Child, adult & family therapist
Neurofeedback is direct training of brain function, by which the brain learns to function more efficiently. We observe the brain in action from moment to moment. We show that information back to the person. And we reward the brain for changing its own activity to more appropriate patterns. This is a gradual learning process. It applies to any aspect of brain function that we can measure. Neurofeedback is also called EEG Biofeedback, because it is based on electrical brain activity, the electroencephalogram, or EEG. Neurofeedback is training in self-regulation. It is simply biofeedback applied to the brain directly. Self-regulation is a necessary part of good brain function. Self-regulation training allows the system (the central nervous system) to function better.
Neurofeedback addresses problems of brain disregulation. These happen to be numerous. They include the anxiety-depression spectrum, attention deficits, behavior disorders, various sleep disorders, headaches and migraines, PMS and emotional disturbances. It is also useful for organic brain conditions such as seizures, the autism spectrum, and cerebral palsy.
Working with children requires special knowledge of how to address problems from a developmentally appropriate perspective. Children's therapy often involves art, play, and the caregivers active involvement both in therapy and working on therapeutic homework assignments in between sessions.
I have had extensive training with children, attending many workshops and conferences on play therapy, sand tray therapy, attachment work, & children and trauma.
Adolescence can be a difficult time and there are many problems that teens face which can exacerbate this period. I have always enjoyed working with teens and welcome them into my practice.
Therapy with teenagers can involve the caregivers or may include sessions on their own, varying according to need and client preference.
There are unique issues that are involved when a child is in out-of-home placement, especially when trauma, abuse, and loss are present.
I have had many years of specialized training in this area.
People are programmed to respond to threats to their safety. Unfortunately, this set of adaptive responses in the face of terror, which are lifesaving in the moment, can leave people with ongoing, long-term psychological symptoms. The brain can be affected in such a way that makes a person feel like the event is happening again and again. Repeated experience of the traumatic event can prevent healing and keep a person stuck in a pattern that may induce anxiety, sleeplessness, anger or an increased possibility of substance abuse. Unresolved childhood abuse can lead people to get stuck in depression and low self-esteem.
I work with children to adults on these kinds of issues through traditional talk therapy, EMDR (expanded on below), art, sand tray and other means with the end goal of decreasing the level emotional disturbance and subsequent disruptions to functioning associated with the trauma.
While I respect various belief systems, I do come from a Christian bias, and would be happy to work with the blending of psychology and Christian principles for those who desire this.
Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
A side note about Christian Bereavement Counseling: The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult challenges we can face. Many people take comfort in believing their loved one is watching over them or that they can communicate with them. While this may seem like a nice belief system, I haven't seen that it's one the Bible supports. (See Eccesiasities 9:5,6,10 Psalm 115:17, John 11:11-14, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, Genesis 2:7, James 2:26, Job 14:12, 21, 1 Corinthians 15:51-53)
While I am not here to contradict anyone's spiritual beliefs, this is not one that I actively encourage.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an information processing approach, developed to resolve symptoms of trauma, which uses a structured method to address the past, present and future aspects of disturbing memories. EMDR's most unique aspect is a bilateral stimulation of the brain, either through eye movements, bilateral sound or bilateral tactile stimulation. These interventions are combined with cognitions, visualized images and attention to body sensations. Clinical trials have demonstrated EMDR's efficacy in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is also being used by therapists for a wider variety of problems, with positive results.
Heather McMullen LCSW