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Ep 92 How Neurofeedback Completely Changed One Man’s Life
[00:00:00] Hey! It’s Cynthia, and I want to give you a quick preview of the incredible conversation you’re about to hear. I got to speak with neurofeedback therapist Mindy Hawk-a-doll and her patient, Chris. Chris had actually heard Well Connected’s podcast episode 78 where Mindy spoke on neurofeedback, and as a patient of Mindy’s, he was inspired to share his personal story. Chris and Mindy reached out to speak together on this podcast episdoe, and I could not pass up on the opportunity to dig in. After a few months of bravely pursuing psychotherapy and neurofeedback therapy, Chris went from being terrified of driving or being on Zoom calls to eagerly skydiving and proposing to his girlfriend! While Mindy provides her own perspective and expertise as a therapist, Chris shares the very real fears that held him back in life and how tackling his mental health head on with the right care provider completely changed his life for the better. We talk about the barriers men face in addressing their mental health and Mindy explains why neurofeedback is such an appealing alternative to talk therapy for men in particular. This is one for the books! Sit back, relax, and enjoy being a fly on the wall during this insightful conversation.
Cynthia: Hello and welcome back to the Well Connected Twin Cities Podcast. This is your host, Cynthia Shockley. As a reminder, this quarter we are diving into really finding the kind of care for [00:02:00] you and your family that feels like a right fit. There’s not one size fits all when it comes to health and wellness, and so we want to be able to highlight some practitioners, some processes that.
You might be exposed to, you might be surprised by and it could be right for you. We are so lucky today to be here with Mindy Haka and one of her. Chris, so if you are familiar with the name, Mindy actually was on our episode 78 podcast on neurofeedback.
She is a therapist who provides neurofeedback, which is this emerging science. If you wanna learn more, we’ll be talking about it, but we’ll go a little more in depth in that episode 78, if you wanna check back on. . But thankfully we have Chris here who has been really inspired to share his story, to let people know that there is hope, because he was at one point in a place where hope seemed very small.
Chris, I would love to hear from you first [00:03:00] and just have you introduce yourself to our audience
Chris: yeah. First off, thank you for having me on. I really, appreci. My name is Chris and so for the longest time I struggled with anxiety, depression, some P T S D, and just constant fear, constant fight or flight, and just constantly being in the state of panic.
So I had this going on thinking back to when I was 12. That’s when it started. And it wasn’t until about four months ago where I started to get the treatment that I.
Cynthia: and I think especially if it’s something you’ve had since you were 12, I think a lot of people can resonate with that and.
From what I’ve gathered from conversations I’ve had as an integrative health coach is that stuff has been there, but people have been able to stay distracted, maybe avoid some of the stress and anxiety, and then once the pandemic hit, a lot of those distractors went away. Yes. And. And now it’s oh, I [00:04:00] have to actually face what’s going on down there.
So yeah. If you wouldn’t mind sharing a bit what were some things you were doing to cope during the pandemic and, how did you find your way to Mindy?
Chris: So during the pandemic I worked remotely, so I was in the office for a very short time and then I got sent away for remote work. That’s when it really started to get.
So I would say 2019 to 2020, I noticed it. Once the pandemic hit, it got much worse. And during the pandemic to cope with it, I just didn’t do anything. I never left my house. I got my groceries delivered. Everything came via Amazon, Walmart just stayed home and was like, these feelings are weird.
They actually scared me. And. Just not doing anything was my coping mechanism basically hiding. And how I got my way to Mindy was my best friend kept telling me, Hey, I have this person who I go to, you should check her out. And I was like, no, I’m fine. [00:05:00] You get in that state of, I’m fine, banded on a bullet hole until I just reached my breaking point and I didn’t have anywhere else to go.
And I was like, yeah, I’ll give her a call. And from that day forward, Progress every day.
Cynthia: That’s amazing. And Mindy, on your end, why don’t you share, what was your first impression of Chris and his symptoms and, how were you feeling about how neurofeedback had fit into his process?
Mindy: Yeah, when Chris contacted me He was in a really dark place.
I remember it was a Sunday afternoon and he called and I could hear the panic in his voice. Fortunately it was summer and I had an opening within a few days and he came in. And at first we, we did some psychotherapy and then as we were talking, he brought up some past traumas and.
I knew that he is very holistic and he’s not one that wants to take medication. So I just suggested doing a brain map and seeing [00:06:00] what exactly was going on in his brain. What was it that was causing him such intense fear that he couldn’t go to a store. What was it that was keeping him up at night?
And he came in and willingly, we did a brain map, A Q E G, and I have to tell you, His brain was on fire. He had so much high beta, which is that anxiety. It’s this, it was in his am amygdala right in the back, posterior part of his brain. And it’s like he was in a constant state of fight or flight, eyes open.
It was there. When he closed his eyes, it was there. It was almost as if he is in just this unease, this free floating anxiety. Thinking doom and gloom, and it just was affecting every aspect of his life. He wasn’t going to work. He actually took disability from work while he fully integrated into mental health treatment.
And so we set a program based on [00:07:00] the data and we calmed his brain down. And the reason it worked so well for Chris is because he was so dedicated, he did not like how he was feeling anymore, and he said, you know what, I’m gonna go all in. And we went over his results, which I think sometimes going over the results and showing pictures of the brain maps also helps clients.
Except like how they’re feeling. Like it makes them realize okay, I feel these symptoms, these somatic symptoms because of something going on in my brain. It’s not my character, it’s not something I’m doing to myself. It’s not a situation. It is just my brain. It’s not running in the frequency.
Optimally that it needs to be running in. And so he did a program every other day he put his headset on religiously and he did an 18 minute training. And he can share kind of his experience with that. But the results were incredible. He, within four months, No longer is [00:08:00] doing neurofeedback.
The neuroplasticity of his brain just soaked up the training and made these new neural pathways that now he just runs in a calm focus state.
Cynthia: How does it feel, just hearing Mindy talk about that,
Chris: Chris? Oh, it’s amazing. And especially when you first start you don’t think you can get better and you also don’t think you can get any.
So you’re at that state where it’s like I can’t get any worse. I don’t think I can get better, but I have nothing to lose. And it’s almost like I can’t get worse, so let’s try to get better. , and I will say that in terms of the training, it starts working immediately. You just won’t notice it, I would say for the first few months.
But with my brain scans with Mindy and actually my friends and family, they noticed results within the first week. Wow.
Cynthia: And in your own words, Chris, how would you describe what neurofeedback is for someone who does, isn’t familiar? What does that process look like [00:09:00] as a patient?
Chris: It’s very easy.
They make it very simple. You just put on a headset and you have this, a little electrode with some paste. I’d like to call it putty. You have use your cell phone or tablet and my preferred method was to watch YouTube.
So you’ll do roughly 20 minutes every other day, and I’ll just watch a YouTube video with the headset on. And in the background, the headset does its thing. Yeah, so very easy, simple process.
Cynthia: Yeah, I remember it was amazing to hear from Mindy how simple it is even for children to use. Cuz yeah, you’re just watching a video, you’re playing a game on your phone, tablet, whatever it is.
It’s something you would normally do anyway. And if I recall correctly, Mindy, it’s that the screen actually starts to. Go darker and die down unless you’re doing the exercises and focusing your brain in a way that is beneficial. Less of the fear response, more of that focus prefrontal response, executive functioning, and [00:10:00] so the screen just automatically adjusts so that you’re incentivized to, to
Correct. And I have a lot of clients who will ask me, am I supposed to be doing something specific? Am I spo supposed to, will it with my eyes and get it to do something? And I say, no. All you have to do is watch it. And through operat conditioning, the brain wants that reward. And so when you are watching a YouTube video, If you were in the zone that I’m training in that frequency, the screen will be bright and you can see it.
The second your brain starts to wander or you get out of that zone, it goes dark. And so again, your brain is seeking that reward. And so it goes back to the frequency it was in when it got to see the screen. So very similar with the games. If you’re playing the games, you’ll be winning when you’re in the zone.
But the second you are not in that zone anymore, you start getting distracted. And what’s also cool about neurofeedback is it calculates how long you can [00:11:00] hold a streak, right? Because with changing in the brain, you wanna be able to hold that streak for a certain amount of time so that you are in that zone.
And it’s just like lifting weights. It’s like lifting more weight and building more muscle. The longer you hold a streak, the longer it’s showing that your brain is holding on to the change that we are trying to get it to take place.
Cynthia: It sounds like for you, Chris, it was immediately noticeable.
So what are some things that changed that first week or two that you know, family and friends were noticing that you were noticing?
Chris: They said I was more relaxed. They said that I see more focused and I wasn’t, I guess jittery would be a good word, but I wasn’t always constantly trying to pace and trying to freak out.
It would be, if you imagine you’re just standing here and your brain is going a million miles an hour in a million directions, and you’re just sitting still, and your body wants to compensate for that. And in the beginning, my family and friends could see that it was starting to go down and I would not worry as much and I wouldn’t complain.
Things I’m worrying about.
Cynthia: So they can just tell you were more [00:14:00] present, more grounded and just just that calm version of yourself. Not the fight or flight, but the rest, digest, calm portion of you. Yes,
Chris: exactly. . Exactly. And more willing to do things like, Hey, let’s go out to dinner. Let’s go see a movie.
Let’s go out and about and do something. I, before I would’ve been like, Nope, have fun. I’ll stay. In my safe area and not letting people get close to me was another big thing. So I started letting people back.
Cynthia: I love that. So you’re letting people back in, and I think this really speaks to the idea that when you take care of yourself, it only benefits others, right?
It’s yes, your loved ones are reconnected to you. They feel better being in your presence. They feel more grounded in your presence. We’re kind of co-regulating in a sense. So for you, what have you noticed, not about yourself, but. Your loved ones and how things have been different for them since you started your therapy.
Chris: The dynamic has changed. With me, I would say I was so [00:15:00] bad that it almost seemed like I was agitated. And for those who know me, I don’t really get angry. My, like my grandma has never seen me angry. People say, I don’t have a mean bone in my body, but I would give off this almost agitated. When my mind was like that, and it wasn’t really bad per se, but they would notice, Hey, that’s not Chris.
Something is wrong. And people have that natural response to that, which is the poke back or they’ll put their walls up. So in my relationships, I noticed that was gone, and when I figured out what was going on, I was able to explain it. So individuals in my life knew if I was like that. I wasn’t mad at.
I wasn’t trying to be like agitated or aggressive. It was just, hey, I’m going through something, and they recognize that. So overall, it just helped everybody realize what was going on with me and I was able to realize it too and pretty much knock it off.
Cynthia: I know a part of the [00:16:00] program that Mindy offers is also having therapy sessions and texting back and forth.
Were you utilizing all of those options as well?
Chris: Yes. The one nice thing about Mindy is she’s 100% committed to you. When I was 11, 12, 13, I did go through therapy right after one of the traumatic events that Mindy and I talked through, and it was unsuccessful and I don’t like to bash anybody, but my experience even as a child was, it was pretty much, I’m here talk, it’s just here, you’re here for an hour, you’re gone.
With Mindy, I had her full commitment and she told me that. She was like, I’m your person. We’re gonna make you. And I could text her, I could call her FaceTime in person, anything I needed, she was right there and she took care of me. And even though, yes, I put in a lot of commitment to it, if I didn’t have Mindy, I know I wouldn’t have been as successful because you have to have that person there with you and guiding you and being there for you.
So definitely without Mindy, [00:17:00] I don’t think I would’ve had the success.
Mindy: Oh, thanks Chris. It’s been such a pleasure being on this journey with you.
Cynthia: Oh, thank you. And you. How does it feel hearing all of that back?
Mindy: It feels good. So good because, it is my passion in this life to just heal so many people.
And just to see where he is at with life now. He has a new job. He’s in a very happy and successful relationship. He’s even told me and Chris, you can say more about this, but if his, if he starts to even think any negative thoughts he can feel himself shutting him off and he knows how not to get into that fight or flight state.
And so it’s just, it’s crazy to see like I said, just where he is because he’s not the same person he was four months ago. He is jumped out of an airplane since our time together. He is taking trips to South [00:18:00] Beach. He is taking on the world. it’s
Cynthia: amazing to hear. Yes. And what a transformation in a short amount of time, right?
Yeah. Yeah. Very. so for you what does that feel like in your body, in your head when you notice that fear response coming and being able to shut it down or redirect?
Chris: So my first thought is you get that feeling, you get that quick anxiety and it comes very quick. It’s almost like an arrow, but as quick as that arrow comes is as quick as I watch that arrow leave.
A prime example was last. I went out by myself, which is, something before I would never do. And one of my biggest fears, four months ago was accidentally running somebody over with my car, not stopping. And then I’d worry that I accidentally hurt or killed somebody and then my mind would go through you’d be a bad guy and you’d probably get arrested.
Lose your job, go to jail. Your life would be over. And last night I was driving. [00:19:00] I had that quick thought, Hey, did you accidentally hit somebody? Because I was on a new road and I hit a pothole and it was, no, you didn’t. It’s okay. It’s, your mind just does this for whatever reason. Mindy would know more about that, but you didn’t.
You would know and it’s okay. And as quick as it came is as quick as it left.
Cynthia: Wow. So the self-talk. Just so much stronger. The positive self-talk. Yes. Over the negative
Chris: self-talk. Yes. And it’s almost like the neurofeedback gives you that power and control over your mind. So when you feel it, when I go from anxiety to relaxation, I can actually feel it in my brain.
I can feel the relaxation come over the anxiety. So the neurofeedback. Even though it doesn’t seem like you’re doing much cuz you’re just watching YouTube. But for me, I [00:20:00] can feel it working and it’s working in the background so I can live my life and my brain’s doing its own thing in the background and it doesn’t take away from my life.
Mindy: When Chris talks about that experience that he had yesterday from a neuroscientific point of view, Hopefully this makes sense. But in the past, his brain, because of his anxiety, the second he would have one of those thoughts such as, did I just hit someone with my car?
His brain would automatically go into high beta speed, which is that fastest anxious fight or flight, panic attack mode, but through neurofeedback. Because his brain now has been trained to not even go into hi beta. That’s why when he hit that pothole for a split second, his brain was like, oh, should we go into hi beta?
And then it was like, no, what’s my normal, what’s my routine of speed that I run in now? And so through, [00:21:00] yes, he’s self-taught to himself for a brief second. But it was just to remind his brain, no, we have a new pathway that we operate in now, and it’s a calm focus one versus this high beta stress panic mode.
Cynthia: Yeah. It’s like you said, it’s that building of the muscle. So it was, okay, here’s that high stress thought, and then boom, your brain already has been trained to pivot and make a different choice, and it was almost automatic at that point. Amazing.
Cynthia: I was gonna ask [00:23:00] does it matter what you’re watching on YouTube do you have a go-to that you watch Chris ?
Chris: Honestly, I just watch, so there’s a YouTube channel called Victory Outdoor Services. His name is Ryan. He’s in the Milwaukee area, and he does concrete. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon him, but he’s a good guy. He does awesome videos and they’re entertaining.
So that was my go-to, family friendly, nothing graphic, no swearing. So that was my go-to. Yeah,
Cynthia: because I was wondering, Mindy, do you recommend that patients watch a certain kind of video or anything like, ,
Mindy: depending on what I am training, if I am training them to be more calm, I just don’t want them to watch anything that is going to get them riled up.
Anything that they’re gonna talk back to the screen at or they’re going to use a lot of their executive functioning, especially if I’m training in the frontal area of the brain. So it really just depends on what I am [00:24:00] training. For some people, their trainings are with their eyes open, and some do it with eyes closed again, depending on what speed we’re trying to work on, based on the brain maps.
I had one client and. He is into fantasy football, and it was after only one session that we learned that is not a good program for him to watch because he talks back to the commentator. And he knew right away cuz he was like, oh my gosh, my score was so terrible, what was wrong? And I said, oh, you had all this muscle tension.
You were really worked up and really into it. So let’s not watch that. So he’s actually going on a trip to Switzerland in a few weeks. So now he has found that he’s watching videos on travel in Switzerland and things to do. and his brain is doing all the work while he’s learning and doing something he’s enjoying.
So he feels also like he’s not wasting time by just sitting and watching YouTube. He is watching something that he wants to learn [00:25:00] about. So yeah, as long as it just doesn’t get them too worked up, they can watch anything.
Cynthia: That makes sense. And for you, Chris, it’s only been four months.
Are you still doing a little bit of touch up with the neurofeedback? What’s your protocol currently?
Chris: So fortunately I haven’t I believe November was when I stopped and so far I’ve been doing really good. I was able to get a job. I always wanted to not working from home, so I’m going into the office and honestly it couldn’t be any better and thankfully, At least for right now, I don’t need to continue.
Cynthia: So it’s something that you’ve been trained on and it’s something that you confidently hold as a tool now and just just a way of, a way of being, it sounds
Chris: yeah, absolutely. Definitely holding onto it cuz you can do more, you can do muse meditation with it. So if you feel that your brain’s kind of going a little bit higher, you can meditate with it and relax.
But [00:26:00] really it gave me confidence. It gave me the ability to, I wouldn’t say love because even before all this, I would give myself and give myself, but I wouldn’t let myself receive it. And now I’m hopefully gonna get engaged soon. My family’s very excited about it.
New job, new house. All these changes that I wouldn’t have made before without this.
Cynthia: That is huge. And pre-con, congratulations. . Thank you. That’s very
Mindy: exciting. Yeah. Hopefully she hasn’t watched the podcast.
Cynthia: I know. .
Chris: Yeah. We’ll see. I’m planning on in the 28th of January, so we could hold off until then.
Cynthia: Yeah, this will be, oh, she can hold after this will be ok. Perfect.
Chris: No, I was gonna say, yeah, she can hold off. Cause I know she does wanna listen to it, but
Cynthia: you’ll be like, oh no it’s not being published for a while. Don’t worry about it. .
Oh best of luck to you and All right, thank
Cynthia: Oh gosh. So from going [00:27:00] from. Being too scared to even leave your home driving and then to planning a proposal, jumping out of planes and traveling. It’s just such a 180 with what you’ve been. Feeling capable of and empowered to do. For anyone out there who is struggling with anxiety, depression, P T s d a, D H D, I mean,
what would you say to someone, Chris, who is suffering and just isn’t doing anything
Chris: about it? That it’s okay. I know for me, when you think about what you’re going through and a lot of the intrusive thoughts that I had even though people say they’re outta character, that’s not who you are. They’re embarrassing.
They’re scary to talk to somebody about. It’s are they gonna think I actually am that person, stuff like that. So for one, it’s okay. You’re not alone. And there is treatment options available to [00:28:00] you. And I know it’s hard because it was a hard journey for me. It took me three years to get help.
And it is hard. You’re not gonna notice results right away. Other people around you will, but it’s gonna take time. And then one day it’ll click. Having somebody like Mindy for. And going through this treatment option, if you just have the dedication to feel better, just remind yourself that you can feel better, you’ll get there.
And luckily in my case, I got there quicker. And you also don’t need drugs. So you don’t need any illegal drugs. You don’t need alcohol. I personally never been drunk, never been high, none of that stuff. You don’t need it. It might help you cope in the short. But it’s not gonna help in your long term, and without that you can do it.
You just have to give this a chance.
Cynthia: . There’s a lot of different approaches for mental health. So [00:29:00] before working with Mindy and after therapy as a child, were there some other tools that you used or learned about, or therapies that you tried?
Chris: The only one I got, and this was actually advice from somebody I know was to distract yourself. The fears were always in the background and they would always come at inopportune times, typically when things are gonna go good. But I would worry about it constantly for years And so I would try to distract myself and.
I tried to do things I thought were fun. Unfortunately, it’s like putting a bandaid on a bullet hole. All those worries are still there. The anxiety was still there, but I tried to just keep distracting myself and hoping it would go away. So instead of me personally resorting to alcohol or drugs and stuff, mine was just trying to distract it and push it away until essentially pushing it away.
Just kept feeding that monster. So from, I’d say 2019 to [00:30:00] 2022, it just got worse and worse and worse until I’m sitting at this point where it’s just I can’t take this anymore. I have to get this Satan care of.
Cynthia: And thank goodness that you had your friend who was there making recommendations,
is this a, a guy friend of yours? Yes. It. Okay. Because, gosh, something that my girlfriends and I have been talking about a lot is the feeling that the guys got left behind, right? The boys are not okay. And the guys have been left behind in this whole movement for holistic wellbeing, mental health, and it’s so much harder for our men to speak about the things that they’re scared of, ashamed of.
Struggling with, they feel like they have to show up as the strong one, the rock in the family. Is that something that you feel is a barrier for a lot of men? Is that something you felt like you had to overcome?
Chris: I would say that’s a big barrier especially with those out there with PTs d especially if you’re coming [00:31:00] from a military or a law enforcement background maybe even the medical field as well.
It’s. If you can’t handle it, then you weren’t cut out for the job and you’re weak and stuff. But what I learned is I can’t be that rock and I can’t love my family the way I want to if I’m struggling. So it’s like when you’re on an airplane and they say, put your mask on first before you help your neighbor.
It’s, I have to take care of myself before I can help others, and I need to make sure I am rock solid. Mentally healthy before I can mentally nurture my family, girlfriend, friends, and everybody else. I have to be sure I have those tools and I’m taken care of in order to help others as well. But I can definitely see a barrier.
I still see the barrier in people. I personally know I can see that barrier and. I’m a man. I don’t do that. Men don’t talk about their feelings. My cousin actually suffers from ptsd, T s D as [00:32:00] well from the military, and he’s a man. Men don’t get help. You gotta be tougher than that. Suck it up buttercup.
But really as hard as it is, and I say this in the best way, part of being a. Is taking on those challenges. And you don’t have to have a weapon or anything to be a warrior. If you can tackle your mental health head on, you’re being a warrior.
Cynthia: It is honestly one of the bravest things you can do. It’s exploring inner space almost like being an astronaut, but going inside your own mind,
Chris: scary. It’s very scary and it does not feel good. I would say it’s a very true saying when people say that emotional pain hurts way worse than physical pain and just tackling it head on, it will hurt you before it gets better. My girlfriend was telling me that her mother was like, why does he seem to be getting worse?
And I would just [00:33:00] explain, it’s gonna seem worse before it gets better because I have to tackle these demons head on. So instead of pushing it, And running away from it. I’m running towards them. So when I’m fighting ’em, they could tell something was off. But luckily everybody in my circle was there to kinda let me have my space.
They’d nurture me when needed. And again, a huge shout out to my girlfriend, hopefully fiance soon. he would shout out to her cuz she stuck with me through the whole process. She was there with me through the whole thing. She was my biggest supporter, so I was like, yep, I’m gonna marry this one . When you’re going through this, it can seem that the people you love the most are your biggest enemy. And it’s really hard to say that.
And I’m not trying to be offensive to those around me. I love ’em very much and I’m very grateful, but they just don’t know. So you also have to have this mindset of those around you. [00:34:00] They just don’t know. And they don’t know what they don’t know. And I, you’re sitting here thinking if they only. They wouldn’t do that.
They wouldn’t say that. They don’t realize how bad it’s affecting you, but you just have to remember, they don’t know and they’re not trying to hurt you. So that’s another big thing too, where I could see in relationship struggles where it’s, oh, she talks about this, he talks about that. He does this, he does that.
If he only knew her, she only knew you can go all day with that. But it’s, you have to talk about it, and you also have to realize they just don’t underst. And they probably won’t, and that’s okay. But they’re still there for you regardless.
Cynthia: Yeah. They’re, loving you the way that they know how, based on what they assume is what you’re going through.
And it’s not with malice, it’s with love that they’re trying to support you, even if it’s not the right way or the way you need it at that moment. I wonder, Mindy, for you [00:35:00] hearing Chris share some of. story and the shifts that he went through and the barriers that could have gotten in the way. Is that something that you’ve noticed with patients or that you have to kind of talk through during consults?
Mindy: What I like about the neurofeedback that I do is it’s very private and it’s remote. And since I am a private practice and I’m in. Remote location. Clients come in and they don’t feel like they’re gonna run into people they know or people are gonna see them coming in. And so they come in, they do the Q E G, the brain map, we set up a protocol, and then everything else is done at home.
And so they can be at home in their pajamas, at their workplace, wherever works in their schedule, and they can do neural feedback. And it’s their story. They don’t have to tell anybody what they’re doing but it is their time to take care of their needs and to heal their minds and their bodies and their souls.
And so I do [00:36:00] see, where a lot of men do struggle with asking for help, but human beings also like control, right? And being able to say, okay, I’m gonna put this headset on and I’m gonna do this. And they like to see data and when I can show results and immediately on a phone it’ll show how good your sessions were.
And so it, you can’t lie data. And so when I show webs and bar graphs and diagrams of, okay, here’s where you were to, here’s where you are now. There’s no lying in looking at the research and looking at what the brain is actually saying. And with neurofeedback, I have had some people ask me if they can feel the electrode.
The electrode. All that is doing is it has a paste on it and it is recording frequencies of your brain. It isn’t pulsating. It’s not shocking. You don’t even know that it’s on your head. It’s just the paste is [00:37:00] there so that I can get the data onto the computer from the neurofeedback system.
Cynthia: And I’d imagine being data driven is also maybe less scary
it’s not some unknown what’s going on, it’s, oh, here’s a map of my brain and the activity and why I’m feeling the way I feel. And so to be able to have something concrete to point to and say, ah, here’s the problem, .
Mindy: Yes. Yes, exactly.
Cynthia: I’m so glad that you both were able to find each other, cuz it sounds like it’s been a really beneficial process to both of you.
Cause I know, Mindy, how much you love to help people and see success stories like this. And for you Chris, I know it was important to be able to speak this out loud too, if there’s one. Message or one takeaway that you would like listeners to gain from this conversation, what would that be for you, Chris?[00:38:00]
Chris: It would be that, I’m an example that if you actually want to get better, it can be done. And there are individuals like Mindy with actin therapy out. That truly care about their patients, she truly cares about you. She honestly wants you to get better. So a good key takeaway is find somebody that is good, that’s gonna help take care of you.
And neurofeedback is just one additional tool that you can try to hopefully help you along your journey as that helped me. Hmm.
Cynthia: Perfect. And how about you, Mindy? What’s something that you hope people can gain from Chris sharing his story? I would say
Mindy: that it’s okay to not be okay. Everybody wants to pretend that.
they have perfect families, and the perfect marriage and work is going so well. And it’s okay if it’s not, and it’s okay to ask for help. And [00:39:00] like Chris said, it’s also okay to find the right person because if you try a therapist or you try a doctor and you don’t mesh with that person, your soul is not aligned with their soul, then that is not the person for.
And really just being strong and courageous and speaking your needs and advocating for yourself is so important.
Cynthia: Hmm. Yeah. And it’s really funny that you say that too cuz we just had our owner, founder, Alex Berger, on our first episode of this quarter episode 87, she was talking about finding the right fit and how important it is to find someone where you are.
Nervous system can be relaxed, right? An environment and a human being that you can connect with. Feel at ease. Cuz if. Trying to have therapy, but your fight and flight response is running and humming in the background. It’s really not gonna be nearly as beneficial. [00:40:00] So I think too, the fact that a lot of this therapy is done from home comfortably at your own pace, I feel like that just adds to how successful this can be because your nervous system’s already in a more neutral space.
Mindy: and it’s not common, Cynthia, for people to progress so well in only. Four months is the minimum of somebody having amazing results.
Usually after four months we cut back to where, then it’s just maybe once or twice a week. But really it shows like the brain can change. If you want it to change, it will change. And just putting in the work really. But. You’ve come so, so far and I’m so glad that you could share your story because I think that there are a lot of men that they don’t know what to do.
And a lot of ’em don’t wanna talk about their feelings. They don’t wanna come to do psychotherapy, they don’t wanna talk about past wounds and past trauma. But if they can see what’s [00:41:00] going on in their brain and they can just fix their brain and not even have to really talk to me about it.
That’s a huge plus too. Yeah. Yeah,
Cynthia: definitely. I know, I feel like this is a masculine friendly therapeutic option. Yes. It’s like you said, it’s let’s work on the brain, let’s work on the wavelengths don’t need to actually talk about stuff. We can just focus on brain functionality,
Chris: Yep. Even though it is very beneficial.
Mindy: Yeah. And if I look at like my client list, I would say that I might have more men than women doing neurofeedback right now. And it ranges from professional athletes to stay-at-home moms to, it’s like everybody, everybody can use neurofeedback because nobody’s brain is running optimally.
People can always. Improve something. Maybe they’re not sleeping good. Maybe they worry, maybe they can’t hit a certain record athletically, they’re trying to achieve [00:42:00] something and they can’t take it to the next step. Well, If you can improve your memory, you can improve your peak performance, all of that.
There’s so much that can happen with the neural feedback.
Chris: So before neurofeedback, like when I was working from home and stuff like this, I would try to avoid Zoom meetings even one-on-one. And the other day I had a three hour long meeting with my new boss in his office and I was focused calm the whole time, and three hours felt like 30 minutes if that.
So it definitely helps with focus. Being where I’m at now, there’s lots of people, lots of new people every day that I get to see, and I’m just excited. Instead of barely sleeping, because I’m nervous, it’s, I don’t wanna go to sleep because I’m excited to go to work tomorrow, or I’m excited to go out to dinner.
I’m excited to, go out and about, maybe go see a movie and just not, I’m not held back. I want to go do something. I can go do it. I don’t have to be held.
Cynthia: Hmm. Yeah, I was gonna share earlier when you were talking about how you [00:43:00] felt before neurofeedback and then after, it’s like I actually felt in my body, the tightening and then the release, the opening, the freedom and ugh, I’m so glad that you have that now.
And clearly you are taking advantage of that freedom .
Chris: Yes, definitely. I went out to breakfast with my grandma and I was like, I wanna start something that can raise funds. And I’m still trying to think of ways to either fully pay or help compensate individuals who need the help but can’t afford the appointments and the neurofeedback.
Just trying to help any way I can. Trying to refer people and just try to be that light in, in the world and just be that example that, hey, it’s okay. And now I’m living a very happy, fulfilled life. Relatively stress. Because of this and I want as many people to experience it as possible.
Cynthia: That’s beautiful. I’m excited to hear in the future one day, whatever it is you’re doing. Something big. . Yes. Because it sounds like you’ve got the [00:44:00] passion, the energy, and now that clarity and freedom that’s gonna just
Chris: take you there. Yeah, absolutely. At work now, it’s, I used to get intrusive thoughts a lot, especially with working from home and like we talked about earlier, as quick as they come is as quick as they go.
And being around people, I’m not nervous anymore. I can, be in a group and I can be fine. I can have a large group of people randomly show up and I’m in the midst and it’s okay. I’m relaxed and I’m actually having a good time. And like for my orientation with my new. , there was 40 people in there and I wasn’t expecting that.
And normally I don’t absorb information because I’m worried about all the people. But I absorbed everything. And then some, of course, it’s not fun drinking from a fire hose, but instead of panicking the whole time, I was able to focus on the information being taught to us speak in front of everybody engaged in the class.
Another thing for me was I would not eat, like I wouldn’t eat in front of people. I wouldn’t go out to eat. My stomach was basically barred cuz I was [00:45:00] so nervous and scared. They brought in a lunch. I ate lunch there. I talked with individuals and I didn’t feel sick after. So that was a big win for me.
And I did tell one of my coworkers about my journey a little bit. We got to talk about it and it’s another man and I don’t feel like I have to hold back. I feel like I can. And I can talk about it and he’s I can’t remember what he said, but something like, it was a big step for me to actually take this position and I said, I wouldn’t say it’s a big step, but I’d say it’s an achievement, it’s an accomplishment.
I was actually able to do this and enjoy it and continue to enjoy it because of the treatment I went through.
Cynthia: So it’s such a beautiful testament this was such a treat. I’ve never really been able to have a conversation with a therapist and their patient together. This is a treat hopefully for all the listeners thank you both so much for reaching out and for making this happen.
Mindy: Yeah, of course. Thank you.
Chris: Yeah, thank you very [00:46:00] much.