Never heard of it? Unsurprising, as this stunning field that combines the studies of genetics, psychotherapy and neurobiology is very new. And controversial too. Here’s the long version:
Multisensory Intervention Neuro-Epigenetic Modulation
‘Epigenetics’ is a comparatively new field in the study of genes, genetics and the development of phenotypes. Introduced in the 1940s by developmental biologist Conrad Waddington, the word has become associated today with the fine tuning of the genetic code of plants and animals to produce new expressions of the same DNA.
You can learn more about epigenetics here, and phenotypes here, but you need to know these are challenging subjects! Epi – over and above; Genetic – to do with genes; Modulate – regulate, alter or adapt.
Epigenetics considers and explores the possible connections between the deepest makeup of your DNA (the ‘language’ encoded onto each cell of your body) and your parents’ and your own behaviour. Put far too simply, phenotyping means observing how the experiences a person has affects their genetics.
For decades no one thought that life experiences and behaviour could cross over into the biological genetic structures we have, but there is increasing evidence that that might be the case.
The Installation of Behavioural Change through MINEM
Over the last decade the importance of epigenetics and phenotyping in the understanding of disease, cell development and heredity, has soared, with significant advances being made and the related outcomes and repercussions being examined.
Research into the genetic aspects of cell development has, perhaps unsurprisingly, been oriented towards chemical interventions in the prevention and treatment of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinsons, of aging, and immunology.
But, as Candace Renee Lewis and Michael Foster Olive pointed out in 2015:
“The idea that experiences may change epigenetic markers in germ cells, and thus the epigenetic makeup that is passed on to future generations, is nothing short of ground-breaking. Research in this field is very new and only starting to uncover the possibilities… Clearly, the possible long-term, perhaps transgenerational, effects of altering neuronal gene regulation via psychotherapeutic interventions necessitate further investigation.”
To quote Mitchell Liester and Erin Sullivan (Cogent Psychology, 2019)”
“Psychotherapy is another non-pharmaceutical option for inducing epigenetic changes leading to improved mental health (Jimenez et al., 2018; Yehuda et al., 2013). This discovery lead Stahl (2012) to refer to psychotherapy as “the new epigenetic drug.””
Multisensory Intervention Neuro-Epigenetic Modulation (MINEM)
For the past ten years our personal development coaching has been using – and continues to develop – sensory interventions to bring about deep lasting shifts in behaviour that resonate, we are now discovering, with current research. Through deliberately created internal and external auditory, visual and kinaesthetic interventions we have been able to ‘switch off’ and modulate deeply rooted mental health issues and support the ensuing installation of significant and ‘permanent’ behavioural change.
Language stimulates the production of multiple chemical reactions in the human brain (aggressive shouting alters brain structure), so we began by using words, intonation and conversation – Linguo-Epigenetic Modulation (LEM) – then realised that the experiences of our clients were in fact multi-sensory. Adding visual (both internal and external) stimulation, and kinaesthetic (internal and external) interventions significantly increased the change-inducing impact.
Initially we worked with short 2-hour interventions but soon found that although these were effective for some, for others a series of four, perhaps five, 2-hour sessions over six to eight weeks had a stronger consolidating outcome. This is now our norm, with brief monthly ‘top-ups’ available but not essential, yet even this extension is a far cry from the many hours, months and years often involved in ‘traditional’ psychotherapy.
Of course, such work continues to sponsor questions, not least because of the lack of research into the psychotherapeutic non-drug use of MINEM. We are constantly trying out MINEM interventions with clients from broad backgrounds of psychological and other needs, and continue to consider the expansion of the approach into as yet unexplored and undeveloped areas.
Do the traumas experienced in early life, particularly the first two or three years, actually change a person’s DNA? Researchers are finding increasing evidence that they might do. What might be the implications of such change? What about that person’s children – would they inherit those changes? For good or otherwise?
When we know it works in one direction, can the damage be reversed, or at least replaced by something better?
It is a salutary concept. Here at Powerchange we have more questions than answers about this, but use MINEM as a working label for the creation of what we call the ‘good trauma’ interventions experienced by our clients during coaching.
Feedback shows that deep-brain development from Powerchange Therapeutic Coaching usually has a stunning effect on the long-term future of a significant proportion of clients. Does this have the power, as MINEM would indicate, to change the actual DNA of that person – and their future family – for the better?
No one can be sure at the moment – the jury is still out and more research is being done – but we suspect it does.