What is the Neurobehavioral Model?

"Neurobehavioral" links brain function with behavioral symptoms.  The prefix "neuro" says it's physical.  "Behavioral" says it has presenting symptoms.  Together, they provide a way to not forget the underlying physical cause of behaviors, to consciously consider behaviors from a brain-based perspective. The Neurobehavioral framework itself is based on this brain-behavior link.  It provides a structure for asking questions, exploring, and helps manage the complexity and diversity of behavioral symptoms.   

That's fine, but what does that mean?

It's like we're on a faded lily pad where there are values, beliefs and judgments attached to behaviors that lead to consequences, frustration and confusion. A bright, vibrant lily pad is nearby, one that recognizes the source of behaviors as being brain function.  Moving to a neurobehavioral platform is like simply stepping laterally onto a different lily pad, where we ask different questions, understand behaviors differently, prevent problems, expand options, and experience positive emotions. The quality of relationships improves.  The new lily pad (paradigm) provides a way to view a behavior in a different way by moving from symptom to source.

 

Exercise:  You are talking with someone and they start fidgeting and looking around. 

Lily pad, scene one:

What is the interpretation of that behavior?  Usually, it's that the person is ignoring, being rude.  Normal emotions of frustration and anger are followed by interventions intended to stop the behavior.  If the behavior is a symptom of brain dysfunction, these often miss the mark.  Over time, the range of options narrows in proportion to the degree of frustration. What if this happens frequently, with different behavioral symptoms?  What happens to the relationship?  Has this happened with you?

Exercise:  You are talking with someone and they start fidgeting and looking around.

Lily pad, scene two:

The behavior is recognized as being a common symptom of brain dysfunction, "slow auditory pace."  Because of fewer cells, fewer interconnections and other physical changes in the brain, the person listens slowly, and may literally only hear every third word of what is being said.  Symptoms of anxiety because of not understanding include fidgeting and/or looking around.  What emotional response comes up?  What happens in the relationship? What does this allow you to do?

What if it's not that they won't listen; what if they can't listen fast?  Reframing the meaning of the behavior transforms emotions:  The answer to the question, "Why are they doing this?" moves from "It's on purpose" to "Because of an invisible physical condition."  Anger vanishes and is replaced by compassion.  Redefining the meaning of behaviors redefines the emotional climate, positively affects the quality of the relationship, and supports inquiry and exploration.  It is associated with conditions for health and improved outcomes.

THAT is the pivotal gift of the neurobehavioral model.  Redefining behavioral symptoms in a manner consistent with research.  And from there, feeling differently. Is there a more profound shift than between anger and compassion, from alienation to acceptance?