EMDR Relieves Stress and Disempowerment for Santa Monica Residents

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Do you have experiences that are causing you problems in your present life?  Do you have emotions, beliefs, or body sensations that are pushing you in the wrong direction?  Do you have experiences from your recent or long-ago past that made you feel worthless and useless that affected your ability to have a fulfilling and successful life?  Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective to relieve many types of psychological stress.

We will work together to discover the events from the past that created the problem or present situations that cause distress.  Negative emotions, behaviors, and feelings are resolved through sets of eye movements that desensitize you from these disturbing elements.  You can identify, process through, and desensitize.  Fear, anger, and other negative feelings are replaced by positive beliefs.  You are desensitized to stressful events and it is reprocessed in a way that allows you to feel more in control and positive about your life.  EMDR strengthens these positive self-beliefs and the body sensations and negative feelings associated with the problem will disappear.

Every person has different needs for EMDR treatment. Some people can jump right into EMDR with no problem.  Others may need to work on feeling safe enough to proceed by using neurofeedback before going into the deeper issues.  Treatment focuses on desensitizing the past memories that are contributing to your problem, processing through the present situations that are disturbing, and developing positive thoughts for a happier future.

While we do not understand how EMDR works to change the brain, there appears to be a correlation to the way the brain processes information during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.  Whatever stressful situation caused you to become upset initially gets played over and over in your mind as if you are experiencing the disturbing situation for the first time.  Your brain gets stuck in a loop of anxiety.  This anxiety whirlpool has an on-going negative impact on your human relationships and how you generally view the world.  EMDR therapy reprograms your neural pathways so that routine brain functions resume.  The stressful event is remembered without the emotional baggage constantly clouding your judgment.

An example might be someone living in the Santa Monica, California area who experiences an earthquake where he was woken up in the middle of the night at age 10.  From that point on, his sleep patterns became distressed and erratic, preventing him from going into deep sleep.  He has not had a good night’s sleep in years.  He makes rash decisions because his mind is hazy from lack of sleep.  His choices then tumble into place like dominoes.  His financial decision to buy a house in a neighborhood like Manhattan Beach, where the effects of earthquakes are rarely felt, overcomes his ability to accurately assess his financial situation.  Manhattan Beach turns out to be too expensive, so he winds up in financial straits.  The financial stresses lead to heightened anxiety in his household.  His wife wants children, but because they cannot afford it, her unhappiness eventually leads to a breakdown of their intimacy and finally, divorce. This is exactly the sort of scenario that can be avoided with proper EMDR treatment.


Neurofeedback Therapy Helps Stress of Cancer Treatment

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Tig Notaro’s recent diagnosis of cancer has shown how a well-known celebrity deals with cancer: she talks about it.  She has opened up and received support from friends and the world at large.  Not all of us have the ability to receive such widespread support, however, there are equally healthy ways that all people afflicted with cancer can cope and maybe even thrive.

Physical symptoms of cancer treatment, usually chemotherapy and radiation therapy are:  fatigue, pain, nausea and vomiting, constipation and diarrhea, nutrition and eating problems, hair loss, confusion and memory problems, skin changes, and loss of libido.  Many of these symptoms are heightened by stress and anxiety.    In this article we will first deal with fear about cancer and the stifling effect this has on your ability to confront it.  We will talk about a treatment called neurofeedback, that might help you feel safe enough to then explore four techniques, aside from medication, for dealing with the symptoms of cancer.

Pain, fatigue, and the fear of what cancer is doing to you can lead to a great deal of stress and depression.  The emotional weight of living with cancer can negatively impact many areas of your life, especially social relationships and your willingness to take risks to make your life happier and healthier.

A key component for dealing with stress and anxiety for cancer patients can be neurofeedback therapy.  You can use this non-invasive therapy to decrease your stress levels so that you are inclined to take advantage of other non-invasive pain management techniques.  Since each person is unique in their tolerance for pain and what works best on their body, you may need assistance getting to a place where you feel confident enough to explore various techniques before finding the best method.  Neurofeedback often relieves anxiety so that you can really explore all possibilities.

Once you conquer your anxiety enough to venture out of your comfort zone, you might like to try one or all of these four effective alternative techniques for dealing with symptoms of cancer:  breathing exercises, guided imagery, developing a new hobby, and meditating on positive daily affirmations.  All of these techniques require patience and persistence before positive results occur.  In other words, give yourself a break and try to enjoy the process.

Breathing techniques are very effective for dealing with pain.  This is where you take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, while counting to three.  Then hold the breath for up to three counts, if you can.  After that, you let your breath out for a count of three.  Next, keep your lungs empty of air for up to three counts, again, if you can.  When you first begin this exercise, just do it for 2-3 minutes at a time.  Work your way up to as much time as you are comfortable with.  You can also set a timer to go off two to four times per day to remind you to practice breathing.  This will get you into the habit of relaxing, so that you release the tension as it builds up.

You can also try bringing to mind a time in your life where you felt peaceful, hopeful, or secure.  It could be many years ago, or in the recent past.  It could also be in an imaginary place.  In your mind’s eye, imagine yourself there.  Feel the positive sensations in your body.  This should only be done if you can feel safe, positive feelings.  There is a technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) that can be used to envision a safe place and help you feel positive and comfortable with the help of a trained therapist.

Developing a new hobby creates a sense of joy in the world as you meet new people and learn about things you never knew before.  Enjoying beginner’s mind gives you a feeling of youth and wonder that the routine of daily living sometimes saps.  Take up a sport, a game, or a craft that you are physically capable of engaging in without undo stress.

You may also read inspirational or uplifting poetry and affirmations that you meditate on daily to relieve your burden.  You can write affirmations that are personal to you.  An example of a good affirmation is, “I am strong, resilient, and love surrounds me.”   Once you find a good affirmation, find a quiet place.  Sit and repeat your affirmation with intention as you meditate on the powerful words.  Mediation has been shown to increase activity in the areas of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress.

Putting your mind and body in constant touch with the best thoughts and activities will make your life more pleasurable.  First, you put yourself in charge by lessening anxiety with neurofeedback.  Then, through the use of imagery, affirmations, hobbies, and breathing, you might find that your cancer has less of a chance of survival than you do.

If you’re dealing with an issue like this, I would be happy to help.  Please reach out by calling my office at 310-314-6933 or sending me a private email.


The Amazing Neurofeedback Video!

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Superior Autobiographical Memory: Marilu Henner and Other Amazing Brains

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Sixty Minutes did a story this week (December 19, 2010) on something known by neurobiologists, like Dr. James McGaugh, professor of neurobiology at the University of California at Irvine, as “superior autobiographical memory.”  Lesley Stahl interviewed five individuals, including Taxi actress, Marilu Henner, who are among the only known people to possess this rare ability:  the ability to remember what happened on every day of one’s life in detail.

This amazing gift might seem like a curse in some cases, as when a loved one dies, or when a significant other breaks up with you.  However, according to the Lesley Stahl’s report, these super-memory individuals can compartmentalize their memories, like a file cabinet, and call on them as needed, but disregard them in situations where they are a hindrance.

While Marilu Henner, Louise Owen, and their fellow super-memories might be wonderful for trivia and parties, the study of such optimal brain performance holds great interest for science as well.  Scientists proceeded to perform MRI scans on them and discovered that they had two areas of their brains enlarged by seven to eight standard deviations:  the temporal lobe and the caudate nucleus.

The temporal lobe is the section of brain neurobiologists think has to do with storing new memories.  The caudate nucleus has to do with memory, learning, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, a trait common in all five subjects to some degree.

By studying these individuals, scientists hope to help cure memory diseases like Alzheimer’s and help people in general who have memory problems.  Dr. McGaugh, raised another important point, “the chicken or the egg problem,” as he calls it.  The question is, are these regions bigger because they have extraordinary memories, and by using them, Marilu Henner and Louise Owen exercised their brains, or do they have amazing recall because their brains were like this from the beginning?

If the answer is exercising the brain improves memory, then fields like neurofeedback, designed specifically as brain exercise technologies, will continue to make a difference in the lives of those neurofeedback therapists treat.  Not only can neurofeedback reduce anxiety, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress, all contributing factors to memory loss, but it might also help improve memory through the mental exercise it provides.

The brain continues to provide science with amazing new discoveries, as explorers delve deeper into its chemistry, abilities, and how we as individuals can change the way our brains function.  From neurobiology to biofeedback eeg, scientific research on brain function and clinical research on how we can change that function to improve our daily lives is critical not only to trivia contests, but ultimately to our health and happiness.

If you’re dealing with an issue like this, I would be happy to help.  Please reach out by calling my office at 310-314-6933 or sending me a private email.

Nagging Could be Key to A Healthy Relationship & Life: Six tips for nagging with love.

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Nobody likes to be nagged, but there could be benefits to it, found a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study showed that cancer patients who are nagged by a partner may fare better.

In fact, research revealed that married people are 53 percent more likely to get the recommended or appropriate treatment for their cancer. Spouses often push patients to be treated aggressively rather than take a “watch-and-wait” approach.

With this evidence that nagging is beneficial, should couples nag each other more often?

“Absolutely not. Nagging should only be a last resort when one partner needs to communicate an important issue and wants to make sure they are being heard, such as financial or health concerns. Men oftentimes put things off when they shouldn’t, while women help men to realize that it’s not okay to ignore their health,” said Mindy Fox,  a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Santa Monica and member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. “It’s important to know when to stop nagging or it will become destructive to the relationship. When the outcome is achieved, stop nagging.”

Do men also nag their partners? “You bet they do,” added Mindy. “Whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s important to deliver your message with love and still show you care while you’re nagging.”

She offers these tips for nagging with love:

1.            Maintain mutual Respect:  it’s ok to express yourself with a strong emmphasis and assertiveness. Remind your partner why you are repeating yourself and be clear on your intention. Help your partner understand that you’re repeating yourself because you love him/her and want what is best, or you need something because it helps you feel valued and appreciated.

2.            Absolutely no name calling like, “you are a lazy slug” or “you are a controlling witch.”  Keep your nagging in the first person and on the point you want to convey such as “I get so frustrated when you won’t take care of yourself, please make that appointment,” or “I wish you would lower your voice so I can better understand what you want.”

3.            Nagging can mean you care enough to risk upset. The results of nagging are felt long afterword. Partners get to know each other and will anticipate being nagged, so they’ll adjust behavior to avoid nagging and keep the peace.

4.            Nagging also means you have a level of expecation in the relationship, are willing to make yourself clear and insist on follow through. Make sure the issue you are nagging about is worth it and that your partner understands how important it is to you. Don’t nag over little things.

5.            Stop the nagging when you have repeated yourself twice. It won’t sound any better the third time. Ask for either a time frame to accomplish the task or put your partner on notice that you will be bringing this up again soon if it is not completed.

6.            If you are receiving the nagging, you have a choice of how you react. Remind yourself this person loves you and get to the bottom line with your response, “I get what you are saying and how important it is to you, it isn’t that important to me, but you are, so I’ll take care of it.” Or, respond with “You’ve already told me this and I still don’t agree, please let it go.”

Be sure to ask Mindy about Neurofeedback, EMDR, and Somatic Experiencing.

Five Relationship Patterns That Rule Your Dating Life

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

What are the pervasive relationship patterns that we repeat over and over?

It’s important to know that often the relationship patterns we are entrenched in are largely unconscious to us.  Suddenly, we find ourselves entangled in something and not sure how we got there, or how we didn’t recognize it sooner.  We are unaware that these patterns exist, so we can’t extricate ourselves from them.  We have been observing other people in our lives doing them since childhood.  They become the normal background of our lives; never questioning the veracity of these assumptions.  We come to assume that everyone is like that.

So, these relationship patterns are especially sneaky because they rule our lives without us knowing it, like a subliminal message under a television show telling you to eat chocolate.  You know something is amiss, but you can’t put your finger on it.  You feel powerless over your inability to find a healthy relationship.  If you want to change how your life is ruled by your subconscious thinking, you first must get to know your pitfalls!

Here are 5 examples of relationship patterns that rule your dating life:

Relationship Pattern #1:  “I must be polite no matter what.”

Maybe you’ve watched nasty behavior being accepted or going unchallenged.  Everyone sort of tiptoes around that behavior, so it appears that it is okay to behave in a rude manner.  You now ignore bad behavior.  However, it can be deadly if we ignore bad behavior in someone we are dating.  Instead of it being a warning sign, we view it as normal.  Suddenly, you wake up after years and realize that you are with someone who has been abusing you for years.

Sometimes we think it’s okay to treat people poorly.  Occasionally, couples come to me and are shocked that they are not allowed to be mean to each other.  They get into this habit because over years, their trust and love have eroded by daily doses of meanness.  The other problem with this pattern is, if you are always being nice, you never say what you really think.  If you do that in a relationship, your spouse will never really know who you are.  In reality, you will remain strangers living in the same house.  If you got the message that it was never okay to be angry, then you could wind up being in an unfulfilling relationship with no true connection to your deeper self.

Relationship Pattern #2:  “I don’t talk about myself.”

If you are a very private person, or you feel that what you have to say is unimportant or might be ridiculed, you may have decided to keep quiet.  This sets you up to be the perfect person for a very narcissistic mate!  Narcissistic people are more than happy to talk about themselves and dominate the conversation.  You think this is great, because you don’t really like to talk.  You feel uncomfortable opening up, and they can be very entertaining!  Then, oops, you realize later, sometimes much later, that the person you are with really only cares about themselves.  This makes for a lonely life, one where your needs are ignored.

Relationship Pattern #3: “I must rescue and fix others.”

One example of this is if your father was an alcoholic who always got himself and the family into trouble.  Now, you try to head off any problems at the pass.  You always try to predict what could go wrong, then try to fix it before it happens.  You pick people who need lots of help.  They become your project, like someone who likes to purchase fixer-upper houses.  In the end, you wind up feeling unappreciated and exhausted.

The hope is that one day these people in your life will be finally fixed and then you’ll get your needs met.  However, no matter what you do, it backfires because you can’t fix them. People who need that kind of help need to work with a professional to get beyond most of their issues.  Your assistance in many cases enables their behavior because you bail them out and unknowingly allow them to continue in their pattern of doing the same things.  Only they can resolve their issues and only in their own time. Your work is to realize that the only person on the planet that you can fix, is yourself.

Relationship Pattern #4: “I choose people who put me on a pedestal.”

This can start off wonderfully, because you feel like you are a million dollars when they are with you; all the attention feels so great.  It’s seductive to be worshipped, especially for people who never received approval from their family growing up.  Perhaps you came from a huge family or a single parent family where you didn’t get a lot of attention from mom or dad. You may feel like you need someone who pays lots of attention to you, shares regularly how they feel about you and has lots of time for the relationship.

Problems arise when this loving attention turns into treating you like a possession.  Your partner can become extremely jealous of anything you do.  They seek to control your time and keep you locked away for themselves.  As this pattern evolves, any attempts you make to pull away cause your partner to become more possessive and controlling. Resentment builds as your world shrinks down to the four walls of your home and often people become secretive and afraid.  The worry that your partner will explode with envy at the mention of friends, coworkers or any activities that don’t include them, keep you pushed down and alone.  When this happens, it’s common for your self esteem to plummet, often causing increased depression and anxiety.

Relationship Pattern #5: “I could be betrayed, hurt or abandoned, so why bother getting  close to anyone at all?”

The thinking here is that if you never get close to anyone, you won’t get hurt.  The problem is that this tactic, which is really an attempt to avoid being abandoned, causes you to actually abandon yourself making it impossible to get your needs met.  No matter how right a person is, you always find a reason to dump them before they dump you.  Your dating becomes a series of preemptive strikes against the opposite sex.  You really don’t trust anyone to be there for you, and you don’t trust your own ability to pick a good mate.

For whatever reason, as soon as you feel like you are getting too close, an overwhelming feeling comes up that you must run away, or that you are trapped.  Maybe the other person suddenly becomes unattractive, or has some negative quality that you decide is a deal breaker.  The most important thing becomes: I must get free!

This situation is a double-bind because when your fear comes up, your impulse is to run away to avoid the possible pain of a broken heart.  But, if you force yourself to stay, your fear is always in the forefront of your mind and it can feel impossible to relax and be happy in your relationship.  The only way out of this is to dig into the real fears you have and this is often work you need to do with a professional therapist who has some experience helping clients deal with abandonment.

If you’re someone who has been in a relationship or two like the ones listed, that’s not necessarily indicative of a true pattern.  But, if you’ve been in multiple, repeated relationships that match these descriptions, perhaps it’s time to seek out the help of a professional who can help you dissect what’s really going on.  I can use tools such as Neurofeedback, Somatic Experiencing and EMDR to help manage the anxiety that often arises when dating.

If you’re curious about your relationship patterns, I may be able to help you determine why your relationships are not working out and what to do about it.  You’re welcome to send me an email mfoxmft@yahoo.com or call my office for a free phone consultation.  You can reach me directly at 310-314-6933.

Los Angeles Neurofeedback Therapist, Mindy Fox, Extends Practice to Beverly Hills

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

International market demand for neurofeedback therapy drives practice growth

Beverly Hills, Calif. (November 12, 2010) – Mindy Fox, a highly regarded neurofeedback therapist in California, announced today the expansion of her services in the Los Angeles area to include the neighborhoods of Beverly Hills, Malibu and the Pacific Palisades. The growth is an indicator of market demand for alternative, natural and safe treatment for anxiety related conditions.

“Our practice has expanded at a speed much greater than anticipated,” said Mindy Fox, LMFT and California neurofeedback therapist. “Many patients who we treat were at one point seeking alternatives to prescription medications for conditions such as anxiety and depression. Even though most were not sure exactly what that meant, they did know they wanted to stop taking medication.”

Commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications are categorized as central nervous system (CNS) depressants, also known as sedatives or tranquilizers. These medications are commonly known by brand names such as Valium, Librium and Xanax. CNS depressants decrease brain activity producing a drowsy or calming effect that is beneficial to those suffering from anxiety or sleep disorders.

Alternatively, neurofeedback therapy retrains the brain. “Think of it as exercise for the brain,” said Fox. “Neurofeedback therapy strengthens the performance of your brain, so with a little encouragement, it heals itself and returns back to homeostasis.”

One of Fox’s patients who preferred to remain anonymous enjoys not having to take pills on a daily basis. “I had been taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications for at least 25 years, consisting of various things like Valium, Prozac and Zoloft.” said Joan, a resident of Beverly Hills. “I woke up one day and realized these pills weren’t improving my life, but rather subduing my reality. I wasn’t depressed or anxious after taking medication, but I was not happy or enjoying my life either.”

According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, if one uses CNS depressants long-term, the body will develop a tolerance for the drugs, and larger doses will be needed to achieve the same initial effects.  This was the case with Joan. Continued use can lead to physical dependence and—when use is reduced or stopped— withdrawal.

Neurofeedback therapy retrains the brain, helping it remember how to deal with anxiety, depression and more, eventually leading to a more relaxed yet alert state of being. Electrodes are placed on the head, and the patient plays a video game or watches a peaceful scene, depending on their preference. After several sessions, the brain begins to shift itself into a more resilient state.   This allows one’s brain to achieve a healthy state of arousal during stressful situations and even extend their range of normal functioning for improved performance.

Neurofeedback therapy is completely non-invasive. Some patients will see results within a few sessions, but it’s recommended they complete 20 sessions, with three sessions per week. Neurofeedback therapy is a highly individualized treatment that must be tailored to meet every client’s specific needs.

If you’re dealing with an issue like this, I would be happy to help.  Please reach out by calling my office at 310-314-6933 or sending me a private email.


Mindy Fox is a licensed marriage and family therapist with over eighteen years of experience. With a Master of Arts in Psychotherapy, Fox is also certified in somatic experiencing and trained in neurofeedback EEG (also referred to as eeg biofeedback therapy). Her expertise in psychotherapy, EMDR, and neurofeedback helps her treat clients with attention deficit disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, addiction, and depression issues. Fox employs body-mind therapy techniques such as EMDR, somatic experiencing, guided imagery, and neurofeedback, along with traditional methods to treat clients of all ages. Fox chairs the State CAMFT Trauma Response Committee and served as President of South Bay/Long Beach CAMFT Chapter.

How Cannabis Use Damages Your Brain

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Marijuana has a serious effect on marriage and relationships.  In order to have a close, connected relationship, your spouse will most likely want you to be tuned in to their feelings, and to be able to discuss important matters affecting your life together.  Having a family pulls adults in several directions at once, so you need to focus and be able to juggle the many demands of life.  Since using marijuana daily negatively affects attention, learning, motivation, the ability to form new memories and to shift focus.  These limitations make it difficult to develop a life plan and even harder to carry out your plan.

Functioning at a high level is crucial in today’s world.  Someone who smokes marijuana daily may be functioning at a reduced intellectual level most or all of the time.  Cannabis use is associated with reduced educational attainment.  As a result, fewer heavy use smokers completed college, and most had lower household incomes.  Marijuana affected their cognitive abilities, career achievements, social lives, and physical and mental health.  Heavy smokers also have more accidents and injuries than those who do not smoke.  “Amotivational syndrome”, associated with marijuana use, causes diminished or absent drive to engage in typically rewarding activities.  All these effects detrimentally affect relationships and marriages.

When you smoke marijuana, THC binds to the receptors in the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, movement, coordination, sensory perception, and time perception.  THC artificially stimulates the brain areas.  It also disrupts the function of the natural chemicals found in the brain. The overstimulation of the brain through THC use can alter the function of these natural chemicals.  This can lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms when the drug use stops.  Reported effects of marijuana include euphoria, relaxation, heightened sensory perception, laughter, altered perception of time, and increased appetite.  After a while, you may feel sleepy or depressed.  Sometimes, marijuana use may produce anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic.  If you take large doses, you might experience an acute psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions, and loss of the sense of personal identity.  Higher incidences of schizophrenia-like disorders have been associated with the use of cannabis in vulnerable individuals.  The problem with this is that most people don’t know if they are vulnerable, so smoking heavily can potentially have life-altering long-term effects.

If you want to stop using cannabis, there are several methods.  Marijuana Anonymous is an excellent 12-step program and has helped many become abstinent.  Neurofeedback can help with cravings, while simultaneously reducing anxiety and stress.  Some have said that they no longer feel a need to smoke after having 20 to 40 neurofeedback sessions.  Talk therapy can help to determine which treatments are best for you.

Legal marijuana distribution for medicinal purposes and the most recent legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes in Colorado and Washington, make this drug more readily available than ever.  Fear of legal repercussions might have kept some individuals from imbibing in the past, but no longer.  Now, just like alcohol, it will be more vital that individuals who become addicted to marijuana recognize that they must take personal responsibility if they want to steer clear of serious brain disorders that might be caused or exacerbated by long-term use.

Results of a recent study (Zalesky et al, 2012) suggest that long-term cannabis use is hazardous to white matter in the developing brain.  Disturbed brain connectivity in cannabis users may underlie cognitive impairment and vulnerability to psychosis, depression and anxiety disorders (Lim et al., 2002).  The brain is like a big electric circuit, and connectivity is the fundamental way that the brain works.  Cannabis appears to detrimentally affect this connectivity, which means that it seriously harms your brain!

This is also the first study to demonstrate that the age at which regular cannabis use begins is a key factor determining the severity of any white matter alteration.  The studies’ findings also support mounting evidence suggesting a link between adolescent cannabis use and schizophrenia in later life (Rais et al., 2008; Peters et al., 2009; Dekker et al., 2010; Ho et al., 2011; James et al., 2011) as well as with evidence for greater adverse cognitive effects in adolescent cannabis users (Solowij et al., 2011a, 2012).  The results of this study may explain what underlies the memory impairment and other cognitive deficits that are observed in long-term, heavy cannabis users (Solowij et al., 2011b; Solowij and Pesa, 2012).  It is possible that the white matter abnormalities associated with cannabis use could be reversed given a sufficient period of abstinence or functional adaptation.

If you’re dealing with an issue like this, I would be happy to help.  Please reach out by calling my office at 310-314-6933 or sending me a private email.

Effect of Long-term Cannabis Use on Axonal Fibre Connectivity

“Effect of Long-term Cannabis Use on Axonal Fibre Connectivity.” Andrew Zalesky, Nadia Solowij, Murat Yücel, Dan I. Lubman, Michael Takagi, Ian H. Harding, Valentina Lorenzetti, Ruopeng Wang, Karissa Searle, Christos Pantelis, Marc Se Jul 12, 2012 Brain. 2012;135(7):2245-2255.

The Social Network and Neurofeedback Treatment

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Asperger’s Syndrome and Success

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is the main character in David Fincher’s latest film about the birth of the world’s youngest billionaire.  The first scene of the movie, where Zuckerberg, a computer genius, is on a date with his girlfriend, immediately shows his glaring flaw, he has no social graces.  She dumps him after commenting that talking to him is so difficult, it’s work.  She goes on to tell him that he’ll claim that girls don’t like him because he’s a geek, but in fact, it is because he is a jerk.  This goes to the heart of Zuckerberg’s problem, social interaction.

The founder of Facebook, has a desperate deficit when it comes to human interaction.  It quickly becomes clear that the character has something on the autistic spectrum, most likely Aspergers syndrome.  According to Web MD, “[a]lthough there are many possible symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome, the main symptom is severe trouble with social situations.”

Zuckerberg, as written by Aaron Sorkin, of A Few Good Men fame, exhibits classic brilliance regarding “things,” but falls apart when dealing with people.  The things he excels at are computer programming, but what gets the billionaire in trouble is that he treats people like they are expendable.  The ones who are his real friends, he deserts, and he latches on to Sean Parker, the brainchild behind Napster.  The problem is, Parker is a playboy who uses people to get what he wants.  Zuckerberg is drawn in by Parker’s charisma and winds up deserting his best friend at the moment of truth.

Asperger’s syndrome is still hard to understand and even harder to treat.  The people who have it often do very well in our specialized assembly-line society because they are gifted at one thing.  Unfortunately, many Asperger’s suffers have no close relationships despite being well-off and well-regarded as experts in their field.  Much of life is measured by how well we relate to other people, even more so than how much we accomplish financially or at work.

Neurofeedback and improved medications together are starting to make a difference for some who have Asperger’s, but most do not get treated.  They are still viewed by society as nerds and geeks, who have no hope of personal happiness in marriage or friendships.  Through the use of treatments like neurofeedback, talk therapy, and chemical treatments, hopefully, we can start to see that those who lash out because they do not fit in, are not jerks, but need help in the most fundamental arena of human existence—social interaction.

Movies, like The Social Network and Marie Antoinette (Louis XVI clearly has some form of autism that is more severe than Zuckerberg), are bringing these issues to the forefront of pop culture and creating awareness as never before.  With more exposure to characters like Zuckerberg, we begin to see that they have a fundamental problem that needs treatment.  The next step is exposing the world to the possibility that at least in small steps, even people with severe deficiencies can improve their social skills and become more fulfilled in their personal lives.

If you’re dealing with an issue like this, I would be happy to help.  Please reach out by calling my office at 310-314-6933 or sending me a private email.

Dating & Career: Not As Different as You Might Think

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Think of what you did to get where you are in your career.  You spent years perfecting the basics of learning during your primary education.  Then you went to college, which today not only eats up 4-10 years in the prime of your physical life, but can cost upwards of five hundred thousand dollars!  Then, you got your first position and started from the ground up learning the actual work that you trained and spent your parent’s or your own hard earned money to obtain.  You got paid an entry level salary, got yelled at by your boss for not doing everyone else’s job, and you were required to get on-the-job training.  In many professions, you must earn continuing education credits to stay current in your field.  Whew!


When it comes to relationships, we feel differently.  We believe that it should be like a bolt of lightning from the sky that hits you square between your eyes as you stare at the one true love of your life.  The world suddenly quiets, as all doubts topple like buildings in a tsunami.  Unfortunately, many stories, movies, and songs enhance the myth that love should be easy and instant.  In reality, personal relationships, like professional ability, must be cultivated, studied, and chosen with utmost care.  Often you will have to learn through trial and error.


You must study your own emotional needs and desires.  Who are you attracted to and why?  Then, ask if the people you are attracted to produce healthy or harmful relationships.  If you find that you are constantly getting involved with people who take advantage of you or do not give you what you want, explore why you keep picking damaging partners.  In many cases, your tendencies relate to your upbringing.  Whatever the reason, ferret it out, identify, and acknowledge it.  Then, try to recognize when you are making unwise decisions and change course before making a commitment.  Exploring your choices and why you make them will give you more say in where you end up in your personal relationships, just like getting an education will give you a say in your career choices.


You do not want to have to take any job that comes along because you have no training.  That’s when you wind up working in a dead end job just to pay rent and eat.  You cannot start a family or help others in your life because you need their assistance to survive.


The same is true of relationships you just fall into because you have no one else and you are lonely, one of the worst emotional states from which to select a mate.  Much like the dead end job, the dead end relationship puts you in a situation where a healthy, happy family is impossible.  Even if you and your partner can physically have children and have a wedding, that does not mean you will have a family in the fullest sense.  The family is predicated on your relationship as matriarch and patriarch of the household.  If the rotted roots lay hidden under the soil, eventually, the tree will topple when strong winds blow as they always eventually do.


Make sure that you train and study yourself so that when Mr. or Mrs. Fantastic comes along, you will recognize that they have the traits you need to create a strong foundation for a life of sustained growth both personally and together.

If you’re dealing with an issue like this, I would be happy to help.  Please reach out by calling my office at 310-314-6933 or sending me a private email.

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