Train Your Brain into Greater Emotional Health and Wellness: Q&A with The Brain Wave Center
by Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
Over these last 15 months since the pandemic abruptly changed life as we once knew it, the rate of emotional distress and mental illness has skyrocketed among Americans.
Near the end of 2020, the number of both children and adults in the U.S. seeking help for anxiety, depression, loneliness and even suicidal thoughts increased to levels unseen in recent years prior (State of Mental Health in America 2020 data).
The prevalence of these mental health challenges tends to be further exacerbated within marginalized communities where resources are often inaccessible or unaffordable. However, treatment for mental and emotional wellness should be a basic human right for all of us, not reserved just for those with financial means.
This, in fact, is the ethos of The Brain Wave Center which exists to make healthy cognitive function attainable to everyone who needs it in the Southwest Florida community. With depression, anxiety and other related concerns at an all-time high, optimal brain health is just as crucial as physical wellness.
For more insights on how to relieve the symptoms of emotional distress and help restore the brain’s neural pathways to a state of balance, I spoke to Gregg Sledziewski, Executive Director of The Brain Wave Center. Our conversation was rife with practical information and solutions that anyone can benefit from, as you will see in the Q&A below.
Natural Awakenings: How does Neurofeedback specifically help in the treatment of depression and other mental health conditions?
Gregg Sledziewski: Depression and other common mental health conditions such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress and ADHD are accompanied by abnormal brain electrical activity.
Just as the electrical activity of the heart can be determined by an EKG, brain electrical activity can be observed by qEEG brain mapping, then trained into healthier, more harmonious neural patterns through Neurofeedback. As this brain activity becomes regulated, the symptoms associated with emotional distress, as well as many common mental health conditions, can be alleviated or eliminated.
NA: Can you describe Transmagnetic Cranial Stimulation, how this modality works and how it can also be used to treat depression?
Sledziewski: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a drug-free, painless and non-invasive treatment therapy that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate activity in the neurons of the brain. There are several TMS medical devices cleared by the FDA for use in treating Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and migraine headaches.
At The Brain Wave Center, we use a repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (PrTMS.) This method of treatment was designed to offer a gentler, more personalized approach to this modality. Unlike traditional TMS, where all clients receive the same treatment therapy, PrTMS incorporates diagnostic assessments and a brain function analysis for a TMS treatment plan tailored to each individual to help yield more optimal results.
Research indicates that PrTMS could be helpful for patients suffering from a variety of mental health conditions, as well as for healthy individuals, such as athletes, who are interested in high-level human performance. This is an outpatient therapy, and clients are able to drive themselves both to and from appointments.
NA: Can you talk about the Diagnostic Testing and Therapy Clinic that’s being launched and how this will further serve the community?
Sledziewski: The launch of our new Diagnostic Testing and Therapy Clinic is rooted in the specific needs of the charity organizations we partner with, as well as our own client base. The diagnostic part of this clinic evolved from requests from partners, such as Easterseals and The Florida Center for Early Childhood, in response to their backlog of children who require assessments such as ADOS (autistic spectrum disorder) and general attention deficient.
These organizations have cited a several month waiting period, which is too long for many families who need interventions for their children. Since The Brain Wave Center already has two Doctors of Psychology working with us, it just made sense to help reduce this backlog, so more children and families can access the care they both need and deserve.
Our team incorporates proven testing and assessment methods, backed by qEEG Brain Map analysis, in order to identify conditions and determine the most accurate, comprehensive therapies for them. We are opening the therapeutic side of this clinic based on our own experience and peer-reviewed studies. Through the use of advances in applied neuroscience— specifically, neurofeedback with evidenced based models of psychotherapy—we often see superior results for our clients.
At The Brain Wave Center, we offer psychotherapy services, either alone or in conjunction with neurofeedback training sessions. Since our goal is to achieve breakthrough results, we use proven treatment approaches, combined with the latest effective technology to build a customized treatment solution for each unique individual.
NA: Why is it important to ensure that mental health treatment resources and interventions are widely accessible to the public?
Sledziewski: The stigma of mental health treatment has begun to fade, as people become aware that it’s possible to experience a healthier, more fulfilling life. At The Brain Wave Center we want to assist everyone in balancing their emotional health in order to overcome anxiety, depression, PTSD and other common mood disorders.
Gregg Sledziewski is the Executive Director of The Brain Wave Center, located at 640 S Washington Blvd., Sarasota. The hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 941-552-4500 or visit BrainWaveCenters.com. The Brain Wave Center offers an extensive range of treatments such as Brain Mapping, Neurofeedback Training, Psychotherapy and Nutrition Therapy.
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer is the Managing Editor of Natural Awakenings Sarasota–Manatee. She also works as a freelance writer, blogger and social media marketer. Her personal blog HealthBeAHippie.Wordpress.com features tips for embracing an active, nutritious, balanced and empowered lifestyle.