Neuropsychological Processing and Experience Processing Therapy (EPT) offer a way of understanding and treating problems of the mind that is quite different to mainstream thinking. In today’s world it is almost universally understood that problems like depression are mental ‘illnesses’, or brain diseases, which are too complex to be truly understood. It is therefore assumed that they cannot be fully healed and that they must be carefully managed over the lifetime using psychiatric medications, thought/mood management techniques learned in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or continuing psychotherapy.
The EPT approach can eliminate most Depressions and Anxiety Disorders entirely within 4 – 10 sessions
Over the last 20 years of working in Clinical Psychology, and through experiences in my own life, I came to realise that most mental health problems, like Depression and Anxiety, originate in traumatic and painful life experiences that occurred in the past, usually, but not always, in childhood. This is not widely known because we tend to forget painful things as we get older, or we avoid thinking about them for so long that they get forgotten and buried. When we develop problems as adults it is hard to believe that these problems could have anything to do with things that happened so long ago. It is far easier to believe in unexplained and spontaneous biochemical imbalances or faulty wiring in the brain, particularly if the experts tell us so.
Research tells us that between 70% and 90% of people presenting with mental health problems experienced trauma or emotionally painful events, particularly in childhood, such as parental separations, violence in the home, exposure to death, parents with mental health problems, neglect, sexual, physical or emotional abuse and so on. Researchers tend to look for those obvious things, but if they looked beyond the obvious that number would rise to almost 100%. Children can be ‘traumatised’ by things that an adult would barely notice. A life of depression, anxiety or addiction can begin with small events like toileting accidents, a fight in the school yard, rejection by our young peers or attending a funeral.
When events like these are ‘traumatising’ it means that the thoughts and emotions that the child experienced during these events become ‘locked in’. This means that the brain was unable to make sense of what was happening and couldn’t discharge the painful emotions and ideas that were experienced. These locked in thoughts and feelings stay with us and affect how we see things and feel things in the present, long after they happened. When you see mental health problems clearly it is common to notice the thoughts and emotions of a child mixed in with those of the adult. Think of a grown man running from a room at the sight of a 10 gram mouse, or someone washing her hands 40 times each day because of a child’s idea about germs. People experiencing depression usually feel a ‘locked in’ shame or guilt, or sadness or anger, and sometimes a mix of these emotions, that began when they were children or young teenagers. These emotions are associated with beliefs about dreadful character flaws and personality defects. Anxiety disorders are usually caused by ‘locked in’ fear and fearful ideas.
A mix of thoughts and emotions from a single event can make it appear as if a person has more than one disorder. And when one event gets locked in it is likely that further painful events will be traumatising in the future. This is why Depression seems to take so many different forms and presents so differently from person to person. Different psychological disorders frequently appear together simply because they are different expressions of the same problem. That problem is “painful emotional experience that the brain was unable to process”, and it is not difficult to treat in the great majority of cases.
Knowing what a disorder is, and knowing what causes it, makes it much easier to treat and eliminate entirely.
Experience Processing Therapy is a way of bringing the painful things of the past to the surface, to bring them to mind, to allow the adult brain to look at them properly, to understand them, to process them, and remove the painful thoughts and emotions from them, to transform them into harmless memories.
The goal of EPT is not to manage mental health problems in a better way. The goal is to eliminate them completely.
Click on the link below for a detailed description of the Neuropsychological Processing model. This paper was written as an introduction for professional therapists and anyone with an academic interest in new directions in the field of mind and mind dysfunction. I will publish a layman’s guide shortly.
A New Paradigm of Mind-Brain Functioning, Mental Disorders & Psychological Wellbeing:
A Brief Introduction for Mental Health Professionals