Mental health providers and other professionals often talk about a child or adult's "dysregulation" and "self-regulation," but these terms are often left undefined. A 2017 summary and the 2015 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services help define self-regulation and show the complex social, biological, and environmental factors involved in development of self-regulation.
The summary defines self-regulation as "the act of managing one’s thoughts and feelings to engage in goal-directed actions such as organizing behavior, controlling impulses, and solving problems constructively."
Being able to self-regulate helps us succeed in many aspects of life, including creating satisfying relationships, tolerating difficulty, prospering in school and work, managing finances, and maintaining physical and mental health. Self-regulation is a critical life skill. ...continue reading →
Therapeutic farms use work in a natural environment to improve mental health.
Did you know that the State of Maryland was actually an innovator in this approach over a century ago?
In the 1970s I spent a summer working with older men at the Springfield State Hospital in Sykesville, MD. Long before Springfield was a mental institution, it was an estate and working farm, originally developed as the dowry for the daughter of a wealthy Baltimorean, William Patterson. His daughter was intended to marry Napoleon Bonaparte's brother, Jerome Bonaparte, although the marriage was later blocked by Napoleon.
In 1896, the State of Maryland transformed Springfield into a mental institution. Springfield was intended as an advance, using a more humane medical model for care instead of the prior practice of housing the "insane" in almshouses and poor farms ...continue reading →
Work and intensive contact with nature can help people recover from psychotic disorders, sometimes completely.
Maryland was an innovator in this approach over a century ago. The state abandoned this model, perhaps due to the public's fluctuating concern for the mentally ill and unwillingness to fund treatment programs. Eventually Maryland's mental institutions were better known for abuse and overcrowding.
Therapeutic farms are making a comeback. In the US, the Hopewell Community is having positive outcomes with its therapeutic farm community by using work and contact with nature as a means to improving social skills, emotional self-regulation, and consistent medication use. ...continue reading →
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) are common issues for both children and adults. Symptoms may include:
narrow focus on the present moment
lack of attention to details
lack of body awareness and control
prone to distraction
failure to consider the consequences of behavior
difficulty with organization
difficulty with sustained projects and following through with chores
frequent fidgeting or squirming
very active, difficulty sitting still
blurting out answers, not waiting their turn
Individuals with ADHD/ADD often perform poorly in school and in the workplace, even though they may be highly intelligent and creative. These attention issues are often inherited, with the condition appearing in multiple generations of the family.
The most common treatment for ADHD/ADD is medication, but when the medications are stopped, the condition returns. Neurofeedback can be a highly effective alternative because it allows the areas of the brain that control arousal and focus to learn how to self-regulate. Neurofeedback can improve school, sport, and work performance, as well as social skills and self esteem. Unlike medication, the effects of neurofeedback training are often lasting, although occasional "touch-ups" are sometimes necessary in order to maintain the progress.
In this video, a boy who had ADHD describes his experiences before and after training with neurofeedback.
Contact me, if you're wondering whether you or your child might benefit from neurofeedback brain training.