- Laurel Mellin, PhD, Founder, Emotional Brain Training, formerly associate clinical professor of family and community medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Anselmo, CA
Stress overload is the new pandemic and a root cause of a broad range of problems, from mood disorders to addictive behaviors in patients to burnout among healthcare workers. Research has shown that traditional cognitive methods may fall short of switching off stress at today’s unprecedented levels, so new skills for stress overload resilience are urgently needed. Emotional Brain Training (EBT) is a structured method based on the latest neuroplasticity and neurophysiology research, which treats stress by switching off reactive stress circuits and activating resilient circuits. The self-directed activation of circuits that promote homeostasis and healing chemicals and deactivation of the chronic activation of the cortisol cascade is an emerging approach in healthcare. It targets the neural root cause of stress-induced epidemics of mental and physical health problems. EBT was initially designed as part of a federally funded Leadership Training Program in Adolescent Health at UCSF with the tools used by children and adolescents. Later, the method was adapted to treat stress-induced emotional and behavioral health problems in adults as a neuroscientific psychotherapy. The resilience tools process emotions in a novel way that is rapid, with patients often experiencing relief in two to three minutes. More than 500,000 people of diverse backgrounds and ages have used these techniques. EBT focuses on the mastery of five core skills of optimal resilience that are designed to combat activations of trauma circuits, wires encoded during adverse childhood experiences, and exposure to the ubiquitous stress overload in modern life. The goal of disseminating the tools is to equip the US population with skills that enable them to protect themselves against the stress overload of our times and support the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare. There is one skill for each of these causes of stress: 1) situational stress overload, 2) stress reactivity that triggers mood, behavioral, and relational problems, 3) core ineffective beliefs associated with an insecure attachment style, 4) trauma and fear memories, and 5) grieving. Participants will experience the fundamental mechanism of EBT, which is to use a simple, structured emotional process to deactivate the stress-induced “emotional blockade” (e.g., anxiety, depression, panic) of stress overload that thwarts resilience followed by expressing positive feelings. This process was designed to deactivate the HPA axis and quiet the cortisol cascade. A behavior change technique completes the process. Participants will view demonstrations of using the most impactful skill (situational stress overload) and access a free, downloadable mobile app to facilitate applying the skill in clinical practice. EBT can be added to any treatment modality and used across the spectrum of preventive and therapeutic services to apply the latest neuroscience to deactivating stress reactivity and promoting resilience and flourishing.
- Describe a neuroscientific method of extreme stress resilience for emotional and behavioral clinical care and promotion of optimal health.
- Identify the 5 core skills of stress overload prevention and treatment and promotion of brain-based resilience.
- Apply a core tool of resilience for situational stress overload for immediate use in the delivery of clinical services and self-care.