March 4, 2013

Your Client’s Brain: The Incredibly Changeable Brain

Dr. Daniel Siegel’s research rebuffs the notion that our brains are hard-wired from birth.

Below is the first of eight new articles by Olivia Mellan and Sherry Christie that continue the discussion on Your Client’s Brain that began with Investment Advisor’s February 2013 cover storyDouble Think: Getting Past the Conflict in Your Clients’ Two Brainsand a feature articleSecond Thoughts: Making Better Decisionsin the March 2013 issue of IA. 

In those articles, Mellan and Sherry shared the latest findings on the brain and suggested how that knowledge can be used by advisors to better understand their clients, and to help their clients make better decisions. 

As a trusted advisor, you have the opportunity to help heal clients’ traumas from the past by helping them instill positive new experiences that are more powerful.

Our understanding that neural patterns can be changed by exposure to someone else’s thinking is fairly recent. The brain used to be studied by itself in what’s been called the “single-skull” version of neuroscience. In 2004, child psychologist Dr. Daniel Siegel stunned the field with his declaration that the brain’s greatest uniqueness is that it is relational—in other words, that it changes in response to other people’s thoughts and emotions.

Rebuffing the assumption that the brain is hardwired from birth, Dr. Siegel explained that this “exquisitely social organ” is capable of rewiring itself in response to changing circumstances (for more information on Siegel’s findings, please read M.S. Wylie’s “Mindsight” article in the Sept./Oct. 2004 issue of Psychotherapy Networker.)

The implications of this insight influence everything from infant learning to the treatment of PTSD. For good or ill, you and your clients are continually rewiring each other’s brains. 

We invite you to visit the Your Client’s Brain landing page on AdvisorOne for additional archived and ongoing coverage of this important topic.

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