Stress

Stress is a core element to a range of disabling conditions. A system designed to protect us can become over-responsive and actually do more harm than good. Healing anxiety is a matter of reminding the body how to let go of it. Often, my patients say they are relaxed, and are surprised to see just how much residual tension is still at work in their body. 

My approach is ideal for treating panic attacks, migraine, insomnia, hypertension, generalized anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and specific phobias. 

 
Relationships

Our support systems are the foundation of our wellbeing. When symptoms get in the way of our ability to connect with loved ones, we can feel alone and hopeless. Chronic pain may have isolated you. Emotional instability may have challenged you in sustaining healthy relationships. You may be struggling to find your way through grief. You could be looking for a way to manage conflict in immediate or extended family, or contemplating important life decisions such as whether to stay or leave your current relationship. 

One of the most important relationships in your life is the one you have with yourself. By learning to manage your unique stress response, you are taking an important step in cultivating resilience. You can approach the challenges in your life with flexibility and clarity, and trust in yourself to navigate them skillfully.

 
Coping

When we find out that we're faced with a life-changing diagnosis, it is more important than ever to care for our bodies.  What makes that difficult is a sense that our bodies have betrayed us with the news of an uncertain recovery. Adjusting to the consequences of a brain injury, stroke, or the onset of neurological illness can be overwhelming for patients and their families. 

Often, the treatments carry risks as well. Surgery, illness or injury may have permanently altered your body. Treatments such as chemotherapy and immunosuppressants can significantly impact your quality of life. You may benefit from guidance in managing a prognosis with a degenerative course or minimizing side-effects of medical treatment. 

Neurofeedback and rehabilitative therapy can be helpful in preserving and repairing cognitive functioning, recovering speech, easing movement disorders, or helping you overcome a plateau in your recovery. 

 
Academic

Children and young adults face a great deal of pressure to perform well in school. Conditions such as anxiety, depression and ADHD can impact achievement and chip away at a student's confidence and love of learning. 

Whether someone is gifted or identified as having a learning difference, the right supports are critical at any age. I offer assessment for academic accommodations and standardized testing. I also provide treatment to strengthen memory and concentration, and reduce test anxiety. 

 
Performance

Whether your goals are athletic, artistic, or professional, you need to know how to respond to pressure when it counts. Be prepared for your moment with a personalized treatment plan to minimize nerves, boost confidence, and strengthen your ability to stay balanced, no matter what comes your way. 

 
Consultation

Perhaps you're seeking support for a patient with a complex diagnosis, or you're treating someone who would like to minimize reliance on medications. I welcome collaboration with all healthcare providers, and enjoy providing continuing education talks to both physicians and therapists. 

 
Electroencephalogram (EEG)

Neurofeedback (EEG) measures brain frequency activity. If any one frequency becomes dominant, we have difficulties doing the tasks with which the predominant wave is not effective. It appears that the state of mental (and, through association, physical) health is not the presence of any one wave, but the equal relationship between the different waves, and the ability flexibly face the changing demands of our environment. Excessive slow waves are often associated with attention and concentration problems. Excessive fast waves are often associated with anxiety.

Electromyogram (EMG)

EMG measures muscular tension and involuntary bracing. Excessive tension drains energy and can lead to pain, headaches, TMJ, muscle spasm and muscle weakness. Combined with neurofeedback, this modality is effective for improving muscle control and reducing tremor. 

Peripheral Temperature

Temperature biofeedback measures vascular dilation and constriction. Lower temperatures indicate reduced blood flow and more stress.  Constricting blood flow can cause problems with the immune system, delay healing, migraine headaches and is involved in some types of high-blood pressure.  Extreme vasoconstriction is often seen with high levels of prolonged stress.

Galvanic Skin Response (GSR)

GSR measures sweat gland activity correlated with adrenal activation. Higher measurements indicate more stress. A lack of responsiveness may suggest adrenal fatigue. High GSR levels are often seen with various types of anxiety, especially when it is more mentally based. Low GSR levels can reflect burn out from chronic stress, or a numbing response following trauma.

Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

HRV measures subtle changes in heart rate which naturally occur during respiration. Lower HRV indicates more stress. Healthy changes in the heartbeat reflect autonomic flexibility and adaptability. Breath training is usually involved. Low HRV is correlated with cardiac events, depression and anxiety.

Capnometry

Capnometry measures respiration chemistry. The  amount of CO2 measured in your exhale reflects a range of chemical processes necessary for optimal stress management, endurance, and neurological functioning. If levels of CO2 are too low, or too high, body systems can be negatively impacted. 

Contact Me

Melanie R. O'Neill, PsyD, BCB

484-424-7655

© 2018 by Melanie R. O'Neill, PsyD, BCB