The Heal Approach: Treating Negative Bias

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 @ 2:50 PM

Recent brain research describes the "negativity bias" of the brain.  Growing from the early human need to be protective of predators, this bias describes a singular brain reality: as humans we learn bad lessons from bad experiences in a stronger way than from good lessons from good experiences.  In short, from an evolutionary viewpoint, our brain is much more inclined toward the negative rather the positive way of learning from the experiences of life.

This reality raises critical questions for Christian therapists.  How do we address this reality with clients and ourselves?  What interventions do we use to help clients overcome their brains' inclination to hold onto the negative view of life? What is the role of the Spirit in our efforts?  How do we open ourselves to the Spirit in our work? One response to these questions is given by Rick Hanson in the HEAL approach:

H---have a positive experience

E---Enrich it

A---Absorb it

L---Link the positive experience to negative material in the client's life. 

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