core of a traumatic experience by tracking the original physiological sequence in the brainstem. The brainstem is the part of the brain which rapidly comes online in situations of threat or danger. An example of brainstem activity might be when we have a strong reaction in an argument with a partner. We may have felt threatened in a way that replicated an early experience of abandonment. In such a case our brainstem will be reactivated by an earlier experience in infancy which, at the time, would have been an age-appropriate fear for survival.

I was drawn to Deep Brain Reorienting through the recommendation of trusted colleagues. After experiencing it firsthand, I have found it both healing, and helpful in gaining a deeper, experiential understanding of why we feel, act and think like we do. It has been developed, researched and written about extensively by Dr Frank Corrigan. 

Why is Deep Brain Reorienting so relevant to trauma, attachment and developmental issues?

As children, we need help understanding and regulating our emotions. When we face traumatic experiences like neglect, abuse, or other forms of mistreatment without the protection or loving contact of caring others, we can feel an intense core pain of aloneness. This profound isolation can drive overwhelming emotions such as fear, rage, grief, and shame. Without a safe outlet for these feelings, it becomes difficult to regulate distressing emotions, often leading to unhealthy coping strategies.

In an attempt to survive and move on, a young person’s brain might compartmentalise these distressing feelings. These compartments, formed in the upper levels of the brain, can become parts of the self that act independently when they take control. These parts may become so shut off from day-to-day awareness that they don’t keep up with the passage of time in the outside world, behaving as if they are still in the traumatic situation. Sometimes, they lose contact with the lower levels of the brain, resulting in a limited range of emotional responses. At other times, they disconnect from the part of the self that knows where it is in the present moment/time/space, and they act in ways that are out of sync with their age and life circumstances.

Some therapeutic approaches work primarily with these isolated parts of the self, getting to know them and increasing their communication and cooperation, as well as helping them orient to the present. While these methods can be effective, they don’t always address the underlying pain of aloneness and abandonment. In Deep Brain Reorienting (DBR), the focus shifts from the upper-level parts of the self to the core emotional pain and the intense emotions of rage, fear, grief, and shame that arise from deep wounding.

Jon Gee - Psychotherapy in Harley St London W1

How does Deep Brain Reorienting help?

In general, working in therapy at a deeper level is challenging because the brain has previously turned away from intense pain to protect itself. However, now that we are older and in a different situation, we may have the capacity to explore this pain in a way that facilitates healing at the core of our trauma and abuse history. As our brains have continued to develop around this core pain, it might now be possible to approach it from a new angle. The upper-level parts of the self, which have worked hard to shield us from this pain, might feel alarmed by this approach. However, these parts are also suffering, and their coping mechanisms may not align with our current lives.

In Deep Brain Reorienting, we ask these parts to allow us to work at this deeper level, with the goal of helping all parts of the self. The pain is common to many, if not all, parts of the self, so deep-level healing can benefit our whole self. Inevitably, this process involves more contact with emotional distress, therefore we approach slowly and safely, using an anchor to provide protection against dropping too deeply or quickly.

By working in this way we can protect against overwhelm during sessions and thus gain a new perspective for working with the upper-level parts of the self.

Deep Brain Reorienting should be experienced as a slow and careful journey, leading to an increased sense of care and compassion towards the parts of ourselves holding trauma memories and the defences around them. Through this process, a sense of compassion and understanding can emerge, fostering healing and integration.

Who is Deep Brain Reorienting helpful for?

Deep Brain Reorienting can be useful for people looking for clarity, understanding and deep healing. Most people I work with feel some sense of disconnection between mind and body. Their emotions, feelings, or body might feel difficult to sense, understand or access. Emotions might feel stuck. They might feel constantly emotionally triggered, getting easily upset or angry. Alternatively, they might be very attuned to their body, through physical practices such as martial arts, sports, or dance, yet they still feel a sense of emotional numbness, confusion, anger or upset. They might feel they are sabotaging themselves or their relationships and not know why. In all of these cases Deep Brain Orienting may provide a path towards healing.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jon Gee - Psychotherapy in Harley St London W1

Does Deep Brain Reorienting work online?

Yes! 

I have worked as online psychotherapist for a number of years and found that, like any therapy, the most important factor in achieving success is collaboration and communication. Of course, there are limitations working online. I won’t always be able to pick up on all body language at all times, such as feet and hands – but I’ll encourage you to let me know when you notice things moving and shifting! Creative solutions can and do grow from limitations (and it can be fun too!). In addition to the limitations, there are also advantages. For example clients can find some things easier to say from behind a screen. As a result working online can actually deepen connections and lead to exciting explorations, of both relationship, and self. Furthermore, if you are working from home, having an online therapy session means you might not have to rush out onto the streets post-session. This can allow you time to process and assimilate the work that has been done during the session. To find out more about having a great online psychotherapy experience, check out these video tips.

 

How often do online Deep Brain Orienting sessions take place?

Deep Brain Reorienting sessions are held during weekly 50-minute therapy sessions. 

Booking & Fees

My current fees for online psychotherapy can be found here.

To inquire about availability please contact me via the form below.


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