How one mum used a little-known tool to help her overcome depression
Fresh from completing her Diploma of Counselling and re-launching her website, I caught up with Lucy-Anne from Lucy-Anne Lewis – Neurofeedback and Counselling to learn more about her personal story, how it has motivated her to help other women, particularly mums, and what services she now provides.
You have a great story to tell about a tool that is not really well known -Neurofeedback -Can you tell us how you first heard about it, and what drew you to it?
I first heard about Neurofeedback when two of my siblings started using it to help overcome their depression (one being postnatal depression). Seeing their transformations was very powerful for me.
I also remember I was walking along King Street in the city one morning before work, on the phone to my Dad in tears. I hated me. I was so depressed. He urged me to go and try Neurofeedback. I did. It changed my life.
I was hooked from my first session. It brought me back and woke me up. I was in a horrible relationship, I hated my job, I had no self-esteem, no self-worth, I was struggling with severe body dysmorphia and eating disorder, not to mention depression and anxiety… I was at my lowest point.
As I continued to train with Neurofeedback, things started getting easier. I left my job, my relationship, and started my journey to loving myself again. I healed. I got ‘me’ back.
I also had a very easy pregnancy. I didn’t really suffer any hormone imbalances, I kinda breezed through it. And my birth experience was very positive. I had a planned c-section because there was risk of my chunky baby getting stuck (and she did anyway), and my recovery was phenomenal. I mean, I was getting told off by the nurses for not using my Pethidine drip, but I literally had no pain. I was up and walking the next day, as if I hadn’t just had major surgery. And it wasn’t until weeks afterwards, talking to other mothers, that I realised my experience actually wasn’t normal.
And I decided then and there I needed to help other women. I wanted them to have the same joyful, easy time I had, which is why I like to focus on seeing women. Pregnancy and birth brings HUGE changes in a women’s life, HUGE, and they need support through that.
I’ve been a Neurofeedback practitioner for 6 years now, and I still love every second of it. I still train when I feel like I need one, and I am just as passionate about it.
Can you give an overview of the service that you provide?
Neurofeedback is a non-invasive brain training that helps the brain return to stability and operate at it’s best. Neurofeedback uses real-time brain activity to show the brain what it’s doing, as it’s doing it. It’s like holding a mirror up to your brain so it can see what it’s doing.
I use NeurOptimal Neurofeedback, which is an auditory feedback system developed by clinical psychologists. If you came to have a session with me, I’d sit you in a big comfy chair, attach 3 sensors to your ears and 2 to your head, pop some headphones on, and you would sit back and relax, listening to music. That’s it. You wouldn’t need to do anything. You can even fall asleep.
It’s working with your unconscious mind and central nervous system. The sensors monitor your brain activity, and if they notice turbulent processing, they interrupt the music. That’s the feedback. By constantly bringing your brain’s attention to what it’s doing, it learns how to self-regulate and you are able to effectively integrate your life experiences.
As I mentioned, it’s non-invasive. The sensors are not doing anything other than monitoring. They are not trying to push or pull your brain, they are not taking anything away, or putting anything in, merely reflecting back. Your brain then uses this information to learn. Learn about what it’s doing, learn to strengthen ‘good’ neural pathways, forget ‘bad’ ones, and even learn new ones!
I like to work with women, and primarily with pregnant and postnatal women because of my own experiences. I provide integrated solutions for optimal health, performance and personal growth. Including postnatal depression, anxiety, stress and hormonal changes
What was the process for being certified in Neurofeedback, and what other qualifications do you hold?
The process is quite easy for Neurofeedback really. There are three levels, basic, advanced and master. I’m advanced certified. Each level trains with a master trainer, and you can do it online with NeurOptimal. I was lucky enough to be able to do it in person with John Thompson, transformational ecopsychologist, philosopher & Master Trainer. The basic was a three day intensive, and the advanced was a 12 month journey. I also have a Diploma of Counselling.
How do you maintain balance as a mum in business?
Well, it’s tough! I’m lucky that I have a fantastic support team. And, I deliberately set up my business to be able to be flexible. Balance is important, you need both work and play in your life. I fit my business in around my life, not the other way around. I tend to see clients in the morning, because Hubby works afternoon/evening, so he is home during the day. Family comes first for me and I strive to live life as my authentic self, love without limit, be vulnerable, and know that I am enough.
If you would like to know more about Neurofeedback or the service that Lucy-Anne provides you can check out her website here.
This post was a collaboration between Wholehearted Family Health and Lucy-Anne Lewis Neurofeedback & Counselling. This information is about just one tool that may aid in the treatment of mental health disorders, it is not intended to replace individualised advice from a conventional medical doctor. If you are concerned about your mental health please speak to your doctor or call Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyondblue 1300 22 4636 (Australia).