• Functional Neuroanatomy

    I have a background in the biological bases of psychology as well as neuropsychology. That deepens and enriches the way that I approach therapy. One topic that I occasionally discuss is functional neuroanatomy. Modern imaging studies have created a research renaissance in increasing our understanding of how the brain actually works. For example, I find it very interesting that the major regions of the brain are all directly interconnected to every other region with one exception.

    The emotional center of the brain, the amygdala in the limbic system, is not connected directly to the rational center, the frontal lobe. That implies that extreme emotional states will cause us to have a tough time thinking through problems rationally. The amygdala becomes activated, and it is difficult to put the brakes on the emotional activation. Sometimes it feels as if we become emotionally hijacked.

    Ever try to have a rational discussion with someone while crying or while shaking with rage? It’s just not possible due to the way that our brains are wired. It’s better to allow yourself or others to experience an emotion first. Then attempt to have that rational conversation after the emotion has run its course. In that way, we honor the emotional experience and know that we can return to a rational conversation once it passes. Remember your parents telling you to count to 10 when you became angry? It turns out that they were right!


    Dr. Hill