Published on October 5, 2012
Bridging the Rational-Emotional Gap ~A Whole Brain Approach to Client Development ~ Presented by Anne Dranitsaris, Ph.D. & Heather Dranitsaris-Hilliard Creators, Striving Styles Personality System
Objectives• To help participants understand: – what the Rational-Emotional Gap is – why the Rational-Emotional Gap is is important to practitioners – what causes it – what impact it has on personality and personality disorders – what we can do about it, using a brain-based approach to development
Importance to Practitioners• We know that psychotherapy, coaching and other developmental approaches work• Until recently, it wasn’t clear what physical impact we were having• Neuroscientific research has helped us understand what actually happens neurologically when we work with clients
Importance to Practitioners• Focus of approaches is not often on brain development• Process described as “peeling the onion” or “letting the client unfold”• Excessive focus on emotions can cause clients to keep bringing the past into the present• Excessive focus on rational can cause clients to stay disconnected from own experiences
Discovery of the Gap• During the past 6 years, we discovered that there is a neurological gap that can exist between the rational and emotional brains• This gap causes clients to: – not build self-awareness despite ongoing therapy or coaching – continue using self-destructive patterns of behavior – use emotional reasoning; indulge emotions; get in the way of their own development – fail to achieve their potential
Bridging the Gap• We have developed a clear roadmap for integrating and developing brain function• Combining the geography of the brain with neuroscience, we can see how personality disorders and dysfunctional behavior evolve from normal brain organization• Striving Styles Personality System (SSPS) provides both a map of the client’s brain and a roadmap for development
Importance to Practitioners• The SSPS allows you to: – connect normal brain function with dysfunctional behavior & personality disorders – look at client symptoms in terms of what part of the brain they are functioning (or malfunctioning) from – explore what psychological needs aren’t being met – know what needs to develop
Importance to Practitioners• The SSPS allows you to: – fast track your understanding of clients brain functions and how they are currently using them – provide a developmental model for directing conversations – predict self-protective strategies & disorders – engage clients in their own development – develop neural pathways between the rational-emotional brains
What is the Rational-Emotional Gap? 3 Brains Brain Development
What is the R-E Gap?• First step is to understand how the brain physiology of the R-E Gap – what causes it – what you can do to close the gap – how to help your clients close the gap by understanding how their brain is wired and changing existing habits of mind
Rational-Emotional Brain Defined• We have three brains
Triune Brain Instinctual Emotional Rational Brain Brain BrainR Limbic System Neocortex • Cooperation, • Planning, bonding objectivity • Emotional • Interpretation and memory, valence control • Empathy, appetite • Problem solving
Brain Development• Our brains develop from the brainstem up – the brainstem (instinctual brain) is almost fully functional at birth – the emotional brain is slower to develop and mature but has preexisting connections to the instinctual brain
Self-Protective System• Instinctual and emotional brains are called the Self- Protective System• The goal of the SP System is to ensure our physical and emotional survival• Protects us from experiences that cause us pain or suffering• Naturally occuring GAP between the emotional and rational brains
How Our Brain Develops• At birth, the rational brain has limited neural pathways connecting it to the emotional and instinctual brains – it is the last to develop – it is the last to receive communications from the other brains• Over time, connections from our emotional to our rational brain strengthen through experience
Self-Actualizing System• When the three brains connect into one cohesive system is called the Self-Actualizing (SA) System• It allows us to direct our energy towards meeting our needs, our goals, and our potential• We are able to manage our impulses, delay gratification and make decisions that help us move toward desired outcomes
Self-Actualizing System• When we use our Self-Actualizing System we: – think objectively – manage behavior, urges, emotions, and thought – don’t just act on emotions and impulses• Allows us to be in the driver’s seat, directing our behavior and our lives
What Causes the R-E Gap?• Neural connections between our rational and emotional brains are not automatic• Development of the SA System can be stalled by: – early conditioning (failures in bonding, excessive adaptation, etc.) – environmental conditions – nutritional deficiencies, illness
What Causes the R-E Gap? • Rational brain adopts a “control” or “policing” role over emotions and instincts • Results in the rational brain not developing connections to the emotional/instinctual brain • Live from our Self-Protective System
Closing the Rational-EmotionalGap Requires an understanding of: •Functions of the Brain •Striving Styles •Innate Psychological Needs
Closing the R-E Gap• Until now, little has been done to connect anatomy, physiology, and psychology• Now looking at the brain’s functions in personality from a neuropsychological perspective• Understanding how the brain functions and the mechanics of the mind allows us to help clients close the R-E gap
Striving Styles Personality System• Incorporates neuro scientific advances and integrates learnings from Jung’s psychological type theory, Hermann Thinking Styles and Emotional Intelligence – to name a few• SSPS sees behavioral preferences as a part of the whole human experience - needs, fears, emotions, conditioning• SSPS focuses on development of the self – that which builds self- awareness and learns emotional self-management
Striving Styles Personality System• Teaches people to develop emotional self-awareness, delay gratification, build tolerance to frustration• Provides an understanding of personality structure, needs and behavior, and impact of conditioning• Includes a comprehensive, step-by- step developmental roadmap and framework for re-patterning the brain
Striving Styles Personality System• Four distinct functional areas of the brain: – left and right hemisphere, – within each hemisphere, an emotional brain and a rational brain quadrant• Each quadrant is specialized to perform specific tasks very efficiently• Functions operate in the external or internal environment
Striving Styles Personality System • Eight distinct Striving Styles – 2 for each function, 1 focused inward and 1 outward • Each Style has predominant psychological need that must be met • Based on location in brain, has unique talents and abilities to get its need met
Striving Styles Foundations • Four styles on Squad designed to work together • To self-actualize, must use your brain as a whole leveraging all of the Squad • Key is to not use members of the Squad for roles they were not designed to perform
Striving Styles Personality System• Self emerges through the four quadrants of the brain• We can mistake the function for who we are• Limits our growth and development• Personality disorders arise from living exclusively from the predominant quadrant of the brain, in the self-protective system
Striving Styles – Continuum ofFunction to Dysfunction Functional Specialization of Brain Quadrants Normal, Functional, Self-Protective and Disordered Behavior of each of the Striving Styles
Continuum of Behavior• Behavior and behavioral patterns occur along a continuum – Normal behavior (mature function) – Self-protective behavior – Disordered behavior• When we understand each function and Style, we can easily assess where a client falls along the continuum and how to approach treatment
Functions - Left Rational Brain• Function of this quadrant is to: – create an ideology for the way the world must be and make sure everything conforms – decide what something (or someone) is, where it belongs, Leader what its usefulness is – plan, sort and organize experiences – form our self-concept Intellectual
Striving Styles in the Function Define the world as a Leader – Need to be In ControlDefining -LOGICREASONPLANNINGORGANIZINGUpper left quadrant ofthe Rational/ CerebralBrain with an externalfocus
The Self-Protective Leader• Believe their way is the right way and demand conformity from others• Criticize or devalue others; lack empathy; see emotion as weakness• Competitive, aggressive and argumentative; talk over people; fail to listen to other viewpoints• Impatient and impulsive• Overpower, intimidate or have emotional outbursts to get own way
Main Disorder of the Leader• Characterized by self-centeredness Narcissistic• Exaggerate their achievements, Personality expecting others to recognize them as Disorder being superior• Tend to be choosy about picking friends, since they believe that not just anyone is worthy of being their friend• Generally uninterested in the feelings of others and may take advantage of them
Striving Styles in the FunctionDefine the world as an Intellectual – Need to be KnowledgeableDefining -LOGICREASONPLANNINGORGANIZINGUpper left quadrant ofthe Rational/ Cerebralbrain with an internalfocus
The Self-Protective Intellectual• Avoid emotional interactions; come across as aloof, cold and unfeeling• Solitary and self-contained; lack empathy• Withdraw inside themselves during activities rather than participating• Rebellious and oppositional towards limits imposed by other• Focus only on the things that are important to them; resent the demands of others
Main Disorder of the Intellectual• Avoid relationships; do not show much Schizoid emotion Personality• Genuinely prefer to be alone and do not Disorder secretly wish for popularity• Tend to seek jobs that require little social contact• Social skills are often weak; do not show a need for attention or acceptance• Perceived as humorless and distant and often are termed "loners"
Function of the Right Rational Brain• Function of this quadrant is to: – imagine, conceptualize and synthesize information and experiences – create a vision for the future Performer – to “know” without “knowing why” – create our “self-image” Visionary
Striving Styles in the FunctionInterpret the world as a Performer – Need to be RecognizedUnderstanding –FORESIGHTINSIGHTCONCEPTUALINGSYNTHESIZINGUpper right quadrantof the Rational/Cerebral Brain withan external focus
The Self-Protective Performer• Want to be admired by others; engage in attention-seeking behavior• Are convinced of their “specialness”• Do things to get the approval of others• Lack intimacy in relationships; see others as “objects” to meet their own needs; disregard others’ feelings• Create drama; disrupt order and stability to make things interesting
Main Disorder of the Performer• Constant attention seekers; exhibitionistic Histrionic Personality• Always need to be the center of attention; interrupt others to dominate the conversation Disorder• May dress provocatively or exaggerate illnesses in order to gain attention• Tend to exaggerate friendships and relationships, believe relationships are more intimate than they actually are• Excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval
Striving Styles in the FunctionInterpret the world as a Visionary – Need to be PerceptiveUnderstanding –FORESIGHTINSIGHTCONCEPTUALINGSYNTHESIZINGUpper right quadrant of the Rational/Cerebral Brain with aninternal focus
The Self-Protective Visionary• Keep themselves at a distance in relationships; appear to others as removed, arrogant or disinterested• Spend too much time alone; speculate on the hidden meanings behind events, conversations, etc• Pick fights, make accusations based on speculation; push others’ away or isolate themselves• Live in their head; don’t share what is going on inside• Make up stories laced with suspicion and intrigue about others motives; don’t check reality of situation
Main Disorder of the Visionary• Pervasive pattern of social inhibition Avoidant Personality• Feelings of inadequacy, and extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation Disorder• Consider themselves to be socially inept or personally unappealing• Avoid social interaction for fear of being ridiculed or humiliated• Hypersensitivity to rejection/criticism
Function of the Right Emotional Brain• Function of this quadrant is to: – relate and bond to others – evaluate experiences – produce emotions Socializer – store and recall negative emotional memories Artist
Striving Styles in the Function Bond/relate to others as a Socializer – Need to be ConnectedRelating –HOLISTICRELATIONCALVALUINGHARMONIZINGLower right quadrant ofthe Emotional/ LimbicBrain with an externalfocus
The Self-Protective Socializer• Expect conformity and enforce their social rules; exclude or punish others who don`t conform• Idealize others with more social status; disregard others who they believe are beneath them• Manipulate others using shame or guilt to get own way• Martyr themselves; complain about how others take advantage of them• Judge or criticize others; create social rifts and take sides; take people’s behavior personally
Main Disorder of the Socializer• Mood instability and poor self-image Borderline Personality• Switch between idealizing and Disorder demonizing others (absolute good/love vs. absolute evil/hate with no "grey area")• Behavior can undermine relationships with family, friends, and co-workers• Harm themselves, suicidal threats and actions
Striving Styles in the Function Bond/relate to others as an Artist – Need to be CreativeRelating –HOLISTICRELATIONCALVALUINGHARMONIZINGLower right quadrantof the Emotional/Limbic Brain with an internal focus
The Self-Protective Artist• Overly self-conscious, indulge their emotions and spend time alone ruminating about them; are self-absorbed• Create anxiety; tell themselves stories about peoples negative intentions that arent connected to reality• Self-critical; sensitive to criticism; low self-esteem; see themselves as irreparably flawed, inadequate & inferior• Take everything personally; suspicious of motives of others• Hold grudges; distance themselves over perceived slights and woundings
Main Disorder of the Artist• Characterized by a distrust of others and a constant suspicion that people around Paranoid the have sinister motives Personality• Search for hidden meanings in Disorder everything; read hostile intentions into others’ actions• Quick to challenge the loyalties of friends and loved ones• Often appear cold and distant; shift blame to others and tend to carry long grudges
Function of the Left Emotional Brain• Function of this quadrant is to: – experience physical sensations – repeat experiences to recreate known sensations Adventurer – repeat and reproduce activities in specific sequence and order – seek and experience positive or negative emotions Stabilizer
Striving Styles in the FunctionExperience the world as an Adventurer – Need to be SpontaneousExperiencing –PRECISEMECHANICALSEQUENCINGFOLLOWINGLower left quadrantof the Emotional/Limbic Brain with an external focus
The Self-Protective Adventurer• Avoid routine and mundane tasks; don’t tolerate interpersonal conflict• Act impulsively or rebelliously; consider only what feels good to them• Don’t recognize boundaries or limits; can work or play to exhaustion• Act recklessly, take unnecessary risks without considering the impact• Avoid, disregard or ignore consequences
Main Disorder of the Adventurer• Characterized by a lack of conscience; Antisocial irresponsible, careless with money; act Personality without thinking about consequences Disorder• Often aggressive and are much more concerned with their own needs than the needs of others• Blame others for their behavior; prone to criminal behavior• Incapacity to experience guilt or to learn from experience, particularly punishment
Striving Styles in the Function Experience the world as a Stabilizer – Need to be SecureExperiencing –PRECISEMECHANICALSEQUENCINGFOLLOWINGLower left quadrantof the Emotional/Limbic Brain with an internal focus
The Self-Protective Stabilizer• Resist change and trying new things; stick with familiar behaviors, situations and people• Plan obsessively; must know what is going to happen next before taking action• Excessive focus on the importance of what they are doing; unable to tolerate interruptions• Immovable; rigidity and passive aggressive behavior• “Catastrophize”;, act like fearful thoughts are reality
Main Disorder of the Stabilizer• Pervasive pattern of preoccupation with Obsessive orderliness, and mental and Compulsive interpersonal control at the expense of Personality flexibility Disorder• Rigid conformity to rules and procedures, and excessive orderliness• Chronic non-adaptive pattern of extreme perfectionism, preoccupation with neatness and detail• Feel anxious when they perceive that things arent "right"
Closing the R-E Gap From Disorder to Order A Whole Brain Approach to Client Development
From Disorder to Order• Often we begin our work with clients: – Getting to know their personality – Presenting symptoms – Dysfunctional patterns of behavior or relating• Using the Striving Styles, we can start with order – how the clients brain is organized and what function is being used to the exclusion of the self and the other functions of the brain
From Disorder to Order• The Striving Styles Personality System addresses how to close the R-E Gap by understanding: – psychological needs that must be met – the role of emotions in driving behavior – how the brain develops through functional integration and rewiring of neural pathways
From Disorder to Order• Helping a client strengthen their SA System requires: – Activities that build neural connections to close the R- E Gap – Know and meet psychological needs on a regular basis – Use their whole brain to integrate its functions – Recognize when they are acting from their SP System and make the shift
From Disorder to Order• The development of our brain is dependent on activities – the more active the brain is, the stronger and thicker neural pathways become – those that are not used or are inactive will be pruned so that others are able to be used more efficiently. – "Cells that fire together, wire together."• This onlys occur a systematic and sustained approach to exercising of the brain
SSPS Developmental Framework• Three key elements: – SSPS Developmental Roadmap – 5 Building Blocks for Achieving Potential – SSPS Developmental Workbook
SSPS Developmental Framework• SSPS’ Developmental Framework for Achieving Potential is based on the principles of brain development leading to integrated whole brain functioning plus increasing emotional and social intelligence• It is a model that can be used by individuals as well as a wide range of practitioners to support client development• Expedites the awareness of how to develop and use the brain and emotions to engage with life and to fulfill potential
SSPS Developmental Framework• Sustained, systematic approach – Biologically based• Need to re-wire the brain – Emotional Brain (Limbic System) to the Rational Brain (Prefrontal Cortex)• Emotional, experiential learning
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