Our treatment program is based on the latest neuroscience research. Each of the modalities we offer is informed by what we know about human brains combined with individual information about each resident so that we can craft a specific treatment plan.
Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change itself. Research on the human brain shows that this complex organ can rewire itself in response to experiences. When we repeat a thought or emotion, we reinforce a neural pathway. With each new thought, we begin to create new neural pathways and new ways of thinking and living. Small changes, repeated frequently, lead to changes in how our brains work.
Neuroplasticity is the ‘muscle building’ part of the brain; what we do and think is emphasized while the things we don’t use fade away. There is a physical reason why repeating thoughts or actions increase their power. Over time, thoughts become habitual. We become what we think and do.
Research has shown that over time, consistent reinforcement of positive and compassionate experiences can rewire the brain by creating new, healthy neural pathways. These connections can produce healthy decision-making, optimism, hope, trust, and resilience. By harnessing our brain’s natural neuroplasticity, we can improve everything we think and do. This process is a key part of achieving lasting recovery.
Here’s an example: If you are prone to anxiety and get repeatedly caught up in cycles of thinking that increase your anxiety, your brain will become wired for anxiety. On the other hand, if you use tools that reduce anxiety, such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises, the anxiety pathways in your brain diminish from lack of activity. This makes way for you to form new neural pathways that are not anxiety-ridden.
Research on the brain has also shown that neuroplasticity is affected by lifestyle choices such as nutrition, exercise, sleep patterns, and stress levels. All our treatment groups, activities, and educational lectures at Sabino are designed to encourage the success of neuroplasticity.
This is why we include a broad spectrum of therapies and activities, healthy and nourishing food, nutraceutical alternatives to medication, and a sleep lab. Our equine program, art therapy, psychotherapy, and adventure therapies all work together to retrain the brain.
Neurotherapist at Sabino Recovery, Andréa Copeland, discusses how Brain Mapping and Neurofeedback can be a powerful tool to diagnose and treat mental health issues.
QEEG Brain Mapping
Sabino Recovery is currently one of the only inpatient trauma and addiction recovery centers to offer qEEG Brain Mapping.
We utilize an advanced neurological technology called a qEEG which produces a color-coded brain map that allows us to quantify the power, amount, distribution, and ratio of various brain waves. This is a non-invasive reading of the brain’s activity and frequency patterns that does not involve radiation or injections of any kind. This test measures brainwaves similar to how an EKG, or electrocardiogram, measures electrical activity in the heart.
While qEEG Brain Mapping is not a diagnostic tool, it is useful for helping us make more accurate diagnoses. We can prioritize and optimize the treatment needs of each resident. Certain physiologic markers on a brain map can reveal things like ADHD, depression, PTSD, and brain injury and can help guide medication management.
It can also identify previously undiagnosed learning disabilities and learning styles as well as other important neuro and biological markers. This data is invaluable to the clinical team as they create individualized treatment plans for each resident who participates in brain mapping.
qEEG Brain Mapping is an adjunct treatment to our program and is available at an extra cost.
Neurofeedback is a way to quantify and train brain activity. The basic principles are deceptively simple. Communication between groups of cells in your brain generates thoughts, sensations, actions, and emotions. This activity is detectable in the form of brainwaves – electrical impulses generated by your brain activity.
During a neurofeedback session, sensors detect your brainwaves to see your brain in action. A computer compares your brain activity to targets or goals for you to reach. Sounds and images tell you immediately when your brain reaches your goal and when you are activating or suppressing the target area in your brain.
Based on the results of qEEG Brain Mapping, we place sensors on your head in the places where your brain is producing overactive or underactive wave patterns. The sensors are linked to a sophisticated computer that converts the information into visual stimuli on a screen. As you watch, the visuals change in response to the fluctuations in your brain wave activity. It’s a video game being played by your brain waves. Your brain learns what it needs to do to produce the correct brain patterns. Through repetition, your brain starts to produce the desired response with greater and greater ease. This is very similar to developing muscle memory as an athlete.
Eventually, your brain learns to automatically choose the correct wave patterns. You can see this type of neurological learning when you watch someone learn to walk, ride a bike, drive, or recognize a song. It is your brain’s job to make doing tasks as fast and efficient as possible which means replacing old patterns with new, more effective patterns.
Neurofeedback is an adjunct treatment to our program and is available at an extra cost.
Neurofeedback and Trauma
Neurofeedback therapy works at a deep subconscious level by rewiring dysregulated or maladaptive neural patterns and reorganizing brain structure to break the cycle of trauma and post-traumatic symptoms. By identifying and training the areas of concern, we tailor your sessions to help you shift out of these patterns and back into a natural, neutral state. Neurofeedback gives the brain the tools to move past traumatic events.