A quote from Bessel several years ago describes neurofeedback’s effects on people with extreme trauma who they treat at The Trauma Center in Massachusetts:
“Once neurofeedback is introduced, many experience their extraordinarily traumatic histories to become mere data points in their lives, freed of many of the life destroying elements we commonly see. ”
Bessel Van der Kolk, M.D.
I have seen amazing results with neurofeedback in many client’s lives over the past 9 years. People who had done many types of therapies, medications and interventions came in for NeurOptimal Neurofeedback with me, only to experience relief within a few sessions. It became clear that overload, or unresolved trauma was generally what was driving their suffering, causing them to act out in ways that they could just say no to.
As an extreme example, I had an adolescent girl who had been adapted from China with little ability to self-regulate. She was forever upset and nearly impossible to manage, a bit wild. She would pull the sensors off her head when I had her hooked up and could hardly sit still, having to get up constantly and move around, as though she was being threatened. I can only imagine what might have happened at the orphanage she was raised in.
I saw her for perhaps 40 sessions and I cannot impress upon you the changes that I observed in her. She had been to many therapists to no avail. One day, she was upset that the therapist across the hall popped her head out of her office to ask her to speak a little more quietly. This young girl had poor social awareness and was quite unaware of others and social nuance. This made her extremely upset and it took quite a bit of coaxing to get her to sit for her session. But after the session, she came to her Mom and me, and apologized for being so upset at the beginning of the session. I had never seen this capability it her and her Mom was quite amazed as well. To see such a dramatic shift in her level of maturity and her ability to observe and reflect on her own process speaks volumes for the benefits of neurofeedback. No talk therapy could have ever produced this dramatic shift in such as short period, speaking as someone who has been a therapist for 33 years.
But I also have to say that I have never been attracted to the traditional forms of neurofeedback that do what is called migrate and entrain, what I like to call push and pull. I never wanted it to be done to me since I have oriented intuitively toward the non-invasive or non-aggressive model of therapy of many years. Anyway, I finally found Dr. Val Brown who had owned, been certified and taught virtually every neurofeedback approach out today and he had developed a neurofeedback approach based on non-linear physics and math rather than the linear, reductionistic approach still in use. So this approach mirrors to the brain comprehensively with what the brain is about to do, and by evoking of the Orienting Response, the brain must return to the present and make innate course corrections in how it utilizes available biological energy to accomplish survival tasks. Or in other words, we are aiding the brain to orient toward relaxation versus arousal.
Out brains are energy conserving systems and are inherently capable to learning through the lifespan, so that life should be improving. But when we are overloaded, as most people are, our brains have to work double and triple time, managing the past (which doesn’t exist) and the future (which does not exist) and the present which is all there really is. With NeurOptimal neurofeedback training, we can help the brain to intuitively and biologically recognize that it is generating its own suffering event, called perturbation in non-linear physics. It is perturbed, and quite often for no survival benefit. Since true emotions only happens in total calm, everything else is a degree of panic- and I can demonstrate this scientifically BTW.
I realized a long time ago that to ask a client to talk about their traumatic memories could either drive it deeper or desensitize them to everything else in their life. I always felt that I had to find an approach that could get underneath the defenses that are developed as a consequence of traumatic experiences. We are only now acknowledging how delicate children are and the degree to which we are all carrying trauma.
NeurOptimal® is quite amazing, as I said, and a paradigm shift in the evolution of neurofeedback!