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Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities

Are you dealing (directly or indirectly) with Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities?

It’s odd. Despite dealing with overexcitabilities that happen in some gifted children and adults, but I never wondered what about being gifted leads to these hypersensitivities. I was stunned when my Rhythmic Movement Training instructor began listing the consequences of unintegrated reflexes, particularly the most primitive, intra-uterine ones: It was a physiological explanation for sensory, psychomotor, and perhaps some of the emotional, hypersensitivities! Brain Gym’s Physiology of Brain Gym class, taught by Dr. Carla Hannaford, provides further insight into a physiological pathway to hypersensitivities.

To simplify a quite complex process, when we’re under physical stress, our adrenaline and cortisol levels rise. Besides raising our blood pressure and heart rate and our conscious anxiety, the rest of our body also responds, to help where it can. The senses are heightened:

• vision (our pupils dilate, so we’re more sensitive to light
• hearing (we hear EVERYTHING and can’t filter out the extraneous)
• smelling (hypersensitivity to any smell)
• tasting (this is where our picky eaters, our hyper-tasters get it)
• touch (the sensitivity to any thing but the softest clothes, tags in shirts and seams in socks)

These most primitive reflexes concern our direct and immediate survival. If we’re under chronic uncertainty about survival, MIGHT we experience intense emotion and need for control, a need that everything make sense? It’s less direct, but I can see a case being made for this being part of the emotional intensity experienced by the gifted population

When our body learns its reflexes, it isn’t a binary solution: learned, or not. Instead, it is more of a dimmer switch sort of thing: how well have we learned it? The less learned the reflex, the more stress the person is under while s/he copes around it. The higher your stress level, the less easily you’ll learn other somatic competencies, like sensory processing and social skills.

What a relief then, to be already in a class where I could trace far back to a fundamental cause of my children’s blockages: if social skills were less developed than optimum, perhaps it was caused by a slower processing speed – caused in turn by sensory processing deficits – which was ultimately the result of — voila! — unlearned reflexes. Teaching the body its reflexes – we used RMTi’s program, which I found not only best addressed that Fear Paralysis reflex and was the fastest to learn – sets the ground for the further learning.   My children and those on the journey with us are finding the true selves they were meant to be.

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Welcome to my blog!

I’m Ruth Murray, erstwhile nurse (BSN, Creighton University) former homeschooling mom, and now therapist, teacher and advocate for holistic methods of addressing all sorts of less-than-optimum brain function.   In my private practice and classes, wonderful stories emerge of people no longer held back by former difficulties.  I’ll cover all sorts of topics here:  risk factors; techniques to help with parenting, learning, healthy aging, or just living; studies about how all this came about and what helps; and different programs that help these.

A three dimensional pyramid provides “ah-ha!” insights  into both causes and solutions for some of the most difficult problems we face today.  Individuals, families, and society increasingly find themselves struggling with mental health issues, neuro-development disorders and learning disabilities.

Individuals, families, professional groups, and schools are heroically working to address these problems.  However, most seem to be either coping mechanisms or adaptations on an individual basis — including pharmaceutical intervention. I’m not totally anti-medication on a temporary basis, but it’s got terrible problems as a permanent solution.  We search for more permanent solution for diabetes like pancreas transplants rather than daily doses of insulin. I’ve found more permanent, holistic and preferably inexpensive ways to help people with

  • ADD/ADHD
  • autism spectrum
  • anxiety
    • OCD
    • ODD
    • Intermittent Explosive Disorder
    • anger management
    • stress management
  • schizophrenia
  • psychosis
  • trauma recovery
  • post-concussion problems
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • dementia
  • Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities
  • eating disorders
  • addiction
  • hoarding
  • balance
  • low muscle tone
  • reading, spelling, handwriting, coordination disorders
  • poor organization
  • bonding, adoptive, and RAD concerns
  • people who love math/despair at language arts; or vice versa
  • dreamy/spacey kids
  • those young people having difficulty launching into adulthood (particularly young men)

— and that’s just for starters! Even people who don’t have or need diagnoses — but would appreciate learning easier and faster, enriching marriage and communication, or living with fewer obstacles in their lives — benefits from holistic therapies that promote neurological connections within the brain.

The key is to target our efforts in the right place.  Tutoring, accommodations, etc are effective but so much so if the underlying problem is addressed.  Now, we can. Stay tuned!

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