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Many talking therapies work to change thinking, in order to change self-defeating behaviour and heal old hurts. LI works with the body-mind system and change comes about due to the neural change occuring in the brain and body. Self awareness comes from the transformation that has occurred rather than needing to be self-aware in order to transform.
It is understood that Lifespan Integration re-writes neural networks, encouraging transformation at a cellular level. We know from clinical studies that to achieve emotional regulation, we need neural integration. LI provides integration through briefly activating the neurons and nervous systems linked to memories (from the timeline). Each memory we hold, when re-engaged, sets off a reaction in the body via our nervous system. Through LI we are seeking to calm the nervous system in relation to trauma memories. Through quick repetitions of the timeline we ‘knit’ together the neurons associated to experiences we have had through our lives from our earliest memories and even beyond. When we have experienced abuse, such as neglect, we are able to use Active Imagination to provide repair of situations for our younger selves so that we are able to feel more whole and live more in the present.
Lifespan Integration can also make up for what was missing in childhood, changing attachment styles which developed in response to the childhood environment back then. In the presence of a coherent, attuned therapist reparenting can take place at a bodily level, as a sense of worth, safety and security is woven into the timeline of memory cues.
We know the brain does not distinguish between imagined and real (Pascual-Leone, 1995) and we use this knowledge to inform one of LI’s most wonderful ways of working. By finding young self states who feel abandoned, bad, worthless or unprotected and imaginally repairing what was needed then, a new internal relationship can be woven into the timeline so that ruptured, dissociated parts which existed until now as defensive behaviours or belief systems, can feel secure and integrated into a larger adult Self, as neuron clusters become neural net-works.