After eight years in practice, LCSW Jasie Boyd found herself frustrated.
Employing conventional talk therapy tools alone often required months of sessions before clients with complex issues opened up and made significant progress. Some people she couldn’t help at all. She wished there were a better way.
One day she got that wish.
A colleague told her about neurofeedback. She was “fascinated” and, after attending a Neurofeedback 101 class at the Center for Brain Training office, was hooked.
“My undergrad studies were in technology, but I did a complete career-180 and went into clinical social work,” explained Jasie, who’s in private practice in Cypress, Texas outside of Houston.
A match made in heaven
“Neurofeedback was a match made in heaven for me. It had a lot of empirical research. It could help me help my clients better, and it involved technology, which I was comfortable with. I really loved that there’s no end to the depths to plumb with neurofeedback. I knew I wasn’t going to be bored doing it.”
As groundwork, Jasie read numerous books about neurofeedback before coming to the course.
Because she was so well-prepared, she had some down time while other students were working on the basics. She seized the opportunity to pick instructor Mike Cohen’s brain, who responded with openness to her passionate curiosity.
“Even when he was supposed to be on a break, he was available and didn’t act like I was bugging him,” she recalled. “He let me pepper him with questions and dig as much as I wanted to.”
Jasie recalled that the group was diverse, composed of people with varying levels of familiarity with neurofeedback, different types of practices and different theoretical orientations, but “I don’t think there was anybody there who didn’t feel like Mike was teaching them personally,” she said.
“Mike’s knowledge of content is amazing,” continued Jasie, whom became Mike’s mentee, “and there’s something about the way he presents the material that really makes it stick. He breaks things down so that it’s incredibly understandable without dumbing it down.”
A safety net
Jasie needed equipment and advice on adding neurofeedback to her practice. She turned to Dr. Elizabeth “Liz” Doyle, Center for Brain Training’s Director of Education, whom she met at the course.
“Liz has been a phenomenal resource,” said Jasie. “She helped me get to the training and advised me on setting up my practice. She helped me decide what equipment to buy and walked me through setting it up. She helps me when I have problems with my electronics. She has countless resources for where to go and what to do and has steered me through all the practicalities.
“Between Mike’s mentoring and Liz’s help and support, I feel like I have a nice safety net.”
More demand for services than she can meet
When Jasie returned from the course and began offering neurofeedback, she was surprised to observe that before long half the people seeking her services asked specifically for neurofeedback. She now has more demand than she can meet.
Combining neurofeedback with conventional therapy
Jasie typically combines neurofeedback with conventional therapy.
“What often happens is that people come for traditional therapy, but it becomes clear that they would benefit from neurofeedback. I tell them I offer it and that it might open a window for us to do the work more quickly. If they agree, I’ll do neurofeedback for a while, then titrate down once their anxiety has decreased.
“I love combining the therapies,” she continued. “Neurofeedback helps clients go to hard, deep places much more quickly and safely. Neurofeedback reduces their arousal and anxiety so their gains are more rapid. We arrive at places after three months of neurofeedback training that would normally take a year and a half.
The power of neurofeedback
“When you hit that sweet spot of frequency and see things improving, you realize how powerful neurofeedback is. Because you can’t see it, it’s sometimes easy to forget how strong it is.
Helping a new range of clients
“I cannot imagine now trying to practice without neurofeedback,” Jasie added. “There are clients I simply would not be able to help without it. Offering neurofeedback provides an entire new range of people I can serve.”
Learn more about Jasie Boyd at www.jasieboyd.com
Jasie’s client stories
Jasie sees a lot of teen clients with ADHD. She says the single biggest concern the kids have is, “Will it change who I am?”
She tells them: It won’t change who you are. You’re just going to become more you. (They like that explanation).
She says most of her results haven’t been miracles…just slow and steady improvement.
“One of my favorite clients is a high school boy with Asperger’s,” she said. “He has academic difficulties and, as you would expect, a lot of social ones. His mother bought a neurofeedback system which I help her use by designing protocols.
“Since starting neurofeedback, the way he engages with people has changed. He’s better able to read social cues. He reacts more appropriately to his environment and is having less peer pushback. He becomes aware that he’s being annoying and stops himself. He still has challenges, but the quality of his life has improved.”
Another case involves an eight-year-old adopted boy with fetal alcohol syndrome. He has developmental delays, including still having to wear a diaper. His gross motor skills are poor, resulting in his being clumsy.
His eyes don’t move in a coordinated fashion. He has to sit very close to the TV. He has a lot of headaches.
“Since doing neurofeedback training, his mother and occupational therapist say they’re noticing improvements. His vision, balance and headaches have improved. He’s generally calmer, and he’s able to sit farther back from the TV,” Jasie said.
Another client had been struggling for years with significant depression, anxiety and ADHD. He couldn’t take medication because of his profession. He said that doing neurofeedback was the first time he’s ever been able to have actual relief.
“He jokingly calls neurofeedback his crack,” Jasie said.