Transcription: A Recent Interview With Dr. Parker About Oxytocin
Intro: This is Charles Parker and you are listening to CoreBrain Journal. This is the place where I connect both fresh discoveries and interesting different perspectives from Advanced Mind Science with the realities of real people, and everyday life down on Main Street.
Charles: Well, welcome folks, this is Charles Parker back once again. This is Episode 055, and we have the privilege of listening today to our guest Arlene Foreman, who is outside of Philadelphia, and I’m gonna confess right off the bat she is an old buddy of mine. We’ve had a great time sharing clients and working together. Arlene, thanks so much for taking the time to join us.
Arlene: You’re welcome. My pleasure, Chuck.
Charles: So, a little bit of background about Arlene, one of the reasons I was hoping that you would come on board, I appreciate her taking the time to share her insights with our audience. She is a very unusual person. She is a licensed professional counselor, yes, but she’s far more than that. In that, she’s an example, and I know there are others in the country that are like this, but people are so worried about boundaries and ‘’what are they doing right?’’, ‘’what are they doing wrong?’’. Arlene is a person who is devoted to learning. She is going to … if she doesn’t know about it, she’s going to chase it down and find out something about it. And Arlene, I wanna thank you again publicly for the things you’ve shared with me. I know I’m gonna learn something from you again, hey so, I’m a board-certified psychiatrist with 25 years of experience, I know I’m gonna learn something from Arlene Foreman. She is deeply into so many interesting things. So I’m just gonna say, as a quick announcement, in terms of identifying her as a person, is that she has four websites. One is ArleneForeman.com, she’s got a website on Marriage Counseling, she’s got another website on Anger Management, she’s got another website on Anxiety. This is an example of what I was saying just a moment ago – Arlene covers a variety of interesting bases and the people that work with her love her to death because she is no BS. She comes right down to the issue and tells you what’s going on. So Arlene, tell us a little bit about yourself on a personal level – how you are, where you are, and what you’re doing with yourself today.
Arlene: I am a mother of 2 grown sons and a granddaughter that I adore. And I love my work and I have a garden of flowers. My house is surrounded by flowers. When I’m not studying, I’m pulling weeds, fertilizing, and digging – that’s my other life. (laughs)
Charles: So it’s like you’re probably devoted to the compost pile? (laughs)
Arlene: Well actually I just got a compost bucket. Somebody drops it off for me and they pick it up every two weeks. (laughs)
Charles: I am totally crazy about compost. I mean I got the worms, I got the compost bins. I don’t do it anymore because I don’t even have the time, but I’m with you a hundred percent on gardening. Then how did you become the person that you are? What drove you to take these inquiries as far as you have? I mean you got the training, but what happened to you that you do characteristically dive so deeply into these various subjects?
Arlene: Chuck, I think it’s my brain. It’s always looking for something to study, and my brain never gets tired. (laughs)
Charles: It’s just curiosity, there’s no question about it.
Arlene: You’re right. (laughs)
Charles: And what’s so much fun, we share this so I know this about you, is that there is the excitement of getting it right.
Charles: When you don’t know and you’re in the dark. This is one of the reasons we’re doing corporate journalism because there is an excitement to a different discovery, ‘’Hey this is something that might work. I’ve tried everything else, this person’s a treatment fit, and they’re mixed up in that way and that way of thinking about it. And this might work. Let’s see what happens.’’
Arlene: Well when I feel that way I send them to you. (laughs)
Charles: You’re very kind. (laughs) But we come from the same club, let me tell you that. I mean I do everything and I say ‘’Listen, if you’re not talking to Arlene about this, then you’re not doing what you need to do, because there’s a limit to what I can do and she’s gonna help you out.’’ So let’s talk about what you think is the most current kind of exciting, interesting new direction that you’ve turned to recently. You’ve sent some stuff out, and to me it’s totally interesting and I said I’m gonna learn from you about it. What is it we need to learn from you today that’s burning for you to really talk about?
Arlene: Well I’m talking about how to increase your love hormone because that’s really what it’s all about. It’s about loving people and I wanted to study ‘how we do it?’, and ‘how’s the body doing it?’.
Charles: Uhum. So you’re really talking about the biology of love?
Arlene: Exactly. Well it’s the biology and it’s intertwined with the psychology of love. You can’t extricate it.
Charles: Well the biology when you said ‘hormone’, that was obviously the biology?
Charles: And we really have to hit the psychology of it because if we tried it both, we would be on mental spaghetti.
Arlene: Right. (laughs)
Charles: But if we were to talk about the love hormone, just what is that ‘love hormone’?
Arlene: Chuck, what I’ve done is imagine my websites. I have 3 specialties, and that’s couples counseling, anxiety and anger management. And I start looking at what ties them altogether. And what ties them all together is adrenaline and cortisol that’s not being managed. So then I started asking ‘how do you manage cortisol?’. Well, I found oxytocin. Did you know when you secrete oxytocin, there’s something in oxytocin that inhibits adrenaline.
Charles: See I told you I was gonna be learning from you right? And there it is!
Arlene: Isn’t that amazing?
Charles: That’s very interesting.
Arlene: So then I was listening to a CD and they were talking about a blood flow in the brain, and it blew me away! And this is how it works: you just said something to me that I took as an insult. You said something like, ‘’Well Arlene, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about’’ or something. Then my right prefrontal cortex got upset. It pulls blood from the left prefrontal cortex. Well the left prefrontal cortex, if it had enough blood, would say ‘’Nah, Chuck did not mean anything by it. I misunderstood it.’’. But the right negative part of the brain pulls blood from the left, so all of the energy is ‘’I’m angry! I’m scared! I’m upset! How dare you!’’ It’s all what I’m wrapped up in. Now this is 2016, but inside my brain is an amygdala that is probably 5 million years old, at least – and it’s keeping an eye on that right prefrontal cortex, and it says ‘’Oh my God! Chuck is a tiger!’’. He’s very dangerous. The amygdala pulls blood from the whole brain, so the part of my brain (hippocampus) that remembers that Chuck is my friend doesn’t have enough blood to remember. So here I am with a negative prefrontal cortex and a brain that a few would see with a functional MRI – when you’re really scared and you’re really angry, you got a brain on fire. Full of blood, over-stimulated neurons. So then the question is, ‘’What will I do now? Is this the way I have to live and wait an hour or two or three, you know. Like couples, they’re gonna wait 3 days till they cool off – a month. Well, if you step outside of your brain, there’s a fella by a name of Richard Schwartz and he says ‘’you are not your brain.’’ He writes a book ‘’You are not your brain.’’ There’s also a fella’s name is Steven Hayes, who is the founder of ACT, and he uses the words ‘’self as context’’ and he’s saying the same thing: ‘’Step outside and look at what’s going on inside.’’ So I step outside, and I look at the inside, and would you believe Chuck just naming the feeling calms the brain. I feel angry at Chuck. Just stepping outside myself and naming the feeling, because when I name the feeling, I need the left prefrontal cortex. The left prefrontal cortex is the language part of the brain. Well we need blood to do that. So it pulls blood from the right brain to the left brain.
Charles: Interesting point.
Arlene: Well when the amygdala that’s keeping an eye on the right brain – that old reptilian, that old, old limbic kind of brain, it looks and it says ‘’Oh, there’s not much blood anymore.’’ It calms down. It puts the blood in the right places in the brain. The hippocampus has the blood it needs and it remembers ‘’Chuck is my friend! He didn’t mean anything by it!’’ And now, if I stay outside my brain, and say ‘’What I feel? I feel angry. What do I need? I need to remember that Chuck is my friend and he did not mean anything by it.’’ Everything calms down.
Charles: So that occurs between the two sides of the brain based on simple blood flow? Well I said it’s simple but it’s obviously not simple, but to simplify it, that is what happens?
Arlene: Right. Right. And it’s obvious that when you have the blood flow, you have the neutrons, the oxygen, the glycogen, the neurotransmitters that the brain needs to do all of the processing that’s coming with the blood.
Charles: Very interesting. I mean there are people in the country that have practices that focus only on balancing the brain. And that’s Dr. Malone, he’s very strong at getting the two sides of the brain connected correctly.
Arlene: Now another… what I’m gonna do at this point, I’m mad at you, but I did all this work, and now I feel better. But you know, what I’m still full of adrenaline and cortisol, it did not go away so fast. So I start asking myself, ‘’What am I gonna do now?’’ The vagal nerve that’s coming out of the medulla in the back, and suffering the whole body, and the nerve gets in touch with the amygdala and everything going on in the brain, so it’s got the whole body on alert. You’re full of adrenaline and cortisol. So now what? Well there’s a Russian doctor in the 50’s, his name was Buteyko, and his job was to watch dying people breathe as an intern, and he watched so many, he could predict within 10 minutes somebody was going to die. He saw what healthy, normal, natural breathing is. The way babies breathe, the way animals breathe, and that the short version of the ‘Buteyko breathing’ is you take a short breath in, 3 to 4 seconds, that’s all the oxygen the body needs, and a long, slow, gentle breath out. As long as I comfortably can. We need to hold carbon dioxide in the blood, we can. You know the flip side of that is big breath in, short breath out. You know what that’s called? ‘’Hyperventilating’’. (laughs) Hyperventilating, or panic attack, right? When you take a big (sound of breathing) and we’re able to do it so silently, we do not even know we’re doing it and we end up with a severe anxiety panic attack. Well with Buteyko’s breathing, you’ll just do the opposite: just take a short breath in, and a big (and you do it lovingly) taking tiny bits of air. When you breathe that way, you stimulate the vagal nerve. When you stimulate the vagal nerve, the vagal nerve stimulates the hypothalamus to make Oxytocin to go into the pituitary gland and into the blood, and our blood has Oxytocin.
Charles: Which Oxytocin just to be clear?
Arlene: Yeah, I’ve had clients confused with that too. I’m glad you asked. (laughs) The Oxytocin is the one that the body makes all by itself.
Charles: And now Oxytocin then is a downstream derivative of the vagal nerve and the parasympathetic system?
Arlene: Well the parasympathetic nervous system triggers it to secrete it. And now, we’ve got Oxytocin in the blood. Now here’s what happens when we have Oxytocin – we trust, we feel loved, we feel close, we feel relaxed, and most importantly it secretes a substance that inhibits adrenaline. So you’re decreasing the adrenaline in your blood.
Charles: Very interesting. That is so interesting.
Arlene: Isn’t that amazing?
Charles: That is amazing! So you then, I mean, I haven’t talked to anybody that shared this before but, we haven’t talked to clients that we share about this protocol. You must do this with clients.
Arlene: Well yeah, it’s the way I work. But I did not pay much attention to the biochemistry of it until I started preparing a talk for you, and I started looking like what’s the chemistry under what I’m trying to do? I’ve been doing this work forever for 30 years, and I sat to prepare this and I said ‘’What’s the common denominator in all of this?’’ People don’t wanna suffer. They don’t wanna be full of anxiety. They don’t wanna be from adrenaline. They don’t want stiff neck, back pains, and shoulder pains from cortisol. They wanna feel good. So I started saying ‘’They come to the office pumped with adrenaline and cortisol.’’
Charles: That is so true.
Arlene: What do they need to feel good? You know when I start doing my research? Do you know that there’s over 200 kinds of therapy and when they study the most effective therapy? Guess what it is.
Charles: What’s that?
Arlene: The relationship with the therapist.
Charles: Oh is that right? (laughs)
Arlene: Yeah. It does not matter what kind of therapy you use. Which in a relationship, guess what they do? They make Oxytocin!
Charles: Isn’t that interesting?
Arlene: Isn’t that amazing? So when I’m talking in a way that people can feel they trust me and they feel that I’m knowledgeable, they start relaxing and they start connecting with me, and they start secreting Oxytocin. Humans trigger Oxytocin in each other.
Charles: Isn’t that amazing?
Arlene: If we know that if you walk into a room and somebody’s really mad and on fire, my heart starts to pound, it’s like ‘Aaaaaaahhhhh’. Right? Well, if you walk into the presence of a guru or whatever, and you go ‘Aaaaahhhh’, and you start secreting Oxytocin.
Charles: So now, apropos with that now, this is interesting. I’m gonna ask you a question now. Obviously I don’t know if you know the answer, and I don’t wanna put you in a spot. But does meditation then – independent of a working relationship – is there any evidence that meditation or yoga encourages the development of active Oxytocin?
Arlene: Well I have a list here and I can kinda just go through it on what does cause Oxytocin. I’m gonna tell you something funny. You know what’s one of the things that causes Oxytocin? If you’re at the gym and you’re working really hard, you get adrenaline and cortisol. And you get your Oxytocin back by sticking your tongue up and putting your face on cold water! (laughs)
Charles: How does that work?
Arlene: So your tongue is in the cold water too!
Charles: Oh really? okay!
Arlene: And you get a good pump of Oxytocin.
Charles: Is that right? I wonder what the guys at the gym would say at the gym if they saw me do this? (laughs) If your partner was a psychiatrist, I mean you know it’s easy anyway, and I’d ask, ‘’What’s your opinion, partner?’’. (laughs)
Arlene: You’re welcome to try it! (laughs)
Charles: We’re gonna have a meeting on Saturday and everybody’s gonna stick their face and tongue out in cold water.
Arlene: The eyes too, but close them first. (laughs)
Charles: It’s so funny. That is amazing. So there’s evidence that it will put the tie backs on the overpump.
Arlene: Right. We’re hardwired for love and connection. Ten minutes of warm contact and that’s just sitting with somebody. If you wanna touch them, you can touch them. If you don’t, you don’t. Just sit with somebody you care about – and they feel cared about. It secretes Oxytocin. It raises the Oxytocin in the blood.
Charles: Well I know some of my skeptical listeners are gonna say ”Hey, it sounds very interesting. But it sounds a little frou frou. I mean is that documented at all, the things you were talking about here?
Arlene: Yeah I got two books on Oxytocin. If you want, I can give you the names of them. One’s called ”Oxytocin” by Paul Stoller, and the other one is called ”The Chemistry of Connection” by Susan Kuchinskas. But I did not keep records of them, I had to look them up. But I found a lot of these on the sites on the internet too when I was doing my research.
Charles: Listeners, these are also gonna be on the show notes, if you wanna go over there. Because I was writing down what she was talking about. You will find them in the show notes.
Arlene: Here’s something else interesting. Oxytocin produces healthy microbes in the gut.
Charles: Oh my gosh!
Arlene: You know we talk about probiotics and we talk about microbes in the gut? Now here’s something even more interesting. These microbes that Oxytocin produced, produce Oxytocin. Look at the circle.
Charles: Oh my gosh!
Arlene: And they disappear in a stressful environment. So get yourself chilled out, do all this work, make the Oxytocin produce microbes, and go out and have a big fight with somebody and you’re getting nowhere fast! (laughs)
Charles: You have no juice! (laughs)
Arlene: Right! (laughs)
Charles: You know what, you’re gonna… I don’t know how much you are involved with the blood, but you would just love the interview. I thinks it’s 033, I’m not sure, with Dr. Bill Miller, on the Hologenomic Evolution of Humankind. He’s a … meta-Darwinism is his shtick, and he’s looking at the fact that we really don’t survive by survival of the fittest. It’s not a kill thing, but it’s a connection and a love thing. It’s on a microbiome level.
Arlene: Wow. I agree. Right. Right.
Charles: You’ll love his conversation. He’s a very funny, very interesting guy. He’s saying the same thing you are.
Arlene: If you get really close to somebody, or kiss somebody, and you have Oxytocin in you, guess what?
Arlene: They get Oxytocin!
Charles: They do?
Charles: That’s very interesting. So let’s pursue what we were talking about. I put you a little bit on the spot, you gave me some good books, I’m gonna write those down – ”Chemistry and Connection” and ”Oxytocin” by Stoller. But let’s take it to the next thing. What are some of the other things because I’m sure I know all of us, I know myself, are now interested in how does one do this? What are some of the other things you were talking about? Obviously, kissing, being close, touching…?
Arlene: Give yourself a hug!
Charles: Now tell me about that? How does that happen?
Arlene: If you just fold your arms, and touch your upper arms, you secrete Oxytocin. I’ll tell you something interesting. I know people who create altars in their house, and they go to this altar when they want to meditate. If you create a spiritual place in your house, you train the brain. And when you walk into that space, you start secreting Oxytocin.
Charles: That’s interesting, right?
Arlene: And what you said about meditating, does meditating secrete Oxytocin? Of course it does! And if you’re meditating in this space, the Oxytocin gets started even before you start to meditate.
Charles: Oh my gosh! That is very, very, interesting! So then, pardon me for getting this very interesting conversation into an application level, but I think it is of interest to myself and the listeners, so do you have a protocol that you work with individuals who are in marital discourse, anxiety or anger, regarding some of the things we were talking about?
Arlene: As I said before, the first thing is they need to trust me and to establish a relationship. In the process of working, that starts the Oxytocin going. But I also teach them there’s a Couples Counseling theorist/researcher, there aren’t too many of them, but his name is John Gottman. He came up with the term ‘bids’, and he did research where he would take people and put them in a hotel room like for a weekend or at least 24 hours, and he would check their blood pressure, their sugar levels. He would video tape them and then study the videos, and then go five years later and see if they’re still together. Guess who won the contest? Who lasted the longest? The people with the ‘bids’. Guess what bids do? They stimulate Oxytocin. And here’s what bids are. You and I are in the kitchen, we’re making breakfast, and I walked by you, and I just touched your back. Or I smile at you. Or I say ”You know what, I really enjoy that you’re in the kitchen with me. I feel so lucky that you and I are sharing and making breakfast together!” These are all bids that are inviting you to respond back to me with a smile or a touch or whatever. Now I’m gonna show you an example of what’s not a bid. You and I are having breakfast and I say to you ”Oh my God! It’s so hot today. The weatherman says it’s gonna be hotter tomorrow.” And you say ”Is the toast done?”
Charles: (laughs) I can see how that can honk a person up, right?
Arlene: Right. I don’t care about the weather. I cared about chatting with you, and I offered you a bid and you turned me down.
Arlene: You turned down enough of my bids, I quit offering them.
Arlene: But you keep responding to my bids, I get Oxytocin and it makes me feel good. I like Oxytocin, I like that good feeling. I’m gonna give you more bids.
Charles: Actually I’m getting long distance Oxytocin just talking to you.
Arlene: (laughs) I was hoping for that!
Charles: Definitely happening right here, right now! In front of everybody, and I’m sure our listeners are feeling the same way. That is wild! That is very, very interesting! Because we intuitively know, Arlene, that what your saying is exactly true.
Arlene: Right. That’s why I did the research. Right. You know we feel it.
Charles: Yeah. You got the research to back it up, but this is something we intuitively know when a relationship is going sour and when it is really working.
Charles: That is very, very interesting. So…
Arlene: But see if you have the concept of, you know, we do it intuitively. But if you have the concept of bids, and you’re having a little bit of stress with your wife, you’re gonna go into the kitchen and say to yourself ‘’I’m gonna offer bids!’’
Charles: Bingo! Now what does the acronym stand for B.I.D.S.?
Arlene: There’s no acronym. It’s a ‘bid’. You know, like, offering something.
Charles: I got you. Yeah. It’s like you’re bidding on the price.
Arlene: Right. I’m offering myself to you.
Charles: Very interesting.
Arlene: Now I got another piece. There’s a fellow by the name of Dr. Dan Segal, and Dan Segal is turning disciplining children upside down. And he says what children need (and I am going to add ‘us’ big people need it too), we need to be seen, we need to feel safe, we need to be soothed, and we need to feel secure. When we have all of that, it creates the secure attachment, and with secure attachments, the body secretes Oxytocin. Now what does that mean to be seen? My son comes home from school and he cries that Johnny is calling him names. If I say, ‘’There’s no big deal. Come on, all he did was just call you names. He didn’t hate you.’’ You’re not seen. But if I say ‘’You know what, that must have been embarrassing to you and humiliating to you that he was calling you these names in front of everybody and you didn’t know what to do. I am so sorry that happened.’’ He feels seen, and he’s not so alone. And then I offer him a safe place where he can tell me more about what just happened and I’m not gonna judge him. I’m not gonna say ‘’You’re a big cry baby! You make a big deal out of nothing.’’ I’m gonna say to him ‘’You know you can tell me more about that, I wanna hear it. I can see how you’re hurting and how upset you are. And I want you to feel safe to say anything you need to say about it.’’ Now he’s like crying a little bit, I remember my son must have been about 7 or 8 and he was hurting for something, and he started to cry, and he was crying, and crying, and crying, and crying. And I said, ‘’Jeffrey, are you done crying?’’ and he went ‘’Not yet!’’ and he cried some more (laughs), and I gave him the safe space to finish. And you soothe, and you say ‘’I am so sorry that happened. Can I hold you? What can I do to make you feel better?’’ And then you make him feel secure. ‘’You can come to me anytime something like that happens, and I’ll be here for you.’’
Charles: I just felt a long distance hug right there and I know a lot of our listeners did too. That really is soothing. I hope I can take one for the road. That is so true!
Arlene: That is the brilliance of Dan Segal and I tell you, when I use that with my clients, they cry. They cry because somehow, just what you’ve said before, what we know about Oxytocin but we don’t really know, we knew that this is what we need. But we could not conceptualize it. We needed Dan Segal to do that for us. But when he does it, it’s like ‘’Oh my God! If only my mother would have done that for me.’’
Charles: I mean we think of the people and the pain we’ve seen so much in our lives working with individuals who are suffering, and how simple it would have been if somebody would have just taken a less critical and more supportive role in their development and their growth process.
Arlene: Exactly. And you’ll see when you respond like this, and I use the same paradigm for couples. I don’t have to tell you about neuroplasticity – you are rewiring the brain from facing an incident that you’re gonna keep calling each other names and putting each other down, to having the same situation where we have the skills to create a secure attachment, because that’s all we really want from our partner – the secure attachment. I need to feel securely attached to you because I’m biologically programmed to attach, and if I can’t get a secure attachment, I give an anxious attachment, an insecure attachment, and I gotta call a therapist. Or take meds.
Charles: (laughs) Right. Oh, gosh, isn’t that so true?
Arlene: I can share with you a story about one of my clients. Their son is home with them and gets a text like 12 o’ clock at night, that his friend is at a rock concert and he’s thinking of committing suicide. But you know kids today, it’s like a big problem, and this fellow was terrified. And he’s told his parents, well his parents are my clients, so his parents could speak to him in a way that they could address how scared he was. What it was like for him to get that phone call, and they could be vulnerable enough to say to him ‘’We don’t know what to do. Let’s call Arlene.’’ They came in for a session, and while this teenage boy is so scared in telling his story, his mom is not telling him ‘’You should do this!’’, ‘’You should not have done this!’’, ‘’Why did you hang out with this kid?’’. She did not do that. She just sat there and supported him with her tears. She was vulnerable and open and just cried and put her arm around him. His dad did not cry but you could see tiny tears leaking out like he was distraught too, and both of them made it clear to this young man without saying a word ‘’You are seen, and you are in a safe place, and I’m here with you.’’ And this young man who came in terrified, well you could see the Oxytocin starting to come into his face and you could see him starting to let go and relax, and I could start with him.
Charles: You started to see that – what was he gonna do?
Arlene: You know, I don’t have to tell you the first thing you do is you say to him ‘’I’m calling 911.’’ Right? ‘’If you’re gonna kill yourself, you don’t have to do it on my time.’’ (laughs)
Charles: Right. Right. That’s beautiful. You know. That is beautiful, it’s evocative, and immensely helpful to people. I’m appreciating this because there’s a connection there. There’s a connection as we talk about this, human beings talking about this over Skype through from, you know, hundreds of miles away, but wherever they are, we have people listening to this conversation in China, so I know they’re feeling this way because this is the human condition.
Charles: This is the way we, as human beings, really actually get along with each other as opposed to having serious conflicts.
Arlene: Exactly! We’re hardwired for attachment. We are hardwired for Oxytocin and attachment. The adrenaline and cortisol is just like the tiger is trying to get you, or another tribe is gonna come and make trouble, otherwise, the tribe is hardwired for love, for appreciation. That’s how the spot is made.
Charles: You know it’s interesting because just, pardon me for getting a little technical on it, but as you say this, I’m just reminded of that conversation with Bill, because he says ‘’This is going on on a microbial level.’’ This is the actual thing that happened in the evolution of the whole humankind, is based on these communication, love and positive communication networks on a microbial level.
Charles: The whole brain level. But he says “Your whole genome, this is all of what you are, including the bugs in you, and your own brain cells, and everything of your whole genome is looking for a communication process, an effective communication process, with others on the same path.
Arlene: Exactly. I was just reading that when we started to attach as social animals, we started spreading diseases, so the body needed to develop an immune system to protect us from the other person’s diseases. So the immune system got all tied up with socialization, and remember I said earlier, ‘’People spread Oxytocin and we create healthy bacteria from Oxytocin, and then the bacteria create Oxytocin, and we’ve got it all tied together.
Charles: Well that is all interesting because what Dr. Miller said he discovered that people were having specific vulnerabilities, regarding their immunity system not working based on certain personality traits, which is what you were saying – you just got a little precise about it. And it’s what got him interested in this whole underlying communication process.
Arlene: Well if you have time, I’ll tell you one more story.
Charles: Please do!
Arlene: I run therapy groups, and I had somebody come into my group who has a degenerative disease in the spine. She’s got arthritis, she’s full of pain, and she’s sitting in the group, and the group is going on and she doesn’t talk. But she’s talkative. So I said to her ‘’What’s happening that you’re not talking?’’. She said ‘’I”m in so much pain, I’m so mad at my pain, I am just so wrapped up and hollering at my pain, and I’m sick of it, and how long is this gonna go on and when is it gonna go away?’’ And I said to her, when you’re mad at your pain, you produce adrenaline and cortisol, and it makes your pain worse. I want you to sit in your pain, and the group is gonna hold your pain for you. So the group is sitting with her, connecting with her, with loving kindness, tenderness and caring, and I’m telling her to use the Buteyko breathing, and the whole group breathes with her while they hold her pain. We’re like psychically holding her. We’re all just really caring about her. So we were doing the breathing together and I’m telling her ‘’What you need to do is accept your pain.’’ and this work is coming from Acceptance Commitment Therapy from Steven Hayes. Just focus on the breath, let the pain be there, and make it okay to have the pain. And change your focus from the pain to the breath, and when the breath comes in, breathe the breath in with loving kindness and gentleness. And when you breathe out, gently breathe out the pain. Well you know Chuck? Right before our eyes, she said ‘’I don’t have so much pain!’’ She had color in her face, and she participated in the rest of the group. I mean, we were astounded!’’
Charles: That’s amazing! Yeah, it is amazing.
Arlene: I know.
Charles: That’s why I asked you about the particulars. I anticipated that it was gonna be a good outcome, but I was trying to see what actually happened with you.
Arlene: Right. How I work with it. Right.
Arlene: And I’ll tell you, when I’m doing the work, I don’t know if it’s gonna work! I’m gonna be embarrassed in front of 8 people who are full of pain! (laughs)
Charles: I know the feeling. I’ve been there so many times.
Arlene: We were just like ‘’Oh my God! Look what we gave her!’’
Charles: Thanks for sharing that. That is such a beautiful image of evolution and healing.
Arlene: And I have one more short story, and that’s Jeffrey Schwartz when he said that ‘’You’re not your brain’’? Well I go to this restaurant and I have this nice meal, and I’m done with the meal. Well what did the waiter do? He brings in this tray of unbelievable desserts, and my brain says ‘’I’ll have one of those!’’ I’ll have the cheesecake with strawberry smothering it. I take my watcher out, my higher self, and say ‘’You know what, if you order that cheesecake, you’re gonna pack on the pounds. You don’t need all of that sugar.’’ So I said (and this is straight from Jeffrey Schwartz) ‘’Thank you brain! For coming up with this wonderful idea to eat the cheesecake!’’, and I can accept that my brain wanted it, but my higher self said ‘’No.’’
Charles: Yeah, that’s a gratitude there! So you were stroking your brain a little bit. So it’s okay.
Arlene: Right. And I teach this. I teach my clients that this is from Jeffrey Schwartz. I have these little business cards and they say ‘’Thank you brain!’’, and I give it to them. So when the brain comes up with all these stupid ideas, I say ‘’Thank you, brain!’’ (laughs)
Charles: (laughs) That is an interesting insert of decontamination of cognitive function. Getting down to the principle of essential communication beyond cognition.
Arlene: There you go!
Charles: It’s amazing.
Arlene: So I guess in summary, you can change your blood flow in the brain, you can change your hormones with a fuss, with a change in behavior, a change in your language, a change in the way you think.
Charles: Well everybody, we all have a tremendous set of homework assignments because we all have to relearn or recognize things we intuitively already know, but we do need to think about this more deeply. It’s just an amazing conversation and it is very helpful and very useful.
Arlene: And I’m hoping Chuck, that we are all getting a dose of Oxytocin from this interview!
Charles: I hope so too! I know I am. I’ve said it a couple of times because you’re so intuitively on that communication process. It makes it easier to listen for all of us and to connect with the mission that you have – that we really do love one another and that we connect in our lives more effectively and more intimately.
Arlene: Thank you.
Charles: So with that, is there anything else to say? (laughs)
Arlene: Man, I think that’s it! (laughs)
Charles: It’s just so much fun talking to you again Arlene, and I love talking to you girl. You’re such a wonderful conversation.
Arlene: Thank you.
Charles: We’ll talk to you again some time because there’s always another wrinkle about this material and I just really appreciate you taking time in such a delightful conversation.
Arlene: Well it was a joy in doing this research. It was so much fun to learn all of this and it made my work more effective and to share it with you and our guests.
Charles: Thank you so much Arlene. You have a pleasant evening!
Outro: Thanks for listening to CoreBrain Journal. We are working everyday behind the scenes to bring you reports that connect research benches with those street trenches. Here we share the complexity of mind science because as you know, details really do matter. One of the most pervasive misunderstood challenges is how commonplace medications, like those written for ADHD, are used so regularly without clear guidelines. If you think you’d like more specifics, take a minute to download my two-page pdf packed with video links and references on the absolute essentials of how to start ADHD medications. They’re easily available at CoreBrainJournal.com/Start. Thanks for listening, do connect and stay tuned. Together we can make a difference!
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