Adult brains can change within seconds

A new report about to be published in the Journal of Neuroscience by scientists working at the Institute for Brain Research at MIT has established that our brains can alter in a matter of seconds. “Our study shows the stunning ability of the brain to adapt to moment-to-moment changes in experience even in adulthood.” states one of the authors.

The changes are too quick for the brain to have grown new connections, and the current theory is that the change is the result of dormant short-term cortical connections being ‘booted up’ in response to some changing circumstance in the person’s environment.

I find this particularly interesting because Cognitive Hypnotherapy is a brief therapy model, and we work on the basis that change -even major change, doesn’t have to take a long time to be achieved. My argument has always been that, if a problem can begin as a result of a short experience, why can’t it be remedied within the same time frame?

This meets with resistance from a lot of psychotherapists and counsellors who are wedded to the idea that ‘change takes time’. As Woody Allen once said “I’ve been in psychoanalysis for fifteen years, and I’m starting to see signs of progress.”

I, and the people we’ve trained as Cognitive Hypnotherapists, regularly see rapid change in clients – most phobias disappear in a single session, and it’s heartening that neuroscience is supporting the notion that the architecture for such rapid change exists within the brain.