Tag Archives: neurofeedback

Traumatic Brain Injuries in Teens Are More Common Than We Think

A recent study from Canada, by Dr. Gabriela Ilie, shows that one in five students suffer from concussions fragile growing brain(the most common form of traumatic brain injuries). That is a staggeringly large population. The paper goes on to note that this one of the first studies to focus on traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in adolescents. The story source was found in JAMA.

The incidence of TBI is more common than was assumed, as head injuries are not always reported. It seems common that teens will hurt their heads during a sporting event or simply from playing sports injury to headand falling but adults do not always seek medical attention for them. Perhaps the student feels better quickly and tells the adults that they are making too much of the situation and perhaps the adult erroneously thinks that the child is fine. If the child seems better, why would the adult take the child to the doctor or worse a hospital where the wait can seem endless? Hopefully, studies like these will have greater influence on the reactions of the adults.

The problem is that concussions can have long-term effects. The adolescent brain is still developing and the risk of another concussion seems to be more probable than it is for those who have images-1not had a TBI in the past. Successive concussions can create problems including, “lasting cognitive impairment, substance use, mental health and physical health harms. But, Traumatic brain injury is preventable,” said Dr. Ilie. “If we know who is more vulnerable, when and how these injuries are occurring, we can talk to students, coaches, and parents about it. We can take preventive action and find viable solutions to reduce their occurrence and long-term effects.”

One of the many wonderful ways that neurofeedback can help is in the treating of TBI. In an article called, Neurofeedback Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury, by D. Corydon Hammond, Ph. D., ECNS, QEEG-D, BCIA-EED; he writes that “Neurofeedback research has documented its value in the treatment of a variety of symptoms relevant to a brain injury population, including seizures, memory, concentration and attention, unstable mood, impulsiveness, anxiety, depression, sleep issues, and even anosmia and physical balance. Preliminary research on neurofeedback treatment of TBI is very encouraging, but certainly more rigorous research is needed. child receiving nfThe accumulating work on neurofeedback led Frank H. Duffy, M.D., a Professor and Pediatric Neurologist at Harvard Medical School, to state in an editorial in the January 2000 issue of the journal Clinical Electroencephalography that scholarly literature now suggests that neurofeedback “should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas. In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy it would be universally accepted and widely used: (p. v). “It is a field to be taken seriously by all” (p. vii).”

To learn more about neurofeedback and how it can help with traumatic brain injuries, contact me.

Children’s Fears and How We Can Help

Unforeseeable disruptions to regular life can be explaining to childrenfrightening, especially for children. It’s difficult enough to explain to adults why tornados happen but try telling a child. Try explaining a job loss or the end of a relationship to an adult. Intellectually we may understand but it’s still complicated. And children do not yet possess the same intellectual capacity as adults.

TornadoMonday’s tragedy in Oklahoma affected not one but two elementary schools. School, like home, is supposed to be a safe place. As I write this article, there are 24 deaths, including 10 children. That’s a lot of information for anyone, adult or child, to wrap his/her head around.

As residents of this small town begin to literally pick up the pieces from Monday’s ruin, they will try to understand how to continue living their lives. Eventually, most will learn a new way to live and they will adapt to their tragedy.

There are, unfortunately, times in children’s lives when they may experience unwelcome disruptions to their routine. There could be a natural disaster, such as a tornado or the divorce of a child’s parents. The following are just four suggestions about what we as adults can do to help children deal with fears:

 1. Express:

Encourage children to talk about their feelings. expressionIf they’re too young and/or don’t have the vocabulary yet, let them express themselves through drawing or playing. Have them show you how they feel. Support their feelings and try not to minimize their fears.

 2. Visualize:

grandma's armsRemind children that they are loved and although bad things happen, most of the time, they don’t. Help them to think about a place that makes them feel safe. Maybe it’s in grandma’s living room or it could be in your arms. Help your child to imagine that safe place and the feeling that comes from being in that safe place. Let them know that when they feel scared, they can always think about that place and feel safe.

 3. Consult:

If you’ve tried many ways to help your child feel safe and nothing seems to work- consult with a therapist who works with children. Licensed therapists who have experience working with children, are often able to get at the root of the child’s fears and offer suggestions that a parent may be unable to see. Most parents just want their children to be safe, happy and healthy. A child specialist wants these things too but they are less attached to the child than a parent and can therefore see the entire picture.

 4. Neurofeedback:     childtherapist

One of the amazing things that NeurOptimal, the type of neurofeedback training that I use does, is to help children (and adults) no longer fixate on a fear or an unpleasant thought. Whether there is a real or a perceived trauma, it is common for us to focus all of our attention there. Neurofeedback helps us become unstuck. The thoughts and obsessions that we’re used to focusing on, no longer have as much power after training. To learn more about neurofeedback, take a look at my website.

Most children (and adults) have fears. The power that we give to these fears effects how quickly children are able to move past them. The next time your child expresses a concern, notice how you respond. You may see that you already have these tools in place. If you don’t or you want some help, let me know.

The 5 Most Common Changes My Clients Report When Using Neurofeedback

What is the best part of NeurOptimal® neurofeedback training? Noticing the changes that occur sooner than expected. Before I give you examples of the changes, I want to explain to you what neurofeedback is and how it works. To quote from New York Neurofeedback’s website:

neurohands“Your brain is the most complex system on the Earth, and it is masterful at organizing itself on your behalf. NeurOptimal® uses the EEG — information about the electrical activity in your brain — to train your CNS (the brain and spinal cord) to be at its best, taking advantage of its powerful ability to organize and normalize itself. Because your brain does this in the way that is uniquely right for you, it’s not being pushed or pulled in a provider chosen direction, making the process virtually side effect free.”

What are some of the changes that you strive for? Do you want to have more patience; do you want to spend money less impulsively? Well with neurofeedback, you can have:

1. Better Sleep 

Better sleepDo you have difficulty either falling asleep or staying asleep? Do you wake up several times during the night? Having a neurofeedback training session can help you to sleep better. My clients tell me that if they do neurofeedback, that night, they are going to sleep better and feel more rested and refreshed the next day.   These changes are likely to become their new normal.

2. More Patience with Others

patience-1Have you lost patience with your spouse or your children? Do you have difficulty “reining in” your temper? Over time, you will notice that you aren’t as quick to snap at others. You may even begin to listen to the conversations that drove you crazy. You may not look forward to the conversations or enjoy them, but you are able to tolerate them and remain present to the people in your life.

3. Less Impulsive Behavior   

impulsiveDo you spend too much money on things that you don’t need? Do you eat/drink too much? Do you engage in dangerous behavior? Sometimes having anxiety or depression can be so overwhelming that in order to calm those feelings, we take in other things. In many cases, it’s done with shopping/food/drink/sex/drugs. When we train the brain to be more present with neurofeedback, we are allowing the CNS to re-normalize itself and not need something from the outside to help us deal with the issues going on inside.

4. A Calmer Disposition  

Calm 2Have you noticed that people are less apt to ask for your opinion or that they’re afraid to bring up prickly topics in order to avoid having another argument with you? If you’ve noticed this avoidant behavior from people in your life and you don’t want them to feel intimidated by you, perhaps you want to find out what’s making you lose your cool. Neurofeedback can help you feel calmer and less angry. After several sessions, you may even notice what triggers you. After more sessions, you may be able to halt your usual reaction and just let it pass. Eventually, you may also notice that the things that used to make you angry, no longer will to the extent that they did before training.

5. Better concentration

golf-concentrationDo you have difficulty sitting down in order to read a book or finish a work/school assignment? Have you been told that you’re “all over the place?” Have you been diagnosed with either ADD or ADHD? If you’ve tried meditation and/or medication and neither works (or you don’t want to take medicine), have you talked with your therapist about alternatives? Much like a mirror that promotes self-correction, NeurOptimal® monitors your brain waves and then provides “feedback” to your central nervous system about what it has just done. When the software detects turbulence in your brain wave pattern, it sends an audible signal (a brief interruption to the music) that encourages the brain to “reset” and self-correct. The work that your CNS is doing will help you to have better focus and help you feel more confident.

This is only a short list of the many amazing changes you will find with neurofeedback . If you have any questions about NeurOptimal® neurofeedback or would like to set up an appointment, call me at: 917-817-8575 or email me.

Neurofeedback vs. Procrastination

“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth. Not going all the way and not starting.” Siddhartha Gautama (on procrastination)

NeurOptimal® neurofeedback has the ability to help people make profound changes in gentleHilly Road and subtle ways.

Frequently a client is interested in neurofeedback to help with a specific issue, such as anxiety Frequently, after the first session, they notice changes. A client may tell me that they’ve slept well for the first time in years. The next session they may mention that they’ve procrastinated about starting (or completing) a project at work (or home) and all of a sudden, they’ve tackled the issue.

Change is often scary. Some people prefer to procrastinate even if that means they will continue to be miserable. Sometimes we feel safer with the known than we do about the unknown.

procrastination1Some people come to neurofeedback because they are obsessed with consumption, whether it’s food, alcohol, drugs, sex or shopping. They consume too much in order to fill a void. There’s always a desire for more but this desire can affect how we feel about ourselves. It is wonderful when we notice that we no longer have the desire to eat until we feel sick or buy another article of clothing that we do not need. I love it when a client tells me that they are no longer wrestling with their demons and that they are feeling better about themselves.

Proud3Taking little risks everyday helps to instill a sense of accomplishment and that creates a sense of wellbeing and also confidence. Neurofeedback can with procrastination.

For more information about how neurofeedback can help you, contact me here. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

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 came up and asked me, “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.