Treatment Objective: Supplement your medical treatment with behavioral health and wellness. Through the biofeedback and stress management training process, learn how to become more self-aware on a deeper level to enhance your ability to identify key triggers, stressors, underlying emotions and feelings, reactions, physical changes, and the patterns and dynamics that may precede medical symptoms. Learn and practice natural wellness strategies that may help lower your stress load, relax muscle tension, reduce nervousness and anxiety, and help with sleep. Through awareness and intentional practice, such skills may help to support optimal functioning, that is, to a level possible within your control based on the nature of your seizure disorder. The biofeedback process can demonstrate improvement in self-regulation of mind and body (i.e., relaxing muscles, learning healthy breathing patterns, supporting a steady state of calmness throughout the body, and refocusing mindful attention), teach you how to use your own internal awareness, and help you learn how to sense your own biofeedback and apply an ongoing program of stress management in daily life.
First Session Goals:
Wellness Evaluation: Clinical Interview: Description, pattern, and history of medical disorder. Identify known symptom triggering factors with rating scale, general lifestyle factors and daily stressors that may also contribute to symptoms
Education: General scientific knowledge about the mind and body, biofeedback and self-regulation, and the nervous systems. Natural principles, lifestyle factors, and health strategies that may help support medical wellness
Design Treatment Goals and Objectives: Treatment objective: learn and practice self-awareness and self-regulation skills and master stress management and wellness strategies. Programs may include the following training goals: Biofeedback, self-awareness, and self-regulation (self-control) / ability to set intention to practice regularly
Calming skills for mind and body (muscle and overall physical relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, mindfulness, supportive affirmations and imagery, brief “one-min.” stress reduction skills) to use throughout the day.
Sleep Healing Program: Behavioral and mindfulness strategies to seek to improve sleep onset, quality, and efficiency
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: (CBT) is a therapeutic approach that focuses on helping influence positive and proactive thoughts, emotional self-regulation strategies, and productive behaviors to support treatment goals and objectives
Supportive Behavioral Strategies: Learn how to use behavioral modification strategies to support treatment goals. Based on daily life challenges, create and implement supportive actions to balance workload, rest and regroup when needed, and to be aware of health needs. Take good care of yourself. The keys are intention, repetition through practice.
Wellness Education and Implementing Health Strategies: Opportunities to explore nutrition, physical wellness exercises, and lifestyle factors that may support optimizing health and well-being, and help with restoration after seizures.
EMG Surface Muscle Biofeedback Evaluation
Biofeedback (Biology feedback) — sensors placed over muscles can reveal surface muscle tension in real time and increments to enable you to have a more effective internal and external self-awareness of muscle tension patterns. This process occurs with the computer screen displaying the rise and fall patterns of the muscles involved though several visual picture and numeric graphs. There is also sound feedback that may be used to support self-awareness of muscle tensing up and relaxing patterns. Through the computer screen feedback and also Dr. Allen’s supportive verbal feedback and training, the objective is to gain your own self-awareness and the use of healing strategies to learn how to correct unconscious muscle tensing and postural patterns, and let those muscles relax at will. These skills may be learned and internalized through self-awareness, and practice in between sessions. The goal is to become an expert at your own biofeedback, and to correct and restore optimal balance between muscle activity and relaxation. This process may help you reduce overall inner-tension and support the awareness and ability to work toward wellness and calm awareness in the moment.
The Autonomic Nervous System and Adrenal Glands: The brain to internal organs (heart, vascular system, gastrointestinal, etc.). This also includes “fight or flight” stress response, and the internal relaxation response. This nervous system may be involved in response to stress, (i.e., increased heart rate, sweaty palms, cold hands and feet, tension in breathing patterns), and stress may affect medical symptoms. Key strategies that may help restore a steady state of harmony to the autonomic nervous system includes diaphragmatic breathing and heart rate variability training, Autogenics and hand-feet warming, overall muscle and bodily relaxation, among other mental and physical techniques that are basic natural processes for adapting to stress and recovery.
The Central Nervous System: (brain, brainstem, spinal cord) — the brain communicates to the body. An overactive racing mind, or a mind filled with patterns of stressful thinking may disrupt sleep, and create difficulty with trying to reduce physical stress. Key strategies that may help reduce mental tension and restore harmony to the central nervous system includes quieting the mind, good sleep, meditation, yoga, chi gung, diaphragmatic breathing, mindfulness, guided imagery, among other techniques that are natural processes for adapting to stress and recovery.
Additional biofeedback training modalities utilize heart rate variability, hand temperature, palm sweat, breathing patterns, and blood pressure to experience through sound and visual images the rise of a stress response in real time and to observe success in reducing the stress and anxiety. The objective is to develop internal awareness and anxiety reduction skills.
Additional Wellness Strategies:
Stress management and coping skills training (learn ways to reduce stress and anxiety). Counseling and psychotherapy available for working with issues contributing to stress, anxiety, and depression.
Length of Treatment Programs: 3-5 sessions for basic skills exposure and training, additional sessions may be beneficial for more challenging conditions and to further enhance skills.
Provide practice strategies and educational training handouts for in between sessions.