top of page

Neuroplasticity and Selfhood

Updated: Jun 18

Black and white image of man's hands scultping a clay pot on a banding wheel (spinning)

People who have experienced social or familial trauma have a key commonality with people who are neurodivergent: We have to some extent been denied the opportunity to develop our full sense of individuated Selfhood.


(Truth be told, it is rare to meet a neurodivergent person who hasn’t experienced a notable degree of social and/or familial trauma, making it even harder to develop a strong and resilient core.)


Healing this core wound is possible by reclaiming the Self, although “re”-claiming isn’t always the right term: We sometimes have to learn to claim our Self in the first place if we weren't allowed to do so early in life. This makes transformation difficult now that we are older, learning to trust our Self and even to getting to know our Self on a fundamental level when old patterns of deferring our Self are well-established.


Is it possible to heal traumatized neural pathways or reopen pathways that didn’t fully develop earlier in life? Yes, and neuroplasticity is how.


Neuroplasticity is a natural feature of the brain and a primary reason why our species has been so adaptable throughout our history. It allows us to rewrite parts of our brain when other parts go offline, and it exists across our neural network – including the peripheral nervous system that extends from your head to your fingers, your gut and even to the tips of your toes.


Neuroplasticity is the mechanism by which we can reopen past developmental opportunities, even if the natural developmental stage has passed. It’s how stroke survivors rebuild their motor capacity, how people can learn to hear using electrical pulses, and even how your favorite food, song and vacation destination change over the course of your life.


There are many routes to ignite neuroplasticity, and our brain is sure to get on board when we do. Why? Because it is designed for this type of learning, change and growth (even while our more primitive brainstem resists it).


My go-to path for neuroplasticity is nervous system rehabilitation, which sounds more intense than it actually is. I do five to fifteen minutes of neuro-drills three to five times a day. I don’t have to change into gym clothes or disrupt my daily routine much – I do most of the drills while I’m heating water to make tea. (I drink plenty of tea in a typical day.)


The neuro-drills focus on crucial sensory systems that, over time, might have been damaged or eroded from neglect. I work with the five main senses that probably spring to mind (sight, smell, touch…) but also with the senses of interoception, proprioception and balance (vestibular processing). Engaging these systems gives my brain new information, sometimes reigniting lost functionality and thereby gaining overall neural confidence.


I’ve been using neuro-drills to literally “come into my body,” allowing me a way to more clearly see – and thus define – my Self on my own terms. Before training my nervous system, I couldn’t set boundaries because I had no idea what a boundary was. Now, I can sense the space that separates me from people around me who need something from me. And in that space lies choice. In that space exists the ability to say no, not now, and not for me.


This training – Applied Neurology – is establishing a sense of my Self in a very grounded, durable way. If you, too, wonder whether you missed some of the window in which you developed a strong sense of Self, or if later trauma damaged that original sense of Self, we should talk: Neuro-drills could change your life, too.


Learn more and find out whether you’re ready for the transformations that nervous system training might bring.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page