A few months ago, I was on the phone with my good friend, Debbie, excitedly sharing about my experiences with this extraordinary new thing I was doing: neurofeedback. I shared about how time had slowed down, I was more present in the moment, I felt a release of old triggers, was experiencing my body differently and even relating to God differently, among so many other things. In fact, we had several of these conversations and each left us in awe. Debbie remarked that the whole thing reminded her of a Scripture verse she had lovingly shared with me for years, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will,” Romans 12:2.
So often, I had thought of “renewing my mind” as something that I had to DO, that if I replaced lies with truth enough in my mind, journaled enough, prayed enough, talked through trauma enough, worked hard enough, I would be okay and finally function more like “normal” people out there who don’t live with developmental trauma. The fact that I kept struggling felt like a personal failure and like I was doing something wrong. For a while, I would believe I was worthy, good enough, free, loved and all the other incredible things that are true. Yet, time after time I ended up in the same pit of struggling and feeling like everything was my fault, my shortcoming, and then striving like crazy to fix it. Maybe I just hadn’t tried hard enough.
Not so. As it turned out, neurofeedback was renewing my mind and all I needed to do was show up to my appointments in a very cushy and comfortable loft in Davidson, NC and watch a few movies with some sensors stuck to my head. I could bring my own DVD’s and everything. Neurofeedback helped to heal and correct the damage of developmental trauma on my brain by helping my brain to form new, healthier neuropathways that created healthy patterns in my brain.
This resulted in healthier thoughts, better decision making, more peace, greater ease in verbal communication, boundary setting and a quieting of all those pesky lies that had been whirling around at record-pace in my mind for so long. For years, I’ve struggled with doing too much, having an insanely busy schedule and not knowing how many things were too many things to fit in one 24-hour day. I felt like my life was in danger if I didn’t do enough. My husband and closest friends often expressed concern. With neurofeedback, those struggles disappeared and I began to have an accurate “knowing” about what felt right for me. For the first time in my life that I can remember, I had an accurate perception of what it meant to live at a sustainable and healthy pace. I started simplifying my life with ease and without guilt!
The neurofeedback process was simple, yet powerful. I benefitted from having a trauma informed therapist, supportive husband, community, friends, and a flexible work situation while I went through my initial experiences with neurofeedback. The process began when Melanie and Aubrey Berry of Carolinas Biofeedback Clinic did a QEEG scan on my brain and compiled a detailed report of the results that showed everything from the years of my life when I likely experienced the most trauma to which Brodmann areas of my brain were functioning well and which would benefit from some assistance in functioning in a healthier way.
My neurofeedback practitioners detailed a treatment plan and I showed up twice a week for sessions at their Davidson office. I normally met with Shay Clark or Kristyn Dunn, who would explain which areas of the brain we were addressing, why, and then they would attach EEG sensors to my head, pop in my chosen DVD and I’d relax and let my brain do its thing. My giant white service dog rested next to me and enjoyed some special snacks while I enjoyed the time to catch up on movies that I’d been wanting to see. For this type of neurofeedback, it takes the brain two nights to integrate each session, so I took special care to get good sleep and take it slow for a couple of days to give my brain plenty of space to do what it needed to do.
It was honestly fun to wake up the next two mornings following a neurofeedback session to see what changes I noticed or didn’t notice. Would my sense of smell, taste, or hearing feel different? Would I feel bold and sassy? Would time slow down? Would I feel more present? Would I feel less overwhelmed by the world around me? Would I notice beauty everywhere? Would racing thoughts vanish? Would I have an accurate sense of my body or a better self-perception? All of these things and so much more happened following sessions, depending on which areas of the brain were addressed. Follow-up QEEG scans reflected what I’d experienced: my brain was functioning in a much healthier way and responding beautifully to the neurofeedback.
Want to hear more about how neurofeedback works and why it is so good for developmental trauma? Stay tuned for my next blog post as I continue to share on this incredibly empowering and healing topic.