“A Symphony in the Brain” by Jim Robbins provides a history and background of Neurofeedback training. He begins with more primitive research and experiments on the brain, to the first training sessions with cats and seizures, to how it looks today. Robbins explains what Neurofeedback(sometimes referred to as Biofeedback) addresses in our brains, conditions it can help with, and what it actually does to train our brain. He explores the evolution of the technology as well as the big players in the field. He explores possible reasons it has not become as mainstream as other medical and mental health interventions and why it has not been adopted by the medical field.
Neurofeedback for those who have not experienced it, can seem “too good to be true” or more Science Fiction related. Basically, Neurofeedback uses sensors placed on specific locations on the head, to read the electricity in the brain, provide “feedback” to the brain on this activity in the form of a game or movie screen, and then allows the brain to do with it what it wants to. The brain responds by training itself to return to homeostasis and function the way it was meant to be before biology and life experiences interfered. Neurofeedback has the ability to address many areas but the major ones are improved sleep, moods, attention, and pain management. This technology has been featured in Bessel Van Der Kolk’s book “The Body Keeps the Score.”
I was required to read this book before I attended training at the Othmer Clinic(EEG Info). Since I was interested in learning how to provide the service myself as well as had trained my brain, I found this book to be interesting and helpful in understanding the evolution of the technology. It could be quite dry and boring for those who are not providing Neurofeedback training.
I began to develop this idea 2 years ago after I received a basket full of Christmas goodies and had no foreseeable use for the basket. So the “Cool Down Basket” was born! As an Outpatient Therapist, I regularly meet with people who are anxious in my office and need something to take the edge off or children who benefit from practicing various coping mechanisms with me to use at home or school. Parents come to me as well for assistance in helping their child with emotional regulation. The “Cool Down Basket” is perfect, fun, and soothing for all ages!
Start off with a basket, box, or other container to put the items in. Fill it with various “fiddle toys” that you can find at the dollar, party, cheesy touristy, or toy store. I have found many items online at Trainer’s Warehouse or Amazon. For those children who like to draw, include a piece of paper and some markers. The “Calm Down Jar” is all over Pinterest. For children, I suggest making it out of a plastic bottle and hot glue the top on to avoid colored glitter water from getting all over the place! Making your own items or having your child create something for the basket keeps it personal.
Some staples for any basket include:
A stress ball
“Calm Down Jar”
Pinwheel(to practice deep breaths)
Random squishy things
and who doesn’t love “Bug-Eye Bob?”
This idea can translate to a smaller version for the car or school. Therapists can create a similar one for their office and what adult doesn’t like to have a fiddle toy or two on their desk for those stressful days?? Most of all, be creative, have fun, and “cool down!”