Great Lakes Neurotherapy and Performance Consultants

Todd Serby and Linda Walker have long used counseling and therapy to help individuals through various challenges including educational issues, mood disorders, brain injury, cognitive dysfunction, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders. They recently formed a collaborative partnership utilizing neurotherapy and biofeedback to serve all areas of northwest Michigan with psychophysiological interventions and therapies.

Both Todd and Linda are board-certified in neurofeedback and were honored in 2009 by the Michigan Department of Human Services for their outstanding work in designing and implementing a comprehensive intervention program for juvenile offenders using neurofeedback and biofeedback. Great Lakes Neurotherapy and Performance Consultants pairs counseling and performance coaching with neurofeedback and biofeedback to address a number of individual concerns, ranging from mental health issues to learning challenges to health and performance needs.

How it Works

In simple terms, neurofeedback and biofeedback are mind-body interventions. We simply tap technology to bring about better performance and recovery. It is an active therapy that engages the client to bring about lasting change. Neurotherapy is a means of helping individuals with learning disabilities and emotional impalements gain a greater self regulation, and balance cognitive, emotional and physiological functioning. Biofeedback aids in treatment of a variety of clinical and nonclinical applications including attention deficits, mood regulation, anxiety, stress management and addiction. During neurotherapy, sensors are placed on the scalp to detect brain activity. Real-time feedback of brain functioning is observed, building awareness of the inner states, where many problems and challenges originate. Biofeedback utilizes sensors to detect pulse rate, breathing, temperature or skin sweat to become more aware of their physiological state and more effectively practice self-regulation skills.

Why it Works

Unlike passive therapies like medication, you don't wait for someone or something to effect change on you – you actively pursue it yourself; the therapist becomes the coach and the guide. And unlike medication, the effects are lasting – they do not wear off after a few hours. It is very encouraging that for ADHD and depression, neurofeedback and biofeedback have helped some individuals reduce or even eliminate medication. The research is strongest for ADHD, in which several studies have shown neurofeedback to be as effective as stimulant medication – and without the side effects. For conditions like autistic spectrum disorders, neurofeedback and biofeedback can help balance brain function and regulate agitation.

Background

I have a master's degree in counseling, hold post-masters certifications in substance abuse intervention and school counseling, and am presently working toward a Ph.D. in psychophysiology. I also serve as a software developer, clinical leader and instructor, working with experts from a variety of fields internationally to design biofeedback and neurofeedback applications and instruct others in the field.

Todd began working with children with learning disabilities in 1986. In 1988, he co-authored the book, Becoming Whole Through Games, which promoted whole-brain learning through games. He presently serves as a school social worker and has been actively involved with assessment and intervention for students who have special educational needs.

Challenges

Both of us have many years experience as therapists, and we have had program development and leadership responsibilities in a variety of agency settings. But being in business adds an entirely different element. While Todd has had some business experience, I must admit that I felt completely out of my element coming out of the therapy room into the business office. We have utilized help and coaching to work through the accounting and legal details of running a business. We have also needed to understand the organizational dynamics that are unique to business management and entrepreneurship.

Professional Guidance

We cannot speak highly enough of the help we have received from local small business experts. The Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) has been instrumental in helping us network – a skill we're learning is critical in business – as well as sorting out our marketing strategy and providing a wealth of small business advice and resources. SCORE counselors gave us pointers so we could develop our initial business plan and form our basic accounting and legal strategies. In addition, we have tapped the skills and talents of our fellow colleagues and professionals to build our business. As we began to decide what kind of practice we wanted, it was helpful to contact the experts we knew in the field to discuss our ideas.

Goals

Our goals are to make our therapeutic interventions accessible and practical for individuals in northwest Michigan. We recognize that any therapeutic intervention is bound to fail if it is applied alone because change happens on many levels. In that spirit, we work to assess thoroughly and collaborate with others involved in treatment or coaching.

More information can be found at www.greatlakesbrain.com or phone 231-715-1171.

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