Ep8 – Meditation, Mindfulness, and Psychology of Anxiety with Dr. Lobsang Rapgay

Dr. Lobsang Rapay joins Dr Hill to discuss his early experience as a Tibetan monk and how it lead to a life in clinical psychology. Dr Rapgay talks about distancing yourself from your emotions in order to not be controlled by them. He speaks about techniques for extinguishing learned fear responses after the fact, as well as using mindfulness to conquer fear and anxiety.

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Dr. Lobsang Rapay joins Dr Hill to discuss his early experience as a Tibetan monk and how it lead to a life in clinical psychology. Dr Rapgay talks about distancing yourself from your emotions in order to not be controlled by them. He speaks about techniques for extinguishing learned fear responses after the fact, as well as using mindfulness to conquer fear and anxiety.

so welcome to another episode of head first with dr. hill today’s guest is dr.
Lobsang Rapp gay dr. rapke is an adjunct assistant professor research and
clinical psychologist and the department of psychiatry at UCLA he was the director of behavioral medicine clinic
and the program and assistant clinical professor at UCLA Semel Institute UCLA for over six years
he’s currently studying the behavioral and neural correlates of fear reconsolidation so thank you dr. Graf
day for being here with us today thank you for having me thank you so I’ve known you for a few years I was a grad
student at UCLA and I got to sit down and over many a meal and discuss neuroscience and different aspects of
things where our interests overlap but I’m sure too many of our listeners they
don’t know you so if you could please give us a sense of who you are where you came from
what what what brought you to this point in your life today oh well I you know I
was born in AUSA which is the capital city of Tibet and actually I was born in
near the very near descent central temple which is regarded as the most
holiest the holiest site in Tibet actually so it’s considered a privilege
to be born near that site did you plan that not quite that so you know I I was
raised dead in Asif till I was about six years of cool and by that time when I
was born and around that time the Chinese Communists had already come into
Lhasa they came in from Eastern Tibetan and they were already in Lhasa but they
were not at that point Oh occupational force they had come true
under the guise of helping Tibetans but they’re already simmering tensions
brewing in the air so it was in that environment I was born and my parents were already thinking of
like what should we do should we stay or leave and finally then I left
then I we escaped into India where luckily I was able to go to a boarding
Catholic school actually a Jesuit Catholic school where I received most my
high school high school and then eventually I went to university in India
and then finally I left at around that same time my father passed away and I
used to be very much a reflective person by nature so already always was drawn to
the inner experience in the world and so that coupled with the passing away of my
way of my father when I was very young kind of somehow drew me to the monastic
community which I remain for about 18 years and while I was a monk I
eventually decided to compliment by monastic training with looking into
Western psychology I already had a PhD from an Indian University where I
studied Western and Eastern psychology and philosophy so I had some exposure
there and finally I decided to come to the United States to pursue a degree in
clinical psychology and then when I was done with that round in 2000 oh I oh I
began to work at UCLA as a staff psychologist and that’s a research
position or clinical we even did that was a predominantly a clinical position
I used to be a consult Asian and Leo’s on services under psychiatry and that
was a service that gap psycho provided psychiatry and psychology to interface
with the medical doctors from various
disciplines and provide complementary services to psychiatric and
psychological services to medical patients only required maybe
psychiatric help primary medication but second release psychotherapeutic
short-term psychotherapy and of course you remain involved in both therapeutic the delivering therapy 1 1 as well as
researching into some of these neuroscience and psychology topics right well actually after that SSI I became an
assistant clinical professor and I directed a outpatient clinic we started
the behavioral medicine clinic which provided training in behavioral medicine
such as in hypnosis peripheral biofeedback and cognitive behavioral
therapy to help work with patients who had predominantly a medical condition
that will require or it was sick day at secondary anxiety or depression which we
try to help them with including pain mmm interesting I want to ask you more about
that but before I do could we go back to your early life I’m really curious about what the experience of joining the
monastic community taking vows but what was that like how old were you in that process really when you committed to
that I was about 20 years old ok so not a child but still not really formed absolutely I it was kind of high
in a place where I was thinking of going abroad to pursue my Western academic
interests and studies and I had to make a choice and so I for good for good
event that and decided to put pursue a monastic training and what happens is
first you have to take a vow as a novice which is a commitment of 36 different
vows okay and then as a novice you kind of evolved there into the monastic life
which is there are a lot of prohibitions will unite facilitate lifestyle and also
on a day to day basis you have to observe a lot of rules and regulations
and I went from me into a monastic ask school which was very academic people
very much like the Jews Jesuit school sure very philosophically oriented and
dialectic dialectics was the means to which you pursuit of philosophical
understanding of inquiry inquiry dilemma you know the tibetans user derived their
dialectics from my Aristotelian ah yes it was renovated from that tradition so
they use very much syllogisms like if they smoke on the hill right or a
mountaintop is there fire right you debate that endlessly and that’s exactly
example of what we used to date on in our early grades that was the focus of
the debates where you learn the dialectical elem basics and then it
evolved into a pursuit where you looked at more Buddhistic teens and concepts
and theories but but along with so it was a very rigorous you know schedule
very disciplined we used to get up around five o’clock then when we had a
service where it was a confessional service where we did prostrations and prayers as a formal process confessing
any any oversight in one’s behavior the
day before and that would go on for about one hour or so
oh and in between breakfast was served during that prayer session and then
there would be you know are you have to do your homework which involve lot of
memorization of text along with learning dialectical skills and then they would
pick classes and the afternoon two to three hours would be spent in individual
debate classes and then there would be another period of time where you would
do your homework and practice individual practices and then late now there would
be a late night prayer followed by long hours of debate sometimes lasting till
eleven o’clock o’clock in the night so that was on a daily basis and then every
month there would be a night long debate that means it starts from six o’clock in
the evening and it was till four o’clock in the morning for the entire night
which is that when you were getting up and that’s what interests that and this is all in preparation for sort of
becoming a monk or this is more academic training but also in the meantime you
are learning to familiarize yourself and bigger becoming your habit rated to being a
monk and what its life is and if you feel it that’s us that’s what you want
then you become a fully ordained monk – if you walk involves taking two hundred
and fifty three different vowels oh that’s a life law and it’s in our tradition of Tibetan Buddhism it’s a
lifelong commitment and so once you were you clearly embrace those vows and
commit to that what was your life like at that point were you I mean I have no
sense really of what a Tibetan Buddhist monk does with his or her time beyond
meditate study what would else to do not much I mean it’s not a dominantly very
in our school organism yeah very academically craven and then between every girl you
know every two weeks dark public confessions so that you attend to and
actually while we say a lot of prayers and do a lot of memorization the bulk of
the time is spent on academic dialectical learning and debating yeah
and meditation is something that comes much later actual in our tradition of
the idea is that you learn the theory of mind the different components of your
mind and you define them and learn to discriminate one mind from the other and
learn things like discrimination skills learn the difference between categories
as well as a specific item that belongs to the category learn to run of learn
all these different basic cognitive and a broad theory of mind and then debate
them out so that you really integrator at least analytical understanding of
them yeah and then after 10-15 years you begin to meditate that’s the kind of
structure in a school yeah yeah certainly I mean I have some understanding of Buddhism I practice
meditation but really no understanding of that traditional cultural inflection
one thing that I’ve always noticed in general you know sort of Buddhism is there seems to be a bit of a difference
in the lay person who’s engaging with the world and practicing ways to reduce
their own suffering suffering of those around them through you know meditation for not being attached how is the the
more rigorous practice of the monastic community different than a lay community
in Tibet is it dramatically different is are there yes it does it is different
practice of Buddhism where and different way of are integrating Buddhism in the lay
community its devoid of all of the academic depth understanding of the mind
so it’s more devotional and belief oriented so the lay person might see the
per the Buddha as a divine figure so for cosmology Les like les technique and the
expression of their practice would be in the form of prayer offerings that they
would make to the monasteries or the monastic communities and then they might
do practices themselves like not only prayers but there were two prostrations
or those who are more deeply involved as a layperson then they might do long
retreat into the more esoteric form of Buddhism interesting but practices such
as mindfulness schemata is something that in the divine body’s tradition both
in the lay and the monastic community you don’t find that many practitioners
they tend to do the more esoteric practices of deities and so and make dj2
what we call deity practices now these sort of visualizing different deities and specific chants or specific mantras
or $1.00 you’re visualizing what else that’s right you know in Buddhism they are like three degrees it’s good to
think about three types of Buddhism the one that the Buddha thought we would be the telev are in type 2 which focus
which is based on the concept that there is only one Buddha and that’s the historical Buddha he was a human who
practiced schemata first which he learned from the hindus and then on his
own he decided to that was not enough and then he began to inter
integrate with partner Kshama as an extension of schemata and that through
that he became enlightened there’s a sketch ala Siddhartha Gautama Buddha right okay yeah they only acknowledge
one Buddha now and then the there and therefore they focus more their
objective or their approach to Buddhist practice which all the Buddhist traditions except like schemata practice
or concentration practice and inside practice is uniformly accepted by all
Buddhism forms of Buddhist schools but what proportion are harming the telev
audience or approach is different they focus on individual liberation first
before you can help others you have to and they do it through schemata practice
leading to a reporter and then complementing that with loving-kindness
and compassion that’s wonderful that’s how it’s done however the second school
of Buddhism is called The Grates vehicle or the grade school kumano and that that
takes a different approach they accept all the basic teachings of the Buddha like the Four Noble Truths the Eightfold
Path of practice but they say are their
approaches that one should delay one’s own liberation in the interest of
helping others becomes liberated and sofala so our approach is very very
different and so they focus a lot on using ethical basis is the foundational
life is the basis of the enveloping wisdom which is about understanding the
nature of your mind and the reality and reality as such and complementing that
very heavily with compassion practices however the third school which is
exclusive or predominantly dominated by the Tibetan Buddhist tradition is the
Vajrayana school Adri allah yes it means diamond-like vehicle it’s likes
immutable crystalline our heart yes and
that’s where instead of you know the to earlier schools they tend to see negative
thoughts as the source of all suffering like a desire hatred rejection is all
considered poisons which you have to are regulate and eventually overcome in
order to develop positive thoughts etc that’s basically it they approach the
Raja Ram is quite different it’s quite the opposite in some sense they say don’t overcome your anger but learn to
embrace it and transform it into a path into your spiritual path so so too with
desire and the way they do that is that basically to put it in a nutshell you
mobilize the physiological energy associated with anger and desire and
strip away it the cognitive defier negative thoughts associated with
disassociated to maintain the physiological energy generated by desire
and anger trap them and localize them systematically in different parts of the
body called chakras which are simply networks of nerves nerves systems at
critical points on the body trap that energy and through breathing and yoga
training you learn to or generalize that intense energy up the chakras one up
like like at the navel for instance and then use that to gradually transfer that
energy systematically depending on the state of mind or inner realizations you
have achieved two different chakras eventually and the idea is that will
unify the masculine and the feminine energy that we all are embodied and when
those two unite they give birth just like when a male and a female unites a
gift similarly psychic energies mundane unite
then they give birth to creative what is called the creative mind which which
allows you to vision to become the deity itself you yourself become the Buddha so
to speak so instead of leaning away from things that might be tempting or grasping or detrimental you lean into
the things learn from them and they transform you absolutely right yeah yeah
it sounds very different than very much that’s wonderful so at some point your path changed you because you’re clearly
here in the US now you’re a faculty member and a psychologist UCLA what was
that change about why did you decide that you no longer wanted to remain a monk well that was because as I Dickie
went to school and decided to work in the United States I began to feel like I
couldn’t really sustain my vows it for you know under without a monastic
support system and also forward the
number of years I have been away from the monastic structure and order kind of
I think played a big role and my changing perception of you know because
of my personal psychotherapy and own evolution as a person in a more modern
and lay context I think without fully being conscious of how much they were
impacting me I suddenly found myself like deciding to leave the order so
let’s take a tiny bit into your some your interest I know you’re of course a research and a clinical psychologist and
I believe you have a lot of focus on anxiety that’s fine and also some fear
and some other things how does anxiety fit into this framework of these
passions that are potentially things we learn from or transform us is anxiety a stuck place in your perspective of these
or is it something that is a process that we are working through to to transform ah from the vagina perspective
you could kind of taking the broad premise of how to work with emotions
particularly negative emotions and transform them into positive ones you
could say though it hasn’t been specifically done with anxiety of here
you could apply that principle you could find a way to disassociate the negative
cognitive and affective state associated with fear and retain the intense
physiological energy an arousal basically the arousal associated with
fear and then it will learn yoga and breathing techniques to interfere with
the flow of that energy and use it strategy strategically to enter into the
desired chakra points there are seven chakras in the body so and that could
lead to the chakras being activated in
into a harmonious and synchronistic way which leads the brain to so to speak to
kind of synchronize and produce insights and perceptions in a very different way
than the way you were experiencing a month before it’s very interesting so I
mean I curse you know I work with people’s brains many people have anxiety and I sort of feel that anxiety is to
some extent a healthy phenomenon if you be I tell my clients if you’re being chased by a tiger you’re anxious exactly
the right response but humans are you know we can catastrophize and think of what could go wrong and so from my
perspective when anxiety is a problem it’s when it doesn’t ramp back down when the environment is no longer threatening
or stressful so when you work with clinical clients who are who have
a lot of persistent or triggered anxiety is this a is your clinical approach one
that helps them lean into these experiences and and and learn from the
to transform or is it more getting control of your mind where’s where’s the clinical sort of
path that that reconciles this approach Rd in clinical use it seems to be much
better to use the mindfulness model okay and we’ll prime Lee to using our or the
technique of how to be fully present in a non-judgmental or accepting way as
well as in an unreactive Lee your anxious thoughts and a fearful feelings
and to do that you know what I do is first try to teach the clients to first
learn to create mental disorder distancing from your thoughts and
feelings and that really involves teaching them how to get a sense of
spatial distance of you yourself as the observer from your thoughts or the
sensations let’s say in an anxious patient you might have a sense of
knowing or tightness in the stomach so we teach them to get a sense that you
are the observer the experience of sensation is there’s a spatial distance
between yourself or so observer and what’s being observed and we train in
then and then that’s a way to learn people teach people to watch their
thoughts and through pausing we teach a lot of pausing when you watch and if
it’s getting too much you just pause for a while connect back to your abdominal
reading regulate your breathing come back to the watching again and the more
you can watch your thoughts unfold that’s one of the key elements I notice
when a patient hits that ability that is where the transformation of mindfulness
occurs even though mindfulness provides other things as being man judgmental and
accepting but clinically in a measurable way I think that’s a key element so it’s
essentially sounds like you’re teaching people how to not identify with their processes quite so much like the very I
is not tied into the exact absolutely as you know we things I t when you have a
fearful thought or a feeling and there is no differentiation at all or you know
the eye and the observer and observed and decide enter fight they are seen as
one this mode like when a person has been for instance the pain they don’t
see my foot hurts they say I like her move so the Buddhists say that the first
thing is to decide and just learn how to recite and if I the two and then you can
bring to bear the full potential of being non-evaluative and being
nonreactive becomes much easier but if you do learn that initial skill of
watching from a distance just like watching a video of yourself on a screen
if you don’t learn that skill then trying to be non-judgmental and
nonreactive are we become really a kind of a forced or induced attitudinal state
which has benefits for sure and fake it image yeah all right so it sounds like
and again I’m not the Buddhist scholar in the room so please correct me if I’m wrong it sounds like this dis
identification would lead to essentially equanimity being okay with how things
are even if they are not Pettit if they’re uncomfortable that someone accurate that’s accurate in the sense
that once you disappointing you can fully be
except the Inga after watching it then
you can accept while being fully present to the anxious part of feeling and you
can accept it and then that turns into tolerance of it at that time then
equanimity the first elements of equanimity begins to unfold after you
can tolerate the suffering yeah then it becomes leans towards becoming a positive you know experience because
then you can say like okay this pain is on a scale of 10 its 7 and yesterday it
was 5 and you can tell you you can be generate equanimity about that
information whereas now it feels like oh yesterday was 5 today 7 it’s getting
worse so there’s this technique is not working as a negative spiral that
happens equanimity helps to check that interesting and you know from a clinical psychology perspective things like
depression and anxiety they seem to have this quality that robs you of foresight how you’re feeling now is how you think
you are feeling forever that’s right and it’s very difficult to go ok shift does actually happen the moment I’m feeling
right now is not how I’m going to feel tomorrow the next day that seems to be a easily
lost perspective when there’s mood disorders or stress disorders right some think this would be a way to sort of
re-educate the brain about the fact that there is you know the things do change very much so and you know there’s like
studies which show that when people who have had depression and they they
recover to a certain degree and to prevent relapse if you take those
subjects and train them in being fully present to their sensory experience in
their body what they notice is the right anterior insula begins to activate and
that insula is associated with awareness of your sensory looks
answers if you add where’s in the control group what they found was that
it didn’t activate interesting and therefore they were more likely to
recall negative or negative experiences associated with their depression which
in turn showed that they were much higher more likely to relapse
interesting some research on the right insula in ageing medicine older older
adults that meditate are spared a loss of the right insulated the cortex course
thins as we aid I also seem remember that if you do TMS on the right insula
people spontaneously stop smoking cigarettes or at least temporarily so sorry about the the body sort of feeding
the body and aware of that thing yeah I think this unit is not ability to
regulate your aversion to unpleasant sensations versus is also appears to be
very critical here if you develop and that is research with
the people who meditated five years or more and what they found was that when
pain was induced in them and the bottle they reported much less being then the
control however when they look at the brain they found that the pain areas
were very active as control interesting and what they found was however the
anterior cingulate cortex which kind of a disco you know regulates your reaction
and responses to sensations what they found that was you know that was well
controlled so what they were doing was they were able to regulate the aversion
to be interesting even though aim was still physiologically was being
activated in the body the affective and cognitive interpretation of the P
that was that was lovely oh that’s such a great finding course also colleagues
at UCLA know me Eisenberger and Matt Lieberman found that the right frontal areas that perceived physical pain or
also the same areas that perceive emotional pain so heartbreak and loss actually does produce pain in a really
physiologic way which seems like a dovetail is pretty well with the clinical work of Judo and links so like
to gap on what you said earlier I think was it is very critical there’s something about if you learn to
sense your bodily sensation there’s
something about that that has an impact on our mood yeah because there’s some
preliminary research which shows for instance that cut the stomach contains
like over 100 million neurons yeah and these neurons appear to be having some
impact on the mood yeah directly so
these visitors serotonergic neurons right right right 90 95 % of the serotonins in the gut not not the brain
right so again if you have a knowing sensation which most anxious people do
like know if well if you take the most anxious people on a Sunday night just
before going to work even though they busy themselves with laundry or catching on a late night show etc there are many
other reporting annoying sensation in this chest or stomach because they’re
it’s an anticipatory or you know response to me or T so learning to use
like mindfulness to regulate and be aware of sensory experiences such as
that could play a big role I think in better hell helping anxious people and
could do not anticipate or not expect that Monday is awful etc yeah it seems
very very crucial so by that same token it’s I would guess that people that are habitually anxious anxious or tend to
become anxious may not have as much of a sense of their fluctuating physical sensations they
might not be as checked in very much so I think because they are locked into ones that are just uncomfortable and
immediately seek to avoid it by distracting themselves so so so they are
probably not more not attuned to other bodily sensations just because even when
they are attuned to the distressing sensations they didn’t have a the mind
narrows you mean the attentional field narrows and they are not able to pick up
other sensations which might be quite pleasant such as the fact that they feel the upper body feel more relaxed so
exemption what the fetus feels more relaxed they are not able to pick that
up because they lack broadened they can’t broaden their field of attention
which is very critical skill and which in xiety tends to completely shut down
sure interesting so is this mindfulness is this meditation may actually actually that maybe unpack for me the difference
our mindfulness and meditation the same thing are they subtly different to the overlap well yeah different in the sense
that you know there are only two broad categories of mindful meditation the one
is the concentration meditation samatha is schemata single and the other is the insight with also every passion
yes that’s the broad category okay everything else fits into that off now what happened is when the Buddha taught
mindfulness he taught it Bramley as schemata we don’t hear how in original
pali takes much of insight as being so slotted with mindfulness but yeah you
would not know that we’re going to any insight tradition cetera in West LA certain right if you look at the original you know suta’s you’ll find
that that’s the case and that’s more like evolution I think later disciples
begin to one-for-one the latest disciples begin to like interpret what the Buddha
meant and there was a lot of confusion among themselves so they began to define things with more clearly than the Buddha
did and as a result numerous schools began to evolve within the order and
what you find is that even in the telev
arden tradition of mindfulness when they they began to take it more towards they
became more enamored with the proportion area left of it because it was more easy
to do there is schemata single-pointed concentration on the breath for hours
was just to demand her and all Buddhist school kind of began to shy away from it
including the Tibetans including the theravadin school it will
certain extent and – to a certain extent they began to shy away and they felt
more anarchic you know the idea of just labeling your thoughts yes dis
identifying the self from them and then letting thoughts come up watching them
arise and that was much more appealing to them it’s certainly more enjoyable it
can be I have a my own training is sort of in insight tradition against the
stream Dharma Punk’s which is my understanding is that sort of descending from the Terra Vaadin way of doing
things it’s it’s a little more of a pastime abased and then of course a lot of that came out of the late 70s jon
kabat-zinn Joseph Goldstein jack Kornfield that was essentially bringing the insight tradition to this country was
not to not to denigrate it sort of watering down a little bit the tera
vaada techniques that’s right and and now modern you know mindfulness MBSR
mindfulness based stress reduction which is core come out of Jon kabat-zinn work at UMass Medical that seems to be even a
little more separated from the roots of tera vaada Mahayana etc do you think
anything is lost today and how mindfulness is taught to Westerners and especially in this country are we
missing something when we do directed attention and just watching things and right I think it’s a very good stock you
know we you know the clinicians and researchers have kind of you know
fine-tuned to original teachings of mindfulness into a form that is you are
you know patient friendly its culturally
relevant and appealing the danger is of course then to to not
go beyond as and you know in Buddhist
meditation we have this concept you know you need to learn how to not under apply
a technique but also you need to be very conscious of over applying technique off so let’s take the concept
of non-judgmental it’s a great way for an anxious person who feels a lot of
guilt and as part of negativistic thoughts about himself and others to kind of learn to use none judgmental
to overcome that but after that he has to also learn to make judgments because
in real life he has to make choices like which school do I send my child to right you are what our friends what type of
friends should I cultivate so no judgment is not apathy or fatalism it’s
not it’s it’s skillful judgment right it’s a skillful non judgment but for
clinically you know people who are clinical patients it’s good to teach nuns I found and it’s very good strategy
to teach them to reduce the excess of negativistic thinking but once you’ve done that the
idea is then how to help them to make constructive yeah beneficial judgments
in their relationships in their lifestyle in the type of thoughts or
decision making processes so here I think there’s always a danger for
people who do MBSR to over-apply non-judgement or over-apply being
accepting perhaps on the other side too I have them you know we do neurofeedback a lot at my Center and we teach
mindfulness and it’s generally this sort of insight you know low key technique based thing I have a one client who’s
been doing a lot of neurofeedback and getting very deep in his in his meditation and he about six months ago
found absorption techniques he’s been mostly Samana but he’s getting essentially the jhanas he’s going to
incredibly profound seeing light shaking body having absorptive experiences and
he’s not somebody’s been meditating for twenty thirty years it’s more like a couple of years and as we start to
exercise his brain with the biofeedback suddenly his meditation practice just took off and now he’s getting almost
stuck in these jhanas where i wonder if going towards the strong absorption the
strong single point awareness can also potentially be a trap a little bit can
get you stuck in the experience of that is that sure absolutely that’s one of the main arguments that Tibetan Buddhist
would make okay with passion uh either they would say that you know you should
that’s one the reason this is even I say to the divine practitioners why don’t
you practice your motto that’s exactly what they will say well schemata is you
know you get into this very blissful gana state and you become seduced by it that
everything else seems you know you tend to devalue every other practice and
that’s a stuck point there’s actually a story where the gods you know in the
Buddhist mythology the ironist state of this blissful state of single-pointed
concentration so the Buddhist Bodhisattva who is the you know the
Buddha who’s out of compassion comes before the God who’s in that state and
snaps his fingers and wakes him out of that can and exposes him to the reality
of his world and that serves as a cue for that God to then begin grew like overcome his
desire for this blissful state ha and so we’ve been helping the deities right and going to a repast ah yeah interesting
isn’t it isn’t that’s a teaching story I think weak wonder so tell us about what
you’re doing with research these days fear reconsolidation so for my limited
understanding of trauma and fear this sounds like you’re working with people who have experienced profoundly
traumatic or anxiety learning events that’s right and then the reconsolidation for folks that aren’t
psychologists in the room or in listening consolidation the act of storing memory reconsolidation appears
to be something that happens when you when you experience an old memory you take it down off the shelf look at it
from many directions and then put it back into storage after you’re done which is probably life therapy works in general for things like stressful and
traumatic experiences because you can re-experience something in a safe environment and put it back with less
trigger will stuff what is it you’re exploring I mean research is always very
very narrow so what aspects about are you really digging into you well there’s you know over the last couple of decades
they’ve but begin to find that when you recall information such as a fear
information from long-term memory which has been consolidated in your long-term
memory when you recall it there’s a short window of time like right after
the recall of that memory so where is traumatic or any other anxiety related issue there’s about two
to four hours window of time where that information has to be reconsolidated
because it becomes unstable when you are recalling it you don’t and if you look at a person who has trauma when you ask
them to you can see how they have difficulty recalling the entire spectrum
of the trauma now within that two hours or two falls if you can if you can
intervene with appropriate novel intervention because
the original memory of the trauma is unstable if you put interjected with the
appropriate keyword is your appropriate novel treatment such as let’s say
standard extinction at that time it’s been shown that the fear is risk so they
actually have tried out cases where let’s say someone as a automobile
accident and is rushed to the emergency they’re actually in injected you know
protein synthesis inhibitors which during that short period of Wyndorf
before four hours and they found that the person pretty much lot of the fears
erased it on it it doesn’t turn into a disorder or and so based on those
studies what i’ve been looking at is can we use standard extinction as the normal
intervention to see if fear is raised which there’s good evidence that it does
erase fear unfortunately we just stranded extinction the fear returns
under various condition so what i did was then create a primary experimental
group where they in addition to standard extinction they would get a 90 minute
training in mindful or reappraisal training and hypothesis is see if that
ensures it is your fear that i saying some early results that was just they’re
just blowing the skies yeah it sounds very promising it’s very exciting site it is so what what else have you been
doing with uh with your life in the past few years I think you’ve written some books would you like to tell us about this
yeah I’ve written some books and I’ve written publish in a peer-reviewed in peer-reviewed
journals as well and then a couple of research I written a book in terms of
the book evasion a book on medication Oh wondering why did not know that is what what’s the title tell us it’s on
meditation introduction to meditation great yeah great I will I will take up a
copy okay thank you yeah wonderful so dr. Rocca is so lovely to have you here it’s been a year too since I’ve
actually seen you face to face I feel like I’m poor for it so it’s nice to get a nice catch up on you certainly on air
if folks are looking into these clinical areas research areas they’re interested
in Tibetan Buddhism they’re interested in you personally where can we find you where can we track you down and see what kind of work you’re doing a kind of
researcher going oh well I just started well of being a website so they can go to that and it’s www integrated mind
science is all one word dot org integrated mind science org is great
wonderful and you’ll have some of your publications some of your write philosophy actually I’ll put yes great
well we will we will go there and look for that so again thank you so much for being a guest on our show today our
headfirst listeners I’m sure or having their minds blown by just a few of the very wise and subtle things you said so
it’s very much a treat nice to see you and folks take care this has been another episode of head first with dr.
Hill our guest today was dr. Lobsang Rapp gay so take care of those brains and we’ll talk to you soon thank you

Dr. Lobsang Rapgay

Dr. Lobsang Rapgay, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor Lobsang Rapgay, Research and Clinical psychologist at the Department of Psychiatry UCLA. He was the Director of the Behavioral Medicine Clinic and Program and an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA Semel Institute at UCLA for over six years. He is currently studying the behavioral and neural correlates of fear re-consolidation.