We used to believe the adult brain was incapable of growth and change, but we now know our brain changes and adapts throughout our lifetime. This capacity for change is known as neuroplasticity.

The complex neural architecture of the human brain can be endlessly remodeled and reorganized. This process can be healthy and positive, as when we learn a new skill or recover from an injury. Sometimes, though, it can be harmful, as when stress or trauma interferes with normal functioning.

The good news is that you have the ability to intentionally rewire your brain to achieve your goals and improve your life. You can literally “change your mind.”

Why Do We Change?

We may dislike change and try to resist it. But change—whether we call it evolution, transformation, achieving goals, dealing with crisis or something else—is inevitable.

Personal change often results from either desperation or inspiration.

Desperation comes from some kind of stressor or forced change, such as pain or discomfort, addiction, or a financial, existential or health crisis. Desperation is distressing, but highly motivating.

Inspiration usually entails some kind of goal, such as lifestyle change, education, a career move, or seeking a new level of happiness. Inspiration gives a sense of being in control and choosing to change. It’s more comfortable than desperation, but may not be as motivating.


Self-transformation is change by choice. Even when change is forced on you by crisis, you can turn it into self-transformation if you can see it as an opportunity to grow rather than as just another roadblock to happiness.


Self-mastery is the skillful use of the time, energy, resources and tools at your disposal to achieve a happier, healthier you. The tools are mind-body processes or techniques that are based in perennial wisdom, like yoga, meditation and tai chi, combined with a healthy lifestyle.

Self-mastery is a path to true happiness. It means:

  • Mastering the things you can
  • Letting go of the things you cannot
  • Not being dependent on the approval of others
  • Knowing when to quit and being confident in that decision
  • Enjoying experiences and possessions without being attached to them

If you’re ready to begin the journey to self-mastery and change by choice, we can help. To learn more, contact Bend EMDR Therapist Sean Downes

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“To say that Sean has had a positive influence on my life is an understatement. I sought his counseling during a challenging period in my life, both professionally and personally. He took an unexpected approach with my issues, and really helped me work through them in a way that has transformed my outlook on my life, my work, my art, and my interaction with the world. I am grateful and would recommend him unquestionably.”

N.T. (former client)