I recently presented material at a College of Psychiatrists’ Psychotherapy Conference, on the use of neurofeedback to enhance psychotherapy with deeply damaged (Developmental Trauma) patients.
I’ve been using NF with some of my deeply damaged patients, guided by my supervisor Sebern Fisher at regular Skype sessions.
Sebern is the world’s leading authority/exponent on/of this subject, and has written the definitive book: Neurofeedback in the Treatment of developmental Trauma (Elsevier 2014″).
I gave the audience a particularly vivid example drawn from Sebern Fisher’s book pp278 to 296: the Rennie and baby Madeline story.
Rennie had a horrific history of physical and sexual abuse by every member of her family. Was admitted to S’s residential treatment centre aet 16 . Had multiple psychiatric hospitalisations afterwards, despite this.
Had 2 children by a dysfunctional partner, with lengthy PPD after each birth. Represented to Sebern aet 26 for NF facilitated psychotherapy (at least the contact with Sebern at the residential centre has left a long lasting trusting impression).
Initial T4 P4, T3 T4, T4 P4 downtraining over 18 sessions (weekly). Rennie finds herself managing stressors more easily, but gets pregnant again.
Sebern starts her on a FPO2 protocol which targets the dysfunctional R prefrontal limbic/amygdalar circuitry. The baby has been very unsettled in the womb, with lots of excessive movements, but the movements gradually become much easier.
After session 25, R ejects the abusive boyfriend. By session 28, she has given birth to baby Madeline.
Rennie feels baby Madeline is much more attuned than the previous children. Sebern continues FPO2 training with Madeline lying on Rennie’s chest.
“She got more regulated…she felt my heart beat and I could feel hers beating in the same way. And her breathing too. This is so different from my other kids. I love them so much, but this baby is just different. I didn’t know there was this way to be , this lace to be in. I didn’t know it existed. I am attuned to her and she is attuned to me. I regulate HER and she regulates ME.”
When Madeline is 8 months old, Rennie is pushing her in her stroller to the grocery store, when they run into her biological mother and oldest brother. He was the most abusive of R’s siblings and had been incarcerated for molesting children. Although surprised to see him, Rennie reports she felt unexpectedly calm….but Madeline…took one look at the man, whom she had never seen before, and started to scream hysterically and could not be comforted until Rennie took her out of the store, away from the brother….she then quietened quickly.