Mon, March 16, 2015
Loosening Fear's Grip With Neurofeedback
A young college graduate was having difficulty sitting through movies and each Sunday’s church service because certain sounds made her body so uncomfortable she had to leave. A war veteran had the sudden urge to use the bathroom every time he left the house, and a dog quivered in the basement during thunderstorms. In each case, the fear response had set off a cascade of physical reactions that made it difficult to cope.

Fear can settle into the body and keep a person on constant alert, or it can lie in wait and rise to action with the slightest of triggers. Physical responses that accompany fear can range from tightness in the chest, stomach or muscles to having a dry mouth, shortness of breath, the inability to act or move, and a myriad of other symptoms. Once fear settles into the body in such a way, it can make it difficult to use any other coping strategies or thought techniques to settle it down.  Neurofeedback may be a helpful intervention for some, as it can help to settle the brain and nervous system’s response to stress and fear – thus lessening the discomfort in mind and body.

Neurofeedback is done in a quiet and calm office, in a comfortable chair. Specialized equipment and software monitor the electrical activity in the brain. Our brains’ electrical activity and chemical activity have an important and constant influence on each other. The Neurofeedback process can help you learn to naturally settle down excessive brain frequencies that may be keeping your mind and body in an over-aroused state. It’s like physical therapy for the brain; you’re re-training a very important muscle! Ideally, the brain and nervous system become more settled and less reactive over time, and symptoms can lessen.

After several Neurofeeeback sessions, the young woman who was bothered by sounds slowly realized she was sitting all the way through movies and Sunday church without needing to leave. The soldier was able to leave the house without bathroom attacks, and had better control of his rage, as well. The dog did not isolate and shake during thunderstorms any more. He was still afraid, but at a decreased level, and was able to join his family and receive comfort from them.

When Neurofeedback is effective in settling the mind and body’s hyper-response to fear, it allows space for a person (or animal) to provide and receive more effective ways of dealing with fearful situations. This can bring confidence, empowerment, and a much more positive connection with the world.

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