NeuroFeedback and Electroencephalography

Gaby

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bm said:
Hi Gaby, I am wondering though, whether for people who have been severely affected by developmental trauma, would it be wise for them to engage in rigorous self-work? I am unsure of what you mean when you say "the Work". I'm reading Sebern Fisher's book, and from it, I get the sense that being too focused on an aim can be detrimental to growth of a person who is developmentally traumatised. It is mentioned that many developmentally traumatised people tend to have personalities that are fear-based, and that they are not familiar with a more gentle, natural personality which lies buried underneath that fear. If treatment is successful, the patient feels like they do not know themselves because there is no more fear which used to be the normal mode of existence.
Sebern Fisher focuses on extreme cases, however, I felt very similar while reading that book! By Work, I meant basically not neglecting the Top-Down approach which calls up for cognitive resources. Pretty much like what is called for in Samenow's book Inside the Criminal Mind. The work should be both: Bottom-Up and Top-Down.

Gurdjieff highlighted the necessity of body work or working on the moving center. But that was never clear for me, at least not so clear as it is now.

Perhaps it is important to keep in mind what is explained in the book Healing Developmental Trauma. It is important to encourage being in the present moment which is the key moment for change. Dwelling in the past or the future, or focusing on "being broken" defeats the body/brain's capacity for regulation and organization from chaotic arousal.

And it seems that some people will only find enough freed-up cognitive resources after a dedicated Bottom-Up approach.

For me, it seems that owning anger makes me see the Work with "newer eyes". From everything that I have tried, it seems that the Bottom-Up approach (work at a pre-verbal stage with NF) was the key for that.

Hope that made sense and that you'll have a productive experience with NeurOptimal.
 

Bobo08

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The person I'm renting the NO machine from has put up a website for his business. He shares his story on the website, which is very encouraging, so I will quote it here:

https://www.thehappybrain.com.au/page/about/
There were many noticeable changes early in my training, some of which I have discussed below, but I have to start with the most important transformation by far - how I relate to people. I actually started to enjoy the company of others in a way that simply wasn’t possible before, because my anxiety was too overpowering. I started to feel more relaxed around people and in social situations that used to have me struggling to breathe. And with that relaxed state, all my best (but previously hidden) traits started to surface; humour, spontaneity, acceptance, fun, creativity, compassion etc.

This was not a sudden change, but something that I noticed over time. Although I did see some of these changes in my initial training period, it was about 7 months after I had returned the rental system that I realised these changes were continuing to unfold and were happening at a very deep level. It was during a trip to visit family and friends in Melbourne that it became very apparent just how much I enjoyed people’s company now, and how much more they could enjoy mine. I have not experienced such a level of freedom and fun in the company of others since I was a little boy. I now know the key difference is that my fight or flight response is not getting set off all the time, which is what used to make me feel so unsafe and hyper-vigilant around others.

Organisation

There have been many other very helpful changes during and since my initial training period. Some of these were noticeable straight away, such as finding it much easier to do some of the things that I used to always put off. The best example of this is sorting through all the boxes of stuff that had followed me around for years waiting to be properly sorted (and mostly discarded). I had tried to complete this task many times over the years and only ever managed to get half way. It just seemed to be too difficult. Not long into my NeurOptimal® training, I had a strong desire to get stuck into it, and this time completed the whole job without much effort at all. My home has never been so organised and clean and it’s now so effortless to maintain the level of tidiness and organisation that I enjoy.

Intuition

It also became a lot easier to make good choices in terms of exercise, food etc. I had been through stages of making what I believed to be the right choices in the past, but only with an enormous amount of willpower, and almost always on the brink of caving in. But now it was happening without much effort at all – it just became simple. Other decisions became easier too – decisions about work, career, study, where to live, socialising etc. Instead of some of these decisions causing stress because I just didn't know what to do and feared getting it wrong, I started to intuitively know what to do. And once I had that knowing, the fear disappeared because I had a calm sense that whatever happens, I chose what I knew to be right at the time.

Work and study

Far from only being helpful for people with anxiety, trauma or any of the other issues mentioned on this site, this system is fantastic for improving the basic cognitive function of one’s brain. I am currently completing my accounting degree via correspondence, and have also recently taken on a part-time auditing position (which was entirely new to me). Both my work and study have given me plenty of opportunities to experience how much NeurOptimal® has improved my ability to think clearly, solve problems, and take on the challenges of a steep learning curve without much stress at all.
 

beetlemaniac

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FOTCM Member
Gaby said:
bm said:
Hi Gaby, I am wondering though, whether for people who have been severely affected by developmental trauma, would it be wise for them to engage in rigorous self-work? I am unsure of what you mean when you say "the Work". I'm reading Sebern Fisher's book, and from it, I get the sense that being too focused on an aim can be detrimental to growth of a person who is developmentally traumatised. It is mentioned that many developmentally traumatised people tend to have personalities that are fear-based, and that they are not familiar with a more gentle, natural personality which lies buried underneath that fear. If treatment is successful, the patient feels like they do not know themselves because there is no more fear which used to be the normal mode of existence.
Sebern Fisher focuses on extreme cases, however, I felt very similar while reading that book! By Work, I meant basically not neglecting the Top-Down approach which calls up for cognitive resources. Pretty much like what is called for in Samenow's book Inside the Criminal Mind. The work should be both: Bottom-Up and Top-Down.

Gurdjieff highlighted the necessity of body work or working on the moving center. But that was never clear for me, at least not so clear as it is now.

Perhaps it is important to keep in mind what is explained in the book Healing Developmental Trauma. It is important to encourage being in the present moment which is the key moment for change. Dwelling in the past or the future, or focusing on "being broken" defeats the body/brain's capacity for regulation and organization from chaotic arousal.

And it seems that some people will only find enough freed-up cognitive resources after a dedicated Bottom-Up approach.

For me, it seems that owning anger makes me see the Work with "newer eyes". From everything that I have tried, it seems that the Bottom-Up approach (work at a pre-verbal stage with NF) was the key for that.

Hope that made sense and that you'll have a productive experience with NeurOptimal.
Thank you for the explanation Gaby. That helped me connect back to the crux of Healing Developmental Trauma and the "thinking errors" idea from Samenow.

Anger does seem to be a problem for me as well. I am learning to apply the idea of expressing healthy aggression and setting boundaries which seems to be one of the purposes of anger.

Laura mentioned a long time ago that discipline is cumulative. I get frustrated with mental discipline, as many a time my brain operates in a way that makes thinking almost impossible. However, the times when I do have control, I can utilise to further Work on self-observation and logical questioning. One hopes that slowly, these moments of clarity will knit themselves up into a coherent and whole personality.
 

Gaby

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I just wanted to highlight again something from the interview Val Brown gave to Dave Asprey from Bullet Proof Coffee:

Gaby said:
Altair said:
Found a podcast explaining NeurOptimal: _https://blog.bulletproof.com/54-neurofeedback-technology-best-biohack-yet-with-dr-valdeane-brown-podcast/
I listened to this podcast today. It was pretty good!

[...]

He also said that people should ideally do 20 sessions and then go on with their lives, or words to that effect. When you have NF, you learn to see things differently, trauma victims learn to set boundaries with their abusers and so forth. Once you apply your "new brain" in your life, the potential for NeurOptimal to have a further effect increases and it is then when you can do another 20 sessions if you think you need it. He says that it can be done for life that way.

I was going to rent the equipment for 2 months (40 sessions), but at this point, I'm only renting one month and then probably wait until Autumn/next Winter or so to have the other 20 sessions. Depending on how it goes.
It is probably best not to do more than 20 sessions at a certain period. You have to wait until you apply your training in your life to derive further benefits from additional sessions, and that can take its time (months, years?). Others feel that additional sessions are no longer necessary when they feel self-regulated.

Some people feel that 12 sessions is more than enough for them. Others do the 20 sessions, others less than 12. In Neurofeedback literature, 12 is the cutoff number to "consolidate" the training, but NeurOptimal is really not the average NF training. Most of us are noticing something with a single session.

I think that 12 sessions is a good cutoff number for any given period.

I also think that if there is an incapacitating contraction wave after the expansion wave (the "boomerang effect" explained in Healing Developmental Trauma), then it is probably best to aim for at least 2 or 3 sessions a week. I noticed that 5 NeurOptimal sessions per week doesn't allow for an incapacitating boomerang effect. The effect is still there, but you can ride it out from a more grounded and centered perspective.

I was going to do 2 months of training, and then heard from Val Brown that this was not the best approach. You do maximum 20 sessions any given time and then wait until you apply your new brain perspective in your life. That can take months or years.

There were other interesting points shared in the podcast. For instance, according to Asprey's neurologist, he shouldn't even be capable of standing up coherently. He has a toxic injury on his brain. Yet, he is completely functional, and he attributes it to neurofeedback.

Just more food for thought.
 

Alejo

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As I was thinking (after 4 sessions) that the way my mental state is right now (or how it feels) is sort of like renewed with a lot of raw new resources, and they need to be transformed into something. It sometimes feel like I need to relearn a few things about how I see and interact with the world, like learning how to walk all over again, and that can take some time.

I hope I’m making myself clear, let me try and give an example:

I’ve always been accustomed to a certain level of anxiety, a quite high one at that, and this colored most of my interactions with the world. Whenever I would walk outside, for instance, I would always be very attentive to my sorruoundings. Always anxious and scared of impending doom, the world was not a safe place to be in.

After starting this training, it changed to where now I feel rather safe and curious outside, so much so that last weekend, whilst driving through a neighborhood I would usually feel rather unforcomfortable in, the place itself looked completely different, the houses looked beautiful as details I previously never saw jumped at me and I felt amazed and shocked at the same time.

It’s like my eyes had been switched, I felt such calmness and peace and was able to enjoy driving there. My sense of humor shifted towards a more childlike enjoyment of laughter. And I am overall in a more stable mood.

Yet, I know the world requires some level of attentiveness, let me give you another example, after the second session I went to walk my dogs, and usually I would be ahead of my steps... specially since where I live there’s a lot of dog owners and not all of them are responsible to pick up their dogs doings. But this time I was in such a state that I stepped on one of those doings and didn’t even notice until much later xD, and I wasn’t particularly upset about it.

So what I am trying to say, and it’s somewhat related to what you’re describing Gaby, is that rewiring your brain necesitares you to relearn some of these things consciously now. Maybe the world isn’t out to get me always, so I don’t need to prepare for doom everytime I walk my dogs or drive through certain parts of town, but going out there just feeling like everything is beautiful and safe could turn into a nuisance or trouble.

But this unconscious anxiety had been the only way for me to respond to some of this possible dangers, so removing it or regulating it feels foreign, and it adds extra security. A security that needs to be questioned and determined to a certain extent.

Situational awereness doesn’t need to be a constant state of flight-fight, but acceptance and faith in the universe doesn’t need to be a happy careless walk in the world either. Balance between this faith and awereness of the dangers, married with application of knowledge about said dangers, is perhaps the goal.

And I am shocked that I never felt it so real before, I could always articulate it intellectually, but not until recently did it feel real.

I hope the above makes sense.
 

Jones

Jedi Council Member
The rental unit that I've been waiting on still hasn't been returned yet so I haven't started NO.

In a chat with the practitioner that hires it out today he mentioned that a new version of the software was being developed for the professional units, and that there would be fewer analytics. Apparently the developer of NO is heading away from using analytics as he thinks that they are no longer important and that he is also offering less by way of training in regards to them. I wonder why that is?
 

Gaby

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Jones said:
Apparently the developer of NO is heading away from using analytics as he thinks that they are no longer important and that he is also offering less by way of training in regards to them. I wonder why that is?
I could only speculate. It seems to me that deterministic analytics can be self-defeating when there is already a non-linear change underway. If NO uses an algorithm based on reinforcement of known synchronized and organized waves in the brain, without the dangers of working detailed inhibition and promotion of certain frequencies based on a small sample of the world's population (as Othmer NF does), then it is reasonable to think that NO should focus less on analytics that may divert people's attention from the wider-picture.

Someone could have good practical results, despite periods of emotional and physical distress, or despite having a training analysis that is less than optimal during a session. The brain learns (brain plasticity) and perhaps wanting to understand every single analysis of the brain's workouts throughout this process is not realistic or it is missing the whole picture.

It is a short-view to analyze minutely a moving target and determining progress or lack of it based on that.

Just some thoughts.
 

goyacobol

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FOTCM Member
Gaby said:
Jones said:
Apparently the developer of NO is heading away from using analytics as he thinks that they are no longer important and that he is also offering less by way of training in regards to them. I wonder why that is?
I could only speculate. It seems to me that deterministic analytics can be self-defeating when there is already a non-linear change underway. If NO uses an algorithm based on reinforcement of known synchronized and organized waves in the brain, without the dangers of working detailed inhibition and promotion of certain frequencies based on a small sample of the world's population (as Othmer NF does), then it is reasonable to think that NO should focus less on analytics that may divert people's attention from the wider-picture.

Someone could have good practical results, despite periods of emotional and physical distress, or despite having a training analysis that is less than optimal during a session. The brain learns (brain plasticity) and perhaps wanting to understand every single analysis of the brain's workouts throughout this process is not realistic or it is missing the whole picture.

It is a short-view to analyze minutely a moving target and determining progress or lack of it based on that.

Just some thoughts.
I had wondered about the more generalized approach that the programmer and the company is taking so I think it is a good question. The more I tried to learn about the technical aspects the more I realized it would take me years of study and experience to actually attain the level of understanding needed to do an intelligent analysis and even then as Gaby is saying very detailed analysis seems like the difference is between a linear and non-linear philosophy.

I have to admit I took a skeptical view at first not being a trustful soul so to speak. And I still will try to stay "open" as we experiment with this tool. I totally agree with Gaby as far as other systems being "based on a small sample of the world's population (as Othmer NF)" being a much narrower view of what is normal or desirable as a standard for treating or influencing brain wave patterns. While it requires a certain amount of trust or confidence for any system of treatment I think the NO approach makes a lot of sense. NO at least tries to take a less invasive/drastic approach based on years of therapeutic experience it seems.

I did have the opportunity to have a least one NO session and I am grateful for it.

I feel that something good happened with just one session. That is not a very scientific endorsement but sometimes as others say the change may be "difficult to put into words". I too observe there are subtle changes that are not expected such as being more calm in situations that usually you tense up over. It is almost trying to observe the unobservable.

Even the "placebo" effect is an amazing thing when you think about it. It is a good example of the power of our "belief centers" in action. I am leaving it open as to how much of our related experiences with NO may be brain plasticity or placebo effect. I think it is not just black and white and that there may be some of both at work in almost any treatment or therapy.
 

Prodigal Son

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goyacobol said:
I did have the opportunity to have a least one NO session and I am grateful for it.

I feel that something good happened with just one session. That is not a very scientific endorsement but sometimes as others say the change may be "difficult to put into words". ...
I had my first NeuroOptimal session yesterday. I listened to the music, and fell asleep somewhere during the 30min session, and afterwards I felt calmer, more relaxed, and I had 'wet eyes'. Also, I slept well and, for once, awoke feeling refreshed.
 

Approaching Infinity

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Chu said:
Very interesting observations, thanks everyone for sharing.

Our NF lady told us to space the sessions at least by 48hs, since the training is supposed to keep working during that time. So doing one a day, for example, is (allegedly) counterproductive, as you stop the training mid-way instead of letting your brain assimilate things. So, taking a break after a minimum of 12 sessions would allow for applying the training by ourselves, instead of using NF as a crutch, I guess.
According to the NO peeps, there's no set rule. You can do 2 sessions a day if you want and if it feels right for you. They told a story about a person who was doing 2 sessions a week for months, but then they started doing sessions every 2 days and suddenly experienced some dramatic changes on whatever issue they had. So I think it's really up to each individual to experiment and find what works for them. Same with the total number of sessions. Some do 20 and feel that's enough. Some have done sessions consistently for years.

For me, I think it's been a huge support (I've done 5 sessions so far), but only in the sense that after the sessions, each time I feel the contrast of what it feels to have the "edge taken off" of intense emotions and thoughts. And when the effects wear down, I constantly keep reminding myself that I CAN remember that (or my brain should be able to remember), ground myself, try new approaches, etc. So, it's like putting into practice what has been learned. It helps filter not only toxic thoughts and narratives, but also emotions: something that in the past would have felt very intensely, is still felt strongly, but that "edge" may well be pre-verbal stuff, wrong pathways, you name it. Once those are calmer, then you can think and feel in the present more and more. You still have to do 90% of the work, but having those moments of clarity help in the rougher times, I think.

It is also not about being calm and relaxed, or shutting stuff down like one would do with anti-depressants, but about being able to cope better in the present, instead of having a constant feeling of doom about the future, or an immobilizing regret about the past. OSIT.
It's been a while since my last update. I've done about 12 sessions so far. I mentioned before that my anxiety had lessened, but now it's pretty much confirmed for me: anxiety is pretty much totally gone. In fact, it being gone makes me realize in retrospect how often I got anxiety, over the most insignificant things. It mostly had to do with imagining future scenarios. For example, if I'm planning a trip, I might imagine forgetting my passport, of forgetting one of my bags. That thought would then trigger a wave or flood of anxiety in my abdomen. That could last anywhere from 5 seconds for a little thought like that, or for hours if I was nervous about something coming that day, like an interview or important meeting. I was just used to it and accepted it as an inconvenience that I would always have.

But except for one day of overall anxiety and feeling out of sorts in the last month, this has stopped completely. It's a very odd experience to have a thought and be expecting the uncomfortable, visceral reaction, only to have it never appear. The thought is still there, but without the visceral anxiety, it loses its punch, so to speak. I can't count the number of times this has happened over the past weeks. I never expected to be free from anxiety like this. I thought it was just a fact of life, a feature of my personality or something. It's really quite liberating. Usually for me "nothing works". In other words, I don't feel much different after trying some new protocol than I did before. The diet eliminated some other inconveniences for me, but nothing this dramatic.
 

Corvus

Jedi Council Member
It sounds interesting, it could maybe be helpful not just emotionally and mentally but also help with my distonic tremor because some methods that proved beneficial and cured it are also based on brain plasticity, rewiring of brain. But it is expensive, has to wait until next month because I have scheduled bioenergetic therapy and will try to better my diet with more meat and less carbs.
 

Turgon

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I had my first NO session earlier this week and I'm kind of amazed at the results now that I'm looking back at the last 3 days. One thing that I've always had was this uncontrollable wince whenever I heard unexpected loud talking or someone were to come into a room that I was in without me knowing ahead of time. I'd stiffen up and get this feeling of dread every time, which made it difficult to relax around other people and honestly, just wishing I could find some peace and quiet on my own. During the session, these traumas were coming to the surface, along with the narratives that go along with it. The first 2/3 of the session were really unpleasant with the clicks seemingly getting louder and causing me to wince despite sitting in a comfortable couch listening to relaxing music and videos, and I thought for sure this wasn't going to work or have any effect on me, although near the end, I started reacting less to it and became more present and focused on letting all of these 'things' drift away and stay steady despite what seemed like an onslaught of imagery, emotions and thoughts. When we went over some of the brainwave readings after the session, I showed a lot of signs of high arousal coupled with "bad" theta, or cognitive and emotional reactivity (trauma's) which didn't really surprise me at all.

The practitioner and I talked a bit about that and she shared some of her stories about how she messed up as a parent, and I shared how my view of my parents has changed over the years. That I don't fault them for all the things that I used to, but it still sucks that so much of that aftermath still lives on inside of me and affects me the way that it does. The rest of the evening, I was overcome with this sense of joy and giddiness that I rarely experience. It didn't last past the night, and I still struggled with my 'issues', but it wasn't until today that someone pointed out that it was a pleasure working with me this week, and it wasn't that I didn't get angry or anything like that, but that when I did, instead of suppressing it and living in fear of my own emotional reactions and projecting it onto other people or turning it inward against myself, I started to turn it on its head and say something about it. As if I had more choices as to what to do with the anger, so I was able to be more creative and constructive in how I expressed it and less afraid of not doing it perfectly.

Another interesting side-effect that happened during the session, I felt my arms more. Normally my feelings and sensations can either be blunted or really intense, but this was subtle and nuanced, although short-lived.

I did notice this starting to wear off today with some trembling and reactivity again in certain stressful situations. Regardless, I'm looking forward to the next few sessions I've booked and will report any other changes that come up. :thup:
 

Chu

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Turgon said:
I had my first NO session earlier this week and I'm kind of amazed at the results now that I'm looking back at the last 3 days. One thing that I've always had was this uncontrollable wince whenever I heard unexpected loud talking or someone were to come into a room that I was in without me knowing ahead of time. I'd stiffen up and get this feeling of dread every time, which made it difficult to relax around other people and honestly, just wishing I could find some peace and quiet on my own. During the session, these traumas were coming to the surface, along with the narratives that go along with it. The first 2/3 of the session were really unpleasant with the clicks seemingly getting louder and causing me to wince despite sitting in a comfortable couch listening to relaxing music and videos, and I thought for sure this wasn't going to work or have any effect on me, although near the end, I started reacting less to it and became more present and focused on letting all of these 'things' drift away and stay steady despite what seemed like an onslaught of imagery, emotions and thoughts. When we went over some of the brainwave readings after the session, I showed a lot of signs of high arousal coupled with "bad" theta, or cognitive and emotional reactivity (trauma's) which didn't really surprise me at all.

The practitioner and I talked a bit about that and she shared some of her stories about how she messed up as a parent, and I shared how my view of my parents has changed over the years. That I don't fault them for all the things that I used to, but it still sucks that so much of that aftermath still lives on inside of me and affects me the way that it does. The rest of the evening, I was overcome with this sense of joy and giddiness that I rarely experience. It didn't last past the night, and I still struggled with my 'issues', but it wasn't until today that someone pointed out that it was a pleasure working with me this week, and it wasn't that I didn't get angry or anything like that, but that when I did, instead of suppressing it and living in fear of my own emotional reactions and projecting it onto other people or turning it inward against myself, I started to turn it on its head and say something about it. As if I had more choices as to what to do with the anger, so I was able to be more creative and constructive in how I expressed it and less afraid of not doing it perfectly.

Another interesting side-effect that happened during the session, I felt my arms more. Normally my feelings and sensations can either be blunted or really intense, but this was subtle and nuanced, although short-lived.

I did notice this starting to wear off today with some trembling and reactivity again in certain stressful situations. Regardless, I'm looking forward to the next few sessions I've booked and will report any other changes that come up. :thup:
Wow, that's quite impressive, Turgon! I hope that the sessions keep helping you. It may not be an easy ride each time, but so far, I think it's totally worth it! :D
 

beetlemaniac

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
I had my first session with NO yesterday. I wanted to go in without expectations and I was more than pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. I've developed a certain kind of intuition about balancing versus dysregulating influences to my own CNS, and this seemed to mark a lot of checkboxes - in a surprisingly effortless package. I am very optimistic.

To explain further about my experience, I tried a few different things during the session. I first relaxed and watched a visualization while listening to the music with the skips. Whenever the music skipped I noticed that very often, I felt a sensation of "energy blocks" in my muscles suddenly releasing and moving upwards through my body. I thought "Wow, a computer program can do this?". The music helped to because it reminded me of some stuff that I've listened to before, it was somewhat spacy electronic with soothing vocals.

I then tried reading. I noticed myself being able to read better, and being able to resist wanting to move my focus back to re-read text that I didn't fully understand. I also tried closing my eyes for the third half or so of the session though that didn't produce any remarkable insight.

I still don't trust my judgment about this experience but I am quite hopeful. It's good to know that this therapy does exist and I am very curious to know a bit more about how it works, it seems like a real work of genius - especially when I read Sebern Fisher and how complicated it can be to set up frequencies in a positive feedback regimen.

I did get a bit over excited after the training and pushed myself a little too hard while walking around exploring the city (the NO practice I patronized was located in a foreign country bordering mine). I think this was another lesson in tempering my impatience and drivenness.

I am toying with the idea of bringing this therapy to others who need it, especially children. Let's see how it goes.

I won't be able to do another session until another 2 weeks time, or so, unless I decide to make the trip for the session on my own, instead of it being an incidental one.

Thanks again to everyone for all the hard work put into researching this.
 

Deckard

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I was following this thread with great interest and never even dreamed there will be qualified professional for this on my tiny rock. Then loo and behold through a causal chat with a client who is a clinical psychologist I discover that actually there is one and apparently very good one. This psychologist works with her closely and reports results nothing short of amazing.

I've made and appointment and I am looking forward to it. When I spoke to the practitioner she said that with adults she uses mostly audio while with kids she uses visuals. She also told me there is no fixed number of required sessions as every individual responds differently, she said that on average with 5 session the training is accomplished and then the rest is fine tuning. Anyhow we will see.
I also started Healing Developmental Trauma book and so far there were quite a few Aha moments.

Thank you for bringing this up!
 
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