A Case Study on Neurofeedback Training
Jeremy had been physically abused by his father as a child. He once remarked to me: “When I first saw the Sopranos I thought: Oh my god, those guys used to hang out at my house when I was a kid. That’s when I realized how bad it really was growing up.”
As an adult Jeremy has struggled with angry outbursts, constantly feeling like the world is out to get him, poor sleep/nightmares and episodes of depression–all classic Post Traumatic Stress symptoms.
A year ago Jeremy came into some money from his father and I suggested he buy a home neurofeedback system so he could train regularly. Previously he had done 8 in-office sessions but he lived far away and couldn’t come regularly. So while he noticed positive changes to his mood and sleep, the changes didn’t last because he wasn’t able to train regularly enough for them to become long lasting.
Just last week Jeremy and I spoke and the conversation revolved around his current dilemma:“Natalie, I don’t know who I am anymore—I’m not sleep deprived, I can tolerate the challenges at work, the kids don’t irritate me nearly as much as they used to. I’m not sure what to do with myself.” We joked about the fact that he was struggling to find his identity now that his life felt manageable.
The other observation he made was: “Oh, and I’m enjoying sex more with my wife. I’m not sure what that’s about.”
I pushed him a bit and asked, “Are you sure you don’t know what that’s about?” I didn’t want to give him the opportunity to be passive about positive changes.
“Well, I’m more relaxed. And I’m more open with her in general. So I guess it makes sense.”
I responded with, “Deer don’t have sex if they think there’s a bear on the edge of the clearing!”
He laughed and said, “I guess not!”
When the brain is making the gradual transition from living in a state of activation or the fight/flight/freeze response, it takes a while to make those new neural pathways. As a consequence slowly our behaviors and our perception of the world change too. Jeremy’s story is an example of what we call the “seamless changes” that are brought about by neurofeedback training.
Natalie Baker, LMHC, Licensed Psychotherapist, Certified NeurOptimal® Advanced Neurofeedback Trainer in New York
Natalie has over sixteen years experience as a psychotherapist treating clients with conditions such as PTSD, trauma, anxiety, depression, ADHD, insomnia and relationship issues. When she introduced neurofeedback into her practice three years ago, she was thrilled to discover neurofeedback sped up–sometimes effortlessly–her client’s healing process. Some clients opt for simultaneous talk therapy and neurofeedback and some for neurofeedback alone.