You need a well-connected nervous system to own your body.
And owning your body, means owning your life!
Neuropsychological Embodiment (NPE for short) is a method of neurotraining and was created by Katia Trost and Johanna Llin and promotes the development and interconnectedness of the nervous system.
Integration of neonatal reflexes
Integration of adult reflexes
Strengthening and interconnection of the Limbic System and Frontal Cortex
Train the nervous system
Most people have developmental gaps in their neurological development.
Neurotraining can close gaps in neurological development.
A well developed nervous system is the foundation for the unfolding of individual potential.
Many people who have gaps in their neurological development have trouble with reading, among other things, especially of long texts. But you will find the most important information about our method in our video:
Your nervous system: stepchild or most important ally?
Most people do not bother with their nervous system
Very few people ever think about what has to happen in a human being to transform him from a helpless and dependent baby to a self-determined and independent adult.
The answer can be found in the human nervous system. But the nervous system itself is mostly an unchartered territory – most people don’t know more than that the whole thing somehow has to do with their brain and their neurons. Apart from that, the existence and the function of the nervous system are usually taken for granted. And here, in our experience, lies the problem.
The nervous system is the highest control center in the human organism, but in medicine and psychology the function of the nervous system is usually understood only in its partial functions and rarely grasped in its leading and interconnecting function.
While the nervous system is responsible for important functions such as
the extent of the nervous system’s importance to human life is not in people’s awareness much.
Even neurology, which specializes in the nervous system in medicine, usually only takes action when clearly pathological problems arise. Developmental deficiencies, on the other hand, fall through the cracks in the vast majority of cases, as long as the person concerned is functioning in life to some degree.
We, on the other hand, do not want to be satisfied with a more or less good partial function, because in such cases the affected person actually always suffers a loss in quality of life and in some cases also in health.
The nervous system is the boss in the organism
We have found that the organ systems in the body are organized in a hierarchical chain of command:
- Nervous system (including psyche)
- Endocrine system
- Immune system
- Remaining organ systems
- Thus, the nervous system is the top control center in the organism and organizes all the remaining organs and tissues.
Molecular biologist Bruce Lipton states:
“In order to survive at such high densities, the cells created structured environments. These sophisticated communities subdivided the workload with more precision and effectiveness than the ever-changing organizational charts that are a fact of life in big corporations. It proved more efficient for the community to have individual cells assigned to specialized tasks. In the development of animals and plants, cells begin to acquire these specialized functions in the embryo. A process of cytological specialization enables the cells to form the specific tissues and organs of the body. Over time, this pattern of differentiation, i.e., the distribution of the workload among the members of the community, became embedded in the genes of every cell in the community, significantly increasing the organism’s efficiency and its ability to survive. In larger organisms, for example, only a small percentage of cells are concerned with reading and responding to environmental stimuli. That is the role of groups of specialized cells that form the tissues and organs of the nervous system. The function of the nervous system is to perceive the environment and coordinate the behavior of all the other cells in the vast cellular community.” 1Lipton, Bruce H.. The Biology of Belief 10th Anniversary Edition (pp.9-10). Hay House. Kindle version.
If you would like to know more about this chain of command, check out Katia Trost’s website Integral Evolution.
Here, we would like to focus on the function of the nervous system in relation to its tasks in the body. For this purpose, we will use the analogy to a cell phone:
All depends on the operating system. The operating system also determines in what order and under which conditions apps are executed. For example, if you have an app that manages your passwords, the operating system will put that app ahead of any other app that requires you to enter a password. The operating system will ask you to identify yourself (via password, fingerprint, or facial recognition) before you can open your bank’s app, for example. This coordination runs in the background constantly. You should only rarely notice it: As long as everything works smoothly, you won’t even notice that the operating system is running. Only when problems occur do you have to deal with it. Usually it will need an update. In our body, the nervous system corresponds to the operating system in its physical function (i.e. the connection of all physical organs with each other through the nerves) and in its psychological function (thoughts and feelings).
Thus, the nervous system has an immensely important task. However, most people think about their body’s own operating system even less often than about that of their cell phone. Especially the purely organic component is almost completely unknown.
The nervous system is thus responsible for the internal organization of the organism, as well as for the reaction towards the human environment and also its organization.
But what happens when the operating system has a malfunction?
Without a well-functioning operating system, everything goes haywire. You may try to update the operating system. But what happens when it is no longer updateable or updates are simply not performed? Bad news, right? But such a system crash can unfortunately also happen to you with your body’s own operating system. Then your brain not only loses the ability to acquire new perspectives and new knowledge (loss of neuroplasticity), it is also constantly overwhelmed because adult life is many times more complex than the life of a toddler who got the first version of your operating system “from factory”. This in turn affects your hormonal system through increased stress. Much of the stress is generated by the adrenal glands, which secrete the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. The more stressed the adrenals are, the less an already overworked brain will be able to do its job well. This brain, overtaxed by a lack of updates, can manifest itself in a variety of ways: lack of concentration, lack of motor coordination, neurological manifestations (e.g., double vision), or just the fact that it prevents people from reaching their full potential.
The development of the nervous system in early childhood
In order for our nervous system to cope with the development from infant to adult, it makes use of so-called neonatal reflexes. Reflexes consist of automated actions that are intended to relieve our brain of having to think in certain situations. In children, neonatal reflexes are responsible to enable walking and the independent use of the head and the four limbs, for example. But reflexes do so much more. Ideally, neonatal reflexes are active in early childhood and adult reflexes are active in adult humans. Adult reflexes aim to enable us to perform volitional movements that are specific and predetermined, but can be modified through practice, with the benefit of enabling us to spend as little energy as possible on menial tasks. Mature adult reflexes ensure that the brain penetrates the body through the neural pathways, making the whole body an efficient instrument of our will. But this is only possible if neonatal reflexes have actually fully developed into mature adult reflexes, which is the exception rather than the rule these days.
An example of a disability caused by persistent neonatal reflexes is driving a car. When driving a car, we must move both legs and arms independently, as well as the head. In addition, we have to judge distances and speeds correctly and sometimes think in reverse when we use the mirrors.
Most people are able to drive a car sooner or later. The question is what effort they have to put into it. After all, if their adult reflexes (which should actually be present) are not able to manage such tasks as
- Estimating distances
- Estimating speed
- Dealing with gravity properly even when moving (not having vertigo)
- To quickly “convert” reverse mirror images in one’s head
- Orientation in space, both geographically (north, south, west, east) and in terms of position (up, down, right, left)
they can still drive a car without accidents under favorable circumstances, but the price they will pay is high. Without the aid of reflexes, capacity of their cognitive consciousness, which might be important to perform other tasks, must be spent on menial tasks. Moreover, reflexes, as long as they are the intended and mature reflexes for the current developmental step, optimize energy consumption. Thus, persistent neonatal reflexes lead to increased energy expenditure in adults. Under unfavorable circumstances, i.e. under stress, the actual gaps in the system become apparent, which can be compensated for under favorable circumstances. Thus, it may well be that misjudgements of the internal or external environment then lead to accidents, because, for example, one has not correctly estimated a distance.
Continuous, i.e. persistent, neonatal reflexes thus lead to increased energy expenditure in adults as well as to functional deficits, which can be compensated under favorable circumstances.
But healthy emotional development, for example, is also not possible without the foundation of sufficiently mature reflexes. This is because negative emotions are not only triggered by a counterpart, but also a result of one’s own inner insecurity. If spacial disorientation prevails in the nervous system, for example, because the sense of balance is disturbed, insecurity or anxiety often occurs emotionally as well. A persistent neonatal Moro reflex can also lead to “immediate symptoms of acute anxiety, disorientation, and brief emotional fragmentation” in adults 2Sally Goddard Blythe, Neuromotor Immaturity in Children and Adults, German version, Hogrefe, 2016.
If neonatal reflexes persist into adulthood, the following may occur:
- Waste of energy resources (in our experience, up to 30 percent more energy expenditure than intended), so that people are completely exhausted without having done much.
- Inability to perceive one’s body and emotions, so that people find it difficult, for example, to observe their physical processes, to listen to themselves or even to say what they feel.
- Inability to give physical expression to the will, in that one wants something or thinks about it, but cannot express or realize it.
- Inadequate non-verbal signaling system in relationships, for example, in that facial expressions do not express the feelings that are actually present.
- Lack of impulse control, in that people always want to have immediate gratification or cannot muster the necessary discipline to refrain from doing things that are not good for them.
- Lack of trust in one’s own body, in that the body is seen as an enemy that basically stabs you in the back by producing unpleasant symptoms.
- Feeling deficient because the individual realizes that they are basically not in control of their own body. For example, if a child does not have sufficient motor coordination to catch a ball, for example, he will not only withdraw or try to hide his inability. His subconscious compares himself to other children who are perceived as more capable and thus gets the feeling of being inferior. It’s amazing how in neurotraining, children already understand very clearly what you mean when you explain to them, “Muscles don’t do what they’re supposed to do, they do what they want to do.”
Persistent neonatal reflexes can have many causes. For example, they arise from nutritional deficiencies, lack of exercise, cesarean births or lack of emotional connection between parent and child.
Find more signs of persistent neonatal reflexes here.
Development of the adult nervous system
If neonatal reflexes are not completely disabled and integrated, adult reflexes also develop only incompletely. This in turn leads to the fact that the adult reflexes are not properly integrated, i.e. that movement patterns, which should primarily support us in ensuring our survival and otherwise fade into the background, become fixated. This can lead to tension on a physical level, or to a lack of physical flexibility, which, according to our observations, is also transferred to the psychological experience. The view becomes narrow, we find it difficult to look at life from different perspectives.
On the one hand, reflexes are there to relieve us of repetitive and monotonous tasks. At the same time, they also build bridges to more autonomy. The more often we trigger a reflex, the more we gain conscious control over this movement. Ideally, the reflex can then be “taken over” by the conscious mind at any time.
Here is an example:
If you drive a way often, you will eventually switch to autopilot. That is, as long as no extraordinary events occur, one’s attention is on the inside rather than on the surroundings. Nevertheless, one is capable of slamming on the brakes in a flash if something comes in front of the car, which is a reflexive act (startle response). If adult reflexes are well developed, however, the conscious mind immediately takes over afterwards and looks to see if additional conscious actions are now required, e.g., driving around obstacles. If adult reflexes are not quite so well developed, the startle reaction predominates and the conscious mind is not fully available. One feels stressed, overwhelmed, or the like. And the muscles that, during the startle response, would have allowed us to curl up for protection from anticipated danger often remain tense, even if we didn’t actually visibly curl up in the end.
With incompletely integrated adult reflexes, the following may occur:
- Waste of energy resources
- Stiffening of muscles, resulting in rigidity and often pain, which cannot be healed or not permanently healed by manual therapies such as massage or osteopathy.
- Narrowing of the gaze, difficulty in looking at problems from multiple perspectives
- Lack of flexibility and suppleness in life, lack of adaptability to life
More signs of adult reflexes that are not fully integrated can be found here.
From reflexes to embodiment
Reflexes always build bridges so that we can become a master in our body more and more by embodying our abilities fully.
Embodiment means that we actually have our dispositions and abilities at our disposal. Our society puts a lot of emphasis on knowledge, but less emphasis on wisdom and no emphasis at all on embodiment.
Knowledge means having a piece of information. Wisdom means to use this information consciously at the right time and in the right place for the benefit of all. But only in embodiment we have made information our own in such a way that we also come into action, automatically at the right time, in the right place. Knowledge thus becomes retrievable.
So a short and concise question in relation to embodiment is: Are you master of something or is something master of you?
Since the subject of embodiment is also not very tangible for many people (which is a sign of being disembodied…), we first want to make clear what it is not:
- Cognitive comprehension
- Body control/athleticism
If something is embodied, you don’t have to make an effort to do it, you are or have it.
Body psychotherapist Stanley Keleman on this:
“Being embodied is a formative process. It is imperative for the organism to develop voluntary motor acts to facilitate forming a personal somatic excitatory life field that rebodies its involuntary and voluntary somatic experiences into behaviors that are not programmed. This asks that, over time, each person endeavor to develop fine motor skills for differentiating reflex motor patterns into new behavioral expressions and relationships that generate and develop the soma’s life field and a motoric excitatory emotional cognitive aliveness. Voluntary effort is not mental will power; it is a muscular neural effort that brings about anatomic morphogenesis that bestows experiential awareness of past and present excitatory events and possibilities that can be made part of a personal embodied behavior.”3Stanley Keleman, Forming an Embodied Life: The Difference between Being Bodied and Forming an Embodied Life, International Body Psychotherapy Journal, Jan 2012
For example, many people wish they were better at setting boundaries. As long as boundary setting is not yet embodied, the person has to cognitively determine again and again where his boundaries have been crossed, then he has to see how he feels. Subsequently, he will set a boundary for the other person. Feeling one’s own boundaries can often only happen when the affected person leaves the connection with the other person and withdraws, but not spontaneously and automatically by thinking and feeling in the moment. But embodied boundaries are set reflexively. That is, one reacts automatically and instantly to boundary violations. Usually, in an honest, clear and assertive manner, but without overreacting or lashing out. Because other people instinctively notice how well one keeps one’s boundaries, violations of one’s personal boundaries then often occur less frequently.
While neonatal reflexes and adult reflexes are already laid out in the program of human development, we can still acquire additional skills that are then available very quickly through embodiment, like a reflex. So, in a sense, we fill our unconscious mind with abilities that we no longer have to consciously think about. This is a great advantage, since our unconscious and subconscious make up about 95% of our thinking capacity, while our cognitive consciousness can only claim 5% of our thinking capacity.
Embodiment also plays a big role in psychological development. We achieve self-mastery when we have feelings and are not the feeling. It sounds paradoxical, but you can have a feeling only when you have dealt with it with some distance. And in a way that you also know for the future how to deal with it. Then you have embodied a feeling. Many people know feelings of fear. The question is: do they have the fear or does the fear have them? If these persons have really honestly dealt with their fear, it is often no longer triggered, because the inner confrontation with it has taken place conclusively. This experience is now embodied and available as retrievable knowledge.
There is a similar pattern with the so-called psychological individuation. Through individuation we understand ourselves as a separate and independent being, first towards our mother and family (by leaving symbiosis), later also towards society. Before individuation, we are poorly able to perceive our own desires and needs. Therefore, psychology speaks of the fact that a person must first learn to distinguish between himself and the mother, who, however, initially is perceived by the child as an object. Through a further maturation step, the child can then perceive other people as equal subjects. Thus, the child first perceives itself as identical to the mother through symbiosis, then the child sees the mother as an object that it can control in order to have its needs met. Only later does the child perceive the mother as a human counterpart who has her own feelings and needs. The path to subjectification of the mother and other people is linked to the child’s ability to deal with its own feelings and emotions. The connection of two subjects is called relationship, which in a healthy form is governed by a balanced giving and taking.
Therefore it is important to acquire the ability to embody feelings and other inner processes by perceiving them as objects, i.e. at a distance.
Thus, according to our experience, self-control, self-regulation and the ability to relate are also very closely connected with embodiment, which in turn requires a successful integration of neonatal and adult reflexes, as we have discovered in the course of our research and experience.
Contrary to a widely held view regarding human development, we do not assume that human potential unfolds purely through an expansion of cognitive consciousness. We rather assume that we should make use of the subconscious and the unconscious by storing embodied knowledge through neurological development (unconscious – neurotraining) and psychological maturation (subconscious – developmental psychology/trauma therapy).
Find out more about areas of application of NPE
Find out, whether NPE is the right neurotraining for you
Find out more about the background of NPE
What our clients are saying
Results vary. The statements of our clients reproduced here correspond to their individual experience and should not be understood as a promise of success.
"The NPE method has been a revelation and life-saver for me in a way I could not have imagined before. I am more relaxed, more focused and much more in touch with myself. Everyday things that used to cost me an incredible amount of energy are now no longer a problem. My life is lighter and colorful again and I am still in the middle of training. Thank you Johanna and Katia for this enrichment. I look forward to everything that I may still discover about myself through your method."
— Lina John
"The NPE method is an indispensable step on my path of healing and development. Through the exercises I am able to go through my daily life in a more relaxed way, have a better body awareness and am overall more resilient. I was also allowed to experience a new understanding of wholeness, as the improvement of physical symptoms such as travel sickness or posture simultaneously opened up new aspects in accessing myself. In my opinion, the method offers a very thoughtful and versatile approach from which everyone can take something for their personal development."
— Lena Polte
„My life has changed in a very positive direction with NPE Neurotraining. I have always had a very sensitive nervous system. For example, I have been very sensitive towards sounds and light, and I have often needed to take breaks from interacting with people. I have been so sensitive towards light that I’ve had my eyes half closed much of the time. I have seen myself as an introvert, and I’ve probably been perceived as such by others as well. After the NPE training, I am much better able to be in touch with other people. No breaks are needed any more. I am much more outspoken, lively, and motivated. My eyes are now open and alert. My posture is better. Also, during the program I started a training to become a purpose guide, which I wouldn’t have had the energy to do before. I have also done some trauma therapy together with the NPE, and they complemented each other well.“
— Pauli Saari, Purpose Guide, Stockholm, Sweden