Change Your Brain: Change Your Boundaries

Our nation is in shock over the horror of the mass killing that has taken place in our country this past weekend in Orlando, Florida. Just yesterday a man was picked up in West L.A. on his way to a Gay Pride March with a gun, and the ingredients for a bomb. Around the world bombings, stoning, beheadings, etc. are stark reminders that we live in a world today in 2016 that is not the same as the world in the last century. There is a spiritual emptiness and darkness that seems fueled by hatred. This can result in feelings of helplessness, powerlessness, and feeling overwhelmed. When reality is change is possible in this world and it begins by changing one soul at a time…our own! Having the boundary that I can change and deepen in my spiritual life, and focus on what I can change. We are all spiritual beings that inhabit this physical body, and brain rather temporarily in light of eternity. It is important to grow in love, grace and forgiveness. Begin by changing what you can change, which is yourself. A simple prayer that is said daily hundreds of thousands of times in 12 step groups all around the world brings us to a reality of what is possible for each of us this day. Here it is in its best known form:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.


Very few people know the original serenity prayer in its extended form by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,

This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,

If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


The Serenity Prayer is a key boundary prayer. One way to put the prayer into action is to create a chart in your journal like the following:

What can I change? What do I need to accept that I cannot change? Impact of accepting what I cannot change, and changing what I can.

Prayer changes the brain. One negative thought, resentment, fear, or judgment will influence your brain chemistry, which has impact on your thoughts , feelings, and physical being. Anything that changes the brain influences our spiritual and physical boundaries in this world. Andrew Newberg, MD is the world’s leading researcher when it comes to how prayer changes the brain. He utilizes the same technology that we employ in helping people – SPECT Brain Imaging. Below is a scan of the brain before prayer or meditation and after prayer and meditation. There are discernable changes in the parietal lobes of the brain. If you take your hands and place them above your ears and let your fingers naturally fall across the top of your head that is where your parietal lobes are located. This region helps us in being oriented in time and space, and also processes outside stimuli such as light, sound, etc. When you look at the picture before meditation and after meditation you can see a change in the parietal region of the brain. Your connection with God is actually changing your brain! You are uniquely wired by God to have a relationship with Him! When you pray and meditate on the Serenity Prayer there are actually changes in your brain. One way to meditate on that prayer is to actually close your eyes, allow yourself to breath deeply, and picture each one of those things in your life that you are powerless to change to see them float one by one into the Hands of Jesus. Prayerfully releasing them into the Hands of Jesus. Letting Him hold them in His Hands and Heart. A woman I met with this morning was struggling with fear and worry about her helplessness in doing anything to help her adult son who is in the early stages of recovery from a serious heroin addiction. God allowed me to guide in her in process of prayer and meditation to release her son into His Hands. Tears flowed as she relaxed and deepened in prayer, and then a noticeable peace flowed from deep within her as she felt her entire being release her son into His Hands. Panic left, tightness in her stomach, chest and neck all released as she deepened in a meditative state. When she said “Amen!” and opened her eyes there was spiritually-emotionally- physically clear boundary between her and her son that she could feel.

It is difficult to take the above steps spiritually if your brain is out of balance. When people come to Henslin & Associates for individual, marital or family counseling the first goal is to assess brain function. Can you focus deeply enough to pray? Is your attention easily distracted by a sound or thought that takes you way from that prayerful or meditative state? Is your anxiety so high that the idea of prayer is just not possible. It creates panic just to go sit in a church , much less close your eyes and pray! One of the primary reasons that people relapse in their addictions whether it is food, sex, alcohol, drugs, or spending is that the frontal cortex of the brain , that has to do with impulse control, is just not functioning well. Possibly the left and right basal ganglia is so high it is difficult to calm yourself to pray or to drift off to sleep. My best times in prayer are when I am on a long walk, or hike. Praying the Serenity Prayer, the Lords Prayer, or the Apostles Creed. Repeating those prayers or focusing on the Jesus Prayer, “ Lord have mercy upon me for I am a sinner.” Just repeating and meditating on the meaning of those prayers as I walk helps them to sink into the very core of my being. Prayer is simply talking to God, and He listens whether you are in a deep restful meditative state or are walking and praying!

Are you concerned about your memory or the memory of a loved one? I and the therapists associated with me can give you a memory screen here at the office or skype. We utilize a test that picks up with 97% accuracy mild cognitive impairment, the early warning sign of dementia and Alzheimer’s. You will get score that will tell you how you compare to people in your particular age range. We have been using this test for many years, and have helped people get a head start on dealing with memory problems. Then we can help you develop specific strategies to help improve brain function. This test was developed by nationally and internationally known neurologist William Rodman Shankle, MD. Call Pam at 714.256.2807 to schedule an appointment today!

The time to get ready for the new school year is now! Summer goes by all to quickly, and before you know it you will be getting your children, teens, or adult children ready for another year of learning. Now is the time to schedule an appointment for an evaluation to see if attention deficit disorder, anxiety, depression or mood swings might be interfering with academic or athletic performance. When the brain works right, you work right! The clinicians at Henslin and Associates are all trained to assess brain function, and will help develop strategies whether it is supplements, medication, or brain training. There are steps that can be taken to optimize brain health and performance.

Confused about what to do in life? The job market has changed so dramatically over the years it seems to be increasingly difficult for young men and women to choose the career they would enjoy working at to make a living. I utilize a test called the Birkman that is an executive coaching tool, that also has feature of the test that helps people know what fields or employment the natural interests that God has given them are best suited for. This test is taken online in about 30-45 minutes and then a two hour session to review the results. Then I utilize that information along with information gained from a clinical interview and filling out some checklists that will help us integrate that person’s unique brain function with reaching their goals in life. If you are interested in testing for yourself or for someone in your family call Pam to schedule an appointment at 714.256.2807.

Are you or your spouse or family member struggle with PTSD? There is much misinformation about PTSD in the treatment world today. I and the clinicians working with me have decades of experience in treating PTSD. Personally I have worked with people from WWII to the current wars in helping men and women to heal from PTSD. Today we have the technology and the treatment methods to help find the right supplements and medications that help optimize brain function as people utilize methods such as EMDR and others to help those struggle with PTSD. We not only assess brain function but also motivate the PTSD survivor to confront the addictions they maybe in. Once the person has learned how to optimize brain function, are working a program to help with their addictions then the healing for PTSD can occur. Leave out one step, and you will complicate the person’s recovery from PTSD. Call Pam at 714.256.2807 to arrange an appointment.

Seminars, Presentations, Conferences and Retreats: If your church , business or school would like a presentation on any of the above issues contact me at A list of potential topics:

  • This is Your Brain on Joy
  • This is Your Brain in Love
  • The Executive Brain: Steps to Take To Optimize Brain Function and Health.
  • Change Your Brain : Change Your Boundaries
  • Man to Man: Steps to take to grow into your potential as a man.
  • You are Your Father’s Daughter: Steps to Healing the Wounds of the Earthly Father
  • Unlocking Your Family Patterns
  • Which Brain Do You Want? ( Talk for youth groups to learn how cannabis and other substances impact the brain)
  • Spirituality and Sexuality: The Keys to Recovery From Sexual Addiction
  • Secrets to Keeping Your Brain Young

May you be richly blessed as you enjoy this summer! If you or someone you know is in need of counseling call Pam at 714.256.2807 to arrange an appointment!


Earl R Henslin, Psy.D, B.C.E.T.S.
Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress
Diplomate in the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress
Clinician/Brain Health Coach/Executive Coach/Author/ Speaker


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