When talking about integrating the brain we are referring to integrating the logical left hand side and the emotional right hand side of the brain. Children who have suffered from trauma and/or abuse are less able to integrate the function of the left and right sides of the brain either because of the decreased size of the Corpus Callosum – the bridge between the two sides, or because a child may not have received the love and care they needed as a child and their left brain is therefore heavily engaged because of the emotional desertion in childhood. The right side was not stimulated and therefore has not grown. Integration means we, as adults, are learning to work with both sides of the brain and grow both sides of the brain.
The way we can help ourselves heal is to name our feelings. This means we are (1) feeling the feeling – right hand side of the brain, and (2) naming the feeling – engaging the left hand side of the brain. We are now not operating out of one side or the other but integrating both sides of the brain. It is important for us to empower ourselves by allowing ourselves to not shut off our feelings but to be fully present with them yet not swallowed up by them. (Dr. Dan Siegel)
This is explained so well by Daniel Goleman in his book titled Emotional Intelligence,
“If we can manage our emotions, that is, blend emotion and thought, we increase the chances that our decisions will be more effective and our lives more adaptive. This is the challenge of emotional management – neither to suppress feelings nor vent them but to reflect on them, integrate them with our thinking, and use them as a source of information and inspiration for intelligent decision making.”
When we integrate our brains we are helping us to get to know and understand ourselves better and make more intelligent decisions.