Etiopsychology and our second brain
Gertrud Attar, UNCTAD/UNDP Global Programme, Geneva
Lately, my acquaintance looked joyful and healthy. I had remembered him as always being miserable, sickly, and depressing. He had lived through serious surgery on his stomach and years of frequent visits to psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians and therapists. He explained that an etiopsychologist had helped him in a few sessions to regain his health, keep his job, save his marriage and live a good life again.
Etiopsychology means looking for the underlying cause of repetitive behaviour. If a boy witnesses a violent scene, he may cry and run away. The emotional impact overwhelms him and compresses his vital organs. He grows to adulthood and lives a normal life. However, certain situations reactivate his original memory of the violent scene. The person feels helpless and flees such situations. This becomes a repetitive pattern.
In order to undo the organic compression resulting from a traumatic experience, the affected organ needs to regain its original place, form, space and movement. This requires that the etiopsychologist and his patient work together.
I can understand that, but «where,» I ask myself, «is our second brain?»
Renowned neurobiologists/scientists* have produced remarkable research results that state that the human stomach is our enteric second brain and that it has neurotransmitters similar to the brain in our head. The two brains are interconnected. Both brains communicate to each other through the nervous system. If they do not cooperate, chaos prevails in our stomach and misery governs our head. For example, we can feel uneasiness in our stomach when the brain sends a message of anxiety to the gut, which in turn sends a message back to the brain that it is upset.
Vital Organs (see the picture)
- Reproductive organs.
The 100 billion neurons in the gut not only control digestion and work with the immune system, but can also cause illness. On re-establishing a healthy abdomen, all physical and psychic disorders may be cured. Some studies show that the formation of basic elements that develop into serious diseases such as Alzheimer and Parkinson, takes place at the same time in the brain and in the intestines. Harmonizing the two brains and maintaining their good health is considered to play an important role in the postponement of ageing and in the healing of our emotions. This explains the memory in the stomach that gets reactivated repeatedly.
How did the etiopsychologist use the second brain to transform the depressive state of my acquaintance into joy and serenity?
At first, the patient was made aware of all the situations he no longer wanted to sustain. Perhaps he suppressed his emotions or entertained the thought of being rejected, abused, and mobbed against or other unpleasant events. It could also mean that he was fed up with his underweight or over- weight, with his hairstyle or his big ears. He became aware of his relationship with his family members, his partner, himself. Were his romantic aspirations being met? Was he satisfied with his workplace? Would he want to change his job? Could he manage his finances? Did he suffer from some phobia? Was he afraid of spiders, dogs, snakes, and what not? Was he afraid of death and dying, of spirituality? What traumatising events in his life continued to limit him and prevent him from living life to the full? All these questions required an honest answer. It was like a fast round-up of his lifestyle.
Naturally, one did not have the problem of, let us say, anger or dependency all the time. One could be shy in front of many people, but at home, one was not shy.
During this kind of dialogue the etiopsychologist had found the basic element or organic compression that had triggered the same response in similar situations for many years. It had stunted his growth. It had blocked his career and professional success. He had suffered from lack of self- worth without being aware of it.
My acquaintance did not have to go through painful re-assessment of all the chocks and conflicts endured, of the story of his life as this had been the case with the therapists and psychologists he had frequented earlier on. Within a few minutes the etiopsychologist had cleared away the organic compression and helped in restoring his innate creative powers.
The patient had also become aware of his needs and his desires. Now, he was working on a few goals that gave him the strength to see his future in a totally positive way. He looked forward to facing his supervisor and obtaining a promotion. His marriage stood a better chance of success because now he could understand that the female brain reacted differently from the male brain. He went on and on about his new life. If I wanted to know more about etiopsychology, I could contact someone at: email@example.com, my acquaintance said.
*) Note to name a few : Auerbach, Gershon, Blakeslee, Pallardy.