Tonight I am feeling just a tad sorry for myself. Last night our good friends brought round a lovely Thai supper but unfortunately I have lost my sense of taste, apparently a common side effect of chemo. My imagination yearns for delicious foods so I prepare myself treats like banana splits and pancakes with maple syrup but alas I am disappointed.
Last night I wanted a cold fosters and packet of cheese and onion crisps but it really wasn’t worth it as it as I could hardly taste a thing other than cardboard. So I am putting a call out for fizzy sweets, if anyone happens to be passing Hinxworth with such a delight. Cold foods like ice cream, milk shakes and sweet and sweet sour fizzy sweets I think may be the answer?
Self pity over, let’s move on to more exciting stuff, so please allow me to introduce……. The BrainBox.
The BrainBox is an innovative resource designed to show what is happening inside the brain when we become highly emotionally aroused. Having worked therapeutically with both children and adults I recognised the need for a tool that could be used to explain irrational behavioral responses.
Using the computer as a contemporary metaphor, the BrainBox encourages adults & children to seek help from therapists and mental health professionals in the same way they would seek expert advice to sort out a computer problem. If we imagine the brain as being the most complex of computers, like a computer, it is bound to slow down or even crash at times.
Based on neurologist Paul MacLean’s, “Triune Brain Theory” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triune_brain the BrainBox represents the three brains that co-inhabit the human skull. These three brains pass information backwards & forwards through numerous neuron-pathways directly influencing each other. This interplay of memory and emotion, thought and action is the foundation of a person’s individuality. The triune brain theory leads to a better understanding of the survival instincts such as the fight or flight response and its ability to override the more rational neocortex.
The resource has been used successfully with both adults and children for over five years now and has been well evaluated by therapists, educational psychologists, teachers and school nurses. It has won a national award for innovation and I can honestly say it is the resource that I am most proud of.
The BrainBox uses three recycled computer components to represent the three brains. It clearly demonstrates how the emotional brain (limbic system) disconnects from the thinking brain (neocortex) at times of high emotional arousal. Each part is there for you to use as a way of opening up a dialogue with a class, small group or an individual. It is a way of relating today’s technology to the workings of the human brain. Once understanding about the working of the brain, in particular the fight or flight mechanism, has been achieved, remarkable progress can be made. It helps the client take control and provides an opportunity to explore ways to quickly reconnect to the thinking brain.
I believe the BrainBox works because of its simplicity. It is always a privilege to see the realisation and relief on many of my client’s faces as it all seems to drop into place for them and they start to feel empowered to do something about their particular issues. Following on from the explanations about the brain, the BrainBox provides the opportunity to share three different ways to re-connect the thinking part of the brain.
1) Vigorous exercise (although I usually tend to skip past this one)
2) Breathing – Using relaxing breathing techniques slows down the para-sympathetic nervous system letting the brain believe danger has been removed and allowing it to re-connect to the thinking clever parts.
3) And most powerful of all is visualisation. Using your own powerful resource, the imagination, can take you to places and times when you felt calm and relaxed. This in turn will slow down you’re breathing and again allow the brain to believe it is in a safe place. Once the thinking clever brain is reconnected it becomes easier to rationally sort out your problems.
I hope that gives you a taste of what its all about but it makes much more sense when you see it in practice. Follow these links to the BrainBox website and a few published articles to find out a little more. http://www.thebrainbox.org.uk http://www.articlesbyevemenezescunningham.co.uk/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/rapportbrainbox.pdf
Unfortunately Colin and I made only about 100 BrainBoxes in our back room and they have all gone. We need to find an investor to further develop and produce more. We just can’t invest anymore of our own money into the product. This is such a shame knowing how well it works. I know lots of people have suggested the Dragons Den, but this isn’t a moneymaking business it is just a tool that I know can and does make a big difference.