Counsellor, Beyond Neurofeedback Technology Coach
What kind of neurotechnology?
EEG neurotechnologies measure brainwave activity. The one used at Safe Harbour, called Brainwave Optimization®, reflects brainwave activity in real-time without conscious effort. This brain mirroring technology naturally supports the brain’s own ability to relax, reset and resume its optimal functioning without prescribed external norms or medication.
How does it work?
The brain knows how to recover just like your body knows how to heal a cut on your finger. Like a musical instrument that has become “out of tune,” Brainwave Optimization helps the brain to “retune” itself using sophisticated technology to create an “acoustic brain mirror.”
Read only, non-invasive sensors are placed on your scalp to read your brain rhythms with real-time precision. A computer with specialized software translates those brain rhythms into sounds with different pitch and timing. The computer sends those sounds back to you through ear buds. By hearing itself, the brain relaxes and reorganizes itself.
Why would someone see this type of neurotechnology coach?
Life includes physical and emotional stress. Our brain, being the master regulator of our lives, can become overwhelmed by life’s traumas (small and chronic, or big and acute). When trauma causes our brain to become “stuck,” that can affect how our whole body functions (e.g. as in PTSD, unknowingly keeping us in hypervigilance mode). Individuals who find themselves “stuck” can benefit from gaining a deep state of relaxation to allow their brain to heal from the inside out.
With this new brain capacity, positive action is very important. Once freed from the trauma patterns, new life-style choices are possible. The changes that we are then able to make need ongoing attention and effort which can be supported by a brain coach. Learning new skills takes time and positive feedback.
What symptoms would be addressed by a neurotechnology coach?
Brainwave Optimization can be beneficial for overall functionality, including enhanced performance. It is not, however, a way to diagnose or treat medically defined diseases or psychological disorders.
By relaxing the brain, it’s able respond to life’s events in a more flexible manner. This leads to greater well-being, performance, and positive experiences in one’s life that weren’t expected. For instance, clients commonly report better sleep, release of chronic stress or feeling more grounded, improvement in cognitive difficulties/learning challenges, and reduced addictive personality behaviours.
Joanne Couture, a marriage and family therapist, is our neurotechnology coach and is an integral member of the Safe Harbour team.
What would an appointment look like?
Like other approaches at Safe Harbour Therapy, a client would meet with the neurotechnology coach to establish a rapport, assess health history, set wellness goals, and receive information about the brain-mirroring technology.
If the client chooses the neurotechnology modality, he or she settles into a comfortable zero gravity chair and the technologist places read-only sensors on strategic points on the head. The brainwaves are recorded and translated by computer software into a stream of engineered music-like tones reflecting, in real-time, the brain’s own activity. Clients are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing because many people fall asleep during their sessions as they listen to their own brain making sounds.
Sessions consist of one to four two-hour in-office sessions scheduled within a two week period. The number of sessions varies, based on a variety of factors. The more chronic the issue, the more a client may choose to do more sessions (“tune-ups”) in order to attain and maintain the desired brain relaxation. Some clients choose to support those changes with a personal use flexible headband used at home or in one’s office.
Who developed this approach?
Lee Gerdes designed this technology in 2000 in an effort to seek relief from his own traumatic experience. He is the Founder of Brain State Holdings which includes Brain State Technologies® LLC, BRAINtellct® LLC, and CeresetTM LLC. The company is based in Scottsdale, Arizona but has an international network of more than 40+ certified providers in 9 countries who receive ongoing tech support services.
The company has been conducting research since 2011 with Wake Forest School of Medicine Department of Neurology and has resulted in peer-reviewed presentations accepted at 14 major academic and scientific conferences since 2012, plus five published full-length manuscripts. In 2013, the company was awarded a grant from the United States Army Research Office to develop technology for regulation of circadian rhythm for sleep and performance in 2013.