Written 2004. Latest Update April 2014.


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Healing the MindBody

Flexibility and Habit

Healing Artistry, Gene Expression and Gene Modulation




This Site is about adapting and applying the latest understandings from the brain sciences for enabling self-help and mutual-help for changing and transforming behaviour of people and groups. This raises potential for changing and transforming flowing the other way - within the brain and nervous system. It also is one entry point for understanding how Laceweb healing Ways transform communities and people towards wellness.


Re: the expression ‘changing and transforming flowing.’ Using strings of two, three or more verbs is rarely done in the Western world where the world is divided up into little bits and process is reduced to thing – verbs reduced to nouns. The above expression is recognising and engaging with the whole-of-it complexity in entangled systems of systems with pervasive inter-connecting inter-relating inter-depending dynamic processes.


The processes discussed do not entail using psychoactive drugs and there is no use of social engineering.


The content draws upon collaborative post-doctoral action research linking with mutual-help experiential learning action research among at-risk indigenous and oppressed minority grassroots folk through the East Asia Oceania Australasia Region.


Some sample macro applications of the Action Research:


o   Letting go the aftermath of disasters

o   Peacehealing

o   Relational mediating

o   Stopping domestic violence

o   Reconciling Communities

o   Softening drug abuse

o   Preventing crime

o   Preventing war

o   All round psycho-social emotional wellness with the consequent links to health

o   Evolving Thriving communities where the wellness of people and earth are the supreme law



Eleven Real Life Examples of Applying Brain Research in Problematic Contexts


Each of the following scenarios from life has been written up as a story in the Laceweb book titled ‘Coming to Ones Senses – By the Way. The stories embrace the processes used to support whole-of-system transforming.


Example One:


A 73 year old has had a set of complex integrated habitual brain patterns sustaining the following for 54 years:


1.    No feeling or movement in left side of face

2.    Poor speech motor production

3.    Stutter

4.    Upbeat nystagmus of left eye

5.    Saliva running out of mouth

6.    Frozen with head tilted way to left and left shoulder raised


After Laceweb processes 1 to 5 above returned to normal in 10 minutes

3 days later after further Laceweb processes for one hour the 6th pattern returns to normal in 30 minutes

When seen seven months later there had been no return of any of the above. Facial nerve function, speech, head movement and head, neck, shoulder, and arm integration are all normal.


Example Two


A 23 year old male is experiencing drug withdrawal among 120 people at a weeklong gathering at a Therapeutic community inland from Cairns. This fellow had run away to the nearest town and had a cocktail of heavy illegal drugs. He’s highly aroused, irrational, and has Tourette’s type movements and is shouting obscenities. He also has tremors and shakes. Seven minutes after experiencing Laceweb Ways he’s calm, caring, and relaxed, and after a further three minutes successfully serves tea and coffee to 120 people at a conference gathering. There’s no return of the dysfunctional behaviours during the next 2 weeks.



Example Three:


An 18 yr old female out on bail on grievous bodily harm charges from being  depressed, angry, hostile, rejecting others, drug and alcohol addicted and dangerously compulsive. After experience Laceweb Way dhe returns to normal in seven minutes, ceases taking drugs and alcohol, transforms to being loving, caring, and nurturing, enters loving relationship and happily marries in 12 months. She is only seen the once for the 15 minutes


Example Four


A young man goes berserk and threatens with a meat cleaver. After sudden interrupt using Laceweb Way he puts down the meat cleaver and becomes relaxed in 30 seconds; offers to play tennis with person he threatened, and this tennis game happens 90 minutes later.


Example Five


A man goes berserk and threatens with a knife. . After sudden interrupt using Laceweb Way he becomes relaxed in a few seconds and discloses doing a serious operation on himself and accepts support from the person he threatened.


Example Six


An 18 year old with an 11 year history of continual property damage goes berserk, breaking louvre windows and furniture and assaulting with a deadly weapon causing harm. After experiencing Laceweb Way for 10 minutes he becomes cooperative; after one hour becomes remorseful, with low sympathetic charge and crying. Six weeks later there has been no recurrence of going berserk or property damage, he becomes an excellent example and mentor to other youth, and has taken on a massive array for vocational skills


Example Seven


A man attempts rape. After sudden interrupt using Laceweb Way he becomes confused in 1 second, and 15 seconds later walks alone around corner, enters a shop and orders a Kebab. He’s still waiting for his Kebab when police arrive five minutes later.


Example Eight


A man assaults a woman. The woman speaks and instantly the man becomes confused and follows the woman’s suggestion of where and how to leave scene and have a sleep down in the park.


Example Nine


Woman experiencing every ‘side effect’ of the prescription drug Serapax withdrawal for seven days including uncontrollable shakes, a pervasive sense of hopelessness, difficulty breathing, massive body tension and the like, goes to the front door and returns to normal functioning within fifteen seconds of experiencing Laceweb Way.


Example Ten


Twelve young women captive in a torture interrogation rape centre use Laceweb Way each night for five days. Each night after being left alone they cradle and rock each other, regain their balance and relaxed breathing, nurture togetherness and emotional calm, and make up a humming tune and dance to it, and upon their release and being back with their female friends, they invite all of their friends to dance with them and experience what they have been doing together for the past five days to emerge well.


Example Eleven


A Bougainville man has had 25 years of devastating emotional flooding whenever anything reminds him of a time when he was a young boy forced to watch his father being tortured. In engaging in Laceweb Way he discovers things about being more flexible in how he uses his visual system. He then uses some Laceweb ways to change the way he remembers those war experiences such that the habitual link to awful feelings ceases. Next day he finds that he can adapt the same process to a potentially difficult interpersonal emotional context and discovers that he can maintain poise, inner calmness and dignity that also enabled the other person to live well with the difficult context.



The Processes


The processes used in the above eleven scenarios all involve engaging with the whole-of-it for disintegrating dysfunctional habit pattern, and transforming to new ways of being without the use of any external drugs.


Using the term ‘whole-of-it’ is referring to engaging simultaneously with every aspect of the person or persons involved including and not limited to (this time using a string of nouns) the interaction, integration, interconnectedness, and inter-dependence of systems of systems within and between them, their phenomenal personal and inter-subjective experiencing of moving, sensing, feeling and thinking, including how they are recalling the past and imagining possible futures.


Example Ten involves a group engaging the whole-of-it for group-transforming action.


Extensive action research has documented transforming problematic behaviours in large groups (of up to 180 people).


East Asian experience of whole village use of transforming ways for returning to wellness has also been documented.


Each example involves people who are living with behaviours involving much or most of their brain.


Each example also involves very fast state changes from problematic states that had persisted through time – in one case for 54 years.




In living well with the complexity of life we always (through time) have system capacity for both:


            a)   Habit (always), and

            b)   Flexibility (all ways)


Through time, however flexibility has somewhat ‘dropped off the radar’ for most people on planet Earth. It is long overdue for flexibility to make a return.



Habitual behaviour in differing forms can either support wellness, or be dysfunctional and highly problematic. Refer Flexibility and Habit.


To reiterate, we have duel systems namely,


a)    habit

b)    choice


We have them in all aspects of experience, including:


          Moving sensing feeling and thinking


The same is happening electro-chemically in networked neural synapses


o   Integrated Flow (flexible)

o   Always using the same Integrated Flow (habit)


Note that both the above are integrated.


All aspects of being are massively integrated within and between


o   moving

o   sensing

o   feeling

o   thinking


We have capacity for:


o   functioning with little or no awareness




o   using either general or specific awareness




o   using awareness of awareness of being (subjective)




o   awareness of awareness of being in the world with others (intersubjective)



Seeing as Whole-of-brain Integration


Visual Cortex: visual processing


Temporal Lobe: visual consciousness of what (link systems)


o   high-level visual processing of:


o   complex stimuli such as faces (fusiform gyrus)

o   and scenes, especially memory of scenes (parahippocampal gyrus)


o   anterior temporal lobe involved in object perception and recognition

o   hippocampus - involved in forming explicit long-term memory modulated  by the amygdala


o   amygdala: 


o   attention

o   responses

o   → to thalamus –emotional and sensory crossover


o  →to locus coeruleus, a nucleus in the pons (part of the brainstem) – releasing noradrenaline – fight or flight – modulating stress responses

o  to sympathetic nervous system – arousal for short term wellbeing


Parietal Lobe visual processing of where and how - especially orientation in space (often potent visual submodalities).


Integrating all of the above, plus verbalising visual experience → Temporal Lobe Wernicke's area →to Broca's area : verbal comprehension of visual, naming of visual, → to speech motor production relating to visual, verbal memory of visual (parahippocampal gyrus with emotional shading and crossover etc


When we are seeing, all of the above massive integrated processing are happening simultaneously.


Seeing is Massively Integrated 




All of the sensory submodalities: size, distance, form, direction, colour, motion, shape, focus/periphery, foreground/ background, 3D/2D, etc.


We typically experience amalgamation of all of the above as an integrated whole while we can switch what sensory submodalities we attend to.


Integration & Disintegration




In the following we are not talking about whole-of-system disintegrating into dysfunction mess and say, psychosis. Rather, we are hinting at momentary micro interrupts that may flip a person into momentary confusion with consequent functional state-change in context. Beyond this, processes are available for dis-integrating dysfunctional habits as evidenced in the ten scenarios.



Fragments of experience entail a blending of moving, sensing, feeling, and thinking.


Example 1: Holding, seeing, and smelling violets, and having pleasant memories


Example 2: Seeing, recalling, compressing spine and feeling depressed and sad


Example 3: Hearing, tensing jaw, fist, and belly, and being angry


This blending is massively integrated.


The fragment is an integrated pattern – the cohesion of the whole.


The following is a very significant quote from Feldenkrais’ writing:


A fundamental change in moving within any single integration pattern will break up the cohesion of the whole and thereby leave thought and feeling without anchorage in the patterns of their established routines (our italics) (Feldenkrais, 1972 Awareness Through Movement : Health Exercises for Personal Growth. New York, New York : Penguin Books).


That is, change any aspect of a pattern and it may be disintegrated, especially if the change is a sudden interrupt.


Put another way, if a change is suddenly introduced to any of the four aspects – sensing, moving, feeling, and thinking, it may interrupt and collapse the flow that a person finds themselves immersed in (refer hints of this in the previous ten examples).


o   We may change a state.

o   We may transform the tendency to enter a state; that is, break a habit.

o   We may transform a person


All of this entails possibilities for rapidly returning people exposed to past trauma into feeling well again and getting on with life as in scenario ten above.


For example, many people affected by past trauma have an instantaneous emotional flood of awful feeling every time they have a visual recall of the trauma context. It happens instantly and they can’t stop it happening.


This is called a Visual-Emotional synaesthesia. If V then instantly E.


There’s a process that severs the VE link. The memory may be recalled without the emotional flood. Even the form of the memory may be changed. An example is scenario eleven above.


This is not suppressing memory or suppressing emotion.



System Entry Points for Transforming


We have many Neurotransmitters. A Neurotransmitter can have many functions and multiple effects.


For Example:


One neurotransmitter (dopamine) having all of the following functions:


1.    controlling the exchange of information from one brain area to another

2.    attention

3.    working memory

4.    behaviour

5.    cognition

6.    voluntary movement

7.    emotional response

8.    ability to experience pleasure and pain                  

9.    motivation

10. punishment and reward

11. inhibition of prolactin production (involved in lactation and sexual gratification)

12. sleep

13. dreaming

14. mood

15. Addiction to behaviours – source of release of a transmitter

16. reward driven learning

17. possibly transmits reward prediction error

18. feelings of satisfaction (loses one's ability to reason in order to achieve satisfaction)


If we attempt to block or enhance the neuro-transmitter’s effect on function 14 (mood), it’s very likely that we also effect some or all of the other 17 functions.


These 17 other effects are not side effects. They are effects of dopamine blocking or enhancing. It’s an integrated system have 18 or more interactions with other networked interactions that can ripple through all over the place.


Neurotransmitter Action:


There are eight different system processes for moment-to-moment state change and potential within our nervous systems:


1.    Electrical to chemical transduction, and vice versa

2.    Neurochemical Release Sequence

3.    Flow

4.    Bind (to receptor)

5.    Block

6.    Re-uptake

7.    Disperse

8.    Disintegrate

9.    Reuptake Inhibitors


Refer Flexibility and habit.


The above 9 nervous system processes enable flexibility. Murderous rage can be switched off in an instant - in 20 milliseconds (that’s 20 thousands of a second! Chemical switching can be very fast indeed. Our nervous system and our bodyminds are evolved for flexibility as much as habit!


To Repeat:


A fundamental change in moving within any single integration pattern will break up the cohesion of the whole and thereby leave thought and feeling without anchorage in the patterns of their established routines.


That is, the pattern can dis-integrate.


Put another way:


If a change is suddenly introduced to any of the four aspects – sensing, moving, feeling, and thinking, it may interrupt and collapse the flow that a person finds themselves immersed in.


We may change a state.


We may transform the tendency to enter a state; that is, break a habit.


All of this entails possibilities for interrupting and letting go of the aftermath of disaster.


What may be described as an ongoing ‘disorder’ is also an integrated system habit that may be dis-integrated.



After the 2009 Victorian Fire Storm


There was a widespread set of integrated habitual responding among affected people:


o   Hyper-aroused 

o   Under aroused

o   Sleep-wake cycle askew

o   Attention scattered or obsessed

o   Memory – preoccupied - scattered

o   Emotional upheaval

o   Emotional pain

o   Behavioural rigidity

o   Behavioural inhibitions or lack of inhibitions

o   Massive stress (psychological)

o   Depression

o   Lateral asymmetry (one side of the body differing from the other) – twisted cringe  - with affect on rigid ribs and disturbed breathing

o   Panic

o   Anxiety

o   Posture and balance askew. 


News from the Brain Sciences - A Lay-persons Version


Locus Coeruleus (LC)


The Pons area in Brain Stem is the principal site for brain synthesis of noradrenalin which is involved in:


o   Neuroplasticity (change)

o   Arousal

o   Sleep-wake cycle

o   Attention

o   Memory

o   Emotions

o   Behavioural flexibility

o   Behavioural inhibition and stress (psychological)

o   Posture and balance. 


The locus coeruleus may also figure in clinical depression, panic disorder, and anxiety - every one of the above fire storm list of symptoms!


The projections of the locus coeruleus reach far and wide. For example, they innervate:


o   Spinal cord

o   Brain stem

o   Cerebellum

o   Hypothalamus

o   Thalamic relay nuclei

o   Amygdala

o   Basal telencephalon, and

o   Cortex.


Again it is a massively integrated interconnecting and interdependent system of systems. The noradrenalin from the locus coeruleus has an excitatory effect on most of the brain, mediating arousal and priming the brain’s neurons to be activated by stimuli.



Medical model Response:


A typical medical model response is to impose external Reuptake Inhibitors! Some medications including noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (reboxetine, atomoxetine), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (venlafaxine, duloxetine), and norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (bupropion); these are believed to show efficacy by acting upon neurons in this locus coeruleus area.




However, our body has its own Reuptake Inhibitors. Our bodies are forming thousands of chemicals every day. What is useful is to have processes that functionally activate and use our own reuptake inhibitors and blockers. Where are our natural endogenous chemical disintegrators? And how do we mobilise them to return to calm naturally, without ‘side effects’ of artificial Reuptake Inhibitors and Blockers?






This next section provides some answers to the foregoing questions.


Process descriptions relating to the other eight examples are available.



Example One - Returning to Functioning Well After 54 Years


Brief Summary of process:


o   Using our understandings of neurotransmitter function and system integrating and disintegrating potentials

o   Natural accessing of the nervous system’s nine processes for flexibility

o   Matching the other person in many ways – then after a time, leading

o   Watching for micro behaviours; e.g. hand on front of head (thumping headache) hand rotating above gut (churning in gut)

o   Using these as guides to action

o   Using Milton Erickson’s Language Patterns in everyday life states (not trance)

o   Very other-guided engaging – the context tells us what to do

o   Interrupting for disintegrating dysfunctional habit


This example relates to a change in one member of a healing group within a Maximum Security Jail; they (group members) felt awful all of the time and had requested support in being able to feel okay.


One of the group, 73 year old Fred, has had the following for 54 years:


o   No feeling or movement in the left side of his face

o   Poor speech motor production – he can’t move his tongue and lips to speak clearly

o   Stuttering

o   Upbeat nystagmus of left eye (uncontrollable frequent random turning flick of one eyeball up at 45 degrees)

o   Saliva running out of mouth

o   Frozen with head tilted way to left and left shoulder raised


Transcript of process (with ten in the Group). You may notice that this involves non-ordinary language. It is filled with suggestions and commands that are all woven into the flow of words. It is very hypnotic, though people do not go into trance. They do go into enhanced states of being and sensing with associated feeling.


Transcript of Process


……and we have been talking about being able to feel good....and you’ve  all indicated you want to be able to do perhaps we can begin settling down...and getting more comfortable......... and you may want to……….make any small movements now to become more comfortable……and just wait with curiosity… to what memory of good times in the past …….…that may….….be very useful for you……. may….come to mind now…..a memory that is very appropriate….. may…come to mind now….......and there are other parts of you that can….....find a memory…....…that’s a safe experience …..having the experience…involving care and respect for yourself and others ….. just waiting…to find out…what comes to mind now…and give a nod when you have that.....a time when you are feeling very good......sometime in the past....perhaps a long time ago..... so just waiting now for....that to come more clearly to mind.........and giving me a head nod when you have that.....(long pause)...

When some do not nod they are tracked into an imaginary feel-good scenario of their own making, where all involved in that scenario have wellness.

and if you’ve had no time when you’ve felt good that you can recall at the moment….some things may be said now that may help you …….create such a time in your imagination…..and those of you that have found a really good memory you can continue to relive that again as if it is all happening again...and you’ll find you’ll be able to do that......

And once I have a head nod from everyone indicating they have their memory or imagined context, I use Ericksonian language to have them progressively moving all of their awareness into inner experience of the memory, initially using their most used sense, and then adding in their lesser and least used senses.

…...and this experience may last say…around eight minutes ….though it may feel longer…..and during this experience you may be able to……feel really good ….and….discover how you can …….have that feeling whenever you want to……

and to help you learn how to…….change ….to …….feeling good....whenever you want to...

The pattern is then to draw the group’s attention progressively to the differing aspects of their experience of being in the past.....tracking awareness to include more of their senses till all of their sensing and feeling is immersed in seeing hearing and feeling linked to the past memory......experienced in the if it is happening again now......

And being back their now......having a look around and see all the people or things that you can see now...getting a sense of the time of day or night.....noticing the different things you can see now........and now listening for the different sounds that are happening........and sensing what is making those sounds........being aware of their distance and direction.........just to notice all of these things.....taking your time all of that...

And perhaps now.........noticing more the things that you are connecting with...where your body is...and where it is moving as your breathing now....what you are in contact with....noticing all of that....more clearly now....the touch........the feel....and how you are in your body now....moving...or still....just to notice....and perhaps you can.....see if you can.....tell you feel....right all of this is happening.......

This pattern is continued for around nine minutes. They typically have time distortion so it feels much longer. Then I give them the suggestion to say their farewells.

So perhaps you can really notice how you are feeling right now...being where you are now......having good times.....and …and knowing now can….access that memory again in the future…and re-access’ve been moving.....those feelings are having now….and you can……..take all the time you need to….say your farewells now….all the time you need to……do that now…..and can.........return to this memory whenever it is appropriate…… perhaps you can.....say farewell for the moment to the people and all that has been happening..... and....keeping all of the good feelings......take the time now to re-orient to the present...and perhaps your awareness can...find your fingers...and commence wriggling those you......come back to your body sitting here in the in the can……keep all of these feelings……and sensations in your body and mind you begin to….leave that memory now returning to your body now in the Group…….and…..begin sensing sitting in your chair in the Group now….finding your fingers now….and beginning to wriggle these…..coming back into your body now…….and when you are ready…having a big stretch without hitting the person next to you now……..and can… another check….of are in your body now… ....noticing….…your posture…...and how……you feel when you move…

After a time I say…

Once they’re all reoriented with their eyes open and fully mentally present in the Group context, I suggest that they select someone that they feel comfortable with, and select who goes first.

.....and after this experience you may want to……pick a partner that you feel comfortable with…..and take turns in telling your story….and afterwards you may like to take turns in telling your story to the whole Group ….

……….and you can....share your experience……and how you are feeling right now….share how it makes you feel now as you ……relive all this… you….tell it to your partner…….

As there were uneven numbers on the night - one inmate was unwell - I heard one person’s story.

After I time I suggest that the first story sharers come to a close and swap roles. I then keep attending to my partner.

After a time:

…….and winding up soon and when you have both finished …….have a brief chat with your respective partners about how you feel……

After that’s  happening for a time I draw that sharing to a close, and ask for a volunteer who would like to go first in standing up the front and sharing their story with the whole Group.


I’m very surprised along with all the other Inmates when Fred starts talking very clearly. Remember that Fred’s speech had been virtually incomprehensible - and Fred says very clearl:

Don’t stop me, I am on a roll!

The 73 year old Fred begins with great youthful relish and dashing confidence to tell how a wealthy maiden Aunt of his had taken him, when he was sixteen on a grand tour of New Zealand. Fred is acting like he is sixteen again. .

And as Fred is talking the left-hand side of his face is functioning normally in his symmetrical smiling and his eyes are excited, and there’s no hint of involuntary movement (nystagmus), and no saliva is running down his chin.

And while Fred is standing he is shifting his ‘speaking body’ appropriate to the storytelling, and using appropriate gestures like a talented and engaging storyteller detailing his travels through both the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

 So, what to make of all this?

The prior scenario for Fred was:

o   No feeling or movement in left side of face

o   Poor speech motor production

o   Stutter

o   Upbeat nystagmus of left eye

o   Saliva running out of mouth

o   Frozen with head tilted way to left and left shoulder raised


This is consistent with frozen extreme cringe in horror in realising that he had killed someone he loved when he was 18.


One way of accounting for the massive state change is that this horror had become integrated as a habitual set of bodymind behaviours.



Upon creating a profound interrupt – the immersion in all senses in living a wonderful experience that happens nearly three years before the killing and his system re-integrates to that early mode of healthy functioning.



The state changes involve:


o   Upper brain stem between pons and medulla - facial nerves

o   Visual system, including Substantia Nigra (eye movement)

o   Visual system via Temporal visual areas through Amygdala to Parahippocampal Gyrus (good visual memory) with links to good emotions in sensory crossover areas in the Hippocampal Limbic Region

o   Visual based language via Wernicke’s area in Temporal Lobe to

o   Brocas area and then to

o   Speech motor production in motor cortex

o   With disintegrating of links (of postural cringe associated with the integrated system shut down) to locus coeruleus, a nucleus in the pons (part of the brainstem) that ceases releasing noradrenaline, the chemical modulating  fight or flight and other stress responses

o   With massive implications for sense of self and wellbeing


The symptoms and the sudden reversion to normal function are consistent with what is termed ‘conversion disorder’.


This man was seen more than six months later, out of jail on life parole and he had had not return of his prior symptoms that had persisted for 54 years!



Example Two - Detox and Afternoon Tea




A 23 year old male is experiencing drug withdrawal from cocktail of heavy illegal drugs. He is highly aroused, irrational, shouting obscenities, and having Tourette’s type movements. He also is having tremors and shaking uncontrollably.


Seven minutes later after experiencing Laceweb processes he is calm, caring, relaxed, and after a further three minutes successfully acts as host and serves tea and coffee to 120 people at a conference. There is no return of presenting behaviours during the next 2 weeks.


An at-risk young man with drug addiction who was out on bail on drug related charges came to stay for a Gathering at a Rural Therapeutic Community.  A few days before the Gathering this young man went with the local youth to see a rodeo; the young man out on bail absconded and was picked up by the police three days later wearing a T shirt with the Centre Logo that all the boys wore to compete at the rodeo. He was having severe drug withdrawals from taking more than one type of drug that he had obtained in the town near where the rodeo was being held. The police respect the Therapeutic Community’s work and returned this young man to the Community.


Some youth worker professionals who were also attending the Gathering said that their standard practice was to send drug-affected youth to Detox for days before accepting them into their programs.


Dr Neville Yeomans said that this was not an option for this youth as the nearest Detox was hours away and everyone wanted to stay and take in the experience of the Gathering.


All the attendees of the Gathering and the youth of the Therapeutic Community were sitting and standing around waiting for tea and coffee and scones to be served at an afternoon tea break.


This drug affected youth was severely disturbed and also creating a lot of disturbance.


Then Neville suddenly said to me very loudly so everyone could hear:


Work with Max (the disturbed youth).


And bring him back to serve tea and coffee in ten minutes.


Neville turned and said to Max:


Max, go with this man!

Inside now!

Be back in ten minutes!

Be ready to serve everyone tea and coffee!


Max was quivering and shaking, in no fit state to do anything, let alone be handing out tea or coffee to over 120 people.


He was stumbling and incoherent.


Within eight minutes he walked out again, and in ten minutes he served tea and coffee to everyone without spilling a drop.


So what happened inside?


When inside I say to Max with considerable speed, jerkiness, volume and passion (matching his energy state):


You have ten minutes to.....settle down now…....sit down….and what’s it like inside you……..come on…..what’s it like in there…where is it the strongest….in here…(pointing to his head)….in here..(pointing to his belly)….in here….(pointing to his chest.....then his throat)….in here…(pointing to his heart)…..come on…you know....….it’s your body….....what’s happening …you can feel it…..what’s it like in here…(pointing to his head again)....


I’m matching his general energy, behaviour and his state and closely monitoring for any state change towards anger and berserk, and he stays highly charged though very confused and scattered.


I keep up a constant overloading barrage of questions asking him to tell me what is happening inside of him, and his brain has to try to make sense of my words. And then I refer to his breathing:


And your are you breathing now…..what’s that like…….what’s breathing like?


He takes a deep breath. just changed…


....and you’ve been changing ever since you sat down....


...your heart rate is slowing....’re shaking less....


My speed is slowing and my volume lowering.’re breathing more slowly now....


……..and you’re more steady….’re quieter now…


….notice this…… you are changing now…


…..slowing down…


…..all of that is getting quieter now…


….and what’s happening up here now…(pointing to his head)...


……..different to before….


……and here…....(pointing to his belly)....


….different to before…


….….and here (pointing to his chest, then throat)…


.....notice how it’s all changing now…


....and what’s happening…come on…what’s


Finally, he says:


I’m slowing down....


                        Yes! And what else?


            I am not shaking so much....


                        Feels better?


            Yeh....getting better.....


And what’s ya head like inside?


            Head aches...




            Everywhere (points to his forehead).


What’s happening in the front of ya head (pointing to his forehead)?


It aches.


What about round the back (pointing to the back of his head).


Na, just the front.


            And really notice that now…….what’s happening now....


It was dull ache. Now it’s thumping.


So it is still changing in there.........and how fast is it thumping?


He does a fist gesture indicating rhythm.


            Notice what happens to the speed of the thumping.


            It’s getting slower......


And what happens to the sensation in your forehead …….when…….it’s getting slower now?


            It’s not so bad....


And what’s happening in ya belly?


            I feel crook.....


            What’s that feel like?


He does a hand gesture of his belly churning in a clockwise direction at a certain speed. I mirror this gesture back to him as I say....


And notice how that goes round and round inside ya belly…what’s happening to that now?


It’s slowing down now.


Feels better as it’s slowing down now?


Yeh. Feeling better.


This last part about the turning sensation in Max’s belly is discussed by Bandler, and by the Andreas’ in their books on sensory submodalities (Bandler 1985; Andreas, S. & Andreas, C., 1987).


Notice that Max is non-consciously giving me signals as to what’s happening inside of him, .and I’m being guided by and using these signals as clues as to what to say and do from moment to moment. 


Examples are underlined in the following:


Head aches




            Everywhere (points to his forehead).


What’s happening in the front of ya head (pointing to his forehead)?


It aches.


What about round the back (pointing to the back of his head).


Na, just the front.


            And really notice that now…….what’s happening now....


            It was dull ache. Now it’s thumping.


So it is still changing in there...and how fast is it thumping......


He does a fist gesture indicating rhythm.


And notice what happens to the speed of the thumping.


            It’s getting slower.


And what happens to the sensation in ya forehead when

it’s getting slower now...


            It’s not so bad.


            And what’s happening in ya belly....


I feel crook.


            And what’s that feel like...


He does a hand gesture of his belly churning in a clockwise direction at a certain speed.


And notice how that goes round and round inside ya belly…what’s happening to that now...


I do a gesture that mirrors what he’s doing with his hands. It is highly unlikely that Max is aware that he is giving me these signals with his hands. Max is unconsciously informing me about what to do next. I use these unconscious signals to guide me in guiding him as to what to be aware of in his changing experience. This pattern of drawing Max’s awareness to his inner experience is by definition for him an altered state. Initially my interaction paced his manic quality. I was fast and jerky. I jumped his awareness around very fast. Once he started to change, I lead him in my speech and actions as he changes to become more slow and steady. And I am drawing his awareness to his changes.


And each of these short specific literal observation speech acts statements draws Max’s attention to changes that are already happening, and in this process, contribute to further system changes.


Max is in drug withdrawal, and awareness of change is further disintegrating and dissolving his state (Feldenkrais, 1972). He is now also overloaded with all of what had been happening outside with him suddenly being the focus of everyone’s attention including over 90 Aboriginal Elders attending the Gathering. Once inside I am using sequential stacked interrupt – that’s collapsing habitual states.


Inside I had grabbed his attention and focused his awareness on jumping it quickly round, noticing how he feels in differing parts of his body. This by definition is an altered state!


As feeling is his most present sense, I use his feeling to reach his awareness of moving.


Initially he is confused. Given this, I insist on him doing this by constant requests for him to notice. .


Before I started, Max’s system was activated in habitual responding and firing off awful feelings associated with disintegrated functioning typical of drug withdrawal. When we first went inside, the drug cocktail was looping through Max’s synapses and back into storage to go around again and again - the drug discharge, release, interaction with receptors, and re-storage.


As soon as we were inside, I place an alternate demand on his perception - one that is collapsing his brain-addled state and has him entering an altered state of being aware of his awareness, and then slowly beginning to notice differences as his body changes – as it invariably does when you begin noticing it. This further interrupts the drug state.


I then add suggestions for further change. I sense this activates natural interrupt changes in neuro-chemical cycling at Max’s synapses. I am activating Blockers, Reuptake Blockers, Dispersers and Disintegrators.


The awareness-of-awareness processor state that I set up for Max entails shifts in the sense of moving that interrupts and disintegrates the habitual patterns of the drugs he had used while they are in decline in his system.


To reiterate Feldenkrais’ statement again (1972, p. 39):


A fundamental change in the motor (moving) basis within any single integration pattern will break up the cohesion of the whole and thereby leave thought and feeling without anchorage in the patterns of their established routines.


This interrupt increases the action of very natural system properties. Drugs in the synaptic cleft are dispersed through the synapse wall before interacting with receptors (dispersal); receptors are blocked (receptor blockers); Re-uptake of the drugs into storage is blocked (reuptake blockers); and drugs that have been stopped by reuptake blockers are disintegrated and move off in Max’s body fluid transfer system including the blood stream to be filtered out of his body through the kidneys and bladder (Rossi, 1985; Rossi & Cheek, 1986).


To restate the above, neuro-chemical systems at the synapses have a lot of control points - whether or not the neurotransmitters are released from storage, whether the neuro-chemicals enter the synaptic cleft (gap), whether they interact with receptors, whether they are either reabsorbed by the presynaptic cell, and then repackaged and placed into storage for future release, or else broken down metabolically (dis-integrated) and discharged from the body.


Perhaps the interrupt processes I used quickly cleared out, or simplified the mix of internally and externally produced ‘chemical soup’ within his synapses. Within five minutes he is almost ready to serve drinks.


I get Norma to bring a mug and a jug of cold water and Max has a long drink and then he goes and urinates – getting rid of drugs from his system – natural detoxing!


The remaining few minutes is used in clearing away the ‘cobwebs’ so he is not only steady in his body and confident he can serve, he is going to be the pleasant sociable character that he is very capable of being.


As well, I future-pace Max. With my support he is imagining experiencing having calm poise when he goes outside and imagining serving afternoon tea while being a very good host. This has him accessing integrating patterns associated with those behaviours and hence entering into those modes of functioning before he actually goes outside


When he does go outside he is accessing those behavioural repertoires.


He is the very good host.


This is resonant with scenario ten - the women in the torture centre - future pacing being with their girlfriends on next Friday night and imagining their joy of dancing with them as a way of regaining integrity before settling down for a good night’s sleep ready to face the next day.


Max has no re-occurrence of any drug withdrawal symptoms that afternoon, or during the following week.


While inside, Max was simultaneously being engaged in many ways simultaneously; his non-conscious gestures and behaviour were used as guides for triggering changes in his awareness of awareness of moving, sensing and feeling. Simultaneously, my speech act processes blending with Max’s processes are engaging and involving and transforming goings on in Max’s nervous system, especially at the synapses. And he is present having his awareness drawn to noticing the changes as they are happening. He is staying present aware as his states are changing, and liking the changes.


Now to get some further sense of the richness of all this. Max as a young man in his twenties has in his brain somewhere around 100 billion neurons (nerve cells) and between100-500 trillion synapses! Given that you can arrange 10 things in a row over 3.5 million ways, and 11 things nearly 40 million ways, the number of different pathway connections when you have billions of neurons and trillions of synapses beggars belief. The number of networking combinations in all of this immensity is astronomical! So Max has extraordinary potential. My trillions of networks linked to his trillions...and the old saying is filled with possibilities......trillions of them......


The discussion about simplifying the mix of internally and externally produced ‘chemical soup’ within his synapses is resonant with scenario Nine - the story of the woman jogging on the spot at the front door. The residual chemicals of that anti-anxiety drug was possibly broken down metabolically and discharged from the body. It took a few repeats, as some of the chemicals were perhaps reabsorbed by the pre-synaptic cell, and then repackaged and placed into storage and then released again into the system. The repeated process ‘washed’ the chemicals out of the body just as the state of ‘getting on with my life’ replaced the collapsed the state of ‘anxiety’ out of the woman at the front door....


To repeat again Feldenkrais’ insight:


A fundamental change in moving within any single integration pattern will break up the cohesion of the whole and thereby leave thought and feeling without anchorage in the patterns of their established routines (Feldenkrais, 1972. Awareness Through Movement - Health Exercises for Personal Growth. New York, New York : Penguin Books).


In the above exchange with Max I am continually doing pattern interrupt that disintegrates Max’s habitual drug patterns. I am especially disintegrating neuro-chemicals and other exogenous chemicals and these are being filtered out and they go down the toilet when he urinates before returning outside to serve afternoon tea – fast system detox


Now for a few moments some thoughts on the language patterns used; we have the system capacity to generalise, delete, and distort our subjective and inter-subjective experience.


We can help another to:


o   specify generalisations

o   recover delete, and

o   challenge distortions


Notice that in the above exchange with Max I am intentionally use generalisations, deletions and distortions for transforming possibilities.


Some Possible State changes:


o   Lowered sympathetic charge

o   Arousal flexibility

o   Reacting appropriate to context

o   Sense of personal safety and danger that alarms in context

o   Capacity to readily change states appropriate to context


Consider the Effect of the Above on:


o   Softening drug abuse

o   Stopping domestic violence

o   Preventing crime

o   Preventing war

o   Letting go the aftermath of disasters

o   Peacehealing

o   All round wellness


The following segment explores the first theme above – softening drug abuse:



Theme: Drug, Alcohol and Gambling Addictions


Some Brain correlates of Drug, Alcohol and Gambling Addiction


Substantia Nigra plays important roles in:


o   Reward

o   Reward-seeking

o   Addiction

o   Eye movement

o   Motor planning

o   Learning

o   Working memory,

o   Aversive, novel, unexpected or intense stimuli

o   Initialising and selecting action

o   Motivational and emotional informing

o   Movement - contributes to decision-making, planning and modulation of movement (sensory-motor)

o   Substantia Nigra produces Dopamine - some of the functions of Dopamine:


§  Addiction to behaviours – source of release of a transmitter

§  reward driven learning

§  emotional response

§  ability to experience pleasure and pain                     

§  motivation

§  punishment and reward

§  feelings of satisfaction (loses one's ability to reason in order to achieve satisfaction)

§  possibly transmits reward prediction error


Substantia Nigra is a part of Basal Ganglia.


The main other components of the basal ganglia are:


o   striatum (caudate nucleus and putamen)

o   globus pallidus

o   subthalamic nucleus.


The largest component, the striatum, receives input from many brain areas but sends output only to other components of the basal ganglia.


The pallidum receives input from the striatum, and sends inhibitory output to a number of motor-related areas.


The substantia nigra is the source of the striatal input of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which plays an important role in basal ganglia function.


The Subthalamic Nucleus receives input mainly from the striatum and cerebral cortex, and projects to the globus pallidus. Each of these areas has a complex internal anatomical and neurochemical organization.


Processes for Applying Brain Research in Functional Use of Habits and Flexibility





o   Awareness of awareness of moment-to-moment sub-conscious and conscious behaviours and being guided by them

o   Being guided by the moment-to-moment changing context

o   Looking for the free energy in the systems

o   Guided by understanding of neuro-chemical pathways and presenting phenomenal contexts that are changing from moment-to-moment

o   Using Ericksonian language and metamodel to set up social ecological pattern interrupt

o   Engaging with the emerging state changes

o   Linking understanding in this Paper with balance levels in the Ergotropic and Trophotropic systems; refer Healing the MindBody.


The Brain and nervous system correlates and causates of the behaviours being explored in this paper is a two way interactive process. So in the examples, brain function, experience, and behaviour are all being changed.


What are other aspects that can be changed?


o   Brain Cancer?

o   Brain plasticity?

o   Neuroplasticity?

o   Interpersonal Relational Gene Modulation?



Accounts of the context, process used, and outcomes for each of the other nine scenarios are available.


Feedback & Email


Resonant Links:


o   Healing the MindBody


o   Flexibility and Habit

o   Healing Artistry, Gene Expression and Gene Modulation





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