Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: Calming the Fear-Driven Brain

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9780393707861: Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: Calming the Fear-Driven Brain
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Neurofeedback, a type of "brain training" that allows us to see and change the patterns of our brain, has existed for over 40 years with applications as wide-ranging as the treatment of epilepsy, migraines, and chronic pain to performance enhancement in sports. Today, leading brain researchers and clinicians, interested in what the brain can tell us about mental health and well being, are also taking notice. Indeed, the brain's circuitry-its very frequencies and rhythmic oscillations-reveals much about its role in our emotional stability and resilience. Neurofeedback allows clinicians to guide their, clients as they learn to transform brain-wave patterns, providing a new window into how we view and treat mental illness. In this cutting-edge book, experienced clinician Sebern Fisher keenly demonstrates neurofeedback's profound ability to help treat one of the most intractable mental health concerns of our time: severe childhood abuse, neglect, or abandonment, otherwise known as developmental trauma. When an attachment rupture occurs between a child and her or his primary caregiver, a tangle of complicated symptoms can set in: severe emotional dysregulation, chronic dissociation, self-destructive behaviors, social isolation, rage, and fear. Until now, few reliable therapies existed to combat developmental trauma. But as the author so eloquently presents in this book, by focusing on a client's brain-wave patterns and "training" them to operate at different frequencies, the rhythms of the brain, body, and mind are normalized, attention stabilizes, fear subsides, and, with persistent, dedicated training, regulation sets in. A mix of fundamental theory and nuts-and-bolts practice, the book delivers a carefully articulated and accessible look at the mind and brain in developmental trauma, what a "trauma identity" looks like, and how neurofeedback can be used to retrain the brain, thereby fostering a healthier, more stable state of mind. Essential clinical skills are also fully covered, including how to introduce the idea of neurofeedback to clients, how to combine it with traditional psychotherapy, and how to perform assessments. In his foreword to the book, internationally recognized trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk, MD, praises Fisher as "an immensely experienced neurofeedback practitioner [and] the right person to teach us how to integrate it into clinical practice." Filled with illuminating client stories, powerful clinical insights, and plenty of clinical "how to," she accomplishes just that, offering readers a compelling look at exactly how this innovative model can be used to engage the brain to find peace and to heal.

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Review:

This book illustrates the masterful use of neurofeedback in psychotherapy for developmental trauma disorders. A must-read for all clinicians involved in the treatment of trauma spectrum disorders!--Ruth Lanius, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Research Unit, University of Western Ontario

[A] major breakthrough in the treatment of developmental trauma . . . . [A] must-read for clinicians . . . . [A] must-read for individuals whose lives have been hijacked by the "fear-driven brain." . . . [P]rovides a clear defined presentation of what developmental trauma is and how neurofeedback helps to form new neural connections, soothing regulation and emotional stability. . . . I can say, as a trauma therapist, who uses neurofeedback as one of many treatment modalities, Sebern Fishers' methods are tried and true. I use these methods and find them extremely effective.

The writing is excellent. [Sebern Fisher] helps explain why and how developmental trauma devastates and also why and how it is different than single-incident trauma or traditional post-traumatic stress. . . . She has taken on the mountain - the human brain - and helped us scale it and understand the dragon of fear that resides within for those of us with developmental trauma. . . . Because of her work - I know there's higher for me to climb.

This is a truly groundbreaking book. Sebern Fisher combines a mastery of neurofeedback with a real knack for applying neuroscience to do nothing less than lay the groundwork for a new, powerful, mind-brain approach to the most serious cases of developmentally-based psychological trauma. Even if you don't practice neurofeedback, the treasure of precious clinical insights it offers so deepen an appreciation of the brain-mind interaction, that you can't help but be changed by this book.--Norman Doidge, MD, author of The Brain that Changes Itself

This is the year, or perhaps the century, of the brain. What more can we ask than to have someone tell us how to change the brain in ways that improve our lives. In this book Sebern Fisher does just that. Over the many years of our many discussions about what works and what doesn't work in treating mental health problems, she has made a convincing argument that neurofeedback as a direct approach to changing behavioral patterns of the brain is an approach worth putting your money on. A truly wonderful, clinically insightful book.--Marsha M. Linehan, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Director of the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, University of Washington

About the Author:

Sebern F. Fisher, MA, is a psychotherapist and neurofeedback practitioner in private practice who specializes in attachment issues. She trains professionals nationally and internationally on neurofeedback, neurofeedback and attachment disorder, and the integration of neurofeedback with psychotherapy. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

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