There is more to the story of your healing journey than just thinking, planning, talking, and meditating.  This is something I am constantly educating my clients and MindBody Membership Community on.   

I have noticed in my practice that women come to me with a recurring theme when it comes to feeling stuck in emotional, mental or physical dis-ease. I often hear the following…

  • “I have been trying to think positive, but my behaviours and emotions are not any better.”
  • “I meditate and journal regularly, but I still can’t fight off my anxiety.”
  • “I try my best to be mindful and plan, yet I can’t shake my feelings of stress and overwhelm.” 

Does any of that sound familiar? You’re doing ‘the work’ and putting in time and effort, but you’re just not seeing the results and rewards! 

Let me explain why, this might just be the case for you. 

Top Down Approach is Limited!

This type of approach is what we call a top down approach – and includes interventions that are all about changing your thoughts.  And it focuses on how the mind interprets information. This approach takes place in the higher parts of your brain (the frontal lobes to be exact) and this is troublesome because a “logic first” methodology doesn’t work for everyone


Have you ever thought to yourself – I should be able to solve this problem or get myself out of this situation, saying things to yourself like… it’s not logical, I can reason myself out of this, I should be able to make the right decisions, I’ll just problem-solve my way out!  


Your frontal cortex can literally shut down with ‘logic and reason’ going along with it! This is because the brain and body is stressed or overwhelmed, and it can be challenging to get it back ‘online’ again.  Also, trying to get your way out of a problem that your brain doesn’t know how to solve by ‘thinking about it’, and this could be what is actually keeping you stuck.  


So, this means that reasoning, perspective, and problem-solving can all be blocked because the prefrontal cortex is just not reaching and connecting to the emotional regulation centre (aka limbic system) of your brain.  Your brain (and body) may be in flight, flight or freeze mode! 

A Bottom Up Approach is Comprehensive

On the other hand, there is another method known as the bottom up approach – which gathers information from the body (as opposed to the brain) that includes all of the sensations and feelings you have been experiencing (from your limbic/emotional centre of the brain,  subconscious and nervous system).  In a nutshell, it uses information from the body to help you gain real healing through the brain, nervous system and body resetting and rewiring.  


This approach goes beyond the ‘thinking mind’ and accesses healing via exploring, supporting and resourcing your body through your emotions, your feelings, your nervous system, your limbic brain (emotional part of your brain).  This approach aims at connecting the parts of your body and brain that may have become ‘disconnected’ from your ‘rational thinking mind’. 


This bottom up method is a great way to support your brain (and body) to move out of fight, flight, flight or freeze mode! It is a gentle way of edging the body to explore and process ‘perceived threats and overwhelm’ in a way that avoids being retriggered or re-traumatised whilst providing the body with a sense of safety, security and resources.   


This mind-body approach is like accessing a ‘hidden road or door’ into the brain that by-passes a load of roadblocks that you would encounter if you took the main highway (aka the prefrontal cortex and logical thinking). 

Top Down vs Bottom up

“You see, bottom-up approaches zero in on a [persons] raw emotions and defense systems by working with clients to modulate their bodies. Meanwhile, top-down approaches look to shift the way a [person] thinks – whether it’s veering them away from unhelpful rumination or encouraging curiosity for their reactions”.

Which approach is best?

Now you may be thinking, “Is one of these approaches better than the other?” 


The quick answer to this is NO. 


It all depends on the person, their situation, how their brain and body is currently working. This is because our life experiences are unique and most methods work differently for different people. 


Oftentimes, a combination of both the top down and bottom up approaches works the best. It has been my experience that all of my clients have needed more than the top down approach in order to achieve real healing. Often coming to me, because they have tried the top-down mindset and behaviour changes without much progress.  

What do the approaches look like?

Here is an outline of top down and bottom up approaches.  

In my practice working with clients 1:1 and in the MindBody Reset Membership, I use a combination of both top down and bottom up approaches depending on the clients needs. In saying that, I predominantly focus on Bottom-Up approaches, because they are SOOO much more effective and the results are phenomenal. 

The main methods I typically include in my practice include Brain Spotting, EFT, NLP, SSP, movement, energetics, frequency, breathing, aromatherapy and more.  

What approach should I take?

In summary, the bottom up approach helps you to work with the emotional and defensive reactions within the body in order to achieve long lasting healing results, which are also faster deeper and more powerful because the top down approach of helping you think differently does not always work on it’s own and it is limiting in that it is not working with the whole body.  

What can I do next?

If you are curious to learn more, I have added some links that dive into the science behind why the bottom up approach can be so pivotal. 

Additionally, if you feel called to take the leap to dive deeper into healing, sign up for my free clarity call where we walk through ways I can support you in your journey. 

If you enjoyed this article and found it insightful, share it with a friend or family member that could benefit so they too can grow on their healing journey. As always, thank you for saving space for me in your day and I hope you have a beautiful week. 

Sending love and wellbeing your way!

Lisa 🧠

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