BRAINsmART Therapy
for trauma and mental health
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Creative Brain Talk

Introducing Cross Modal Therapies: the trauma informed BrainsmART therapy for Integrating SELF

Originally posted January 2013

As a creative artist and Ph.D. psychotherapist specializing in the Psychobiology of trauma and creativity, I have been redefining the purpose and process of psychotherapy since I came into the field as a neuroscience informed arts-based (or BrainsmART) specialist

What does neuroscience, art, music, expressive dance, and memoir writing have to do with therapy? And what does therapy have to do with writing your own story? It is our story that we bring to a therapy session. We sit and try to express bits and pieces of it in an hour and if we are lucky the therapist- who does not know all the facts- can help us re-write the scenes and events and change the images in our mind that disturb us- so we can leave and make sense of the chaotic mess of emotions we walked in with.

Therapaiea as Jean Houston explained,comes from the Greek word meaning ‘the work of the whole’ In effective psychotherapy this must mean all centers of the brain and mind can contribute to problem-solving, finding resolutions, integrating losses, tolerating stress and embracing victories that lead us to a sense of SELF and the importance of personal story
It’s not a selfish ego trip to be interested in regulating the disturbing imagery of our minds, the feelings in our body, or the scenes of our life. Rather, it is quite courageous to repair or rewrite what is happening to us in our lives using all the creative tools therapy should give us.

But we utilize the nonverbal right brain’s autobiographical pathway to access sensory emotional and imagistic material that we can work with, even change, mold and re-form. By using this dialogue we gain some emotional distance from the events of our lives, we become empowered by the imagery and words that can interpret and find meaning for the circumstances of our lives and we are less victimized by what happens to us.I have seen this whole brain approach to therapy with victims of PTSD and child abuse. Their life story is a blank canvas upon which they learn to create forms and words to capture and contain scattered pieces of non-verbal material that can be linked to the cohesive power of words, giving their suffering both meaning and context. Suddenly they have a sense of SELF with content and color and shape and words rather than an empty diagnosis that gives no creative momentum.

Good ‘BrainSmART therapy has more to do with becoming an active co-creator of our life’s circumstances rather than a passive recipient of life’s unpredictable challenges. We may not be able to fix or even re-arrange all the pieces of each ‘scene’ that comes our way, but we can regulate our emotions, attune our awareness and increase our mental resiliency during the therapeutic creative process.

Read more about my Cross modal courses for professionals and the Four Module certification program in Cross Modal Therapies for Trauma at

Read more about why writing your story, finding meaning for the pieces of your life, and repairing your self outside of the therapy suite can be facilitated by writing your memoir at

Nancy Lubow