Integrative Therapist, Social Worker and Trainer – BACP HCPC
Neurofeedback helps to heal the brain. Psychotherapy helps to heal the heart. Biofeedback calms and focuses the mind.
Together, they can create lasting change.
Low Energy Neurofeedback System (or LENS) is a neurofeedback system that applies a small electrical impulse- 400 times smaller than you receive when you use your mobile – directly to the scalp, in order to help the brain regulate itself.
Some of the benefits of LENS include;
- Increased and improved quality of relaxation
- Decreased anxiety
- Improved attention, improved concentration and therefore decreased distractibility
- Increased energy
- Improved mood and decreased feelings of hopelessness.
Lifestyle changes may feel less challenging to accomplish.
Because the LENS takes less time than conventional Neurofeedback, there is time within sessions for Psychotherapy and/ or brain training, depending on what you need. The number of sessions will vary depending on the severity of the difficulty, but in general there will be a need for between 1 and 20 sessions.
HOW DOES LENS HELP?*
In the early 1990s, Len Ochs, Ph.D. developed the “Low Energy Neurofeedback System” (LENS), to enhance the flexibility and functioning of the brain.
Addressing the brain in its own electromagnetic language, LENS opens the way for the brain to ‘defragment and reboot’, allowing it to get past frozen, dysfunctional patterns.
Some of the most common issues LENS ‘defragment and reboot’ has consistently been shown to improve are:
- OCD, Autism, Asperger’s, Tics
- Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Multiple or Environmental Sensitivities
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Concussion
- Addictions/Substance Abuse
- Athletes and anyone who desires Performance Enhancement
For more information read the Q & A page
I have a belief and experience of my clients as unique human beings, trying their best in often difficult circumstances.
But our difficult circumstances, and the way we respond to them are all different, so I use a range of approaches tailored to you. Listening and talking with empathy and curiosity is the cornerstone of how I work, while this and a range of talking and listening approaches work well, I also use Thought Field Therapy (TFT). This is a form of emotional acupressure, which can in some cases move old trauma in minutes, instead of months.
I also bring in elements from my family work, as well as positive psychology, to support the individual.
Having worked with adoptive and fostering families over a number of years, I have worked with families where old trauma is creating new trauma. Children that are highly anxious or violent, can experience immense shame and a lack of self-worth. For these families I use Dialectical Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), Non-Violent Resistance (NVR) as developed by Haim Omer, as well as TFT, therapeutic play, Neurofeedback and brain training.
While most of my family work has been within the Adoption and Fostering area, I am comfortable working with couples and families in all settings.
‘Keith was allocated to our family at a time when we were really struggling with our adopted son’s behaviour. Keith’s patience and enquiring, empathic approach has unlocked how the underlying impact of early life trauma has manifested itself in our son’s ability to cope emotionally. His persistent search and trial of holistic techniques and strategies has helped not only our son, but our whole family.’
Brain training using biofeedback
Biofeedback is a technique you can use to learn to control your body’s functions, such as your heart rate. With biofeedback, you are connected to electrical sensors that help you receive information (feedback) about your body (bio).
This feedback helps you focus on making subtle changes in your body, such as relaxing certain muscles and calming and focusing the mind. In essence, biofeedback gives you the power to use your thoughts to better control your body and mind.
Types of biofeedback
We may use several different biofeedback methods. Determining the method that is right for you depends on your health problems and goals. The biofeedback methods I use include:
- Heart rate.This type of biofeedback uses finger or earlobe sensors to measure your heart rate and heart rate variability.
- Sweat glands.Sensors attached around your fingers or on your palm or wrist measure the activity of your sweat glands and the amount of perspiration on your skin, alerting you to anxiety.
- Sensors attached to your fingers or feet measure the blood flow to your skin. Because your temperature often drops when you are under stress, a low reading can prompt you to begin relaxation techniques.
- Interactive computer or mobile device programs. Some types of biofeedback devices measure physiological changes in your body, such as your heart rate activity and skin changes, by using one or more sensors attached to your fingers or your ear. The sensors plug into the computer.
Using computer graphics and prompts, the devices then help you master stress by pacing your breathing, relaxing your muscles and thinking positive thoughts. Studies show that these types of devices might be effective in improving responses during moments of stress, and inducing feelings of calm and well-being.
I use Biofeedback with Neurofeedback, to get a more complete way of balancing the body’s nervous system.
Q & A
The Initial Consultation
The first appointment will be an opportunity for you to tell me about your difficulties, ask any questions that you may have, and together develop an initial treatment plan. Depending on why you have come, we may include various treatment elements and leave out others.
For example, a child that is essentially happy, but just can’t concentrate, might just need LENS Neurofeedback and possibly brain training, whereas a person with a history that includes being abused, may predominantly need Psychotherapy, but depending on the symptoms may also need LENS Neurofeedback.
If there is another treatment option that I don’t offer, but I think would be beneficial, I will explain why I think this may help, and discuss options with you.
At the end of the initial consultation you will have my recommendations, know the costs and the likely timeframe to finishing treatment. You can then think about it in your own time, and if you are comfortable, book a first treatment session for you, your child, or family. There is no charge for this initial consultation, treatment sessions are 40 minutes long and are £60 per session.
What happens within a LENS Neurofeedback session?
If you want to go ahead, you will be asked to complete an online questionnaire prior to your first treatment session (http://ochslabs.com/cdb/report/lw3-questionnaire.php ). The first treatment session will last for 40 minutes. It will look at current symptoms and functioning, historical symptoms and the sensitivity/reactivity of the person being treated. This will usually be followed by a first use of the LENS.
Treatment may start in this first session, but may not if your life history and/ or sensitivities are complex.
The actual treatment: A mild gel is used to prepare the scalp site, then a conductive paste is applied to 3 sensors. Two of these sensors are gently clipped onto your earlobes, and the third sensor is moved around specified sites on the head for a few seconds at each location. The number of sites treated at each session will depend on your sensitivity and reactivity. Based on the recordings at each site, the LENS uses a very low power electromagnetic field to deliver a tiny, battery-generated feedback stimulation. In such a way, it mirrors back the brain’s own patterns, prompting it to re-balance and adopt a more functional state. Most clients feel nothing at all during the process, others who are very sensitive may notice a very mild tingling or fluttering.
Between sessions, you will be asked to observe closely and note any effects (positive or bothersome), so that the treatment can be adjusted, to provide a successful outcome, as well as to- ensure that the treatment is a comfortable experience. Symptom ratings are recorded following each session, to track changes (progress and complaints) during treatment. The actual neurofeedback aspect of the session usually lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes, with the rest of the session spent focusing on the psychotherapy or biofeedback elements.
Who can benefit?
LENS has been used with more than 500,000 patients with a variety of symptoms, both physical and emotional, that are associated with central nervous system functioning problems. It can improve functioning in the following areas:
- Anxiety/ depression (and other mood disorders)
- Movement and sensory integration
- Available energy
- Irritability and explosiveness
- Head injuries and post-concussive problems
- Chemical dependence
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
A controlled study of 100 subjects with different diagnoses – including head injury, ADHD, and mood disorders – showed that 90% of the clients did better after LENS.
Benefits include an improvement of the problems affecting a person since a head injury or psychological trauma that had been interfering with their ability to function in their work or personal life. The return of clarity, energy during the day, sleeping at night, a sense of humour, motivation to get things done, ease of getting things done, memory, ability to read and listen with little or no distraction, and the absence of depression, irritability, impatience, and explosiveness, have been observed repeatedly.
The LENS does not cure problems, but can lead to increased functioning for somebody with symptoms associated with these problems.
How Many Sessions will I need?
The average duration of treatment across all problems is approximately 20 sessions. It is difficult at the outset to predict how many LENS sessions will be required. However, some problems resolve more promptly (mild head injury in around 6 sessions, and mild stress disorders in 3 sessions), with others requiring significantly longer treatment (autism, severe head injury and stroke). Problems with a sudden onset where the person was functioning well beforehand require less treatment. Genetic problems (where family members have similar difficulties), and lifelong multiple problems where the persons is very sensitive to the feedback, usually require over 40 treatment sessions.
While many people feel energy, ease, clarity, and calmness after a LENS session, these positive feelings may initially wear off between sessions. This “wearing off” of the good feelings may cause clients to become discouraged and doubtful about their ability to finish treatment. The wearing off appears to be the brain’s way of struggling to remain in the old, familiar, and dysfunctional state.
As people continue with the LENS, the period during which the positive feelings occur becomes longer, and the “wearing off” periods become shorter, until they no longer occur. To date, there have been no exceptions to this pattern reported. It should be noted however, that new insults to the central nervous system after treatment, may produce new problems.
Many of those who have received LENS, report continued improvement long after LENS has ended.
Is it Safe?
LENS is extremely safe. In over 500,000 clients treated with LENS, there has not been a single reported case of someone being worse off from having been treated with LENS. LENS has been used by practitioners for over 15 years and has grown to 500 practitioners internationally.
Are there any side effects?
While many people feel energy, ease, clarity, and calmness after a LENS session, some may experience some other effects. Although no significant negative side effects have been observed so far, the non-significant ones are listed below. Your understanding of them will help you work with me to provide successful treatment.
Brief Reactions: When the feedback is too intense or applied for too long, you may feel uncomfortable, irritable, tense and/or anxious, “wired or tired”. This may last for a few hours to a few days. When this happens, please inform me, and the settings can be changed to reduce the treatment dose, ensuring you are once again more comfortable.
Some people report a change in functioning temporarily as their system re-balances (e.g. word finding difficulties, or mild co-ordination issues). These issues resolve after a brief period.
Return of Symptoms from the Past: occasionally people experience a return of previously resolved symptoms temporarily (e.g. cluster headaches, migraine, tics, seizures). Often these are of a fraction of their former intensity, and are therefore more manageable for the person than in the past. This occurs, because the LENS is a rebalancing intervention, and may lead to the release of suppressed symptoms. With ongoing treatment, these released symptoms go away again and do not return, alongside the persistence of higher functioning.
Adjustment Issues: LENS treatment can have a significant effect in just a few weeks. For some, this can lead to adjustment issues, especially in those prone to anxiety – it can be unsettling to find yourself without symptoms that have framed your life for so long. If this happens we will focus the rest of the session to help you adjust, it also may mean that your sensitivity will require me reducing the treatment doses, or lowering the frequency of sessions to go to a comfortable pace for you.
LENS requires a degree of commitment for those undergoing treatment, but results can be significant and enduring.
With LENS neurofeedback, clients simply sit quietly with eyes closed for a few moments. A brief, tiny signal feeding back to the brain does all the work. As such, it is much more accessible to clients who cannot sit still or focus for long.
WHEN IS LENS NOT SUITABLE?
There are some situations when LENS is not appropriate:
- When there is an underlying chronic condition such as Lyme’s disease, heavy metal poisoning, mould exposure, gut dysbiosis (“leaky gut”) – these should be treated first.
- When a person has recently started a new medication or treatment regime (e.g. acupuncture, homoeopathy, diet, anti-depressants) – it will be difficult to establish what effects are produced by the LENS in guiding treatment. I would recommend to stabilise on any other treatment regime first before starting LENS.
- When people are in medically acute situations (where urgent conventional medical assistance is required) – again, stabilise first, before starting LENS.
- Physical illness. If you are unwell (E.G. heavy cold, flu), your system is already under stress, and the additional “pull” on your physiology of the LENS may not be helpful. Wait until you are recovered before receiving treatment.
Almost all healers come to healing to solve a problem, a problem for themselves (healer heal thyself), or for someone they love. For me it was both. Growing up around a great deal of dysfunction left me feeling a sense of powerlessness, and when I look back now, it was that sense that galvanised me to learn how to help the ones I love and myself.
What followed were many years of learning – all mixed in with the learning that came from being a father and husband. This included therapeutic play, remedial massage, sports coaching, Social Work, and many different kinds of psychological therapy. Qualifying as an integrative counsellor (2013), Social Worker (2001), trainer (2015) and Remedial Masseur (1987), has professional obligations that go with the work I do. The two bodies that regulate my professional practice are the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
I would often decide I had found the ‘BEST’ therapeutic intervention, only to work with it, and discover its limitations as well as my own. This has led me to always continue to learn about other therapeutic methods, so I can constantly improve my practice, and widen the approaches that I can offer. As I have got older (50 at last count), I have started to work with the limitations and the strengths of what I know better. When pushing into the corners of what I didn’t know, I came across Neurofeedback during training with a brilliant clinician (Bessel Van Der Kolk). I learned about its power to work with a wide range of brain based issues, be they attachment and trauma, ADHD, ADD, brain injury and more.
For me as a therapist, my focus is on supporting the brain to become robust and flexible, this enables any other issues that might present obstacles in the healing process to be worked with more effectively, for example historic trauma you can’t let go, or problems learning.
The people I have worked with and for, have taught me what I know and more importantly what I don’t, be they care leavers, children with Autism and Asperger’s, adoptive families and many more. As a therapist, my job is to help my clients become robust and flexible people, and as a professional to learn and develop, so that my successes become increasingly common. Because the way people define their lives is through the quality of their experience, helping people improve that quality is a fascinating honour.
If you would like more information, then please just ask.
Booking and Contact details
I see clients at my home in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Contact information for enquiries and support:
Mobile: 07483 821864