By Renee Chillcott, LMHC
We typically think of Anxiety and Depression as part of our personality or ways that we “are”, I’m depressed or I’m anxious. They describe us. But Anxiety and Depression should not be regarded as parts of our persona but rather as patterns in the brain that are brought on by an external force…. physical or emotional STRESS.
Psychotherapy is typically sought after to “fix” these personality attributes and although therapy is great at developing better coping skills and working out issues in your life, present and past, but it falls short in changing your brain pattern. Medication may also be sought after to address a “chemical imbalance” causing these changes in our personality, but side effects are typical, it may stop working, and again, is not changing your brain pattern.
This means that you are not defined by how you feel and a dysfunctional brain pattern is the culprit.
There may be a biological cause…
Strong research evidence indicates that there are Functional Brain Abnormalities associated with depression, anxiety, panic disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And Neurofeedback training corrects functional brain abnormalities. Simply put, Neurofeedback corrects the depression and anxiety patterns in your brain, thus allowing you to handle stress and stressful events with ease.
Below is a QEEG (Quantitative EEG) of a client in a 4-7hz range that presents with excessive
(2+ standard deviations above the mean) THETA waves located at the left frontal (F3) and Anterior Cingulate (FZ) areas of the brain indicating possible symptoms related to depression and anxiety among others.
Neurofeedback CAN FIX this…
HOW DOES NEUROFEEDBACK WORK?
Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback, has been studied and practiced since the late 60’s. It is exercise for your brain; allowing you to see the frequencies produced by different parts of your brain in real-time and then through visual and auditory feedback, teaches the brain to better regulate itself. Neurofeedback can be used to help detect, stimulate, and/or inhibit activity in the brain safely and without medication. It can help restore a wider “range of motion” in brain states, much like physical therapy does for the body. Thus, allowing you to be more “flexible” in stressful situations.
WHAT IS A QEEG?
The QEEG is a quantitative EEG. It’s also called a brain map and does just that… it gives us a map of what is going on with the entire brain at one time. We attach electrodes to the entire head, 19 spots, and then record the brain waves with eyes open for 5 minutes and with eyes closed for 10 minutes. This recording is then read and analyzed. We are able to give you a summary of significant findings and the report shows results of analyzing the data several different ways. The brain activity is not only compared spot by spot over the entire head, but we can also look at connections, symmetry, how different parts of the brain are communicating and all of this data is compared yourself and to a database of peers (same sex, handedness and age). It can help us see what areas need to be addressed more efficiently than just training spot by spot. The necessity of a QEEG is determined on an individual basis and is discussed at the initial intake.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?
While the client sits comfortably watching a movie or pictures appear on the screen (a calm and focused state), the EEG equipment measures the frequency or speed at which electrical activity moves in the areas where electrodes have been placed. This information is sent to the therapist’s computer. The therapist is then able to determine what frequencies are out of balance. For example, when the EEG shows that you are making too many “slow” or “sleepy” waves (delta/theta) in the left or center of the frontal lobe (Anterior Cingulate) you may experiencesymptoms of depression, anxiety, worrying, obsessing, not being able to let things go; or if too many “fast” waves (high beta) are firing in the left mid-temporal or parietal lobe, you may experience trouble sleeping, racing thoughts, panic attacks, physically unsettled. The therapist adjusts a reward band to encourage more balanced activity and this encouragement or “reward” happens through an auditory reinforcement of “beeps” and at times through visual reinforcement of changes on the screen.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
Mental clarity improves when you operate a calmer, more efficient brain. As you learn to slow down “inner chatter” or activate a “sleepy” brain, you become more effective at responding to stress and adapt more readily to different situations, both psychologically and physically. Mood improves, parenting/work becomes less exhausting, appointments are more easily kept, decision-making improves, sleep improves, frustration reduces and mood swings and overwhelmed/depression lifts.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Getting started with Neurofeedback is fairly simple. Call, text, or email our office to set up an intake session. At the intake session, you will receive a clinical interview, treatment plan and recommendations. Often you will be able to experience a Neurofeedback session at the initial intake.
Call to make an appointment today!
Brain & Wellness Center
7301 W. Palmetto Park Road
Boca Raton, FL 33433
Renee Chillcott, LMHC
Renee Chillcott is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor that has been practicing Neurofeedback training since 2005. Renee attended The University of Central Florida where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology in 1995. She then went on to complete her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling with Nova Southeastern University in 2001. She has been a mental counselor in a variety of settings including Outpatient Treatment Agencies, Alternative Education Settings, and Private Practice. Renee received her license in Mental Health Counseling in 2004. Renee decided to enter the field of Neurofeedback because there was very little information made available to people/parents about alternatives to medication. Through the use of Neurofeedback she saw more significant and permanent changes in not only her clients, but also her own family and herself. This inspired her to become the owner/operator of The Wellness Center, located in Boca Raton. At The Wellness Center, adults, teens, children and families enjoy a variety of services from multiple providers. Neurofeedback, Brain Mapping, Acupuncture, Nutritional Counseling, Learning Programs, and counseling are among a few of the services offered.