Tag Archives: neurofeedback

Another Neurofeedback Benefit

The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center shared; neurofeedback“A new study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center evaluating the use of neurofeedback found a decrease in the experience of chronic pain and increase quality of life in patients with neuropathic pain.”

The lead investigator, Sarah , PhD said that, “Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy is very common in cancer patients and there is currently only one medication approved to treat it. I’m encouraged to see the significant improvements in patient’s quality of life after treatment. This treatment is customized to the individual, and is relatively inexpensive, non-invasive and non-addictive.”

The brainIt is encouraging to know that Neurofeedback (NF) can help with Peripheral neuropathy because it effects not only patients undergoing chemotherapy but others with illnesses such as Lyme disease, shingles (varicella-zoster), Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis C, leprosy, diphtheria and HIV.

“Chronic chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a common side effect of chemotherapy, often affecting 71 to 96 percent of patients after a month of chemotherapy treatment. Peripheral neuropathy is a set of symptoms such as pain, burning, tingling and loss of feeling caused by damage to nerves that control the sensations and movements of our arms and legs.

Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form new connections and change existing ones. This study demonstrated that neurofeedback induces neuroplasticity to modulate brain activity and improve CIPN symptoms.”

The study also showed that, “After treatment, 73 percent saw improvement in their pain and quality of life. Patients with CIPN also exhibited specific and predictable EEG signatures that changed with neurofeedback.”

If you would like to learn more about neurofeedback and how it can help you, please contact me here.

Neuro-What?

What is the most common question asked when meeting someone new?

It’s generally, “What do you do?” bigstock-Brain-profile-made-by-typograp-32324291

At a party the other day, an old friend asked, “so what are you doing these days?”

I began with, “I’m still a therapist in private practice and I also do something called, neurofeedback.”

The old friend asked, “is that like biofeedback?”

A new friend, overhearing the conversation asked, “neurowhat?”

I answered them both. “Yes, neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback. It’s a way to train one’s brain to better deal with life’s stressors. You sit in a comfortable chair in my office with five non-invasive sensors, which are reading the electricity on the surface of your scalp. There is nothing going into your head. You simply sit back and listen to beautiful and relaxing music for 33 minutes. There’s nothing else you have to do. It’s a non-medical way to overcome some of life’s challenges such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, addictions, ADD/ADHD, etc. It’s also great for people who have experience with regular talk therapy and want a change. It’s complementary with talk therapy and it’s often the missing piece for those who have done a lot of therapy and other forms of working on themselves.”

neuroBeing that we were on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I assumed that many people in the room had at some point worked with a talk therapist. My friends were both very interested in learning more about how neurofeedback works and how it would specifically work for them. One mentioned having repetitive thoughts while the other discussed bouts of insomnia. They asked if neurofeedback could help with both of these issues. I told them that it could and that I currently work with clients who are being treated for those exact issues. The clients were responding very well and in a much shorter period than they expected.

What happens is this: The system I use is called, NeurOptimal®. When your brain shows turbulence, the music makes a minute pause. What happens is that the turbulence the system is flagging for the brain is what happens whenever our brain shifts from one state to another. The pause in the music is a wakeup call to the brain to come back to the present and choose whether or not the shift is a good idea. The system flags ANY state shift, not just problematic ones. Our brains prefer to use energy efficiently. Even when the pause in the music is indecipherable, the brain notices it. The decrease in the regular stress creates calmness and increases the ability to return to the present moment.

Eventually there become fewer and fewer episodes of recycling the past and you are allowed to see and respond to what is actually happening in your life rather than react to it out of habit. Also, as the brain gets calmer, the part of the brain that controls relaxation responses becomes more dominant than the part of the brain the guides the “fight or flight response.” Your body then is able to repair itself and become healthier.”

It was exciting for me to share what I know and exciting for my friends to learn about neuro-what? I mean neurofeedback.

If you’re interested in trying neurofeedback, call me at 917-817-8575 or email me.

Is Neurofeedback Becoming Mainstream?

The Wall Street Journal just published an article entitled,  Brain Training for Anxiety, Depression and Other Mental Conditions-Neurofeedback uses real-time scans to teach patients to try to change how they think.

The article, written by Andrea Petersen, is about the many ways that neurofeedback (NF) can help people cope with a variety of issues, such as depression and anxiety.

The type of NF mentioned in the article is different from the one neurofeedbackI use but it is effective nonetheless. “While fMRI neurofeedback is only a few years old, its principles have been around for decades. Doctors and researchers have long used electroencephalograms (EEG), tests that record electrical activity, to perform a version of neurofeedback. The approach is particularly popular as a treatment for ADHD in children.”

bigstock-Brain-profile-made-by-typograp-32324291The type of NF that I do is auditory based and in a much more inviting setting than the one discussed in the article. When a client meets me for a NF session, they sit in a comfortable chair, listen to beautiful music for 33 minutes and they relax. The computer does all of the work.

To learn more about the type of system I use, click on this link and see how neurofeedback and help you.

Keeping An Open Mind

Have you seen the Web series, Soul Pancake? It can be found on YouTube. The series consists of inspirational videos that are thought provoking and uplifting. The one I am sharing with you today is called, Share a Cup of Success.

What the videos have in common is an element of surprise. SurpriseThere is usually a theme and people who are not affiliated with the videos are asked to participate in a type of experiment. These random people begin each session unaware and perhaps even wary of what is about to happen. At the same time, they seem to have a bit of hope, that whatever will happen will be a good experience. I look forward to seeing when the participants realize that what is happening is thought provoking and a positive experience.

Along with being a Psychotherapist and an Adoption Consultant, I am a Neurofeedback Practitioner. The type of neurofeedback system that I use is NeurOptimal®.

HappyWhen people try NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback for the first time, they have similar reactions. They don’t quite know what to expect, they are weary and unsure but they are also hopeful that what is about to happen will be a positive experience. Many times my clients notice that after the first few sessions, they are less anxious or are sleeping better. Immediately after their first session, they may feel more grounded and secure.

So often our mind wanders and that contributes to fear of the future and regrets of the past. With neurofeedback, the brain is trained to return to the present moment. After several training sessions, the brain remembers that it feels its optimum when it is not jumping forward or looking back. People who have meditated for years are familiar with how good it feels to be here now (present). Unlike meditation, neurofeedback sessions do not take years in order to achieve the same results.

And like a Soul Pancake experience, when people begin neurofeedback, they are pleasantly surprised by the positive results.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how neurofeedback works, feel free to contact me here

How Do You Soothe Yourself?

In Learning to Self Soothe, Courtney Martin writes about learning from her infant daughter, how one self soothes. “We have a video monitor, so Hands behind headI have actually been able to watch my baby girl learning her own way around discomfort. She does things with her little, pudgy, perfect body that I never could have done for her or taught her to do. My nephew, too, surprised his parents with his soothing techniques. He had his hands perfectly positioned behind his head, like an old man soaking up some rays on the Coney Island board walk.”

Stone with wordI love what Martin writes next, “It’s been a bit of a revelation for me. We all have our ways to feel okay in the world. Some of us whistle. Some of us smoke. Some of us carry a stone in a pocket. Some of us maniacally refresh Facebook. Some of us pray. Some of us eat. Some of us walk. Some of us work. Some of us run away.”

How do you self-soothe? Is it working for you?

I think about pre-teens and teenagers when I think about self-soothing and how different the methods are from the ones used in infancy. Teens smokingEverything about kids between the ages of 11 and 19 are changing and it is a time in their lives when they are most cognizant of these changes. Some of these kids feel so out of control that they either give up and start using drugs, alcohol and/or sex to cope, while others study and are so driven to have straight A+’s on their report cards. Both sets of kids, the ones who give up and the ones who are above average students are trying to cope and self-soothe. What many of them have in common is fear/anxiety and/or sadness/depression.

When I am lucky enough to incorporate neurofeedback into my work with a pre-teen or teen, I am hopeful and expect that he/she will feel more confident, more relaxed and better able to cope naturally with changes in a short period of time.

The type of neurofeedback that I use is, NeurOptimal®.NeurOptimal® is essentially a brain workout. It trains your brain to be neuromore flexible and resilient. Without pushing it in any specific direction, the NeurOptimal® neurofeedback system interacts with your central nervous system in a way that improves neural plasticity. A mind that is more flexible adapts and responds quicker and more appropriately to changes in your environment.  The more easily your brain adjusts to changes encountered in a normal busy day, the better you feel. A lack of brain fitness, on the other hand, can leave you drained and stressed at the end of the day.” NeurOptimal can help you to learn safer, more effective ways to self-soothe.

If what I wrote resonates with you or if you are a pre-teen, a teenager or a parent and are interested in learning more about what I do or more about NeurOptimal®, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me.

Six Things That Help With Depression

Cynthia W. Lubow, MS, MFT is a therapist who
practices in California. In a recent article for GoodTherapy.com, Lubow wrote, Five Things That Help When I’m Depressed. I would like to add a sixth; neurofeedback. More on that later.

Learning Discoveries, a mental health center, defines depression as “a disabling condition which affects most people at Unknown-1some stage of their lives and can adversely affect a person’s family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits and general health. It can result from a number of factors including intrinsic (internal) biochemical changes in the body and brain (after a heart attack or brain injury), a genetic predisposition, external events (loss of loved one, personal tragedy, long term stress due to environmental factors). Depression can begin at an early age some children show signs and symptoms of depression as young as seven years of age.”

Below are the five things that help Lewbow when she is depressed:

1. Stay in bed, and give in to the exhaustion and lack of motivation.

2. Force myself to exercise. Finish Line

3. Fantasize about something so amazing that it might give me pleasure.

4. Look for pleasure through my senses.

5. Talk to someone about whatever I need to complain about.

The suggestions are different from what is generally discussed and number one can be complicated. Lubow goes on to explain why in her article.

The sixth suggestion is mine. It’s neurofeedback. The type of neurofeedback that I use is NeurOptimal®. From their website, “NeurOptimal® slide3can help build brain resilience, or an increase in the central nervous system’s ability to ‘bounce back’ from a negative event.  Negative feelings
associated with a personal conflict or bad day at work can hover hours after the actual event has passed. The destructive effect of nervousness, repetitive or self-critical thinking is magnified in more severe events such as physical or emotional trauma or the loss of a loved one. Instead of staying stuck in the negativity of these events, the resilient brain will snap back and return to its normal baseline more quickly. Individuals with a more resilient brain report feeling happier and enjoying a more profound sense of peace.”

If you would like to learn more about how I can help you manage your depression through talk therapy or neurofeedback, contact me here. I look forward to hearing from you.

Is There an Alternative to Treating ADHD?

More and more children (and adults) are beingDistracted Student in Classroom diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. It is common, especially in this country, to treat conditions with medication. What happens when medicine doesn’t work or one prefers another option?

In an article found on PRWEB.com, entitled, Neurofeedback Training Offers New Paths for Treating Children with ADHD, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that “(neurofeedback offers the) same level of efficacy as medication.” It’s good to know there are alternatives.

relaxedThe article gives an example of a 10 year old girl who is diagnosed with ADHD. She was distractible and had difficulty completing tasks and doing her homework. With neurofeedback, she was able to successfully learn how to calm herself down and develop self regulation and become more focused.

I have seen tremendous results in treating both children and adults diagnosed with ADHD with neurofeedback. One of my clients wrote a testimonial about the efficacy of neurofeedback and both she and her son were able to decrease and eventually eliminate medication. To read the testimonial by JK, click here.

If you would like to learn more about neurofeedback and and how it can help with ADHD, feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

What is Neurofeedback and How Does it Work?

Mike Cohen of the Center for Brain Training in Florida created an amazing video that explains what neurofeedback (NF) is and how it works. A lot of what Mike says about NF in his video has been my experience as well.

Mike explains, that for children, NF is commonly used for “ADHD, emotional and behavioral issues, learning and development delays and struggles in school. For adults, it’s generally used for anxiety, depression, obsessing and sleep problems. I love when Mike says, “With NF, the brain changes itself.” That’s exactly what happens. We use the tools that we already have in order to become better. Here’s Mike’s video.

 

The video also addresses the fact that yes, NF helps with problems, but it also helps with performance. Valdeane Brown, Ph.D., is the Founder, Director and President of the Zengar Institute and the creator of the system that I use, NeurOptimal®. He is an avid golf player. Shortly after taking up the game, Val was rated the most improved player. He believes this is due to his ability to return to the present moment and allow his brain to do what it had being learning to do- via NF trainings. He said that swinging the club just right, to get the ball to go just where he wanted it to go, was no easy task. Val found that with his own game (and the games of the athletes whom he trains) he was able to be in the game and not in his head. What a wonderful metaphor. To be able to concentrate on any task and not be stuck in one’s head, is a much easier (and more productive) way to go through life. Here’s a video of Val discussing golf and NeurOptimal®.

Much of what Mike discusses in his video is similar to my experience with NF but there are also some differences. The differences are in the systems that we use. With Mike’s system (and most NF systems), certain parts of the brain are being stimulated, while other parts are hindered. This can create side effects. With NeurOptimal®, the brain is simply interacting adaptively with itself moment by moment, not striving to produce “more” of some frequency and “less” of another according to an outside “expert”. Additionally, Mike uses tests to find out what is “wrong with the client.” With NeurOptimal®, there is no need for outside tests to “diagnose what’s wrong” or “what the central nervous system (CNS) needs”. You can simply allow the CNS to receive the pure information about itself — untainted by the beliefs of the trainer — and the brain organizes on its own. This is what the CNS is designed to do and NeurOptimal® is designed to rely on this inherent intelligence of the brain. As a result, the NeurOptimal® process is perfectly, effortlessly, natural. And this is true no matter what the problem is — even if there was a significant developmental delay or injury as far back as birth or even earlier. Every brain has the potential to optimize itself, if given the right information.

For more information about how NeurOptimal® can help you, feel free to contact me.

To Be Happy, We Must Be Grateful

This time of year we are bombarded by that word, “grateful.” We’re expected to be grateful. peanuts thxgvgWhat happens when you don’t feel grateful but you are told that you should be?  What if you feel guilt or pain about not feeling grateful? What if the pain that you feel prevents you from noticing those things for which you are inherently grateful?

David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar gave a TED Talk about the “gentle power of gratefulness.” He says that if we can “stop, look and go,” we will be ok. It takes a lot of practice to do this but if we can stop the negative thoughts, look around at the gifts that we do have and go forward, we can be happy. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy. One way to build these muscles is through meditation. Another way is through neurofeedback. The type of neurofeedback system that I use, NeurOptimal, trains the brain to be more present- it stops the ruminating negative thoughts, which enables us to look at what we do have so that we may move forward.

 

Steindl-Rast says that we all want to be happy and in that, we are all connected. In order to live gratefully, not just this time of year, we need to be aware that every moment is a given moment and is therefore, a gift. I'm gratefulHe says, “If we didn’t have this present moment, we could have any opportunity to do anything or experience anything. The gift within the gift is the opportunity. What you are really grateful for is the opportunity, not the thing that has been given to you. We can avail ourselves of this opportunity, or we can miss it, and if we avail ourselves of the opportunity, it is the key to happiness. Behold the master key to our own happiness is in our own hands. Moment by moment, we can be grateful for this gift.”

The power of gratefulness can literally change the world. lotus in handSteindl-Rast says that, …”if you are grateful, you’re not fearful, and if you’re not fearful, you’re not violent. If you’re grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people, and you are respectful to everybody, and that changes this power pyramid under which we live.” In order to be happy, we must be grateful.

To learn more about NeurOptimal neurofeedback, click on this link. If you would like to talk about how neurofeedback can help you or to learn more about how to move through the pain that you are currently experiencing, feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

How To Quell Negative Thoughts

On February 12, 2013, Dr. James Doty hosted Eckhart Tolle at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Dr. Doty is a neurosurgeon. On his academic profile he writes, “More recently, my interests revolve around understanding the neural, social and mental bases of compassion and altruism using a multi-disciplinary approach.” Tolle is described on his website as, “… a spiritual teacher and author who was born in Germany and educated at the Universities of London and Cambridge. At the age of 29, a profound inner transformation radically changed the course of his life. The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey.”

 

 

I was drawn to this talk because of my interest in the brain, specifically, the central nervous system and the integration of Western medicine (which is changing) and the spiritual self.  Although the talk is entitled, Conversations on Compassion, its focus is on compassion towards oneself.

meditation-2Tolle suggests that if we step back and observe our thoughts, we may be able to recognize that they can be quite negative. One way to change this pattern is by meditating. I would like to add that since having a neurofeedback training session can have the same outcomes that meditation can have (decrease obsessive thoughts, feelings of anxiety and depression and generally create a feeling of contentedness) it is helpful to include meditation and neurofeedback into a regular practice. The difference is that it is beneficial to meditate on a daily basis but not necessary to train more than once a week and eventually most do not need to train at all.  Also, a meditation practice is most effective when performed daily, while neurofeedback training has an ending but the results remain.

Tolle’s transformation occurred when he observed a particular thought: “I cannot live with myself anymore.” He then asked himself, “Who am I and what is the self that I cannot live with?” He became aware of the separation between himself and his thoughts.

Just asking himself the question, “Who am I and what is the self that I cannot live turning negative into positivewith?” allowed him to separate from his thoughts and his negative inner voice. Then, the next morning, he said that he woke and he sensed that his depression completely lifted. He didn’t understand it but says that since then there was a shift in his life and a feeling of peace. Some days it was greater than others but the underlying peace remains to this day.

negative voicesThe self-talk is conditioned by our past and culture. To move beyond this, one must acknowledge that there is a negative voice in our heads. Tolle says that our sense of self is derived from the thoughts we have of ourselves.

Dr. Doty added that, in looking at the neuroscience of this we can see that if we believe our negative thoughts, we will never able to get break out of the cycle of negative thinking. It can be addictive to stay in those patterns. We’re used to the stream of negative thoughts and we need to break away from them by being mindful.

Negative thinking (self-talk) is worrying about images-3what is going to happen or thinking about what might have been. There is only ever the present moment. The past and the future come from thinking. The present moment is all that we have.

 

If you would like to learn more about neurofeedback and how I can help you with your negative self-talk, contact me.