It’s hard to know what so many of us face by just passing by.
“I had lived in a very dark place for a very long time,” said Taylor Tripp.
When someone, like Tripp, let’s you see their struggle, you can grasp the strength of mental health’s grip.
“I was on my last rope,” she said.
Mental health is a battle that psychotherapist Shelli Myles says we can’t fight the same way anymore.
To her, that hope is found at her business, The Mind Gym in Centennial, Colorado, where they specialize in neurofeedback.
“When they come here, we’re trying to give them hope and help them see that there is another way to help themselves,” Myles said. “We put electrodes on the head. We’re monitoring live brain waves.”
She says, in a recording of the brain’s waves, she can see certain brainwave activity associated with challenges like depression or anxiety.
“If someone has too much or too little of something, that causes them to have symptoms,” Myles said.
She says with neurofeedback, they then “train” the brain to perform better.
A patient sits in a chair with electrodes attached to their head as they watch a screen with headphones on. Their brain is rewarded when their brainwaves are in a certain range with a screen that brightens and audio that plays louder in their headphones.
“The brain is training to do what we’re asking it to do,” Myles said.
Think of it as conditioning, just like any other part of the body.
“Your brain is a muscle, just as if you were to have a sprained ankle or a broken leg. You can’t expect someone to run a race with it,” Tripp said.
Shelli sees the methods they use at The Mind Gym as a way to treat mental health beyond traditional paths such as medication, and a way to reach breakthroughs that can feel hard to find.
“It’s kind of like an onion. It will unfold stuff,” Myles said. “So the importance of having a counselor while you’re doing neurofeedback is important.”
Though it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health says Neurofeedback is an alternative method that has shown improvement in treating many mental health disorders. But its report suggests the benefits aren’t long-lasting.
“I’m able to sleep for the first time in my life,” Tripp said.
Tripp says her sessions twice a week for six months have undeniably worked for her.
“Colors are brighter, food tastes different, it’s beyond words really,” Tripp said. “To know I could have transformed my life so long ago, nobody should be struggling right now that this is out there.”