This blog will include a series of blogs starting with how neurofeedback came to me on my journey as a human and clinician, its relationship to your path to healing and what the experience is like for me. Hopefully this will demystify the process for you and encourage you to think outside the box on your own journey to health and happiness.
All the clinicians at Archway Therapy practice what they preach -so a couple of us are on the neurofeedback journey with you!
We are a practice of lifelong learners. I have committed myself to being open to the most wacky and usually the most effective therapies to bring to you, our clients, because I don’t want to see you swirling around the toilet bowl, never feeling any hope of feel better- mind, body or spirit.
It has been my observation that the medical community and the mental health community are in a silent war over who has the right answer.
The never ending battle… PILLS VS TALK THERAPY.
My two cents is that no one has THE truth or THE answer. There is a kaleidoscope of information that one needs to discover in order to find what works for them. Professionals need to work together in collaboration incorporating more science, and data all while considering the whole person- not just focusing on the piece of the problem we are trained to look at.
Doctors and mental health professionals don’t have to know it all but it is important to at least know someone who has skills in areas you don’t and to be able to recognize need.
On my journey to find you the most effective forms of treatment I have discovered a few important nuggets along the way:
1. Humans and their brains are steeped in relationships.
We run on relationships as our fuel. Everything goes back to that. When you understand this truth many issues we see in the counseling office become less of a scary mystery and more of a solvable puzzle.
2. Our bodies are complex machines.
Medical doctors are lacking education and motivation that would enable them to look deeper into your issues to find the true cause of your ailments be them physical or mental. Doctors, psychiatrists and mental health professionals more often than not go with what they know and do not think outside the box and you are paying the price.
Here’s an example: You go to the OB for major bouts of mood swings during that PMS time and without any testing or many questions you’ll walk out with a prescription for Prozac… Not only are the side effects horrible but it is now on your record and will pop up when you apply for life insurance which ups your premium. No testing, not data, no actual diagnosis.
There are functional medical doctors out there who will look at your individual symptoms, run deeper tests and problem solve to find a solution that is outside the standard protocols you would get at your run of the mill M.D. office. Their foundation is traditional medicine with a twist. You may find they use tools like acupuncture meridian assessment , acupuncture, homeopathy, reiki – in conjunction with therapists or spiritual guides- based on your unique set of needs.
In many cases patients find that the solution their regular M.D. offered was simply addressing the symptom rather than the underlying cause. If you have a broken arm this is fine- the answer is simple. If you have major depression, I would suggest looking deeper into your chemical make up before strapping yourself to this diagnosis.
3. Your brain is a machine with distinct parts and communication patterns.
If the machine needs a tune up it will not run right. You can talk and take all the pills in the world but if you need a tune up you just need one. This is where neurofeedback comes in.
4. Your environment plays a role in all of the above.
Your environment includes everything around you including your own thoughts, relationships, food, air, water, etc. It is anything having an impact on your body and nervous system. A functional health doctor can help you discover if there is anything lurking in your body’s systems that may be cause a number of different symptoms (PMS, migraines, CANCER, ADHD, bipolar, rashes, bed wetting, etc). So exciting!
Let’s talk about #3 (the brain) for a moment.
We encounter A LOT of different people at Archway Therapy. People of all walks of life, symptoms, struggles, trauma… anything you can think of.
Sometimes we get clients who are stuck in some way on their journey. These clients are experiencing intrusive thoughts, thought loops, lack of motivation, mood disorders and we have parents of kids of have ADHD or major mood issues that see us as well.
Let’s take neurofeedback for a moment and look at how it can help.
Neurofeedback practitioners will use a QEEG, which measures electrical activity, to get a picture of your brain and how the parts within communicate with each other to literally see where about the issue lies.
Afterwards, the interpretation appointment with the doctor is pretty amazing because without sharing much about yourself the doctor can tell by reading the QEEG where you are struggling! It feels like they are he knows you without knowing you!
In my particular case the doctor was able to tell I have not been sleeping well and that it is affecting my memory and that I am sensory sensitive (certain noises bother me and I am not a fan of some textures).
After the doctor meets with you to interpret the QEEG you will be heading into the office about 3x per week to balance out the brain waves that are causing your unique symptoms. I will go more into what this is like in the next blog.
If you are based in Saint Louis you can get neurofeedback treatment at Peak Brain Institute. If you mention Archway Therapy you will get a super discount!
Author: Kristen Craren, LPC