More Than You See 3.08 - Innovative, New, Mental Health Treatments
10:35PM Jan 10, 2022
cognitive behavioral therapy
Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me for another episode of the More Than You See podcast hosted by me, actor, filmmaker mental health advocate Deborah Lee Smith.
Every Monday, I come to you to share some resources, have a conversation, and generally just dive into all sorts of topics around mental health. I am not a licensed practitioner or therapist, but just a woman exploring my own mental health journey, and sharing it with you, my listeners. My hope is that this podcast brings you some joy, some understanding and some tools so that you can build your own mental health toolbox.
Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode in season three of the podcast. Thank you so much for being here with me on this lovely Monday. So, today is the first episode in a three part series that we are going to be discussing different mental health treatments. Now, I'm going to say this several times throughout the episode, and I'm going to say it right here at the beginning. I am not a therapist, I am not a licensed practitioner in any capacity, and everything that I am going to share on this podcast episode is the experiences, the personal experiences of either the listener that I'm going to read their experience or experiences from reputable sources that I will cite and share from articles online. So I am not saying that you should necessarily follow any of these and I am not necessarily putting my name or backing them. The reason that I want to share these is that I think that there is some really incredible groundbreaking ideas and methods when it comes to mental health. And that is what this podcast is really all about is, is kind of getting individualized and thinking about what is going to potentially help you as an individual. And having that self awareness to think, hey, this one thing works for me this one thing does not work for me, etc.
So, I'm going to explain how these next three episodes are going to go. Today I'm going to be doing, I sharing a story from a listener, where they are going to be talking about TMS and TMS therapy and their journey with that. And then I'm also going to just touch on a few other really incredible, groundbreaking new mental health therapies that are out in the world. And then the next two episodes, we're going to have one episode that's going to be all about holistic mental health. And that includes you know why meditation works so well why it's so important to like feed our body, proper nutrition, nutritionally. And you know, really looking at your whole body as a holistic being and how that affects your mental health positive or negative. And then I am going to have an interview with a friend of mine, who has recently just started her a new course of medication, and we're going to talk about why she made that decision to go on medication and then how that medication has affected her life and for the better, and how it is completely transforming her in ways. And then on that episode, I will also have a little interview with another friend of mine who has been on OCD medication for about a year now and to talk about how she feels a year in to taking that medication.
So, I really hope that these three episodes will be beneficial to the entire community. And maybe you'll learn something about some new, cool, mental health treatment. I think that just as there is cancer treatments and heart disease treatments and all of these, you know different ways that we are learning about our bodies and how we show up in the world and how we are affected by our environment and toxins and all like so many different things - I think it's so incredible that the science is continuing to find new ways to treat the things that are ailing us. So this episode is dedicated to "yay science". And again, not a practitioner, I'm just gonna share some different things that I think will be interesting to you all. So let's get started shall we?
Okay, we're going to start off today's episode specifically talking about five new cool types of therapy and then I'm going to share again the story from one of our listeners about TMS and TMS is on the list. So I figure this is a good way to have a conversation about this. When you think of therapy, you often are actually thinking about cognitive therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy. And that's basically having a conversation with your therapist, your therapist might be asking you questions, you know, you might be setting goals with your therapist as far as, however you want to feel or how you want to feel differently, or whatever that is cognitive behavioral therapy. Oftentimes, if necessary, that cognitive behavioral therapy will also be paired with medication, which again, kind of helps balance out the chemicals, the hormones in your body and allows you to really dive deep into this behavior that you are experiencing. And oftentimes allows a lot more clarity and a lot more progress when it comes to this traditional type of therapy. So cognitive behavioral therapy is what is common.
Now, there is a lot of other new exciting types of therapy, which is what we are going to discuss now, all of these different types of therapies that I'm going to be discussing are from an article from the Mayo Clinic. And the first one that they discuss is brain spotting. This is very similar to EMDR if people have done EMDR, and brainspotting therapy is specifically about how the way that you position your eyes affects the way that you feel. And so I'm reading directly from here. And what this article is saying is that brain spotting therapy, led by a trained therapist can guide you through a negative stored emotion, allowing you to release it and move forward with positive emotions and reactions. And it does state that this is very similar to EMDR, which is again, another eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. So it's very similar. It's basically about how you are processing those emotions and how that relates to the position of your eyes, which is so crazy. It's so interesting, the way that it's - specific body parts can completely affect our entire body. But I think that that makes sense.
You know, they always say that if you're feeling sad, or if you're feeling depressed, if you just smile, even if you aren't feeling like smiling, even if you aren't feeling happy, if you just force yourself to smile, it releases different chemicals in your brain that kind of goes "oh, I'm actually supposed to be having a more positive emotion right now". And it will actually shift your mindset in some capacity. So I think it's really cool that they have now also seen how the position of your eyes will also affect the way that you feel.
The second type of therapy that we're going to discuss here is Neurofeedback therapy. This is also a type of therapy that focuses on the brain. Our brain has thousands of different brain waves that it emits and accepts throughout the day, throughout whatever you are doing, whatever task I mean. Our brain is constantly assessing situations and this is why when your, you know, body sends you into fight or flight, your brain is what is processing that and going, is this something that I should actually feel threatened by? Or, am I actually in danger? Like all of those sorts of things. It's all brain waves, your brain is just constantly accepting and trying to interpret different information. And so with neurofeedback therapy, it's basically trying to track whether you are having a appropriate emotional reaction to a situation.
So you will be hooked up to a machine that will read your brain wave and then be presented with different situations. And then a therapist will look at this map of your brainwaves and then determine if there was different, if there was, you know, sections when you responded to something that potentially could, your brain could have responded differently or better. And basically, the idea is that you might need a reset in that specific area. And so then it just allows them to really hone in on different ways that you are reacting to things and allows just greater understanding of what is going on.
And this is specifically helpful with people who are bipolar, who have a DD and people who have obsessive obsessive compulsive issues. And I think that it it really makes sense because it really just allows the therapist to specifically focus on the things that you are having an emotional reaction to that may be not serving you, and and then allow them to kind of focus on that and see what they can do in order to improve that situation for yourself.
Hypnotherapy is another one. And of course hypnotherapy has been around for many years. But it is making a huge comeback when it comes to therapy and to mental health disorders in general, because it is providing to be very valuable. And this is often actually also related to something else that I am going to mention, which is a psychedelic therapy.
Psychedelic therapy is something that you know, this idea of micro dosing is something that is being studied all of the time, and it's really being studied and proven that it can actually be a really good treatment for things like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and even substance abuse issues. Again, I am not a licensed practitioner, or therapist, and this is all information that I am reading from this article from the Mayo Clinic. But I also you know, have certainly read a lot about psychedelic therapy before. And I am going to recommend a book if this is something that you would like to look into more. This is a book that came out in 2018. And I actually listened to it on audiobook and it was incredible, it completely changed my idea when it came to psychedelics and really just like, showed how much our brain can be changed.
So this book is by Michael Pollan and it's called "How To Change Your Mind: What the new science of psychedelics teaches us about consciousness, dying, addiction, depression, and transcendence." And again, really, really freakin good, I highly recommend it if you're at all interested in the science of your brain and how micro dosing in very controlled and studied and protected ways can be incredibly important and helpful for people who are suffering from different mental health disorders or the symptoms of that. And so I strongly recommend that you check that out if that's something that you are interested in.
The second to last therapy that I'm going to mention is cognitive control training. And it basically is a type of therapy that actually uses computer games. And it allows you to, or you and your therapist, to focus on different emotions again, and different different tasks specifically. So this is especially helpful for anyone who has difficulty focusing on something or-- focusing on the motion focusing, on a task at hand. And so it really teaches you how to focus on a task, focus on emotion, process that task or emotion, and then continue on to the next. So it really teaches you how to focus on one thing at a time.
The last one that I want to mention, which is the one that I'm going to share one of our listeners experience with is called TMS, transcranial magnetic stimulation. And it's pretty interesting because it actually seems kind of freaky. Because what it actually is, is using magnets or using magnetic pulses in order to change different aspects of your brain, and specifically, the part of the brain that regulates your mood, I'm just going to start reading the story that was shared by one of the listeners because he really explains exactly, you know, why he started it, and what the whole treatment is. And I am so grateful that he was willing to share this experience because I think that oftentimes, we, you know, listen or read about these different types of therapies and we're like, Oh, my goodness, this sounds again, this sounds crazy, like how is this how is this something that really works? And and that's why I'm so, so grateful and honored that he wanted to share his journey with us and I hope that this will enlighten you as well. And again, not a licensed practitioner, I am just sharing some different ideas and treatment options that are out there in this magical universe of ours. So again, I am going to share this story. Thank you so much listener, you know who you are, I so appreciate you, this story has been written in the first person and so whenever I say "I", I am actually talking about this anonymous listener, so just keep that in mind.
"First things first, I have been under my psychiatrist care for anxiety and depression for about four years, my depression was pretty much under control. But these past six months, there were a ton of triggers for me one after the other, and that eventually led to me breaking. I was a broken man who could not function at this level of anxiety. My doctor altered some of my medication and addition to my current therapist, I also joined a CBT group therapy for anxiety. I took a medical leave of work starting in September for initially six weeks, those weeks flew by at the six week mark, I was clearly not ready to go back to work. That's when the discussion of TMS was brought up.
While it is a non-medicated way to treat depression and anxiety, I want it to be clear to you that I am still on medication, my doctor did not want me to go through any withdrawals and she chose to keep me on the same dosage throughout the TMS treatment. Now to the treatment.
The first visit is the longest. I first meet with TMS treatment coordinators who make measurements of my head, I wear this fabric cap over my head and while there they are measuring they are drawing on the cap where the magnetic coil will need to be placed on the left and right sides of my brain. Once that is all fit and aligned, my psychiatrist then enters the room, she will recommend a setting and monitor the movement of my right hand. The goal is to make my right hand or fingers twitch. Once the doctor figures out the settings that will make my right hand twitch, she adjusts the setting just below so that it no longer twitches. I know it's not a very medical description for me, but the way I saw it is that they wanted to find the sweet spot. All that took about an hour to hour and a half. This is the longest visit of the treatment. Note that I felt no pain at all during any of this.
Now my schedule is made and I am to come in five days a week for a total of 35 visits. From this point onward, the visits are quite short. I wear the cap every visit so the tech knows where to place the coils. A slow and steady pulse is given to the right side of my brain for eight minutes. The pulses come at intervals about one second, I can feel it and hear it but once again no pain. Once the right side is done, the coil is then moved to the left side of the brain. This time the pulses are in quick succession. The best way to describe it is to think of a woodpecker on your head pecking away fast. The left side only lasts for eight minutes. During these 11 minutes I typically answer some questions on how I am feeling and any changes from day to day. My psychiatrist will come in if necessary, if for some reason I'm not improving, or if I report bad side effects. Honestly, I've only had one evening where I got what I felt like a brain Zap on the right side. My doctor said this is common when first starting the treatment. Ever since then I go in and out and go on with my day.
The big question, have I noticed anything? I will say that this week, I am feeling a difference, today was truly the first day I can say that my anxiety was under control and not a negative impact to my life. Does this mean I'm cured? I'm not sure. But if this treatment keeps giving me more good days than bad, it will have been worth it. Today could have been an anomaly or it could be a good sign of things to come. I'm only on day 11 of 35. I'll let you know if I feel the same way after day 35."
Again, thank you so much for sharing your story. And I will circle back with this listener and see if they're willing to share a little bit more once they reach that 35 mark and maybe potentially they'll have some new thoughts about how the treatment is going just to give you a little bit of background on TMS.
So TMS has actually been around since the late 1700s. But it is obviously something that has only been modernized and officially studied and FDA approved and all that kind of thing in the 1990s. It was approved by the FDA in 2008. And basically, you know, kind of what this listener described as basically, it is magnetic pulses that focus on specific parts of your brain and the parts of the brain that it's specifically focusing on is enhancing the functionality of the prefrontal cortex. And by doing that it is allowing the prefrontal cortex to communicate better with the other areas of the brain that regulates your mood.
So oftentimes, your different you know, wiring system in your brain is maybe not talking to each other in the best way possible. And that is, you know, sometimes what is what is causing that depression or anxiety or OCD or PTSD or whatever. And so this magnetic pulse is actually allowing your brain to rewire itself in some capacity and to like, build little highways and allow your brain to talk to the other parts of the brain in a better and more functioning way.
So I find this stuff so freakin fascinating. I just think that, you know, there's this idea that we only know very tiny parts of what's going on in our brain and in our world, and our brains have so much more capacity than we even have any kind of comprehension about. And I think that research like this, studies like this, different new things that we are learning about our brains and about how it affects our mood and, and how we show up in the world. And I really hope that me sharing these different mental health treatments is helpful for you as well, because maybe you're listening and feeling like your medication isn't working, or whatever you're doing isn't working. And I want to remind you that there is always more options. There's always new things that are being discovered in the world. And again, our mental health is so individualized and so unique. And it's so important to build that toolbox. And maybe something that I just mentioned on this episode. Again, not a licensed practitioner, but maybe something that I just mentioned on this episode sparked something in you and you're going to go and talk to your doctor, your psychiatrist or your therapist about it, because we have to advocate for ourselves and figure out what works for us.
So I hope that this was helpful. I hope everyone has a wonderful week. I'm really excited, again to share two more episodes around, you know, different types of mental health treatment. Please be kind to yourself this week. Give yourself a lot of grace and love. Remember that you and everyone around you is more than you see. Again, thank you so much to the listener who shared their story. And I really look forward to chatting with you again next week.