We understand that much of what we are talking about on our website might be new information to you! While I will explain all about joy, relational skills and the Immanuel lifestyle during our sessions, here are a couple of explanations to help you with your 1st basic questions! Want more info? Check out these books!
What is joy? Why do you talk about it so much?
We define joy as the experience in your brain that takes place when someone is glad to be with you. This experience has a powerful impact on brain development. During the first two years of life it is crucial to experience this joy as much as possible in order to ensure a healthy brain. However, studies show that our brain can change over the course of your lifetime so if you didn't get "set" properly in the first two years of life, you can still give joy the opportunity to have your brain reach its optimal develoment!
Want to learn more? Check out our book recommendations here.
What are relational skills?
How we act and interact with others to regulate, share and quiet our emotions determines how our relationships flow. People who have strong, mature relational skills will amplify joy and shalom with others. Those who lack relational skills (or have weak, immature relational skills) will amplify distress and make problems "larger". Nineteen relational brain skills have been identified and can be trained intentionally! (some of this text and definition were taken from the glossary in the book Joy Starts Here.)
What is the Immanuel process?
The Immanuel process (also called the Immanuel Approach) is a term created by Charlotte and Karl Lehman, M.D. to describe a counseling prayer method designed to resolve many forms of emotional distress linked to incompletely processed experiences. Key to the Immanuel process are the beliefs that
God is always with us
God actively interacts with people about their lives
connecting with God should come before focusing on an upsetting experience and
that full processing of an experience requires both the upset and the relationship with God to be active in the mind at the same time.
What is an Immanuel lifestyle?
An Immanuel lifestyle is one where we are seeking to be continuosly formed by an ongoing awareness of God's presence throughout our every day life. In other words, we are checking in with the Lord all day long, not just in moments of despair, and not just from the comfort of our quiet time chair.
Why do you talk about appreciation so much?
Appreciation (also called gratitude in some circles) is one of the most dependable ways to "prime the pump" so to speak- in your brain. When you are able to feel and express appreciation, it changes things chemically in your brain making it able to grasp onto joy and let go of negativity. You cannot be both angry and appreciative at the same time. Just like your body cannot breath deeply and slowly and speed up your heart rate at the same time. Understanding how things work in your body will make you more likely to practice the exercises in appreciation that I will be assigning you! In stress management, they tell you that if you can control your breathing (by slowing it down), then you can calm your nervous system. Appreciation works in very much the same way. If you can access the appreciation center of your brain, then you can calm the cortisol, adrenalin, and other stress chemicals that rise when we get angry, stressed or fearful. By combining appreciation with deep breathing you will discover that you are able to recover more quickly from negative emotions and return to joy.
Right brain vs. Left brain?
You might hear me talk about things like, "moving from your left brain to your right brain", or "we need to engage the right brain." When I talk about this, I am not talking about things like creativity vs. intellect. When I refer to the differences in the hemispheres in the brain, I'm referring to how your brain processes things differently. It doesn't matter if you're "left brained or right brained" as in artistic or not... but what does matter is that our 2 hemispheres work in different ways in EVERY BRAIN.
The left hemisphere is primarily run with words and knowledge. It acts like a file cabinet of words. The right hemisphere is primarily run with emotions and feelings, and experience. It might have its own file cabinet, but the descriptions of words would be in feelings and experience. For instance, if I say the word tree bark... the left brain tells me it's the skin of the tree. The right brain won't tell me anything unless I've touched a tree bark, in which case it would then recall to mind that it was bumpy and rough feeling and broke apart easily and had an earthy smell.
So, why is this important? Because the control center of our brain that has the power over our responses to the world around us is located in the right hemisphere. When we get upset or feel pain, our left brain access to all the self help books we've read shuts down! All we're left with is the right hemisphere!
That's why much of the training we will do is going to be in the right hemisphere! I want your right hemisphere to be armed with lots of experiences that lead you in the right direction. Sure, I'll be giving you some great left hemispheric information too, but the real change will take place when your right hemisphere starts believing that it doesn't need to shift into full-on-survival-mode just because your kids spilled the milk! :)