Neuroscience and Relationships

marriage and relationship counselling Sydney

Neuroscience, the study of the nervous system, advances the understanding of human thought, emotion, and behavior. Neuroscientists use tools ranging from computers to special dyes to examine molecules, nerve cells, networks, brain systems, and behavior. From these studies, they learn how the nervous system develops and functions normally and what goes wrong in neurological disorders.

What is the mind? Why do people feel emotions? What are the underlying causes of neurological and psychiatric disorders? These are among the many mysteries being unraveled by neuroscientists.

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system -- including the brain, the spinal cord, and networks of sensory nerve cells, or neurons, throughout the body. Humans contain roughly 100 billion neurons, the functional units of the nervous system. Neurons communicate with each other by sending electrical signals long distances and then releasing chemicals called neurotransmitters which cross synapses -- small gaps between neurons.


The nervous system consists of two main parts. The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system includes the nerves that serve the neck and arms, trunk, legs, skeletal muscles and internal organs.

Critical components of the nervous system are molecules, neurons, and the processes within and between cells. These are organized into large neural networks and systems controlling functions such as vision, hearing, learning, breathing and, ultimately, all of human behavior. Much of what is known about the mechanisms underlying these functions was first discovered through animal studies and then confirmed in humans.

Society for Neuroscience - Advancing the Understanding of the Brain and Nervous System.

What does Neuroscience have to do with Marriage Counselling?

Neuroscience gives us new understanding of how the brain works and how habits are formed. Some of our daily habits are helpful and healthy and others we would benefit in changing.

Over time, relationships develop patterns or habits of behaviour and often the emotional reactions that can take place during an argument have their origins in childhood.


For example, every time you have an experience of anger, it builds stronger neurological pathways. Eventually, it takes very little provocation to trigger an outburst of anger when a certain condition is met. This may be a word your partner uses, a certain behaviour, a look, an attitude - it could be anything that activates the original wounding from childhood.

Dr. Joe Dispenza, author of Evolve Your Brain : The Science of Changing Your Mind, has also written Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself (1st Edition, February 2012).

Joe Dispenza writes, "by repeatedly thinking and feeling the same way you did the day before, and the day before that, you will continue to create the same circumstances in your life, which will cause you to experience the same emotions, which will influence you to think 'equal to' those emotions."

Dr. Joe advises that "If you want to change, you must have in your thoughts an idealized self - a model that you can emulate, which is different from, and better than, the 'you' that exists today in your particular environment, body and time."

Furthermore, "Every time you respond to your familiar reality by re-creating the same mind (that is turning on the same nerve cells to make the brain work in the same way), you 'hardwire' your brain to match the customary conditions in your personal reality, be they good or bad".

"There is a principle in neuroscience called Hebb's Law. It basically states that 'nerve cells that fire together, wire together'. Hebb's credo demonstrates that if you repeatedly activate the same nerve cells, then each time they turn on, it will be easier for them to fire in unison again. Eventually those neurons will develop a long-term relationship".

"In time, whatever the oft-repeated thought, behaviour, or feeling is, it will become an automatic, unconscious habit".

Neuroscience Secret to a Happy Marriage

Published on Feb 4, 2016

"It starts with a special kind of empathy".

Read more about this research here: Science of us

The Good News about Neuroplasticity

The good news is that neuroscientists use the term neuroplasticity to describe how the brain can change itself.

Dr. Joe Dispenza writes about Mental Rehearsal:

"Neuroscience has proven that we can change our brains - and therefore our behaviours, attitudes, and beliefs - just by thinking differently (in other words, without changing anything in our environment). Through mental rehearsal (repeatedly imagining performing an action), the circuits in the brain can reorganize themselves to reflect our objectives. We can make our thoughts so real that the brain changes to look like the event has already become a physical reality. We can change it to be ahead of any actual experience in our external world."

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