On November 19, 2010 I headed out for a road trip to Raleigh, NC. I packed the car with plenty of water, snacks, audio CDs and of course, my biofeedback equipment. I was in for a busy weekend of biofeedback activity. I drove most of the day and arrived at my friend Henri Belfon’s home on Friday evening. Henri is an educational psychologist who has a great interest in using neurofeedback with students for ADD/ADHD, learning disorders, and behavior problems.
Henri and I met many years ago at an AAPB conference. We have remained friends since then. He has trained with Lynda and Michael Thompson as well as Adam Crane and me in neurofeedback and biofeedback. He is also an avid fisherman. I also like to fish so I’m looking to pick up some tips.
We watched a little TV and chatted a bit before I rested up for the night. On Saturday morning I went to Shaw University to do a radio interview on a show called Traces of Places and Faces. The show airs on Saturday mornings from 9:00am – 11:00 am on WSHA 88.9 FM in Raleigh, NC.
The show is hosted by a fascinating lady named Margaret Rose Murray. She owns two private schools in Raleigh. One is an elementary school and the other is a preschool. She started and built up the schools with the help of her husband Kenneth Murray-Mohammad who was a community leader, artist, and musician. Two doctors from the community are regulars on the radio show. The panel discussed issues including high school and college graduation rates, imprisonment rates, and health problems like hypertension and diabetes in the minority community.
Ms. Murray, the host introduced me and asked me to talk about biofeedback. I explained what biofeedback is and gave my story about how I got started in biofeedback. I talked about my involvement in the Yonkers, NY Public School Neurofeedback Project. We talked about how many children were helped through the program at no cost to their parents. I talked about my clinical experiences providing biofeedback in a pain management setting for people with headaches, neck and back pain, anxiety, and sleep problems. I also answered several questions from the host, panelists, and a listener who called in. Before I knew it the show was almost over. I initially thought I was only going to get a chance to talk for 10 minutes or so but it was almost 40 minutes.
I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the radio show. Being in the studio at Shaw University reminded me of the days when I hosted my own music radio show on WOSS at Ossining High School. The station has a lovely studio and a wonderful selection of music.
After the show Ms. Murray took me on a tour of both of her schools. She showed me the classrooms, computer room, kitchen, examples of the students work, and several awards they have received. She also showed me many of the paintings that her husband Kenneth had created that decorated the walls of the hallways. She told me the stories behind several of the pieces. Ms. Murray invited me back to her school to do a presentation on biofeedback and neurofeedback at her school the next time I am in Raleigh. I will definitely take her up on it.
The next day I taught an all day practical skills biofeedback workshop for a small group. We covered EMG, Temperature, Skin Conductance, Respiration, Heart Rate, and EEG. I explained the source of the signal, identifying a proper signal, setting amplitude, time scales, thresholds, and identifying and reducing artifacts. I used the book Biofeedback Mastery by Erik Peper as a source for the lab exercises that we did during the workshop. I did demonstrations and helped the participants practice hookups for each modality. I was also able to help one of the participants get a Procomp2 system that he has had for some time to work properly. He also learned how to use it.
Ms. Veda Denning-McKenzie of Ventura Realty was kind enough to allow us to use the meeting room in her office complex for the workshop.
On the final day of my Raleigh tour I had the honor of making a presentation for Dr. Willa Casstevens’ Human Behavior and the Social Environment class at NC State University. I introduced them to biofeedback and how it can be used as a tool to help measure physiological responses to stress and relaxation. We discussed biofeedback applications in stress management, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), pain, ADD/ADHD, test anxiety, headaches, and performance enhancement. I enjoyed speaking to the group and the presentation was well received.
That concluded my three day biofeedback tour of Raleigh, NC. I went back to Henri’s house to relax for the night and headed out in the morning bound for home. It was a long but successful trip. I was happy to get home to recover and prepare for my next trip to Houston, TX which would follow in only a couple of weeks.