A Different Way to Deal with Anxiety and Stress|
Gail Sanders Durgin, PhD, BCN-Fellow
At a Glance
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 (Bio Acoustical Utilization Device) is a new approach to dealing with issues such as fear, anxiety, cravings, smoking, pain and other general stress issues. Dr. Frank Lawlis developed the BAUD and has appeared frequently on the Dr. Phil show; he has been a pioneer in field of medical psychology, writing 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 the BAUD that was developed in his clinic. While he originally targeted ADD/ADHD with this device, he found that it was also very effective when used for emotional issues (anxiety, depression; urges such as appetite control and smoking, general stress and pain). By using the BAUD in combination with biofeedback and neurofeedback, Dr. Lawlis has helped many people improve the quality of their lives.
The BAUD is a small biofeedback device that uses sound to disrupt the pattern of the brain in response to a specific 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 thought, 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, PhD, at Neurofeedback Associates, Inc, 2309 West Cone Blvd, Suite 210, Greensboro, NC. 336-540-1972, http://www.enhancedbrain.org/.
2011 Art of WellBeing All Rights Reserved - Article from the Art of Well Being holistic journal and website. - www.artofwellbeing.com
G. FRANK LAWLIS
Residence: Sanger, Texas
Birthplace: Stamford, Texas
Married to: Susan Franks, psychology professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth
Work: Chief psychological content adviser for the Dr. Phil show
Other current work: Supervising psychologist, overseeing testing and testing standards for Arlington-based American MENSA, the national organization for people with high IQs.
Founder and partner: Lawlis and Peavey PNP Center in Lewisville - a clinic offering mind-body evaluation and treatment plans for children and adults with learning disabilities and other psychological conditions. Dr. Lawlis founded the center in 2004 with Dr. Barbara Peavey of Grapevine. It charges a flat $6,975 fee - dubbed "a Dr. Phil Special" - for a two-day assessment and follow-up. The clinic regularly treats guests for free after TV show appearances.
Web sites: www.lawlispeavey.com and www.franklawlis.com
Excerpts from Dr. Lawlis' books
From The Cure (1994):
"The question that finally emerges is: How can we use all that is given as a means of stepping further into love for ourselves and others, including our disease and our emotions about our disease? Cancer is one of the most threatening to us because it means a definite change in ourselves ... All that is dear to us is threatened, and we come face-to-face with all of our values and concepts. We also realize the insignificance of our material possessions. We are naked to this disease, and being naked is extremely frightening. But nakedness can also be freedom, without the restraint of masks or pretension .... Disease is often a brutal and terrifying experience, but it is also a teacher."
From Transpersonal Medicine (1996):
"Humans as a species did not suddenly develop the capacity to heal with the advent of chemical technology ... Perhaps we should study the older forms of healing as an avenue toward understanding the phenomenon. The immediate result of looking at ancient ways is the recognition of the role of consciousness as critical to all concepts of rejuvenation ... At its root, transpersonal medicine recognizes that the power of love, compassion, community and intention are as important to healing as any of our pills and medicines, and possibly more powerful."
From The ADD Answer (2004):
"My interest in medicine and healing began when I was a child, growing up with a mother who had numerous surgeries spread out over many years. Being a good son, my first choice was to be a traditional doctor. However, I soon became aware of the limitations of medicine, and I eventually chose to become a psychologist who worked in the medical field. I quickly discovered that there are often a number of approaches to diseases and conditions that are very effective and scientifically valid but that never see the light of day. Many of these alternative treatments take longer than the typical seven minutes currently allowed in the doctor's office, so the traditional medical solution - a pill - is usually prescribed without even a brochure explaining the medical alternatives."
From The IQ Answer (2006):
"The first step is to realize that you have no real limitations. Then, you need to open your mind to the possibilities that exist for you. Your first step will be challenging, but stimulating, too ....
"There is no reason for you to accept 'average' grades or levels of performance. Nobody was born to be mediocre, so don't accept mediocrity in any aspect of your life. We can each find a way to overcome whatever has held us back or slowed us down. Insecurities, depression, anxiety, ADD, and even brain trauma are all challenges that can be overcome. The conditions cannot only be overcome, they can even be used to work in your favor."