The basis for therapy at KidsBrainTree Fort Collins

This is a bit technical but is meant to provide a more in-depth look at what we think about when we are deciding what we will be doing in our time together. This is written for the person who wants the research before they will explore. To that end we assume you understand the research and do not need too much interpretation.

Boiling down the complexities of this journey has its challenges, since we are dwarves on giants’ shoulders. We found that there are truths that when put together with other truths, make sense of the picture at hand.

Over the past several years we have implemented changes to our treatment protocols based on our ongoing, and increasing knowledge base related to how the brain grows and works. This process is not static – so a model that incorporated this dynamic nature was born.

We have named 6 components needed for creating lasting and effective neuroplastic change and these have become the foundation for how we think about the factors that influence the clinical resolution of the presenting issues for clients.

  1. Safety

  2. Connectivity

  3. Nutrition

  4. Trauma resolution

  5. Stress management

  6. Neural maturity

Haller Method Visual

These 6 components are based on the following premises. We have been careful to keep the traditional approach of rehabbing before adapting. To the best of our ability we have encompassed the whole person with these foundations.

We have integrated well researched ideas and methods, which have proven time and again, when used correctly, are able to create the changes our clients need. The researched constructs that inform our thinking includes:

  1. Nutritional building blocks are essential for optimal neurological function. Any disruption in their ability to reach the tissues that need them, hampers those tissue's innate function. (Lyle MacWilliam (1) )
  2. The physical brain has the purpose of controlling and directing muscular contraction and by extension movement (Daniel Wolpert (2) )
  3. If you cannot find a muscle sensorially, you cannot move it voluntarily. (Moshé Feldenkrais (3) )
  4. Neuroplasticity as a process exists and follows the principle of what fires together wires together (Donald Hebb (4)) and that which is ignored is pruned (Michael Merzenich (5) )
  5. Deliberate movement and posture has an influence on neurological firing (Cynthia Berrol (6) ) just as neurological firing causes movement
  6. Muscle tone can be reset, and balance of firing influenced through proprioceptive neuromuscular techniques (Lorraine Pedretti (7) ; Margot Heiniger (8) ; SS Adler et al (9))
  7. Muscle firing can be influenced by the electrical fields around the body, which turn can be influenced by the environment. (Charles Krebbs(10) ; John Thie (11), Carol Phillips (12))
  8. The first neurological pathways established in utero, are reflexive in nature; involving muscular contraction in response to a sensory stimulus and are predictable and obligatory in their initial appearance. (Mary Fiorentino (13); Sally Goddard (14) )
  9. Patients should be evaluated developmentally and treated sequentially. (Margaret Rood (15) Margot Heiniger (8))
  10. Any skilled and differentiated movement follows a specific plan of acquisition. (Signe Brunnstrom(16) )
  11. Motor development leads to cognitive development in a predictable manner (Signe Brunnstrom(16) ; Carla Hannaford (17); Margot Heiniger (8) ; Billye Ann Cheatum et all (18), )
  12. All 3 midlines need to be established for development to progress optimally (Maxine Haller (19) )
  13. Lateralization and hemispheric dominance is a factor of 3D existence and influences all functions particularly stressful engagements (Carla Hannaford (17) )
  14. Activated Defense mechanisms will override all developmental progress and shut down choice if unmitigated - thus perceived safety is crucial (Margot Heiniger(8) ; Bessel van der Kolk(20) )

We have amalgamated these principles into a useful tool that does not compartmentalize a person in process of recovery or development. We have honed the skills needed to implement the premises and produced a model that can clinically address the problems we are faced with concerning academics, emotional regulation and social skills. The model is sequential and developmental in nature and considers the influencers on obligatory action, mitigates them and produces choice of interaction and response to any given stimuli.

In more simple words –

we know how to grow the brain connections needed to succeed academically, in relationships and in self care for whoever wishes to play with us.

Here is a list of the articles, videos and books referenced above so that you can research for yourself - should you so wish. This is NOT the complete list of resources we have used or techniques we know. It is meant to be a place to start to validate what we do, based on the premises we used to decide this.

(1) MacWilliam L. Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements 4th edition  Section 1 Northern Dimensions, 2007
(2) Wolpert, Daniel M.  The real reason for brains. TED talk (Nov 2011)


(3) Feldenkrais, Moshé. Body Awareness as Healing Therapy: The Case of Nora. Berkeley, CA: Frog Books; 2 edition, 1993.




Hebb DO. The Organization of Behavior: A Neurophysiological Theory. New Edition: Taylor and Francis e-Library, 2009


Merzenich MM, Nelson RJ, Stryker MP, Cynader MS, Schoppmann A, Zook JM.  Somatosensory Cortical Map- Changes Following Digit Amputation in Adult Monkeys. The Journal of Comparative Neurology 1984;  1984;224:591-605


Berrol CF. The Neurophysiologic basis of the mind-body connection in dance/movement therapy. Am J Dance Ther (1992) 14: 19. doi:10.1007/BF00844132


Pedretti LW. Occupational Therapy: Practice skills for Physical Dysfunction  2nd  edition  Chap 17  CV Mosby Company, 1985:
(8) Heiniger MC, Randolph SL. Neurophysiological Concepts in Human Behavior: The tree of learning. CV Mosby Company, 1981
(9) SS Adler et al. PNF in Practice  Springer  2019
(10) Krebs CT and O’Neill T.  Energetic Kinesiology – Principles and Practice Handspring Pub, 2014
(11) Thie J.   Touch for Health- the complete edition A practical Guide to Natural Health with Acupressure Touch, 1st edition DeVorss & Company 2005
(12) Philips C.  Dynamic Body Balancing Cranio Sacral Therapy Course I – V manuals 2019
(13) Fiorentino M A. Basis for Sensorimotor Development – Normal and Abnormal the influence of Primitive, Postural reflexes on the Development and Distribution of Tone Charles C Thomas, 1981
(14) Goddard S. Reflexes, Learning And Behavior: A Window into the Child’s Mind: a Non-invasive Approach to Solving Learning & Behavior Problems. 1st edition. Fern Ridge Pr, 2005
(15) Pedretti LW. Occupational Therapy: Practice skills for Physical Dysfunction 2nd  edition  Chap 14  CV Mosby Company, 1985: Rood
(16) Pedretti LW.   Occupational Therapy: Practice skills for Physical Dysfunction 2nd  edition CV Mosby Company, 1985: Chap 15 Brunnstrom
(17) Hannaford C.

The Dominance Factor: How Knowing Your Dominant Eye, Ear, Brain, Hand and Foot Can Improve  Your Learning. 1st   edition Great River Books, 2011

Smart Moves – why learning is not all in your head 2nd edition Great River Books, 2005

(18) Cheatum, BA.  and Hammond A.   Physical Activities for Improving Children’s Learning and Behavior Human Kinetics, 2000
(19) Haller M.  Foundations for Clinical Neuroplasticity Course manual, 2016
(20) Van der Kolk B.  The Body Keeps Score: Brain mind and body in the healing of trauma. Penguin 2015