Neurophysiologic Feedback Loops


The term neurophysiologic refers to both body and mind. We have body/mind feedback loops that are both positive and negative. Research has been able to determine that we communicate with one another and are connected to one another on a cellular level. In fact, every cell in our bodies contains a consciousness of sorts, along with all of our DNA. Is that a radical idea for you? I want you to begin to pay close attention to the dynamic when you and your child get into an interaction that involves negative words thrown back and forth. Look at how big the dynamic becomes.

Let me illustrate it through an exercise. Draw a small circle on a piece of paper right now. That’s your child saying, “No, I’m not going to do it.” Draw another little circle. That’s you saying, “Yes, you are!” The child says, “No, I’m not!” Then, you say, “Yes you are!” Draw the circles larger around each time. That’s the power of a negative feedback loop.

But positive neurophysiologic feedback loops are just as powerful. A negative cellular state of communication cannot persist in the midst of a positive feedback loop. Positive neurophysiologic feedback loops have the power to embrace negative feedback loops without letting the negativity escape in an eruption. It’s like the positive loop suppresses the negativity. The negativity goes right into the middle of the circle, and the positive surrounds it.

So, when a child says, “No I’m not going to do it,” the negative loop begins immediately. But when the parent takes a few deep breaths, and says, “I hear what you’re saying,” that parent immediately creates a positive feedback loop. It might play out like this: The child then says, “No matter what you say, I’m not going to do it!” The negativity goes right to the center. Then, the parent backs away and says, “I can tell that you’re really scared right now. You must think something really bad is going to happen, or you must be really angry right now.” This is a positive feedback loop.

The child says, “Well, I’m still not going to do it.” (Do you hear the subtle change?) The parent then says, “I know that you only want to be loved and that you feel afraid sometimes that I’m not going to love you. You feel afraid that you’re not going to have a house here to live in.” The child hears this, and a part of the child is frustrated because their negativity has to shut down slowly but surely. The parent says, “I know how scared you are right now, honey, and I just wish you would allow me to just love you and keep you safe because I’m not going to hurt you.”

All of a sudden, the child’s eyes begin to well up with tears. The child’s negativity gets stuck right in the middle, and the positive loop compresses right down on it.

The significance of this is that when one person is able to maintain his or her state of regulation, controlling the amygdala (fear center of the brain) it becomes very powerful — just like the laughter response or the way the room changes when someone acknowledges it’s a great day as opposed to a lousy day. Signals are sent from the amygdala of the regulated person directly to the amygdala of the other person. The physiologic communication of the regulated person causes the dysregulated person to shift and become more regulated. The signals of the regulated person’s amygdala embrace the scared, dysregulated amygdala of the other person.

Choose Love –  B
Listen to:

Neurological Feedback Loops #1 – 3:18 min.

Neurological Feedback Loops #2 – 4:38 min.