Psychiatrist Kelly Brogan, MD, author of "A Mind of Your Own: How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives" has written a fantastic blog post (Jan 2019) on the chemical imbalance myth. The long and short is, "in six decades of research, the serotonin (or norepinephrine, or dopamine) theory of depression and anxiety has not achieved scientific credibility".
Hillary Jacobs Hendel, psychotherapist and author of "It's not Always Depression", explains the change triangle and how it can help you work with difficult feelings or states and connect to your deeper truth.
The Real Causes of Depression (article) Like many people, the author, Johann Hari was offered medication (based on the false premise of "chemical imbalance") and little treatment for his symptoms of depression. He is enlightened in part through conversations with Dr. Vincent Felitti, who created the famous ACEs study which shows how adverse experiences in childhood dramatically increase the likelihood of mental and physical illness in adulthood." ...if he had just told people what my doctor told me – that their brains were broken, this was why they were so distressed, and the only solution was to be drugged – they may never have been able to understand the deeper causes of their problem, and they would never have been released from them."
Gabor Maté's 4 Risk Factors for Chronic Illness This profound talk lays out a deep and truly integrative understanding of human being. Maté describes 4 risk factors for chronic illness born of our adaptive and imperative striving for attachment during childhood. The goal of psychotherapy to help change these deeply wired templates of behavior. The audio is a little poor for the first few minutes--hang in there.
Stephen Ilardi's Therapeutic Lifestyle Change for Depression (Youtube video) Ilardi defines depression as a chronic inflammatory condition, contextualizes it in human evolution, and summarizes the research on what works to get rid of it.
Brené Brown on Shame (Youtube video) Brown shares her unique research and wonderful humility to illustrate the universal problem of shame in human psychology and relationships.
Do not underestimate the simple power of breathing correctly! When we breathe by expanding our lower torso, rather than with our chest (as most of us do) we increase blood blood flow to our "second brain", the gut. Proper breathing improves digestion, assimilation, absorption of nutrients, gut motility, prevents compression of spinal vertebrae (i.e back pain), prevents menstrual cramps, improves posture and makes us feel more calm and confident! Especially if you're having IBS or any kind of problem with digestion, this is something you have complete power over and can do immediately to reduce pain and feel better. Read more at Erik Peper's excellent blog, the source of the video links above.
Self-Acceptance Project If self-criticism is a problem for you, here are 22 interviews with various psychotherapists and teachers all asking--how do I stop?
Overcoming Overeating (Amazon link) The best book on the topic. I've seen it change lives.
Power Poses (TED talk) Want to feel more confident? Here's a quick trick!
The Dance of Anger (Amazon link) The closest thing to therapy in a book. This book can help anyone to manage their anger and improve their relationships.
Here is a cute WikiHow I found on Non-Violent Communication. NVC is an elegant model for communication that can help you resolve conflicts in any relationship. It takes a little effort to learn but this invaluable tool will serve you all your life!
The Body Keeps the Score (Amazon link) For far too long, trauma, abuse and neglect, and their causative role in mental and physical illness have been under-recognized and under-appreciated. This important book begins to correct that.
A General Theory of Love (Amazon link) If you wonder why it is that "the heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of", the answers are in this book, which also further explains how and why psychotherapy can make all the difference.
I also recommend books by Norman Doidge to gain a better understanding of the implications of neuroplasticity for healing and recovery in human health issues of all kinds.
Below are some of my favorite pieces of research literature regarding neurofeedback:
Ghaziri, J., Tucholka, A., Larue, V., Blanchette-Sylvestre, M., Reyburn, G., Gilbert, G., … Beauregard, M. (2013). Neurofeedback Training Induces Changes in White and Gray Matter. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 44(4), 265-272. https://doi.org/10.1177/1550059413476031 Study showing gray and white-matter increases following a total of 20 hours of training in healthy subjects.
Pigott, H. Edmund; Lindsay De Biase, Eugenia Bodenhamer-Davis, & Richard E. Davis. “The Evidence-Base for Neurofeedback as a Reimbursable Healthcare Service to Treat Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.” International Society for Neurofeedback Research. 2013. Download of pdf is first link on this page: <http://www.isnr.org/uploads/nfb-adhd.pdf>
Ros T, Baars BJ, Lanius RA and Vuilleumier P (2014) “Tuning pathological brain oscillations with neurofeedback: a systems
neuroscience framework.” Front. Hum. Neurosci. 8:1008. <https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.01008>
Shouse, M. N., and J. F. Lubar. "Operant conditioning of EEG rhythms and ritalin in the treatment of hyperkinesis." National Center for Biotechnology Information. National Institutes of Health, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2015. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/526475> Lubar uses neurofeedback to decrease hyperactivity, then increase it, then decrease it once again. Lays to rest the question of placebo.
Schulman, J. J., Cancro, R., Lowe, S., Lu, F., Walton, K. D., & Llinás, R. R. (2011). Imaging of Thalamocortical Dysrhythmia in Neuropsychiatry. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 5.2 https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2011.00069
Elucidates correlation of peak frequency with psychological health.
van der Kolk, B. A., Hodgdon, H., Gapen, M., Musicaro, R., Suvak, M. K., Hamlin, E., & Spinazzola, J. (2016) A Randomized Controlled Study of Neurofeedback for Chronic PTSD. PLoS ONE 11(12): e0166752. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27992435
There is a vast and growing body of research literature supporting the effectiveness of neurofeedback. For more information just type “neurofeedback” or "EEG biofeedback" into PubMed to see thousands of scientific articles from peer-reviewed journals. Alternatively, you could purchase a copy of the 3rd edition (2016) of Evidence Based Practice in Biofeedback and Neurofeedback, or check the neurofeedback bibliography available here: http://www.isnr.net/resources.
Read about three different individuals with anxiety who benefited greatly from neurofeedback, in this quick blog post written by my talented colleague in San Francisco, Michael Quirke, MFT.
This 2017 article summarizes what we now know about how poorly psychotropic medication works, and then contrasts this with neurofeedback's generally impressive outcomes: The Crisis in Psychopharmacology Provides an Opportunity for NeuroRegulation Treatments to Gain Widespread Acceptance
Have you seen some bad press about neurofeedback lately? Sometimes journalists get sloppy and malign a treatment they know nothing about in their rush to make political arguments. Fortunately, our field is answering back. Here are two great examples.
This TED talk video provides a wonderful introductory overview of neurofeedback in plain English: https://youtu.be/4zyt0LCwbYI.
CNN ran this short clip on neurofeedback for anxiety and ADHD in October 2015: https://youtu.be/Ztl6lclnkxg.
Here’s a May 2016 piece from Newsweek: http://www.newsweek.com/neurofeedback-brain-regulation-neuroscience-457492.
Here's a cute piece from the Atlantic (June 2017) about the experience of a qEEG. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/06/this-is-your-brain-on-qeeg/532035/
Psychiatrists and physicians can earn CME credit for reading this continuing education article in the Psychiatric Times (November 2016): http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/neurofeedback-significance-psychiatry
For a general history of the field I recommend Jim Robbin’s “A Symphony in the Brain” (Amazon link).
And finally, for a better understanding of the potential and many applications of neurofeedback, I recommend Paul Swingle’s “Biofeedback for the Brain” (Amazon link).
Here are some links to materials you may find helpful. (Under construction!)
Psychotherapy & Neurofeedback in Santa Rosa, California | (510) 868-2802
Silvia Costales, MFT, BCN
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