How I Got Started

Many people, when coming for a consultation want to know about my background and how I decided to offer neurofeedback, so I thought I’d share that story here.

A few years after I had graduated with a master’s degree in counseling psychology, I ran into someone I knew when I had been a student doing clinical work.  She was from a different university, and our paths had not crossed after we finished working at the same non-profit mental health care provider.  So, it was with some surprise that she told me she had been thinking of me and had intended to start tracking me down.  She explained that she had something she wanted to share with me and invited me to lunch to discuss it.

Even though I looked forward to reconnecting with her, I had great trepidation about the fact that she said she’d had me on her mind despite the fact that we’d gone our separate ways years earlier and made no effort to keep in touch.  Who does that, I wondered.  To make matters worse, she had an excited gleam in her eye that made me suspect that she was going to pitch me to get involved in something like a multilevel marketing organization, which I had no interest in doing.

So, I was greatly surprised when she told me she’d been told by a friend about this exciting thing called neurofeedback and was certain it was right up my alley.  She spent almost an hour telling me all about her research into it and insisted that I not take her word for it but start researching on my own.

I was dubious that it could possibly be as wonderful as she made it sound, but I lived up to my promise to look into it, and the truth is that the more I read, the more excited I became. My friend was right that this was something that captured my interest and seemed like an excellent fit. I realized that if what I was reading was true, I could help make a powerful difference in people’s lives within just a few months.  I met with a couple of local practitioners, a couple of home trainers, and read voraciously.  A month later, I agreed to sign up to take a training class along with my friend.

Back then, neurofeedback was the subject of research in neuroscience labs, but almost no universities were teaching courses in how to do neurofeedback. Indeed, it never even came up as a topic in my graduate studies–perhaps this is because it is interdisciplinary and not just counseling or psychology-related.   Regardless of the reason, this meant that practitioners learned to offer it by attending seminars offered by private companies (and still do today).  The week-long introductory course I took with my friend was excellent, but it was obvious that a one-week class was wildly insufficient to be a competent provider.  More training was needed.

So, I signed up for extensive additional training with other companies and learned other theoretical approaches.  I visited the offices of practitioners and studied at their feet to acquire practical tips and techniques.  Once I felt I had enough academic learning, I started practicing with every guinea pig family member or friend who was willing to indulge me.  Then, I did a 500-hour supervised apprenticeship.  And, even though it is totally unnecessary, I took an exam with a certification board to earn the label of certified specialist.  Once past that first and rather steep learning curve to acquire basic competence, I continued to read and learn, because the field of neuroscience does not stand still.

Now, close to a dozen years later, I am grateful to that friend with the crazy gleam in her eye.  She was right that neurofeedback was and is an excellent fit for me.  I love what I do and feel excited about the challenge each client brings.  I feel honored that my clients trust my reliable tool and me to help improve the quality of their lives.