The Brain's Control Center

How It Functions

Overview Function Levels Capacity Training Hierarchy

At the center of a cell is the DNA. The strange thing is that a cell with DNA can be part of a flower or a cow or yeast or a fish or a person. Still, at the center, running the show is the DNA. All DNA in cells works the same way but sometimes it smells like a rose and other times it says “moo.” When it does not work we get sick and die.

At the center of a computer is a processor chip (CPU.) At the center of a newer television is a processor chip (CPU) and there is one at the center of your microwave, cell phone, camera, stereo, electric piano, dishwasher, car and air-conditioner. All digital processor chips work in the same way loading and changing binary information but sometimes it cooks popcorn, other times it balances your checkbook and sometimes it makes music. When it fails to work we get some problems that come and go, some we can identify immediately, some only when the machine gets too hot and some that shut everything down.

Our control center in our right-brain is similar to DNA and processor chips. The control center function is the same in everyone but, depending on what went wrong, control center problems can appear in many forms. Some control centers loaded a “bad program” inside and others malfunctioned for lack of cooling or capacity. One person will have trouble with attention and another will be over-focused. One will have out of control feelings while another seems to have no feelings at all. One will be addicted while another will be traumatized. One will be isolated and another clingy. One will be totally oppositional and another a con artist. In spite of all the differences in how these problems look on the outside, the diagnosis and correction of the control center abilities requires the same standard functions and capacities to do almost every job.

Part of the power of the Life Model is that it addresses the basic functions needed to be fully human and alive. As you will read in the section on neurotheology the same requirements and functions are desirable from both a spiritual and physical perspective.

The control center processes what it means to be human in a human brain. The basic control center functions needed to be human are:

THRIVE training has expanded this list to 19 essential and nonverbal skills that can be learned and passed on from one control center to another. These skills govern the raising of a child, forming of a church, persuasion of a sales call, the calming of a rage, the avoidance of violence, the recovery from trauma, the effectiveness of counseling, the capacity for empathy, the strength of a bond, the ability to focus and learn in school, motivation at work, falling in love, blending families, recovering from addictions and making up after something goes wrong. We like the people with these control center skills and generally avoid people who lack them. Few trainers can even identify what these control center skills really are because the skills are largely nonverbal. Even fewer people can detect which skills are missing and then systematically retrain the control center. For this reason, many ministry, training, discipleship, counseling, small group, recovery, family, school and business methods work for some people and not for others.