Biofeedback is a modality that helps a person develop the necessary awareness and skills to transform unhealthy physiological patterns into healthier, more productive responses. It can be used to treat a particular medical condition, or as a training program for learning effective stress management and relaxation skills.
How does it work? Non-invasive sensors, connected to a computer, are attached to different parts of a person’s body, such as the fingertips or a particular muscle group. Then, a person’s physiological responses are monitored as they occur in real-time. Personalized recommendations are made based on clinical feedback from these tools.
As a client becomes familiar with her/his personal psychophysiological patterns and reactions to emotions and stressors, s/he can learn to control them with the goal of achieving more regulation and balance.
During a client’s initial visit, we can discuss if biofeedback makes sense.
Please note that a psychophysiological evaluation with biofeedback may also be scheduled for a client’s initial visit, but typically, a biofeedback evaluation requires two visits for a comprehensive assessment before proceeding with the training.
Pediatric Biofeedback training teaches children to better understand their bodies and shows them how the body works in easy-to-understand terms.
Children enjoy the computerized graphics, and the interesting information they learn about their own bodies and health. They feel proud when they learn relevant techniques and witness a tangible outcome on screen that can be applied in their daily lives.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recognized biofeedback as a clinically effective treatment for a variety of medical disorders.
Hypnosis is a technique that helps to focus a person’s attention, and facilitates her/him feeling calm and relaxed. And unlike its practice in popular entertainment, hypnosis is not a mind-control technique; it is an interactive process that involves a person’s full awareness and participation.
Hypnosis has been clinically proven to provide medical and therapeutic benefits. It can be used to enhance a person’s quality of life by reducing or eliminating stress, restoring quality sleep, improving performance or increasing self-confidence.
It can also be used to overcome fears and habits, such as smoking, anxiety and overeating, and provides relief from chronic pain resulting from headaches, back pain and other conditions.
In general, because children can easily access their imaginations, they can learn and benefit quickly from hypnosis, imagery and mind-body techniques.
Pediatric Hypnosis involves teaching children how to use self-hypnosis and guided imagery to manage or eliminate anxiety, unhealthy habits, and physical symptoms associated with pain, discomfort and other medical conditions.
Relaxation training involves a variety of stress management techniques that enable a person to stimulate a relaxed state of mind and body.
Relaxation training can decrease muscle tension, increase blood flow, lower blood pressure, improve breathing patterns and balance the body’s autonomic nervous system activity, thereby allowing her/him to reduce stress, anxiety or other distressing emotional states.
Examples of relaxation training include: progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, breathing techniques, mindfulness meditation and other forms of meditation, self-hypnosis, guided imagery, and other active forms of body movement (yoga,tai chi) that produces a calm and relaxed mind and body.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy based on information processing theory, which understands that thoughts, feelings and images related to an experience are stored as memory networks in the brain. These networks are accessible and can be changed in a positive manner. EMDR can help a person gain insight and reduce the level of reactions to situations that have stimulated negative beliefs, such as lack of safety, control, responsibility and love.
EMDR sessions focus on reprocessing information associated with the past, present or future that is experienced in an overly emotional or negative way. The goals of EMDR are to reduce the distress attached to an event, and to instead attach the chosen memory with a more positive, healthy feeling.
During the session, I guide a client through the process of re-accessing memories s/he has told me about. Research has shown that bilateral stimulation of the brain engages the autonomic nervous system into a more balanced response: a person’s eye movements are used to neurologically stimulate both sides of the brain so that images, feelings and negative cognitions become desensitized. With EMDR, disturbing memories are not erased; they remain part of memory. However, a person’s experience of those memories and future similar situations after EMDR treatment no longer produce the emotional distress, psychological symptoms and somatic upset they did before.
EMDR is effective for both major and minor traumas. It has proven to be effective in treating PTSD and phobias, and can be used to treat stress, anxiety, depression and addictive behaviors. Most recently, and in concert with positive psychology, it is also being applied to enhance peak performance and boost self-confidence and concentration.