What is BrainWorking® Recursive Therapy

BrainWorking® Recursive Therapy is an innovative new concept of psychotherapy, completely unlike anything that has gone before it. It presents an entirely new view of the subconscious mind – one that is extremely ‘user friendly’ and easy for the client to understand – as well as an elegant way of providing psychotherapy that gets easily beneath the Conscious Critical Faculty.

BWRT® is not like anything else you will have studied. It’s not a ‘rehash’ of NLP, EFT, TFT, WSN, SD, EMDR, Hypnosis, Reiki, Meridian/Energy therapies, Noesiology, Chinosis or any other style of therapy you might have encountered. It is unique and inspired by the research of Benjamin Libet. In 1983 Benjamin Libet (2003 winner of the Virtual Nobel Prize in Psychology from University of Klagenfurt), Professor at University of California ran a series of experiments that proved we do not have free will in the way we think of it, which is precisely why we all encounter so many “Why on earth did I do/say that?” or “Why do I have to feel like this?” moments.

BWRT® is consistent with the latest Neuroscience developments, particularly Limbic system functioning. It explains

• Reflex actions
• Annoying behaviours
• I couldn’t help myself
• Why did I behave like that?
• It was not my intention

This therapy is largely content-free, using the client’s own thought processes to effect a release from the symptomatic pattern – and there is a strict protocol which ensures maximum effectiveness and complete safety.

The History of BrainWorking® Recursive Therapy

In 1983, Libet’s experimental research, showed that there is a measurable wait (more than 1/3 second!) between the moment the brain commences to act upon any stimulus and our becoming aware of that action – in other words, by the time we know what we are doing, we’re already doing it and it’s old news as far as the physical brain is concerned. Remarkably, even the decision to change your mind about what you are doing is made before conscious awareness of that decision.

BWRT® allows us the opportunity to work in that interval between the commencement of an action and conscious awareness; this allows us the opportunity to negate destructive thought patterns so completely it’s as if they were never there.

Terence Watts developed BrainWorking® Recursive Therapy / BWRT®. He started out as a Computer Engineer and then became one of the leading Psychotherapists in the UK.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, Member of the City&Guilds Institute of London (the only Psychotherapist in the world to be awarded such an honour). He is the creator of the popular Hypnosense website and author of several books. He was intrigued by Libet’s work and this led him to start developing BWRT® in 2011.

BWRT® has been designed to remove emotive responses from memories that are deeply troubling and create new, adaptive neural pathways that do not have the old undesirable emotional responses attached to it.

The therapy extends the neural pathways so that the client/patient’s brain knows the new patterns to use in future. Every new experience creates a new template. In fact, immediately the therapy is finished, the client can no longer feel any negative response to the usual trigger for their presenting symptom, no matter how hard they try to ‘fire it up’.

The Terence Watts BWRT® Institute

The Terence Watts BWRT® Institute was formerly known as The Institute of BrainWorking® Recursive Therapy. It was renamed in October 2018 to better show the therapeutic origins of the process.

BrainWorking® Recursive Therapy - BWRT® - was created in 2011 by Terence Watts, a therapist, author of many books and training courses and principal of the Essex Institute in Essex, UK. Like many great ideas, it was born out of a moment of inspiration while reading about some experiments carried out in 1983 which appeared to show that we don't actually have free will in the way we usually think of it. More than that, it showed that decisions were made and acted upon by our mental processes before we become consciously aware of them.

It was immediately evident that this process accounted for a huge number of the psychological difficulties which so many people have to put up with, and obvious, too, that with some research it could provide the basis for a profound therapeutic intervention, something more powerful and effective than anything that existed to date. Terence had for some time been working on an idea to work with several complicated issues.

In September 2013 Rafiq Lockhat did the first online training of BWRT®. He was excited and saw it as a Psychotherapeutic revolution and realised what a radical difference it could make to therapy in South Africa. He then became Terence Watts’ research partner and began to research the effects of BWRT® on a range of psychological conditions, not just anxiety. For the next 8 months, Terence and Rafiq interacted daily via Skype discussing the various issues that were emerging as a result of using BWRT® on his patients. By September 2014 he had amassed over 200 case studies and felt confident that this could be a therapy that could transform the therapeutic landscape of South Africa.

Then in September 2014, he travelled to the UK and Terence Watts and himself spent a full week developing the training manuals to teach BWRT® worldwide. Rafiq then returned to South Africa and presented his findings at the PSYSSA Congress in Durban. It was enthusiastically received by his colleagues who demanded a workshop. The first workshop was in Durban in November 2014. Since then (as of June 2024) he has trained nearly 2000 mental health professionals across South Africa.

Due to our unique challenges, South Africans have been instrumental in developing some of the innovative protocols currently used worldwide in BWRT® for e.g. the protocol for use with intellectual disabilities, group therapy for homogenous trauma, group therapy in schools and universities for exam anxiety and couple therapy. It has been translated into Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Venda, Tswana, Portuguese and Italian.

Constant research, peer supervision and interaction creates an ideal environment for the continuous research and development of BWRT®.