Enhancement of Spiritual Transformation thru Alpha-Theta Training
I started group counseling at the battered women’s shelter on my forty-third birthday. Everything in me screamed that this isn’t what I had planned for my life. As I was terminating a three-year relationship, my ex-boyfriend lost his temper and hit me. He had never hit me before, although I had been afraid of his violence for awhile. He only hit me once, but he did substantial damage… The most obvious injury was a perforated eardrum, which required major surgery to repair. Several months later, I realized my reading ability was significantly impaired. Sleeping became a form of torture–two or three restless hours a night were all I could manage. Short-term memory became a thing of the past. Sometimes a day and a half would go by before I would remember to eat. Irritability and depression became my constant companions. In short, I was exhibiting all of the classic symptoms of brain damage, but I didn’t know this at the time.
Finally, an EEG showed frontal lobe damage. Dr. Jonathan Walker and Ann Delaney, the psychologist who had done a psychological profile on me, told me about a treatment that could help. Neurofeedback–what was that? However, I was ready to try anything because I was desperate. The thought of not being able to read terrified me–where would I get my brain food? Against this fairly cataclysmic backdrop, I was introduced to EEG Neurofeedback.
Initially, Beta training helped repair the frontal lobe damage. Within a week or so, I could sleep longer and more restfully. Slowly, I began to be able to remember to eat. Then, thankfully, my ability to read improved. I was quite relieved! Remembering conversations and what I was doing from one minute to the next became easier. After twenty-five or so beta sessions, I began realizing I was less irritable and depressed.
Still, I was suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, which many battered women experience. There is emotional strain in recovering from any failed relationship, but the pain was intensified when I lost part of my hearing, had major surgery, was violently relocated, and become very unpopular all at once, not to mention tho brain damage. In short, I was emotionally and physically devastated.
In addition, I had discovered that prosecuting a man who hits and injuries a woman is, amazingly, not considered appropriate behavior in some circles. Many people were blaming me. They wanted to know how I could have LET him hit me! He admitted hitting me, but did not want to be legally or financially responsible. So I was left with no real choice but to prosecute criminally, partly because I had already accrued about ten thousand dollars worth of medical bills. Still, I was labeled as nothiong more than an angry woman by some. I was very angry, not only at him, but increasingly, at our legal system and societal attitudes in general. My anger must have been very apparent, because Mike Dunagan, Dr. Haler’s chief neurofeedback technician, suggested that I try some Alpha-Theta training. I agreed, not having any idea at the time how that decision would change my life.
The first time Mike hooked me up, I immediately went into a deep meditative state. Mike told me to recreate a traumatic event I might like to resolve in a different way, so I chose the battering event that had placed me in the neurologist’s office. As soon as I went back to the crime scene in my memory, I knew things were very different. I stopped the memory after he hit me, the same way you do with a movie on the VCR, and asked him what he (my ex-boyfriend) thought I should do now.
Very quickly I realized we were having a Higher Power to Higher power conversation. Tuned to another level of consciousness, I felt strongly our souls were communicating. On this level, he told me how sorry he was for injuring me, and that he was afraid of hurting someone else even worse. He told me to go ahead with the criminal prosecution, because possibly the help he needed would be available that way. He said if I loved him, this is what I could do for him. He sanctioned his own punishment!
After this conversation, I started crying. I knew he was right. The image was so strong and so pure, I felt comfortable in believing what I had seen and heard. Now I not only had a clear course of action, I was free to pursue the next stage of my grieving process. I felt a tremendous dissipation of my anger. Up to that point, my anger had helped motivate me, but it was becoming a skin I needed to shed.
Anger had traditionally been difficult for me to get rid of. I now had a process I could use for the rest of my life to deal with anger, although I did not realize the implications at the time. During one thirty-minute session, I was able to accomplish what I believe could have taken ten to twenty (or more) traditional psychotherapy sessions to accomplish. I was impressed. Subsequently, I was to become even more impressed.
We need to digress for a moment. Understanding how I even came to be in this situation might be helpful. I was an abused child, both physically, sensually, and emotionally. Learning as a child how to be abused is not an easily broken pattern, although I had been trying for years. I do not consider myself weak or stupid, but I had never been able to get away from abuse.
Anyway, I had been mad at God since childhood. I could not understand how, if God loved all the children, he could have let me be born into such a wretchedly miserable family. What had I done to deserve this? What seemed a demonstrable lack of love on God’s part led me to eschew Christianity. It all seemed to be either a cruel lie, some sick cosmic humor or simply some form of governmental control designed to keep a man in line. I drifted along spiritually bereft for many years.
Finally, I came upon Buddhism. Without some form of spiritual explanation, which Buddhism provided, I believe I might have died. I needed a counterpoint far my toxic upbringing, which practicing Buddhism provided. Impartiality in the Universe appealed to me, because then I no longer had to be mad at a God who had seemingly deserted me. Balancing karma became my main concern. I attributed all my travails to my own karma, but I was still never able to completely shake my victim mentality. As my life became increasingly convoluted, I longed to believe in something that would fill the void in my life where love should ga. After years of Buddhism, I dimly began to consider Christianity, because I knew if I never learned how to forgive, I would be stuck in anger and negativity forever. I was ripe far a metamorphosis.
After the battering incident, I became even more aware that my way was not working. I had reached a crossroads. The minute my ex hit me, f became aware of some sort of spiritual guidance around me. At a cellular level, I knew i would never be a victim again. I recognized that my life was changed forever. In the weeks following the incident, I started to learn to depend an the spiritual Guidance I was receiving, but I had still not associated it with Christ or Christianity. During this time, I began attending a meditation. Not long after the initial Alpha-Theta session, I saw Jesus during meditation. I had never experienced such a beautiful presence. He emitted such love and kindness– exactly what I had been searching far. I became Christian on the spot, although I did not speak of it to anyone at the time. My conversation had nothing to do with religion, or the church, or right and wrong. This was a completely personal experience. My life was changed. I finally had a role model.
As I progressed with the Alpha-Theta training, I began to see Jesus during my sessions. Listening to ocean waves crash on the shore is auditory inducement to theta waves. i began to have sessions where Jesus would appear on the beach and we would have conversations. I felt loved and supported. I began to see how all my troubles, from birth forward, were in preparation for my real work, which is to be of service. I began to gain a broader perspective of not only my own life, but the troubles others find themselves in, too.
The realization started dawning that part of the reason I had been hit was to jar me out of my left-brain thinking. I had been stuck in rational thought f or many years. One of the effects of child abuse is that children learn not to believe their own intuition, which is telling them something is wrong while all of the adults they are supposed to be able to depend upon are denying this reality. The depth of a family’s dysfunctionality can be measured by their willingness to deny reality. My family became masters at the game of reality-denying. Consequently, I learned to believe the thinking portion of my brain instead of the feeling part. I became functionally illiterate on the right-brain, but very adept at left-brain activity. I believe the kind of spiritual guidance I was receiving, as well as the visions, are right-brain activities. I began to be tuned into my intuition.
I came to see the Alpha-Theta training as not only a neurological tool, but a spiritual one also. Alpha-Theta is a direct line to the subconscious. According to Hans Selye’s model of stress, too much time spent in “alarm” can blow some of our ’emotional buffer’ circuits. I spent so many years in fight or flight that some of my circuitry must have been fried.
Working diligently on spiritual/physical/emotional healing became my main goal. For several months, Alpha- Theta training, sleeping, and meditation classes became my main activities. Drastic trauma, I believe, can provide a spiritual door to walk through if we choose. I chose to walk through the door. Times of stress need some counter balance. I found my counter balance in the adaption of Christianity, with Alpha-Theta as a help along the way. Spiritually, I was progressing by leaps and. I began to understand what the term Christian mystic meant. Dr. Millerman and I discussed the metaphysical and spiritual implications of my transformation. Being of a curious and open-minded bent, he encouraged me. After all, I had always thought any one who sees visions to be possibly insane or doing drugs. I was/am neither. In fact, I finally began to trust my own sanity, an effect of many years of abuse. I became secure in my perceptions of reality. Dr. Millerman encouraged the use of Alpha-Theta work as a springboard for a program of meditation and prayer, which I have done. now pray and meditate daily, which has been very calming.
Additionally, I would like to report more positive changes. My menses are no longer a tortuous ride to hell. I no longer have drastic mood swings, nor do I experience such extremes of anger. I sleep less, and am no longer chronically depressed. My immune system is better, and I no longer crave as many foods that are bad for me. I have also noticed I am no longer cold all the time, which may be attributable to increased bounds thyroid function, a general lessening of stress, or both. I feel that my endocrine system in general, and adrenal system in particular, is more functional. Focusing upon tasks to completion is easier. I am now better able to move back and forth at will between reason and intuition. No longer in a near-constant state of fight or flight, I can move from action to relaxation with more ease. Much of the damage done during childhood, damage to my emotional circuits in particular, has been alleviated. I have begun to see myself as the special human that I am. I have become more normal and functional!
I would like to mention what I see as some of the other positive benefits of Alpha-Theta training. First, it is primarily self-directed therapy. Dr. Millerman was an invaluable help to me, but he stayed out of the way while my brain and spirit directed my therapy. No other systems of traditional psychotherapy, with the exception of the twelve-step programs, offer such “hands-off” healing. All of the major systems I know of involve some authoritative figure “helping.” The mind/body know what to do to heal themselves; neurofeedback provides a rich medium for innate healing wisdom to work. Neurofeedback is also non-invasive, reducing the possibility of operator error. Nothing goes IN the brain, but the patient is given a perfect mirror to work with on his/her own. Also, allopathic methods do not address the organic or mechanical causes of disorders, which neurofeedback does. Consequently, opportunity is provided for real healing, rather than making or simple alleviation of symptoms. Another advantage is the coot, when compared with long-term chemical or psychotherapeutic modes.
Thinking about the possible arguments against neurofeedback brings me to another point. Our society is focused primarily on beta-type activities, at the sacrifice of alpha-theta. Many people do not pray, meditate, or take long walks in the woods. Working with soil, or sewing ran long winter nights are the types of activities which I believe promote a stronger connection between our cognitive and subconscious natures. As a society, we might be able to benefit from the types of integration which Alpha-Theta training can provide. Theta activity is a big part of our connection to God, Higher Power, Buddhahood, or whatever name you would care to apply. Isn’t the breakdown of our spiritual connection part of our global and national problem?
Along with all of that, reduction of hopelessness in the patient as a major advantage. No one wants to think they are not fixable. Neurofeedback can help restore belief in the normalcy and balance of nature.
In conclusion, I would like to say that the Beta training repaired the most obvious damage to my cognitive functions. Alpha-Theta repaired more subtle, but equally profound, damage to my emotional circuitry done during childhood and beyond. Because of this treatment, I am in better shape emotionally and physically than I have been since I was a very young child. Neurofeedback is a true twentieth-century miracle treatment and deserves to be treated as such.