by Carol Kelson, MFT
Archive for the ‘Outreach’ Category
Soldiers and veterans looking to alleviate the devastating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder might soon have a new way to help themselves. Strangely, it involves using their gray matter to control a video game.
Continue reading Wired article by Katie Drummond at
On this Veterans Day we wanted to take a moment to thank all of the clinicians who have joined Homecoming for Veterans to support those in need by providing neurofeedback treatment for veterans with PTSD at no cost. Each day veterans are returning from deployments abroad and facing the challenges of life back home. We are so proud of the work that is being done by our network of clinicians, and want to encourage all of our colleagues who are practicing neurofeedback treatment to consider joining the Homecoming for Veterans team.
We all know this is a huge challenge. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs in June 2010, there were 171,423 deployed Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans diagnosed with PTSD, out of a total of 593,634 patients treated by the VA. But the toll goes beyond just the numbers. Every day we hear stories of vets who are returning home only to struggle with depression and alcohol and drug abuse. These health issues are leading to broken families, homelessness and in far too many cases, suicide.
Last May, Science Magazine featured a review of a recent study of human health going back some 10,000 years. Surprisingly, perhaps, our state of health has been declining generally over the last 3,000 years, coinciding essentially with the broad adoption of agriculture. The trends are not subtle, apparently. Statures have shrunk, and there was an increase in skeletal lesions, tuberculosis, and leprosy. People started living closer together, and in more intimate contact with livestock—the formula for increases in contagion in general, and of animal-to-human viral transfer in particular.
The switch to grain-based diets had further consequences for dental health, with cavities and tooth loss becoming more of a problem. Vitamin deficiency diseases such as rickets and scurvy became more prevalent during the Dark Ages. This trend only began to be broken in the middle of nineteenth century, presumably due to increased trade, better sanitation, improvements in medicine, and better weather after the Little Ice Age. Since the 1950′s, however, the overall trend has once again been downward, and this is showing up even in trends in stature, which can be taken as a kind of integrative index to health status.
We have just completed an introductory training course which included some thirty mental health professionals who are currently working with returning veterans and active duty servicemen. Represented were the United States Navy, the Marine Corps, the Veterans Administration, and the Salvation Army. The intention is to begin pilot projects at a number of facilities to demonstrate neurofeedback efficacy in realistic settings for PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury).
With this additional participation, we had our largest training course to date, with some 48 attendees—a logistical challenge to our team. The remaining clinicians who could not be accommodated will come to the January course. We are also prepared to extend invitations to VA personnel from other parts of the country who want to bring neurofeedback into their facilities, on a space-available basis.
The presence of so many clinicians who were not closely acquainted with neurofeedback presented an unusual challenge. Customarily nowadays attendees come with their batteries already charged because of some prior exposure to neurofeedback—either from their own experience, that of one or more of their clients, or on the recommendation of a trusted colleague. They no longer need to be convinced; they just want to learn how to do the work. Accordingly, our training program has been shaped more and more toward the tactics and the practical experience of doing neurofeedback, to the relative neglect of the rich and quirky research history of the biofeedback field and of the scientific models that underpin neurofeedback. (more…)