How Did a I Become a Neurofeedback Therapist?
I’m often asked this question by my clients, especially after finding out that I was a pharmacist for 20 years. It seems like an unusual pairing, but as you’ll see my professional background and personal experiences put me on this trajectory. While I was working as a pharmacist, I became very aware of the mind/body connection. II often referred my clients to therapists, acupuncturists, and yoga. I understood that finding ways of reducing or eliminating chronic stress is essential to a healthy life. At times they were able to reduce the dose of the medication or eliminate it all together.
A few years into my career, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and at that time there was no real treatment for MS. That created a sense of urgency on my part to understand everything we knew about the disease at the time and what could possibly attenuate the condition. In my readings, I came across promising anecdotal evidence. This evidence covered a variety of supplements, traditional Chinese medicine, and the power of the mind/body connection. I set out as best I could to verify these therapies and I found them credible. I immediately started acupuncture, Vitamin D (before vitamin D became the “it” vitamin), Omega 3 fatty acids, probiotics and I found a psychotherapist to help me with stress.
I began improving and this confluence of therapies put my life back on track. I found the mind/body connection so powerful that I decided to get a master’s in counseling in order to pursue this new field of psychoneuroimmunology and its effect on disease progression. This knowledge was instrumental in helping me improve my client’s health at the pharmacy as well as my own. I took the time to talk to them about healthy complimentary approaches and I emphasized the power of the mind in healing the body.
A few years later I got into a major car accident. At the time, I didn’t seem to have any obvious evidence of a concussion. So, I went home feeling grateful that I survived. But slowly over a period of time, I began to feel depressed and anxious. These moments of anxiety that led to panic attacks. This wasn’t constant, so I was able to tolerate it.
Two years later I was diagnosed with breast cancer and received several months of chemotherapy, which saved my life. But as we know most drugs, especially chemo don’t come without side effects. I had what they refer to as “chemo brain” which I was hopeful would improve over time, but alas it didn’t. For years I continued to experience fatigue. At this point I didn’t know if it was due to MS or the chemo. My panic attacks worsened to the point where it was affecting my ability to drive long distances. I was frustrated and disappointed that things were getting worse.
After trying several therapies, including yoga which helped somewhat, a friend of mine suggested I try neurofeedback. I admit I dragged my feet. I questioned how something so simple as biofeedback could help me with such serious problems. After six months of progressively getting worse I finally decided I had nothing to lose. So, I tried it and within two sessions I was a new person (this isn’t always a typical reaction)! I had what is referred to in the neurofeedback community as the “windshield wiper effect”. My brain responded so well to the training that my neuropathways rewired, my brainwaves stabilized, and I felt, as I put it, “I can see in three dimensions again".
Those who have experienced these conditions will understand what I mean. For a long time, colors weren’t vibrant, food didn’t taste good and the desire for anything had dimmed. After these first two sessions, life came back online. I was amazed, impressed and had to know how this seemingly simple technique could have such powerful results. After 40 sessions of training and feeling like my best self again, I enrolled in a program to learn more about #neurofeedback, which led to an internship. After a year of study, I felt confident that this was something I wanted to share with those struggling with conditions like, #anxiety, #PTSD, #depression, #panic attacks and #ADHD. I saw first hand how clients with these conditions were being helped. Very often they had tried many other traditional therapies with no relief. Before I had a career but now, I found a vocation. I am passionate about offering this amazing technique to those suffering. Like any therapy it doesn’t help everyone, but for those who do respond to neurofeedback it can and does transform their lives. My background in pharmacy, with my skills as a counselor and my knowledge in neurofeedback are the perfect combination.