New Book by James Callner
LIKE our FB Page
Neuroplasticity and ERP
Let’s talk about Exposure Response Prevention therapy (ERP) and playing the piano.
Years ago, one night after a long day of teaching classes at the college i was working at, I decided not to immediately go home. I remembered there was an old theater nearby with a piano, and I knew no one would be in the theater so late. I entered the empty theater, sat down at the piano, and began to play.” where there was piano and just started playing. Now, I don't play piano well, but I know a few jazz riffs. One of my students who had stopped by to watch me play said, “Man Jim! You are playing so fast that I can hardly see your hands moving."
The kid was so impressed with my very limited playing. Even though I couldn’t even so much as read music, he was in awe of what I was able to do with a few riffs. What does this story have to do with ERP?
From the beginning of my onset of OCD to this day, ERP is still considered the gold standard treatment for this disorder. According to the science of neuro-plasticity, the brain is malleable and adapts to what you practice. The old saying in science that “ neurons that wire together fire together” is true. All that means is the more you run a neural –circuit in your brain the stronger it becomes. It follows your lead.
Now, at first, playing piano was very daunting and scary to me. But the more I practiced, especially the music I liked, the more my brain said, "this ain't so hard!" After practicing the same jazz riff for about 25 years, I can play it pretty fast! In my experience, ERP works the same way as playing the piano and it doesn’t take 25 years. It can shift your circuitry for the better in weeks and months. But, you have to practice. Of course, facing OCD fears and moving through them can be a little rougher than practicing piano.
To keep myself motivated, every day I say to myself, "Do I want to get a little better not?"
Every day, I answer, “Yes!” to that question, and I practice my ERP riffs.
Some days are tougher than others. But I must remember that I'm practicing, and when I practice I’m getting stronger and better than I used to be, one note at a time.
These days, I'm practicing my photography. I'm slowly getting better at it. Neuro-plasticity will work for OVCD recovery and anything else - if you practice a bit every day. JC <3 ( First time in my life a hummingbird has cooperated for me) :) ... See MoreSee Less
1 month ago
OCD Coaching Videos are not designed to replace professional OCD Therapy. They are intended to help in the education and coaching for those suffering with OCD. James Callner is an OCD Educator and Coach, teaching from over 35 years of his own recovery experience. The Coaching Videos, Blog Posts and other information on this website are not a replacement for a professional therapist. Mr. Callner contributes his videos to the OCD Treatment Centre in Taunton England. OCD Treatment Centre therapists approve all OCD Coaching Videos. .