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Addiction Recovery Nurses “On Fire” After One-on-One Neurofeedback Training

“When we headed home after training with Mike Cohen we were on fire!”

That’s how Ann Webster, R.N. described her feelings the day she and her colleague Dorothy Denigris, R.N. hopped on a plane at Palm Beach International Airport and headed back home to Connecticut. They had spent the previous day training intensively one-on-one with Mike in anticipation of adding neurofeedback to the unique addiction recovery program in which they play key roles.

Dorothy Denigris, R.N. (standing) and Ann Webster, R.N. are practicing doing neurofeedback on one another as they prepare to start integrating it into their practice.

“Neither of us knew a thing about neurofeedback when we arrived, but we certainly knew a lot by the time we left,” Ann recalled.

Ann and Dorothy work for Aware Recovery Care in North Haven, Connecticut and Bedford, New Hampshire and partner in providing certain services to the program’s clients.

Aware Recovery Care provides an In-Home Addiction Treatment (IHATTM) program. The program is founded on the research-supported idea that recovery in the “real world” (i.e. at home) results in better outcomes than being in a rehab facility, and increases the patient’s overall physical and psychological well-being.

Before training with Mike, Ann had bought neurofeedback equipment from a local neurofeedback practitioner after hearing from several people that neurofeedback was useful in promoting recovery and long-term sobriety.

She and Dorothy only wanted to use the equipment after obtaining professional training, but their schedules didn’t permit attending one of Mike’s regularly-scheduled Neurofeedback 101 courses.

When a neurofeedback practitioner recommended Mike for possible one-on-one instruction, they contacted him to see how he could help. He agreed to do a one-day intensive training session, so they chose a date and made plans to fly to Florida.

The first thing Mike did was let them observe him training clients on Saturday morning.

In the afternoon, with the office quiet, Mike gave them a tutorial using the instruction packet he uses for his Neurofeedback 101 courses.

He introduced them to how to set up the equipment. He demonstrated electrode placement and let Ann and Dorothy practice on each other. He went over basic protocols and explained the fundamentals of neurofeedback. He also spent time helping them think through how they could use neurofeedback most effectively in their environment – clients’ homes.

“I went over with Ann and Dorothy such things as what clinicians should expect, how long it can take to see progress and the best approaches to serving their particular client population,” said Mike.

“We had a lot to cover, because it takes considerable training and knowledge to be able to do neurofeedback correctly.”

Ann and Dorothy said that by the time they left, they had a good foundation of neurofeedback knowledge, though they knew they needed more training before implementing it.

To help them continue their education with someone closer, Mike put them in touch with Dr. Ray McGarty in Dover, New Hampshire. Ray provides neurofeedback and specializes in addictive disorders and trauma.

After more training with Ray and possibly with Mike, Ann and Dorothy intend to integrate neurofeedback into their services.

Reflecting on their time with Mike, Ann said, “He’s a great teacher and a really good listener. He met us ‘where we were’ and was able to intuitively pick up what we needed. He said if we had any questions he’d be available to help us. He has a really generous spirit, too. He’s very approachable and so much fun.”

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