Neurofeedback is a computerized therapy technique that teaches the brain to change itself by helping regulate attention, mood, behavior, cognition, and more. In simple terms, neurofeedback is positive reinforcement for the brain. It teaches the brain how to be better balanced, improving alertness, attention, emotional regulation, behavior, cognitive function, and mental flexibility. The neurofeedback device measures brain waves and teaches the brain to make healthier patterns by rewarding the brain through sounds and actions from a video game. Once these healthier brain patterns are practiced and learned, the effects of neurofeedback tend to hold, at least for many problems. As someone’s brain learns to improve and better modulate its own regulation, medication can often be reduced. Sometimes, it allows medications that weren’t working well to work better.
EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
Developed in the 1980’s, EMDR therapy has grown significantly in the past three decades. It is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, and the Department of Defense, and has been researched thoroughly to be an effective form of treatment for trauma. At Woodward Academy, EMDR therapy is a part of a larger focus on trauma within the clinical department. Students begin the process in small trauma groups.
EMDR uses bilateral stimulation to help the mind pair more positive beliefs about themselves with those dysfunctional and traumatic memories from the past. The transition happens during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep when our bodies process what has happened throughout the day. The meaning of these painful and traumatic events change on an emotional level, and are replaced with feelings of empowerment. This transition breaks the cycle of these traumatic wounds and allows true healing to begin.
With all therapeutic sessions, each scenario is different. Some students excel with only a few sessions, while others require more time. EMDR is set up in 8 phases, each of which is flexible to the clinician’s desires. At the end of these sessions, the emphasis turns to the future. EMDR allows students to take control. When they bring up that memory, it doesn’t trigger them like it used to. Part of trauma is that you’re constantly being retraumatized when you think of those triggers, or reminders that you’re faced with all the time. With that distress gone, students are functioning better in their daily lives because those things don’t have the same impact that they used to. Equipped with future templates of how to handle stressful and traumatic events, our students are prepared for a future that is full of uncertainty.