Effective Intervention

11 January 2015

The neuropsychological circuitry created in the earlier phase of the nurture period is non-verbal and implicit. Implicit memory, in the context of neurophysiology, denotes memory that is beyond the limits of detailed cognitive recall (referred to as Infantile Amnesia by Freud).The other component of implicit memory is procedural memory which refers to the development of complex and unconscious motor function. Conversely, verbal-cognitive memory is referred to as explicit or declarative and may be recalled and reviewed through a direct, verbal-based cognitive approach. The probable reason for the delay in declarative memory is due to the slower maturation of the hippocampus, the region supportive of this function. Full maturation of the hippocampus usually occurs by 2 - 3 years following birth. Emotional memory mediated by the amygdala on the other hand, is fully functional at birth.

Another form of memory which can be included in the implicit category is the association of sensed body regions (somatic or visceral) which were active at the time of a pre-verbal event. The emotion of the event becomes anchored to the associated body region. In this way, later symptoms in that region may reflect a deep-seated, associated emotional connection.

Accessing non-verbal neuro-circuitry is challenging in that the effectiveness of a cognitive-verbal approach depends on associative links with the implicit circuitry. The more effective way of accessing the implicit information is to connect with feelings or emotional cues, including possible emotional associations reflected in somatic and/or visceral symptoms. Therefore when formulating a personal mission statement in order to enhance meaning, purpose, personal gratification and self-esteem, it becomes imperative to include verbal together with non-verbal strategies. Thus the coaching modality would need to include a template which incorporates the feelings/emotions associated with sensory pleasure, self-esteem, reward and purposefulness.

The prevailing belief regarding coaching and psychotherapy is that coaching is the intervention of choice insofar as personal strategies are concerned. Although ‘personal strategies’ usually includes the personal space, the emphasis has been more on career and career paths. Psychotherapy on the other hand is regarded as the appropriate intervention when a more deep-seated emotional, behavioural or personality pathology exists. The problem that arises as a consequence of this demarcation is that career-based challenges which are traditionally managed by coaching interventions often reflect a deep-seated, non-verbal pathology. This fundamental problem, which gives rise to non-resourceful core beliefs, needs to be addressed appropriately in order for the coaching intervention to be more effective and sustaining.

It becomes obvious therefore that the prevailing demarcation between the interventions of traditional psychotherapy and that of the coaching modality is unproductive and possibly damaging. For the coaching modality to be comprehensive and sustaining it would need to incorporate an understanding of fundamental neuropsychology together with strategies designed to interface appropriately with core integration levels.


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