I've been involved with developing EBT since 1979, and am an associate professor of family and community medicine and pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. I am a health psychologist, author and researcher. My three children are grown and my partner and I live in a small town just north of San Francisco.
I had a desire to understand the drive to overeat, and began studying the work of Hilde Bruch, a Baylor College of Medicine researcher who showed that patterns of nurturing and limit setting predicted obesity in children. I began training families in the tools and saw the drive to overeat turn off. Since then, it's been an amazing journey!
I like time alone! I like to be with myself and have the quiet and the peace. I love my work, my partner, my 3 children and close family and friends, but my biggest source of joy is the sanctuary within!
I started in adolescent medicine at UCSF, seeking to understand the root causes of obesity, developing the SHAPEDOWN Program, which was the basis for EBT. My interest in nutrition opened to looking more broadly at health psychology and the brain. I still teach courses on EBT at UCSF and am involved in EBT research and training and continuing to learn!
This work has given me unexpected power to positively shift relationships to a new level of love and intimacy, to shift my career into passionate productivity, and to take better care of my health and psyche than I ever have before. It has taught me to use my emotions as clues to unresolved hurts and to quickly heal them and to learn to really truly listen to others in ways that shifts old conversations into new and productive actual communications. It has taught me to use parts of myself that I have been compensating for at best, suppressing at worst, into valuable components of an arsenal of tools that I can use, even during difficult conversations, to propel me to a more authentic, loving, and powerful person.
I am a physicist with degrees from the university of Michigan, and work in a highly technical field doing radiation measurement data analysis for private industry as a busy consultant, while full-time I provide technical tools and training on data management to all federally recognized native American tribal environmental programs. I am celebrating my 32nd year of marriage to a federal prosecutor, and have two children, two dogs, and run almost every day. I have spent much of my life regarding emotions as inconveniences to be borne, striving mightily to become Spock, and I have missed out on being able to access these tools and discover a life that is so much richer and interesting and loving than I ever knew was possible.
I initially scoffed at the entire idea of this work, especially its emphasis on emotions and the idea that we were born to be able to use our emotions in powerful ways. When my daughter went into a deep depression, I found therapy useful to vent, but it did not challenge me to dig deeper nor provide me with tools to change every conversation with her into something mutually loving, respectful, and productive. Concepts such as a “good parent” or (shudder) “good wife” or even the idea that THERE REALLY IS a “right thing” to do, and if I am smart enough I could figure that out, went completely out the window (accompanied by a sigh of relief). Most of the time, this work is actually fun, because it does not require all the operations that I am so good at: analysis, summary, presentation—these are not used in this work. Instead, we (honestly) get to think like children, in a safe and judgment-free small, facilitated group, and in the space of an hour transform outlooks on long-held difficulties. There is also support for using these tools “in the field” on an ongoing basis, to help keep our brain chemicals in balance while being supportive to others.
Of critical importance to me is that any training I take be based on evidence and peer reviewed findings, and this work is backed up by both science and common sense. It is also evolving to meet the needs of a very wealthy yet stressed and sometimes sick society. I have the highest respect for its architects who were so astounded at results that they have become passionate advocates of living this life of authentic and rich humanity. I cannot recommend this training highly enough.
The hard work has truly paid off. EBT has changed my life fundamentally. I went from being numb most of the time to being present to the moment, enjoying my life to the fullest. It is amazing! My group was wonderful and I could definitely not have done it without my buddies and Laurel! I have created joy in my life - an abundance of it! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has shared my path.
The EBT tools have given me tremendous insight into the unrecognized assumptions that have been the subtext of my life. Becoming aware of the existence of these survival circuits has weakened their influence on my thoughts and actions. I have become a much better "loving presence" in my group and with friends and family. I have become more aware of my emotions and how I respond to them. I've shared EBT tools with others and recommend the program to others able to invest the time and resources to it.
EBT has been such a tranformation for me. I used to stuff my feelings and let them build up and then explode, being afraid of my feelings because I exploded. I also felt an empty void inside that was sometimes filled by food, but most of the time stayed empty.
Since EBT, I have learned to feel my feelings and let them fade, I have felt joy and allowed joy in my life, and am actively working towards a healthy, fulfilling and joyful life. The tools I have been given are lifesavers. I have a stressful job and those tools come in handy almost every day. My mood is more even, and when I am triggered by something, it only takes a cycle to bring myself back to a better brain state. The tools are simple. They really work.
ebt has single handedly made traditional psychotherapy outdated. It is ahead of its time; I can not praise it highly enough. everyone will be doing it in 200 years.
EBT has given me the tools and the community to re-wire or re-parent my emotional brain thus change my life. EBT doesn't give the promise of a perfect stress-free life. EBT trains the emotional brain to see stress as an opportunity to grow and evolve. EBT teaches the tools to process (instead of avoid or deny) the stress so one can move forward in life.
Thanks for the support. Highly recommend.
EBT has carried me through some of the most difficult times of my life. I am a better human, a better mother, more honest and grounded now that I have ever been before. I am very, VERY grateful for everything I've learned through EBT. And I very much look forward to attending the annual retreat again and keeping up with my work until I complete the very last kit.
Thanks for the richness of sharing by each person in my group. My sense of loss as i depart is for the loss of contact with these beautiful, authentic women.
Most brilliant process. I love EBT. Amazing and true.
This work is beyond words in its impact on the psyche and Soul. You just have to experience it. Simply brilliant.
EBT has changed my life on so many levels; first with lettng go of using food and over spending and now I've rewired so many survival circuits that I no longer use prescriptive meds for chronic anxiety. My body mass index is down to 24, my resting heart rate is down from high 80's to 70 and I feel healthier than ever. I'm eternally grateful for EBT.
That I have within me a way to deal with any emotional state or situation that I encounter. EBT is profoundly anarchistic-- there is no external authority, only the authority of a genuine connection with Self. That absence of external authority gives this method integrity, makes the process safe, and has given me the gift of internal Sanctuary, somethingthat no one, and no thing can take away from me.
My experience with EBT is Life Giving to me and my family!
I love who I am becoming. My best days are when I'm keeping connection and unconditional love for myself frequently....clearly seeing and loving me and others just as we are.
Thank you, Sue
My EBT journey has been amazing. I was stressed a lot - either worrying about the future or getting stuck in my own thoughts about the relationships in my life. Now, my relationships with my family and friends are much more balanced and fulfilling. Best of all, I am really able to be myself (not the stressed version) and I am truly enjoying my life.
EBT came at the right time when I had just been diagnosed with cancer and l was completely overwhelmed. After learning more about the program, I also realized that my many of my relationships needed help, especially my relationship with myself. Although I am still working on the program, I cannot thank Laurel and the members of my group enough in helping me gain my Sanctuary and discover my purpose in life. I believe in the science that backs the method, but the real "proof" for me that it works has been the transformation in my self-confidence, ability to manage stress, and, yes, experiencing joy in my life.
© Emotional Brain Training, 2014