Monday, July 20, 2009

Emotional Sobriety

Dr. Tian Dayton On Emotional Sobriety

According to Dr. Dayton, emotions are processed by the limbic brain system- our “emotional brain”. Our cortex- "thinking brain", tends to shut down when we get scared but our emotional or limbic brain keeps operating. The emotional "animal" brain takes over. In this moment we can lose our ability think clearly, to reflect on and make sense out of what we're feeling. It's nature's way of keeping protecting us by switching into survival mode.

The child is dependent on their parent to act as an external regulator because their internal regulators aren't fully developed until they are twelve or so. The small child is particularly vulnerable to emotional and psychological damage when the home is chaotic. If the parent is a victimizer or abuser, the child also loses access to their source of comfort and regulation.

Dr. Dayton believes if we didn't learn adequate skills of self regulation in childhood, we can learn them in adulthood. It is something we can train ourselves to do.

Dayton believes, to inscribe new hardwiring into our neural networks we must do more than just talk. We need to spend time in the presence of others who are experiencing balance and pleasure in their lives. To heal, we need to develop new relationships and learn the skills of limbic regulation in therapy, hobby groups, faith institutions, twelve step rooms and healthy lifestyle activities.

To use a "Dog Whisperer" analogy, we need to become part of a balanced pack. Then we learn to become balanced.

For more info. visit and

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children


Anonymous said...

Dayton also encourages activities that activate our own mood stabilizers such as physical touch, exercise, sharing feelings, journaling, watching uplifting videos or literature! Thanks!

Keren M Roesser said...

Tian Dayton will be giving an Emotional Sobriety seminar in West Palm Beach Florida on January 6th 2010. You can get information by calling 15613988336.