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Emotional Brain Training founder trains county health department workers

July 25, 2011|By TAYLOR ECKEL | taylor.eckel@herald-mail.com
  • Laurel Mellin, founder and director of Emotional Brain Training, and an associate professor of family and community medicine at the School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, visits the Washington County Health Department Monday to train EBT providers and prepare them for a study.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

WASHINGTON COUNTY — In this fast-paced world, most people find that stress is the brain’s comfort zone, but Laurel Mellin believes she has found the solution.  

Mellin is the founder and director of Emotional Brain Training, and an associate professor of family and community medicine at the School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco.  

She visited the Washington County Health Department Monday to train Washington County’s four EBT providers in a new program method, as well as prepare them for a study that will be conducted in the coming weeks.

The starting date of the study has not been released.

“The Washington County Health Department has been identified as an exemplary provider of Emotional Brain Training,” Mellin said. “They have trained their professionals to a high level, (and) they are the perfect situation to be at the forefront of (this research). Once this study has been done, we will be replicating it nationwide.”

Courses for EBT are offered across the nation and on the Internet at www.ebt.org. Mellin said Washington County is the first county in the nation to offer the new EBT format and to conduct this study.

EBT is the result of 30 years of research at the UCSF School of Medicine. Mellin said that the program teaches participants to control their reaction to stress and calibrate their brain’s emotional center to a state of well-being.

“The goal of EBT is to move the set point of the brain to levels of well-being and even joy as we train the brain to be resilient to stress,” she said.

Mellin said the program can be an effective way to treat obesity because it erases the hard-wired circuits in the brain for stress that fuel a person’s addiction to food.

Tammy Thornton, a registered dietitian for the health department and an EBT provider, said the agency has been offering EBT courses for two years. She said participants in the study must have a body mass index between 25 and 40 and will receive the new EBT course at no charge.

Half of the 32 participants will complete the course in the first eight weeks of the study, while the other half will be a “control group” during that time. After the initial eight weeks, the EBT course will be available to participants in the control group.

“Everybody will get the program,” Thornton said.

Mellin said the new program — which she described as “intense” — meets twice a week instead of once a week. She said the results of successful EBT include improved relationships with loved ones, increased productivity and optimal health.

For more information about EBT, call Thornton at 240-313-3302.

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