LENS NEUROFEEDBACK in Tucson
"I am always looking for ways to help my clients. Many years ago I came across traditional neurofeedback. I saw that it could be a valuable part of my practice. Unfortunately, traditional neurofeedback is operant conditioning. That means that we are training specific brain waves to respond to specific stimuli. I would sit clients in front of my computer to watch a movie. If their brainwave was responding in the way I desired, the picture or sound would become clearer or louder. If their brainwave didn’t “behave”, then the picture or sound would fade. As you can imagine, this process could be tedious, time consuming, and expensive for the client. It was common to ask my clients to come three times a week for at least 20 to 30 sessions.
In the Fall of 2009, my daughter in law called in a panic. My grandson who is very bright, but also very ADHD (rooms would start to vibrate whenever he entered), was failing 4th grade. He could not concentrate long enough to finish a test, do his homework, or read a book. She wanted to know if she should start him on medication. I told her that a highly recognized neurofeedback specialist practiced just 20 miles from them at the University of Utah Medical Center. I recommended that she try neurofeedback first before starting medication because my grandson’s brain was young and still developing. If neurofeedback didn’t work, they could always start medication. This was late October. By December, my grandson doing very well at school. I was amazed at the speed of his progress. I questioned my daughter in law about what their sessions were like. She told me the doctor was using LENS. I decided right then and there that I was going to become a LENS practitioner. In the spring of 2009, I took my first training. I have never looked back. My traditional neurofeedback equipment is in a closet gathering dust.
I am a trauma specialist. Most of my clients describe some sort of anxiety symptoms. As soon as I see “anxiety” on a client’s intake form, I mention that I offer LENS. I tell them that LENS works very smoothly with my other therapy modalities. It generally takes 5 to 15 minutes of a session. We usually know if it is going to be beneficial for the client as early as the first four sessions. Sometimes I start sessions with LENS as a way to prepare the brain for the other modalities. Sometimes I end the sessions with LENS because it seems to consolidate learning. LENS is very easy on my clients. They just sit quietly with their eyes closed. The feedback is based on their own brainwave fed back to them through the computer. I have had more than one client tell me that LENS is like a “massage of the brain”. Another common reaction is, “I can breathe again. I never realized how tight my chest was!”
When I did traditional neurofeedback, I was very concerned about the placement of the electrodes because we believed that treating specific locations of the brain impacted specific symptoms. In contrast, the LENS works globally. That means that when I place an electrode, I am impacting every neuropathway connected to that site. As a result, I can’t always predict how the brain is going to choose to heal. I believe that there is something innate in the body that wants to move towards health. I simply trust that the brain will respond to the feedback in the way that is best for that client, not always in the way the client expects or desires. The following story illustrates that point.
Several years ago, I had a client come in for LENS because he had had two surgeries for brain tumors. His wife always came with him. Her goal was to have him “like he used to be.” The brain tumors had left him with some deficits. His speech was impacted. Sometimes he would “space out” and not be aware of it. He had also lost his sense of smell. We did LENS weekly over an extended period of time. His speech improved. Eventually, he rarely “spaced out”, and his sense of smell returned. However, the goal of him “being like he used to be” was not accomplished. “He talks and jokes with everybody, but he is just silent or angry with me.” The wife told me. The client told me privately that he was reacting differently towards his wife because he had become very aware of how critical his wife was and he was not happy in his marriage. The LENS can increase clarity and that can be a two-edged sword.
I had a client come in for insomnia. She had not been able to sleep for months. Even sleep medications had stopped working for her. She was desperate. She wanted to try LENS because she had exhausted her other options. I knew from experience that many of my clients reported sleeping better and having vivid dreams after LENS treatment. I told her that I didn’t know if LENS would help, but we would give it a try. After our first session, she reported that that night she was able to sleep for several hours. By our third session, she was sleeping most nights for about 5 to 6 hours at a stretch.
In my general practice, I do not see children. However, since I am currently the only LENS practitioner in Idaho, I do see children for LENS. Many years ago, I worked with a young girl with Downs. She was basically non- verbal and had jerky muscle movements. Her verbal abilities increased as did her ability to move more fluidly. Her mother was thrilled to see her trying to keep up with her cousins at a family reunion and shouting, “Wait for me!”.
Recently, I had a young child in my office who was so anxious he wanted to switch schools. He cried easily and did not smile. We did a combination of LENS and EMDR. As treatment progressed, he started reporting feeling happy. He started interacting with his schoolmates. At the end of treatment (six sessions), he could not remember wanting to transfer schools.
I have limited experience with body LENS. I am not medically trained or certified so I generally stay away from treating medical issues. I did have a client who came in on crutches. She had severely sprained her ankle. I offered to do body LENS on her ankle as an experiment. We were both amazed to watch the swelling come down. She also reported that the pain had decreased significantly.
I also used body LENS on a client who had been a police officer and seriously injured her back several times. These injuries left her unable to work. Most days were spent in bed or on the sofa. We used a combination of traditional LENS, body LENS, and EMDR to help her get off her pain medications and regain her ability to perform day to day life activities.
I have seen LENS work “miracles”. I wish it were a miracle for everybody. My own daughter has bipolar disorder. I have used LENS to help her with her anxiety, but it is not a cure for her mood swings. I have had a few other clients that for whatever reason, did not seem to respond to the LENS. However, in my experience, more people respond positively than those who do not. I look at LENS as a valuable tool in my therapy box."
LCPC, NCC, CCMHC, DCMHS
Certified Trauma Specialist
"I had a severe childhood full of beatings and sexual abuse starting at age 2; then came Satanic abuse from ages 7-9.
I put myself through Nursing School. I had a very exciting and successful career doing High Risk Labor and Delivery, Intensive Care Nursery, and Flight for Life for pregnant women. I ran a Fetal Diagnostic Unit where I did ultrasounds and assessed maternal and fetal health.
I was raped at age 32. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it woke up my old traumas; I had to deal with (heal from) them.
I have trained horses; so even with helmets, the equine assisted gravity checks happened on occasion, resulting in further head traumas. Also, I’ve had a few rear-end auto accidents.
Then I had a massive allergic reaction to Latex in the hospital, was put on a ventilator, had 3 cardio-respiratory arrests (died 3 times), developed ARDS (adult respiratory distress syndrome) and cardiomyopathy (weak heart). I survived solely because I never smoked, rarely drank, and had a resting heart rate of 50. If not for those things, I’m certain I would not have survived.
I came out of all of that, severely damaged. While I’d previously had an IQ of 150, I could no longer shop, cook, or remember what my husband told me 5 minutes before. It took my lungs over a year to recover to the degree that I could cross a flat yard without gasping for breath. It took 4 years to be able to walk a mile. I’m sure if I had had the photonic stimulator I would have recovered much much faster. The neurologist had told me "This is your new life." But I refused to accept that.
A friend told me about LENS. I called that very day. It took about 16-20 sessions for me to be mostly back to my old self. I decided that I wanted to practice LENS so that I could assist others in reclaiming their lives after debilitating events. I would say I recovered ~90% of what I had lost.
I had a Vietnam veteran, who, 30 years after his service ended, struggled with an explosive temper, hyper vigilance, inability to sleep, struggling relationships, limited attention spans and poor quality of life. In 9 sessions he went from all of that, to being happy and sleeping; his ability to complete paperwork went from 3 hours to 45 minutes. His employees now joke with him, instead of fearing his blowups, which occurred over every little stumbling block. While sleeping, he’s no longer startled, and no longer jumps, at every sudden noise. He reports "I stood in the middle of the job site and shouted I can't believe how happy I am!"
Another service member was struck by lightning in Korea and went deaf. She received a medical discharge. I told her I can't change ear based issues. She said she was also looking for cognitive improvements; she wanted to be able to study with greater ease. After about 6 treatments she called me up and said "I can hear the radio! I can hear the radio!" She was ecstatic. Her hearing loss was obviously brain based, not ear based. She went on to complete her doctorate in religious studies.
I treated a chemist who was infected by parasites and was struggling to manage her life. She couldn't drive or manage stairs. She was exhausted 3 hours into her days, unable to accomplish anything else. After 5 sessions she passed her driver's test and was driving independently. She could work a full day and be productive. She was able to manage stairs and other physical tasks that had been beyond her ability before treatment.
Another Engineer had a severe head injury; her masters wasn’t doing her much good; she was no longer able to run her company. She found me two years after her head injury. After about 20 sessions, she was able to resume running her company; she said she felt as though she was fully recovered.
Another young woman that was 22, had agoraphobia (she couldn't leave her home). She had never learned to drive. Over the course of about 10 sessions she started learning to drive, going to college, and got a job."
"When I began my process with LENS, I was at a particular impasse in my life. I was having chronic insomnia, under a lot of stress, experiencing mild to moderate depression, and feeling stuck in my work as a psychotherapist and a bodyworker. I was previously doing the Holosync meditation method, which uses binaural beats to induce meditative states. I felt that I had made a lot of progress with Holosync, but still was in a stuck place overall in my life. One thing that the Holosync provided for me was a lot of psychological upheaval that I was able to work through to reach new insights and new life solutions, so I had no fear of upheaval going into the LENS experience. In fact, I did not believe that change was possible without some upheaval.
When I began with my LENS practitioner, she told me that it was not a good idea to use Holosync and LENS at the same time. I found that to be true, because LENS brought up a lot of upheaval as well, and doing LENS and Holosync together was unbearable. I decided to stop Holosync and focus solely on LENS for many more months. The results I received from LENS were similar to Holosync, except they went a lot further. How far I would have gone if I had stayed with Holosync will never be known. I have never gone back to Holosync, and my LENS practitioner does not recommend it.
My progress with LENS was not without challenging moments. There was a lot of upheaval, off and on, for many more months of weekly treatments, but my ability to ride out the upheaval paid off. Over the previous three decades, I had acquired countless hours of experience with personal growth from many disciplines, including psychology, Buddhism, and holistic health, that I could use to help myself during the upheaval. If I didn’t have these personal resources, I would have probably needed adjunctive therapies to help me through the dark times.
My results with LENS – at least I am attributing them to LENS – were remarkable. I literally became smarter and could use my mind to solve many problems in my life, including the problems of the human condition, and I have continued to get smarter ever since. I also developed a greater capacity to tolerate my emotions and to greatly reduce emotional reactivity. I have since invented my own formula for happiness that I teach to others and possibly might be writing a book about. I revived my bodywork career by taking more trainings and doing private research, and now I am practicing at a whole new level and am able to use my mind through out the day, rather than needing to be on automatic pilot for most of the day. The same can be said for my psychotherapy practice. I did a thorough inventory of my deficits, which was not easy, because I have suffered with low self esteem most of my life, and I sought out the training to correct those deficits. In both my bodywork and psychotherapy, I am practicing at a much higher level, and now I can’t even imagine how I was getting by with my previous level of functioning.
One thing my LENS practitioner told me was that, the process initiated by LENS could just keep evolving on its own, and several years after finishing our treatments, I think I can agree. I am better now than when we completed our sessions. The process, which she explained to me, of LENS interrupting the patterns in the brain so that the brain could form new patterns has held true for me. I seem to be able to recognize some of my own unproductive patterns of emotional reactivity, poor thinking, and unproductive behavior, and I can interrupt some of them by myself and start new patterns. In other words, I see my brain as more malleable than before. I now see the whole of life as a continual learning process, and it is more okay for me not to know how to handle certain situations in order to set myself up for new learning.
My insomnia has greatly improved, from a brain point of view, but still persists to some degree because of a so-far undiagnosed digestive disorder that disturbs my sleep.
I rarely, if ever, experience depression, and if I do, I work through it very quickly with a more flexible and intelligent mind. I believe my mind functions better because my brain is in a better state, and can see that if the organ of the brain is compromised, thoughts and emotions will be dysfunctional. I have a greater appreciation of taking care of my mind and brain in all ways."
M.A., MFT, CMT, SEP
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