Like many adolescents, I found myself experiencing disruptive levels of anxiety and depression at a time in my life when the culture suggests that your life should be carefree and wide open to possibilities. I managed to find methods to cope, was a relatively good student despite some behavioral issues in school, and lived what most outsiders would describe as a normal life. Inside however, I felt a constant struggle.
As a high school student in Vermont, I struggled with issues of identity and frustration. The world around me seemed unimportant and people constantly fell short of my expectations. My parents (therapists themselves) encouraged me to read about meditation and other relaxation techniques. I borrowed books from their library along with a small thermal-biofeedback machine that I could use to monitor my progress. My first attempt to relax was marked by waking up and realizing the machine was still turned on and the book had fallen onto the oak wood floor. As someone who struggled with sleep for what felt like an already long life, I decided this new method warranted further investigation.
I completed my bachelors degree in psychology from the University of Vermont. During my enrollment, I began attending a weekly community mindfulness group led by volunteers on campus. The university also offered an introductory course on yoga, which I completed and then created an independent study to continue my education. My cousin later invited me to attend a Vipassana style meditation retreat in Joshua Tree, CA with her. This retreat became a turning point in my personal meditation and reflection practice. Of course, ten days in silent meditation can have that effect.
When I returned from my meditation retreat, I met with the director of the community mindfulness program on campus which I had been attending regularly for over one year now. She agreed to let me lead meditation groups, and I became the first student volunteer in the program. Around the same time, I found a Kripalu Yoga Instructor, who introduced me to a style of yoga that I immediately fell in love with. The blend of mindful movement and strength building was exactly what I needed to help tame this adolescent mind. I began developing a theory that majority of human suffering could be traced back to dysregulation in the brain. I shared my novel theory with anyone that would listen, and it turned out that there was already a technology that had been built upon similar principles: neurofeedback.
In my senior year of college, I created another independent study this time focused on neurofeedback. I found a local mentor, read several books on the subject, and recruited an adviser from the neuropsychology department at the university. While engaged in my own neurofeedback treatment, I noticed my alcohol consumption began to decrease, which was unusual for someone who just turned 21. After discussion the phenomenon with my mentor, we concluded that alcohol was a form of self medication, and I was finding that through regulating my brain, the need to self medicate was decreasing.
After graduation, I moved to Massachusetts in hopes of furthering my career in psychology and mental health. During this time, I studied Kripalu Yoga and became a certified yoga instructor. I founded Conscious Being Yoga in order to provide private yoga retreats and classes in my students' homes or offices. While growing the new yoga business, I was also working with families in their homes providing therapeutic services alongside a master's level clinician. After one year of providing yoga and therapy services, it became clear that I would need to return to school for an advanced degree.
I was accepted by William James College (formerly known as The Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology) where I studied health and clinical psychology and completed a dissertation on the therapeutic relationship during neurofeedback treatment. During my studies, I also became certified in neurofeedback and worked as a technician in an office for over three years. After graduation, I started a neurofeedback program connected to a medium size group practice in Beverly, Massachusetts. I grew the business of two and a half years until I decided my aspirations included more than working in someone else's office and more than providing traditional psychotherapy alongside neurofeedback treatment. I founded LifeWise, LLC in order to offer clients the opportunity to explore a variety of powerful treatments that would aid them in leading a fulfilling, happy, and balanced life. It continues to grow as people experience significant life changes and refer their family and friends. I have continued to receive training in my areas of expertise, and I look forward to seeing this practice help more and more people and eventually become a model of care for both people wanting help to live a better life and providers who are looking for a valuable resource to help their patients.