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MHAET Blog


Installing the Electrical

Our pre-installed electrical system: how psychotherapy can change genetic expression

Many have probably heard by now of how genetics has a profound influence on our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, or simply put, our mental health. This is a fact. Yet another part that is equally important is how an experience plays a large part in the activation or expression of genes. If we’re looking at our mental health like a house, our genetic predisposition is like the electrical system. It will always be there but we need to be sure we’re not overloading the circuits. Something like Psychotherapy can protect the electrical system so that when something overloads us, it doesn’t shut down.

The hope of psychotherapy

Psychotherapy has the potential to change the expression of a gene by changing the structure and function of genes. This is evidence and hope for many including myself, who are genetically predisposed to experience difficulty. I wonder how I am so different from my parents and sibling (genetics) and I know it is because I had the courage to attend psychotherapy as a young adult. I am grateful that I had this opportunity. My brother, mother, and father all have severe mental health disorders, but I contribute the choice of engaging in psychotherapy the main factor in how my mental health is different. Psychotherapy helped me change my genetic structure, removing some of the burden on my electrical system. And now I have the opportunity to pay it forward to future clients.


Hilary Gallegos completed her Master’s degree in Mental and Behavioral Health Counseling at Carson Newman university in 2013. She worked with numerous mental health disorders for several years at Blount Memorial Hospital. She was inspired by overcoming challenges with managing her own  mental health disorder to become a counselor. She believes treatment is specific to each person and enjoys the journey of helping others discover their strategies. Hilary is an avid gardener, mountain biker, and hiker. “These activities are what ground me and help my state of mental health by being present with nature.”

The Mental Health Association offers all services to eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin or disability.

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