A Cathartic Therapeutic Moment

28 April 2016

Strange how often a relatively innocuous event triggers a cathartic moment. Yes, one can rationalize it by identifying the mind state, the people, the circumstances, even that vulnerable period along one's life-line that prevailed at that time. But whatever the cause, the awe of the moment still takes one's breath away. And so it was at the end of a hectic session of counselling a patient with a brain tumor, that I was smitten! We spontaneously hugged, neurosurgeon and patient. More was communicated in that fleeting moment than what could have been said in a thousand words. For in that timeless space there was a connection which incorporated sensitivity, trust, empathy and commitment to a value contribution based on the full spectrum of my expertise. In essence a transcendence to genuine authenticity - I acknowledge you as a fellow human being, suffering from an affliction and for whom I will apply all that I am and all that I know to rid you of that suffering or at least, to lessen it. And in that space all components of secondary gain evaporate - monetary reward, stroking the narcissistic nerve endings and the like.

The event immediately triggered so many seemingly unassociated thoughts and feelings, all united by that mighty word, authenticity! Authenticity rests upon three supportive pillars, 'sensitivity', 'clarity' and 'value contribution' - making something better that it was before you engaged with it. Neurophysiologically these are the mind states associated with oxytocin secretion - the hormone associated with empathy, trust, belief and awe. The hormone also triggered by massage and hugging as well as by breast feeding, eating, defecating and sex. Oxytocin in turn stimulates dopamine production (motivation, working memory and reasoning, fulfilment and gratification), suppresses the fear-anger centre of the brain (amygdala), suppresses the mediators of inflammation, pro-inflammatory cystokines (eighty percent of all illnesses have a chronic inflammatory component) and decreases excessive cortisol levels.

And so I conclude that the simple hug, the sensitivity, the authenticity is our birthright - the antidote to the fear, anger and the 'evils' of excessive self-interest. Be effective - hug your patient/client. Hug your colleagues (I've never hugged another neurosurgeon - may need some help with this!!). Perhaps that's where we start to make this a better world.

Archive

16 July 2017
An awe-full story

3 July 2017
Mushroom soup

2 June 2017
Relativity, relatives and other relationships

29 May 2017
Inflamed and smoked

25 May 2017
An Ode to my Mentor

10 May 2017
Counter-evolutionary

27 April 2017
Inspire

16 April 2017
Lost in an expert fog

12 April 2017
Don't be short-changed

30 March 2017
A brAIve New World

15 March 2017
The problem with Gus

12 March 2017
United in Energy

5 March 2017
Transcending emotions

25 February 2017
In the blink of an eye

25 February 2017
The real story about emotions

27 January 2017
Meditation Re-visited

21 January 2017
As a light to a flame

31 December 2016
Drowning in snake oil

24 December 2016
In the glow of an aura

19 December 2016
Mindfully yours

14 December 2016
Time to transcend the Flat Earth Society

4 December 2016
Prejudice and other violations

20 November 2016
Lighting up the Abyss

12 November 2016
Embrace the Zeitgeist and Transcend

9 November 2016
A Curious Life

8 October 2016
Perhaps we ought to read the stars?

3 October 2016
The Lethal Cocktail of Fear with an Existential Crisis

22 September 2016
The truth about truth

27 August 2016
Conscious Integration

21 August 2016
The Toxicity of the Social Media

3 August 2016
Time to Integrate

24 July 2016
I Believe ...

16 June 2016
Crime, punishment and the brain

4 June 2016
The Essence of Effective Leadership

22 May 2016
Engage with the Eloquence of Neuromodulation

15 May 2016
Peer Reviewed Publications: A Trust Issue

11 March 2016
Gateway to Consciousness

16 December 2015
Profile of Hatred and Cruelty

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Drivers of Success and Effective Leadership

2 November 2015
A Two-Point Solution

20 October 2015
All Black Rugby: The Eloquence of Applied Neuroscience

8 October 2015
In Mitigation of Limiting Deprivation Determinants

20 September 2015
Lamenting our intellectual malaise

13 August 2015
Respectful Intervention

25 July 2015
The Creative Leadership Zone

16 May 2015
Coaching to Pleasure

6 May 2015
Glowing the Void - Thoughts under a May Full Moon

1 April 2015
Context and Integration

7 February 2015
Add some Awe and become Awesome

11 January 2015
Effective Intervention

3 January 2015
The re-emergence of the right hemisphere

26 November 2014
Where is consciousness?

11 May 2014
A Strong Determinism

15 February 2014
The Physiology of Mindfulness

16 August 2013
The Triple Wheel Combination Model of Value-based Leadership

1 June 2013
Authenticity and Leadership

13 January 2013
The Neurobiology of Empathy

29 November 2012
Neuroplasticity

8 June 2012
The brain as a deterministic blueprint

21 April 2012
That 'Aha' Moment

17 April 2011
Rewarding Value

28 December 2010
The Dangers of Cyber-space

27 November 2010
Enhancing Gratification

23 June 2010
Systemic Degeneration

14 June 2010
Meaning and Purpose

3 June 2010
Medical Challenges