Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to adapt physically to new information and grow new neural pathways. It is how we learn. The brain can form new neurons (any of the impulse-conducting cells that constitute the brain, spinal column, and nerves in vertebrates) make new connections and rearrange or delete existing neurons. This means that a person always has the ability to literally ‘change their mind’.
During childhood, the brain is stimulated by and grows in response to the environment. The parts which are used or needed grow and strengthen and then during adolescence the unused neurons will be eliminated. When we are children our neural pathways are easier to establish and that is why we find it easier to learn at that time. The brain continues to adapt and rewire itself throughout our lives and the brain structure can change significantly.
This is why healing is always possible. We can heal our minds and our ways of thinking. When people who are in therapy learn new coping mechanisms, they grow new neural pathways which strengthen over time the more they are used. Meanwhile, the unhealthy coping mechanisms and patterns of thinking will fade and eventually be eliminated if unused.
35.14 Evidence that thinking can change our brain structure.