Relational Brain Skills & the Life Model

I was introduced to the Life Model in the fall of 2014. As a mental health counselor and pastor’s wife at that time, I had been on a multi-year journey for my personal spiritual and emotional growth. When I came across the Life Model, I knew it was something special. The blend of biblical theology and neuroscience got my attention, but when it added in the hope of belonging, I was hooked.  I passionately read every book and listened to every teaching I could find and instantly started applying what I was learning to my own life, my work with clients as well as my relationships with my fellow therapists. 

Over the course of time, I have learned and applied the Life Model concepts to my personal and professional life.  In particular, the implementation of the 19 relational brain skills to my personal life and in my work with clients has made it evident that practicing these skills increases mental health and resiliency for all individuals.  This is particularly apparent in the lives of those struggling with anxiety, depression, addiction, complex trauma or other mental health issues.  In fact, every one of the relational brain skills leads an individual toward mental health and stability.  The application of these skills not only heals, but also prevents mental instability and internal chaos from reoccurring in a person’s life.  I have seen clients stabilize and come alive after years of suffering from all manner of disorders including anxiety, depression, and addiction as well as long-term mental disorders and complex trauma.  

One of the top foundation five relational brain skills is the skill of quieting (skill 2).  The successful application of this skill alone will open the door for an individual to live free from mental health complications!  Dr. Wilder teaches that the ability to quiet the body after a distressing experience is the best predictor of mental health across the lifespan!  He also says that the failure to learn to quiet is the best predictor of mental illness.  Because of this, the skill of quieting is my main personal go-to skill as well as one of the first skills that I teach my clients.  

As a professional therapist who is certified to treat both trauma and sex addiction, I have worked with many clients who have severe complex trauma from childhood abuse and neglect.  I also work with many who have been caught in the cycle of addiction as well as their family members.  It has been fascinating to see those who are suffering learn and apply the skill of quieting to calm their nervous system.  Learning to quiet has allowed many clients to find a deep place of peace and connection with God and others.  Quieting also allows an individual’s trauma to rise to the surface so that they can heal and live a more fulfilling life. 

Recently, I asked a client to identify the most impactful catalyst in overcoming her chronic anxiety disorder.  She quickly pointed back to the skill of quieting that I have taught and practiced with her in her counseling sessions.  She is now practicing quieting at home and is also teaching these skills to her children.  Her life situation has not necessarily gotten better, but she is handling things more calmly and is experiencing joy and peace despite her difficult life circumstance.

Another client who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder is now stabilizing herself in her daily rhythms of quieting.  Many clients who struggle with addiction have noticed that using the skill of quieting gives them the ability to connect deeply with themselves and God so that they can live in freedom from addiction.  Clients who have flashbacks from traumatic memories find that quieting calms their body and their mind so that they can heal and live in peace.

The relational brain skill of quieting is just one of the 19 relational brain skills.  The brilliance of the Life Model comes into fullness with the application of all of the skills.  You will not regret time and investment spent learning and applying these skills to your life. Thank you, God, for using Life Model Works to contribute these concepts to our world for such a time as this!!!  


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