Reprogramming Your Brain To Deal With Trauma, Getting Rid Of Cell Danger Response, Why Drugs Don’t Work, “Emotional Concussions” & Much More With Dr. Don Wood.

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Brain, Lifestyle, Podcast

Dr. Don Wood is a guy I've been hearing about for years from multiple trusted friends of mine in the self-improvement and self-mastery realms, so I finally decided to connect with him and his work more deeply.

I recently hosted Dr. Wood at my house in Spokane, Washington so he could—by working with me and my family for a four-hour session—showcase the special flavor of therapy that he does.

Dr. Wood is the founder of the Inspired Performance Institute and developed The Inspired Performance Program (TIPP™), which is a cutting-edge approach to high performance using advancements in neuroscience. After years of research, Dr. Wood coined the term “emotional concussions™,” which are events and experiences in your life that may have had a profound effect on your current behaviors and habits. If you experience PTSD-like symptoms, health issues related to an overactive sympathetic nervous system, or impediments in your progress towards everything from business success to relationship issues to athletic performance, Dr. Wood says nothing is wrong with you—you might simply just need a reboot.

Dr. Wood's work is based on the idea that events and experiences throughout our life continue to play a role in how you experience life in the present. He has also realized that there was a better way of treating these types of issues. He says…

“Teaching people to live with, manage and cope with the daily stress doesn’t fix the problem. The solution comes from understanding its source and providing a long-term permanent solution.”

Since 2015, the Inspired Performance Institute has worked to create innovative strategies to help people heal from the limiting effects of trauma so they can feel and perform at their best. The result has been the development of TIPP, Dr. Wood's revolutionary approach to performance improvement that is based on the idea that our minds have developed some glitches and error messages in the ways they store information about events from our past. And apparently, we all have these glitches!

Even high-functioning individuals, like executives and professional athletes, have so-called glitches from their pasts, and once “reprocessed,” their performance evolves to a whole new level. Once the mind is updated and refreshed using the Inspired Performance Institute’s NEURO technique, a part of TIPP, individuals are able to remain present, calm, and focused, and their performance naturally improves. After they reset the mind with TIPP, they restore the body with their NOWW program.

A chronically dysregulated and imbalanced nervous system can lead to anxiety, depression, PTSD, panic attacks, addictions, or even chronic illnesses such as autoimmune disorders, thyroid problems, cardiac and gastrointestinal diseases, and even cancer. TIPP, TIPP KIDS, and the NOWW program are designed to help reset the mind and restore the body to optimal states of health, performance, and wellness.

Dr. Wood actually separates trauma into two camps. Most of us think of trauma as a clearly defined, often injury-inducing event like a car accident or a mugging. He calls this big ‘T’ trauma. The second type of trauma he calls emotional concussion. These are experiences that affected us psychologically but may be more loosely defined or harder to pinpoint. Dr. Wood says that a very large percentage of the population is dealing with unprocessed trauma when you consider these two types of trauma. Unresolved trauma or disturbing events and experiences from your past may be interfering with your ability to function at your highest level. These experiences may limit your ability to regulate your mood, focus, or connect with others in a healthy, loving, and safe way.

When you experience a traumatic event, your body has a physical response to that trauma. Trauma triggers that fight or flight (aka active state) response. This creates inflammation in the body as a way of pausing the immune system so that the body can use all resources to respond to the trauma. When we are no longer in danger, the body allows everything to return to normal. What a lot of people don’t realize is that when we have unprocessed trauma, we think about it. And, when we think about it, we relive it, which results in the same fight or flight response. We have the physical response to the trauma just by thinking about it! If we are doing this constantly, the immune system can’t function properly—which, over time, results in autoimmune issues.

Often we dismiss the idea that trauma is the cause of an issue because we may not recognize the experience as trauma. Dr. Wood uses a great analogy in this episode that points to the high-definition memories we have of traumatic times in our past vs. the muted memory we have of a non-threatening event (like the dinner we had last night). These high-definition memories can be very powerful and can trigger a physical response. The first step in identifying them as triggers is to recognize the level of the memory and the physical response it brings. In Dr. Wood's program, they actually monitor the brainwave state to determine the response to memories.

Recognizing the physical response to memories of past trauma is not enough, the brain needs to be reconditioned as to how it responds to that memory. This is what Dr. Wood does with TIPP. This program gets the mind to reset that high-definition memory into the same format as a day-to-day memory. By doing this, the body no longer sees that memory as a threat and it no longer triggers the fight or flight response. The brain is no longer sending an error message. He points out that far too often we treat the symptoms caused by these trauma responses—for example, treating anxiety, depression, or inflammation that will never be resolved if the trigger memory is not reset.

Many people block bad experiences or they dismiss them as not being traumatic. This may lead them to believe that these experiences can’t be the cause because they don’t have these vivid memories Dr. Wood is talking about. However, these memories may still be operating on a subconscious level and can still put the body into an active response state. This happens because our minds receive too much information for us to actively process. So, the mind does something academics refer to as “time slicing.” This is when the mind takes in information and slices off some to be stored in the subconscious where it can be processed or accessed later. Then, when we encounter something similar, the mind goes searching for reference and the stored memory, resurrecting the memory in full color. This can trigger an active state response.

For many people, the idea of unearthing or talking about their traumatic memories feels traumatic in itself. Dr. Wood says that his patients don’t need to actually discuss the experience or share the memory. This type of work can be done without having to revisit the event consciously!

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-How Dr. Wood began his work…12:38

  • Didn't deal with trauma that other kids his age dealt with
  • Was exposed to real dysfunction when he met his wife; father ran the house with fear
  • Trauma creates inflammation in the body; affects neurotransmitters, affects your immune system
  • Dr. Wood developed the program during his Ph.D., in clinical counseling psychology
  • Existing school of thought was to cope with trauma
  • Let's figure out how to fix it, not manage it

-Techniques used to manage, rather than fix, stress…17:05

  • CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Trauma manifests in addiction and auto-immune disorders due to constant sympathetic state
  • Trauma inhibits maintenance of the nervous system
  • Dr. Wood and his brothers have never been hospitalized, partly due to his safe upbringing
  • The problem is coming in from memory
  • Humans are the only animals that store specific details of our lives
  • Our nervous system is always present in the moment
  • Time slices
  • Humans have two memory systems:
    • Explicit memory stores all the details of an event
    • General

-How trauma isn't always experienced on a battlefield…29:50

-How to reprogram your brain…36:38


  • Traumatic memory is stored in a beta brainwave state
  • Alpha flow state, reprogramming traumatic experiences
  • There's nothing wrong with anyone; it's what's interfering with your brainwaves

-Not just accepting, but laughing at the problem…39:43

  • Emotion is useless
  • How does it benefit you to dwell on how you were done wrong?
  • Associating danger with things that remind us of trauma, conscious or subconscious
  • If there's an emotion, there had better be an action to follow it up with
  • Otherwise, it will serve to drain you

-How River and Terran may process trauma in the future after a session with Dr. Wood…45:17

  • More knowledge on what to do when trauma comes
  • Think of scenes in 10 different squares
    • Go through each scene twice; brain realizes it's not the same
    • You'll remember the event, but not the emotion because there is no threat perceived
  • We attach meanings to trauma: I'm weak, I'm not smart enough, etc.
  • Internal questioning about your ability to visualize
  • What does trauma mean about me?
  • The meaning goes when you clear the event

-The success rate with Dr. Wood's TIPP program…49:45

  • The only ones who have struggled are heavily medicated, the mind can't process what it's trying to do
  • Science works whether you believe in it or not
  • It's not vital to deal with a specific trauma; simply internalize the process

-Whether this work could be approached from a functional medicine angle…51:55

  • Chemical imbalances are coming from the mind
  • AO Scan of the entire body for over 700 biomarkers
  • Headphones that send a current through the head and body

-How a Special Forces soldier overcame trauma thanks to Dr. Wood's practice…55:30

-Studies showing what happens at a neurotransmitter level…1:00:00

  • The largest group Dr. Wood has worked with:
    • Began with ten
    • Eventually tested 140 in one sitting
  • Ideal to do it as a family because you have the commonalities

-Anchors used to recall trauma…1:02:30

-Whether the effects can be felt via Skype or Zoom…1:17:45

  • TIPP digital experience
  • Also do it with Dr. Wood in Orlando, or with groups he facilitates remotely

-And much more!

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

– Dr. Don Wood:

– Podcasts:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Dr. Wood, River, Terran, Jessa, or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!


Ask Ben a Podcast Question


4 thoughts on “Reprogramming Your Brain To Deal With Trauma, Getting Rid Of Cell Danger Response, Why Drugs Don’t Work, “Emotional Concussions” & Much More With Dr. Don Wood.

  1. Amy says:

    Hi Ben!
    Thank you for the awesome episode and insight! I am looking into purchasing the TIPP program for my 11 and 7 yo daughters who struggle with anxiety and emotional outbursts. There aren’t any testimonials from kids. Can you give an update on the benefits for River and Terran? Having done the program, do they believe my kids at their ages could do the program and benefit?
    Thanks so much!

  2. Aaron says:

    I appreciate learning something new to me – in this case Don’s TIPP method – and it’s fantastic to hear how this family is cultivating these kinds of skills and loving awareness.

    Trauma is a very important topic because it appears to affect humans in compounding ways. It takes a toll on the individual, the various circles we all interact in, and global society. For this reason, alone it’s worth providing awareness of additional resources to help with Trauma.

    TIPP sound like there are many similarities to EMDR and Brianspotting – both Trauma reprocessing therapeutic methods. Brainspotting also does not require disclosure of the Trauma in processing it. EMDR does, however.

    Somatic Experiencing is another method that shares some similarities. Ben also touched on TRE – Trauma Release Exercises.

    I hope this can be helpful inputting this episode in a broader context. At $5K for a personal 4 hour session, the opportunity cost is 25 sessions of brainspotting, assuming a $200/hr bill rate from a practitioner. I don’t know which would be more effective for a given person, so everyone can consider this for their self.

    Best wishes to all

  3. WC says:

    Ben your a smart guy who has a lot of insight I value but in this case as other times please step out of the way and let your guest speak. I noticed it was 36 minutes before he got to talk about his system for the first time.
    I did step back and realize you were having a good time with your family and I think that is important. You introduced us to Dr. wood so now I can seek him out. But in this case I Dr. wood should of been given his own show like you have done with other guests.

  4. Richard Barclay says:

    It was a really good podcast then I haven’t been to your site for awhile but I enjoyed this one a lot. I just wish we could learn more about the process but I will have to buy the book and start reading.

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