A Different Way to Deal with Anxiety and Stress
By Gail Sanders Durgin, Ph.D., BCN-Fellow
Mary came to talk to me about a particular issue that had caused her a great deal of stress for as long as she could remember. Mary is 65 years old and wants to live the rest of her years to the fullest. However, this issue often prevents her from truly enjoying her opportunities. Mary and I talked about her urge to consume foods high in sugar which included wine, chocolate and other sweets. She had consumed more than she meant to the night before and wanted to control her cravings. We worked together to focus on the particular part of her issue that was causing her the most anxiety. Mary was now ready to change her response to high sugar foods.
I had Mary place the earphones over her ears and told her to use the two knobs on the bottom to dial in the sound she heard until it was even and seemed to meet in the center of her head. I then instructed her to think about her issues, focus on her feelings and activate them as much as possible. Next, Mary turned a third knob that helped her activate and intensify her feelings. I asked her to also try to determine if a part of her body seemed to be the focus of her feelings. She pointed to her heart area.
The next step was asking Mary to dial a fourth knob until the sound seemed to lessen the feelings. Mary slowly moved the knob until she nodded at me to indicate that the feelings had lessened. I told Mary to stay focused on her anxiety and reminded her to remain that way. As I watched her, I saw the tension around her eyes slowly relax and her jaw relaxed. She gave a sigh and her shoulders dropped. Her breathing slowed. Again, she sighed and her shoulders dropped more into a state of relaxation.
Mary's lips trembled. She looked at me and said she could not feel it anymore. I told her to do her best to refocus on the anxiety. Her face softened and the color in her cheeks turned a soft pink. A small tear rolled out of the corner of her eye. She looked up at me and smiled a broad smile that lit up her entire face. "It's gone," she said. "I feel so much better," she added. Mary had just completed a BAUD session to reduce her anxiety about a specific issue in her life.
BAUD is a new approach to dealing with issues as fear, anxiety, cravings, smoking, pain and other general stress issues that has been developed by Dr. Frank Lawlis. Dr. Lawlis has frequently appeared on the Dr. Phil show, has been a pioneer in field of medical psychology and written several books on his approaches.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet Dr. Lawlis at the annual conference of the International Society for Neurofeedback and Regulation. Dr. Lawlis was demonstrating a device that he had developed in his clinic. While Dr. Lawlis originally targeted ADD/ADHD with this device, he found that it was also very effective when used for emotional issues that include anxiety, depression; urges such as appetite control and smoking, general stress and pain. Used in combination with biofeedback and neurofeedback, he has helped many people improve the quality of their lives.
This approach uses a device developed by Dr. Lawlis called the BAUD (Bio Acoustical Utilization Device). The BAUD is a small biofeedback device that uses sound to disrupt the pattern of the brain in response to a specific target problem. It is able to target specific issues and change the brain's response to those problems by using the neural plasticity of the brain or the brain's ability to change itself as it responds to behaviors and feedback. When we think or behave in a stereotyped manner to a specific situation or pattern of though, particular brain circuits become over stimulated. It becomes more and more difficult to change our response to that situation as the brain uses that circuit over and over. The BAUD helps the brain neutralize the old circuit. The relaxation or parasympathic response helps to calm the system. People have reported a significant improvement after a single session. Some issues require more than one session to fully control or eliminate these negative emotions and urges.
As a result of using the BAUD, it becomes easier to eliminate negative habits and reactions and to allow the brain to activate positive emotions and patterns. Some habits such as smoking may require repeated sessions to completely eliminate the urges and cravings but many issues can be resolved more quickly.
To find out more about the BAUD and how it can help you change your life,
Please contact Gail Sanders Durgin, Ph.D., at Neurofeedback Associates, Inc.
2309 West Cone Blvd, Suite 210, Greensboro, NC., 336-540-1972
Published in The Art of Well Being, Spring 2011