One afternoon in 2002, while my daughters napped, I turned on the Oprah Winfrey Show. I was hoping to zone out for an hour, to get out of my head. Oprah’s guest was Laurel Mellin, the author and creator of The Solution. I listened to Laurel talk about how her research resulted in a program that rewired the stressed circuits in the brain. I was two years into building my consulting business, raising two baby girls, had a husband with a very demanding profession, and hoped to have a social and emotional life outside of work. I remember telling people I felt like a hamster on a wheel. I kept running, but never got anywhere. That wheel never stopped, and I saw no end in sight. As the Oprah show continued, I felt as if Laurel was talking to ME, that she and Oprah decided I needed to hear about The Solution and that is why the show was scheduled for that particular afternoon. As soon as my babies woke up, we drove to the bookstore so I could buy The Solution book.

I was so enthralled with The Solution that I spent the next few years attending retreats in San Francisco, participating in weekly conference calls with Solution buddies and becoming a Solution Provider. I then became the first certified Provider in Minnesota. I felt secure that this work was life changing because it was based in science and it worked. Bye, bye hamster wheel!

Years later, The Solution has been renamed Emotional Brain Training or EBT. I’m back in an EBT weekly group, and I’m also working toward recertification as an EBT Coach and Provider.

More information from the EBT website:

Stress overload is the underlying cause of anxiety, depression, obesity, diabetes, and up to 90 percent of other health problems. These conditions have been difficult to remedy because the underlying physiological stress that causes them has not been treated effectively.

Emotional brain training (EBT) enables individuals to take charge of the emotional brain (the “stress brain”). It provides tools and support to train the brain for optimal resilience. In our high-stress world, EBT is the stress solution we all need.

Learn more about the science of this new paradigm in healthcare — rewire how the brain responds to stress.

The new “5-Point System” empowers people to process high-stress emotions

Dr. Laurel Mellin, a health psychologist, developed a structured system for processing allostatic emotions into homeostatic emotions, using simple tools to change our physiology and responses in daily life. This method is emotional brain training (EBT). She conceptualized the brains emotional states in terms of five stress levels, mirroring the parallel discoveries of psychiatrist Bruce Perry. Instead of monitoring emotions (“How do I feel?”), individuals identified their “number,” or physiologic stress state, on a scale of one to five (“What number am I?”). As emotional processing techniques vary with stress level, there is one emotional technique for each of five levels of stress. As the emotional brain is the survival brain, the inspiration for the tools was the optimal dyadic emotional processing associated with a responsive parenting style and a secure attachment. This EBT 5-Point System of Emotional and Behavioral Regulation provides a unifying system for processing emotional stress and promoting optimal physiologic responses to daily life.

With help from her collaborators at UCSF, Dr. Mellin brought about major breakthroughs in understanding the scientific basis of the method. She and her colleagues proposed a new paradigm in healthcare based on rewiring the stress response. In addition to the contributions of Dr. Mellin’s UCSF colleagues, EBT integrates the research of many scientists, including UCSF’s Michael Merzenich (neuroplasticity), Stanford’s Robert Sapolsky (stress), University of Rockefeller’s Bruce McEwen (allostatic load), Feinberg School of Medicine’s Bruce Perry (physiologic brain states), NYU’s Joseph LeDoux and Harvard’s Elizabeth Phelps (emotional memories), UCSF’s Robert Lustig (stress and reward endocrinology), and previous director of NIMH, Thomas Insel (neural circuitry).

Connect with me to talk about EBT or visit the EBT website to learn more.