Archive for Depression

Today in Brain Training: Peace in the Middle of the Anxiety Storm…

A client reports, after 10 sessions, that her appetite for food and life have opened up again, she’s now enjoying quality sleep without the aide of any medicines, and she’s got a calm sense of confidence even though she’s navigating through a very difficult personal matter (storm). Here is her survey report:Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 2.59.25 PM

Posted in: ADD (ADHD), Anger, Anxiety, Brain Mapping, Brain Training, Brain Wave Optimization, Concentration, confidence, Depression, Fatigue, Focus, Health & Exercise, Memory, Neurofeedback, Panic Attacks, PTSD, Sleep Issues, Stress, Trauma, Weight Issues

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

For the entire month of October, receive a 10% discount and 10% of what you spend will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

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Posted in: ADD (ADHD), Addiction, Anger, Anxiety, Bi-Polar, Brain Mapping, Brain Training, Brain Wave Optimization, Chronic Pain, Concentration, Depression, Fatigue, Focus, Fybromyalgia, Health & Exercise, Neurofeedback, Panic Attacks, PTSD, Sleep Issues, Stress, Tourettes Syndrome, Trauma, Uncategorized, Weight Issues

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New Study Shows Help for Depression

In Press: Frontiers in Neuroscience (July 2009)
Overcoming Depression through Brain State Conditioning

Vijendra K. Singh and Lee Gerdes
Brain State International Research Center, Brain State Technologies Inc.

Depression or major depressive disorder (MDD) is a very serious medical illness affecting an estimated 25 million Americans and millions more worldwide. It significantly changes an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis. Symptoms include persistently sad or irritable mood, pronounced changes in sleep, appetite, and energy, difficulty thinking, concentrating, and remembering, physical slowing or agitation, lack of interest in, or pleasure from, activities that were once enjoyed, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, and emptiness, recurrent thoughts of death or suicide and persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain. The cause of depression is not very well understood, but the disorder has a neurobiological basis (Mayberg, 2007). We hypothesized that depressed individuals have an imbalance in the brain (Gerdes, 2008) and conducted a pilot study of brain training using brain state conditioning (BSC). We found that depressive tendencies can be suppressed by BSC.
The study included four subjects (two males, aged 35 and 38 years, and two females, aged 41 and 60 years). Their goal was to overcome depression and improve sleep deprivation, cognitive performance, social interaction, decision making, attention and focus, drug addiction and dependency, motivation, mood stabilization, happiness and well-being, and physical health and balance. Depressed subjects were recruited by telephone interview, followed by the completion of an objective survey. To administer BSC, subjects were given an initial assessment of about 60 min. during which their brains were mapped, followed by four to six consecutive sessions of 90 min. each spread over two to five days. They were asked to complete Beck’s Inventory pre-BSC and post-BSC (Beck, 1996). Our observations were recorded and stored in a computer database and subsequently analyzed. The method of BSC was according to Gerdes (2008).
After the administration of BSC, all four subjects showed positive outcomes, including reduction of Beck’s Inventory score. The response to BSC was divided into two test scores: (i) BAI score for anxiety behavior; and (ii) BDI-II score for depressive behavior. Despite individual differences, all four subjects responded to BSC and showed noticeable reduction in the two test scores. The BAI score for anxiety was reduced by 54 to 100%. The BDI-II score for depression was reduced by 43% in subject code #2 and 80 to 95% in subject code #1, #3 and #4. Reduction in these test scores is a direct reflection of their response to BSC and the depressive tendencies were either completely diminished or significantly suppressed. Their sleep improved and they also showed lower level of stress, anxiety, and substance abuse.
Depression has a neuroanatomical basis (Mayberg, 2007). Patients with depression show dysfunctional neuronal systems in the prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, temporal cortex and basal ganglia (Mayberg, 2007). They also showed neuronal loss in the hippocampus (McMaster et al., 2008) and low levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) (Sen et al., 2008). Since the hippocampus is the primary brain region involved in memory function, hippocampal loss of neurons may explain cognitive decline in patients with depression. Amongst all mental health issues, depression is the single most common problem in adults. The disorder is no longer restricted to adults since many children are also diagnosed with depression. Although depression has a common clinical presentation, symptoms vary from one patient to another, which may imply that depression is a heterogeneous disorder possibly comprised of subsets. This also means that no single treatment will be solely effective for depression and each subset will require highly personalized modalities. In this respect, we suggest that BSC is a novel approach to brain training for alleviating the suffering from depression.
Acknowledgment: We thank the entire BST staff for their help with this study.
References
Beck, A. T. (1996). Beck’s Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and Beck’s Depression Inventory, 2nd Edition (BDI-II), The Psychological Corporation, Harcourt Brace & Company, San Antonio, Texas, USA.
Gerdes, L. (2008). Limitless You: the infinite possibilities of a balanced brain. (Vancouver BC., Canada, Namaste Publishing ), pp. 1-281.
MacMaster, F. P., Mirza, Y., and Szeszko, P. R. (2008). Amygdala and hippocampal volumes in familial onset major depressive disorder. Biol. Psychiatr. 63, 385-390.
Mayberg, H. (2007). Brain pathway may underlie depression. Sci. Am. 17, 26-31.
Sen, S., Duman, R., and Sanacora, G. (2008). Serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor, depression, and antidepressant medications: meta-analysis and implications. Biol. Psychiatr. 64, 527-532.

In Press: Frontiers in Neuroscience (July 2009)
Overcoming Depression through Brain State Conditioning

Vijendra K. Singh and Lee Gerdes
Brain State International Research Center, Brain State Technologies Inc.

Depression or major depressive disorder (MDD) is a very serious medical illness affecting an estimated 25 million Americans and millions more worldwide. It significantly changes an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis. Symptoms include persistently sad or irritable mood, pronounced changes in sleep, appetite, and energy, difficulty thinking, concentrating, and remembering, physical slowing or agitation, lack of interest in, or pleasure from, activities that were once enjoyed, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, and emptiness, recurrent thoughts of death or suicide and persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain. The cause of depression is not very well understood, but the disorder has a neurobiological basis (Mayberg, 2007). We hypothesized that depressed individuals have an imbalance in the brain (Gerdes, 2008) and conducted a pilot study of brain training using brain state conditioning (BSC). We found that depressive tendencies can be suppressed by BSC.
The study included four subjects (two males, aged 35 and 38 years, and two females, aged 41 and 60 years). Their goal was to overcome depression and improve sleep deprivation, cognitive performance, social interaction, decision making, attention and focus, drug addiction and dependency, motivation, mood stabilization, happiness and well-being, and physical health and balance. Depressed subjects were recruited by telephone interview, followed by the completion of an objective survey. To administer BSC, subjects were given an initial assessment of about 60 min. during which their brains were mapped, followed by four to six consecutive sessions of 90 min. each spread over two to five days. They were asked to complete Beck’s Inventory pre-BSC and post-BSC (Beck, 1996). Our observations were recorded and stored in a computer database and subsequently analyzed. The method of BSC was according to Gerdes (2008).
After the administration of BSC, all four subjects showed positive outcomes, including reduction of Beck’s Inventory score. The response to BSC was divided into two test scores: (i) BAI score for anxiety behavior; and (ii) BDI-II score for depressive behavior. Despite individual differences, all four subjects responded to BSC and showed noticeable reduction in the two test scores. The BAI score for anxiety was reduced by 54 to 100%. The BDI-II score for depression was reduced by 43% in subject code #2 and 80 to 95% in subject code #1, #3 and #4. Reduction in these test scores is a direct reflection of their response to BSC and the depressive tendencies were either completely diminished or significantly suppressed. Their sleep improved and they also showed lower level of stress, anxiety, and substance abuse.
Depression has a neuroanatomical basis (Mayberg, 2007). Patients with depression show dysfunctional neuronal systems in the prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, temporal cortex and basal ganglia (Mayberg, 2007). They also showed neuronal loss in the hippocampus (McMaster et al., 2008) and low levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) (Sen et al., 2008). Since the hippocampus is the primary brain region involved in memory function, hippocampal loss of neurons may explain cognitive decline in patients with depression. Amongst all mental health issues, depression is the single most common problem in adults. The disorder is no longer restricted to adults since many children are also diagnosed with depression. Although depression has a common clinical presentation, symptoms vary from one patient to another, which may imply that depression is a heterogeneous disorder possibly comprised of subsets. This also means that no single treatment will be solely effective for depression and each subset will require highly personalized modalities. In this respect, we suggest that BSC is a novel approach to brain training for alleviating the suffering from depression.
Acknowledgment: We thank the entire BST staff for their help with this study.
References
Beck, A. T. (1996). Beck’s Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and Beck’s Depression Inventory, 2nd Edition (BDI-II), The Psychological Corporation, Harcourt Brace & Company, San Antonio, Texas, USA.
Gerdes, L. (2008). Limitless You: the infinite possibilities of a balanced brain. (Vancouver BC., Canada, Namaste Publishing ), pp. 1-281.
MacMaster, F. P., Mirza, Y., and Szeszko, P. R. (2008). Amygdala and hippocampal volumes in familial onset major depressive disorder. Biol. Psychiatr. 63, 385-390.
Mayberg, H. (2007). Brain pathway may underlie depression. Sci. Am. 17, 26-31.
Sen, S., Duman, R., and Sanacora, G. (2008). Serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor, depression, and antidepressant medications: meta-analysis and implications. Biol. Psychiatr. 64, 527-532.

Posted in: Brain Training, Depression

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Factors that may contribute to long-term and recurring depressions

New scientific research from London may provide a key into the recent success of a South Florida firm assisting individuals with long-term and previously intractable depressions.

Individuals with histories of childhood abuse or mistreatment are twice as likely to develop multiple and long-lasting depressive episodes as those without such experiences, according to a new report by a Psychiatry team from King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry and published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The British researchers studied 16 epidemiological studies involving more than 20,000 participants and 10 clinical trials involving more than 3,000 participants. At present, one in ten children exposed to maltreatment – psychological, physical or sexual abuse or neglect – and the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020 depression will be the second leading contributor to the cost of disease across all ages. Significantly, individuals with multiple and long-lasting depressive episodes represent the largest societal impact of depression.

While previous studies have shown that maltreated individuals are more likely to show abnormalities in biological systems sensitive to psychological stress – the brain, the endocrine, and the immune systems – both in childhood and adult life, and they may have important clinical implications.

Helping Child Abuse Victims - Brain Training Centers “Identifying those at risk of multiple and long lasting depressive episodes is crucial from a public health perspective,” notes Dr. Andrea Danese, senior investigator of the King’s study. “The results indicate that childhood maltreatment is associated both with an increased risk of developing recurrent and persistent episodes of depression, and with an increased risk of responding poorly to treatment. Therefore prevention and early therapeutic interventions targeting childhood maltreatment could prove vital in helping prevent the major health burden owing to depression. Knowing that individuals with a history of maltreatment won’t respond as well to treatment may also be valuable for clinicians in determining patient’s prognosis,” she added.

Dr. Danese noted, “The biological abnormalities associated with childhood maltreatment could potentially explain why individuals with a history of maltreatment respond poorly to treatment for depression.”

“Our study has shown that antidepressant medication, psychological treatment and the combination of these two are less effective in those who have a history of childhood maltreatment,” noted Dr. Rudolf Uher, co-author of the article “Childhood Maltreatment Predicts Unfavorable Course of Illness and Treatment Outcome in Depression: A Meta-Analysis,” appearing in the August 14, 2011 edition of The American Journal of Psychiatry.

“Research on the brain is only now beginning to recognize the myriad of factors that may contribute to long-term and recurring depressions,” observed Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy.D., director of clinical services of the Brain Training Centers of Florida. “So many of our clients with histories of long-term and recurring depressions report physical, emotional and sexual abuse in childhood or the fear that occurs when one grows up in a family with an alcohol or addicted or violent pattern that our experience reflects the British findings.

“More importantly, however, we’ve also found that using the tools of neurobiofeedback and individual counseling we are frequently able to assist clients in overcoming depression, sleeping better, and living without the stress of being perpetually hyper-vigilant,” said Flynn.

Flynn is careful to avoid making promises regarding individual clients, again noting the “multitude of factors – including childhood trauma – that may result in adult depression.

“Our experience, assisting dozens of clients with histories of chronic depression, appears to indicate that early life trauma affects the balance of brainwave activity throughout the brain,” notes Flynn. “By helping clients achieve a healthier balance of this activity, we have been able to assist many adults find significant and long-term relief from otherwise unresponsive depressions.”

Dr. Flynn is quick to emphasize that future research should emphasize biological and neurological changes associated with childhood abuse in all its forms.

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.

Posted in: Depression, Neurofeedback

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Importance of setting boundaries around your use of technology

If ever there were a “perfect story” of reasons for the parents of college students to lose sleep, here it  is: Nearly half of all college students have received sexually suggestive images through text messages – sexting – and nearly 80 percent have received suggestiver messages and, depending on the state, minors and adults who possess or forward such images of anyone younger than 18 may be charged with violating child pornography laws.

The importance of setting boundaries with your technologyUniversity of Rhode Island assistant professors Sue K. Adams and Tiffani S. Kisler examined the impact of technology use on physical and mental health, as well as interpersonal relationships with college students.  In their study of 204 students conducted during the Spring 2011, they found that 56 percent had received sexually suggestive images, and 78 percent had received sexually suggestive messages.  Potentially more criminally dangerous, two-thirds of the group had sent suggestive messages. Granted almost three-quarters – 73 percent – were sent to a relationship partner, 10 percent were forwarded without consent of the original sexter.

“It is important to help everyone, especially students, understand the importance of setting boundaries around their use of technology,” notes Kisler.

In August, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signed a bill outlawing sexting by minors. It provides that minors who create and send sexually explicit images of themselves may be charged with a “status offense” and referred to family court. Minors and adults who possess or forward sexual images of anyone younger than 18 may be charged under the state’s child pornography law.

“College freshmen are right at that 17- and 18-year old threshold,” observed Professor Adams.  “Whether it is classmates in college or friends from high school, we have to wonder how many students are thinking about the ages of the people they are communicating with.” And Kisler pointed out that many students don’t recognize the lack of control they have over who is seeing their messages.

“At the young age of most college students, people are filtering through relationships at a faster rate. People want to feel a sense of belonging, so they are sharing more of themselves with people they are still getting to know. Once they click that ‘send’ button, they don’t know where else a message will end up,” said Kisler.

In an earlier study, Kisler and Adams found that texting and cell phone use affect important aspects of students’ physical health. Forty-seven percent of the 236 college juniors and seniors in their study reported being awakened by text messages and then responding before falling back to sleep. Forty percent of student answered phone calls during sleep; students who use technology throughout the night were losing an average of 44 minutes of sleep per week due to text messages and calls. And, this pattern of loss sleep was also associated with particularly poor sleep quality, depression and anxiety.

“At first glance 44 minutes doesn’t seem like much, but combined with the fact that college students are the most sleep deprived population across all age groups, the implications are significant,” notes Adams. “More often than not, the interruptions caused by texting come with the first few hours of sleep, which is the most important time for restorative sleep. If students are constantly interrupting their sleep cycle, they place themselves at risk for sleep debt, which can impact multiple areas of their life, including academic performance. “

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.

Posted in: Depression, Health & Exercise

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Beating Depression Permanently Without Medications

I have been providing brain waive optimization for the past three and a half years. I have analyzed and provided session plans for over 12,000 sessions. I have now helped hundreds of people overcome their depression permanently without medications. In 2008 I personally overcame my depression without the use of medications and have been depression free since then. I just wanted to personally describe how successful we have been this month helping people recover from their depressions.

In the beginning of the month, a 26 year old male came in because he was having difficulties with his relationship with his fiancé. During his process with us, his fiancé broke off their engagement. He was sadden by this, but did not miss a day of work, and was able to function well. He (and his employer) were quite amazed. He reported that it was devastating, but now he could cope and not sink down into the mire of shame and guilt that he used to experience.

Beat Depression Using Brain Wave Optimization - Brain TrainingAlso in the beginning of the month a 30 year old army veteran who’s Humvee was hit by a missile in Iraq, came in. He was burned on over 80% of his body. This was not however, why he came to see us. He reported that he had an anger problem way before he ever went to Iraq. This was why he wanted help. He completed 16 sessions over a course of three weeks. He has reported never feeling better. His anger is now well under control.

A 30 year old woman came in because she has battled depression for many years. She was in the middle of another bad bout when she came in due to difficulties surrounding her work and her ex-husband. She is now smiling ear to ear.

A 35 year old female physician came in because her stress levels and obsession with the well-being of her daughter were pushing her to a level of having panic attacks etc. Her depression was now causing her much difficulty. She has completed 10 sessions and is amazed at how much better she is feeling.

A 50 year old woman came in for anxiety and depression. She has completed six sessions, and has reported “I am now one of your greatest fans!”

A 22 year old mane came in due to battling depression. He had been taking benzodiazepine addictively. He has now stopped and reports having an unexplained general feeling of happiness.

A 45 year old fireman came in due to PTSD, anxiety and depression. He performed 15 sessions. I received a text today from a friend of his that said “…he told me he really feels great and the training has really worked well…”

The young lady who sent me that text and referred him to me came in to overcome her depression. She performed 16 sessions and has an entirely new lease on life. She has referred many others to us as well. She may be coming in next week to do a video testimonial, which we will be posting to youtube soon!!!!

This has been a great month in beating depression. I felt compelled to report this on our Blog. If you or anyone you know is suffering from PTSD, anxiety, and/or depression, please have them contact us as soon as possible. We are helping people beat this horrible mental disease everyday without medications!!

Posted in: Anxiety, Depression, PTSD

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Depressed? Anxious? Perhaps eating disordered or feeling overwhelmed by the struggles of being a primary caregiver?

Please read the “full disclosure” notice at the end of this report.

Depressed? Anxious? Perhaps eating disordered or feeling overwhelmed by the struggles of being a primary caregiver to a critically ill spouse or elderly parent– sometimes a form of post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Before you make that all-important call to schedule with a psychiatrist consider:

· “…[T]he percentage of visits to psychiatrists that included psychotherapy dropped from 44 percent in 1996-1997 to 28 percent in 2004-2005. And the percentage of psychiatrists who provide psychotherapy at every patient visit decreased from 19 percent to 11 percent. This decline in therapy was closely correlated with the growth of medication treatment and decreasing insurance reimbursements for psychotherapy.

· “Managed care companies discourage [psychiatrists] from doing psychotherapy, arguing that it is more cost effective for psychiatrists to do 15-minute medication visits every 3 months, and to hire a lower paid non-M.D. for more frequent therapy visits.

· “…Over the past two decades, psychiatry has gone astray. We have allowed our treatment decisions to be influenced by the promise of riches from drug companies, rather than by what our patients most need. We have fought pitched turn wars with our colleagues in related disciplines, instead of learning from them and incorporating their effective therapeutic tools into our arsenal. Finally, we have unquestioningly sought to become just as “medical” as other doctors, when we should embrace the fact that psychiatry is remarkably different from the rest of medicine.”

· “As psychiatrists have become enthralled with diagnosis and medication, we have given up the essence of our profession – understanding the mind. We have become obsessed with psychopharmacology and its endless process of tinkering with medications, adjusting dosages, and piling on more medications to treat the side effects of the drugs we started with. We have convinced ourselves that we have developed cures for mental illness…, when in fact we know so little about the underlying neurobiology of their causes that our treatments are often a series of trials and errors.”

· “Whether we are talking about depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, the new drugs introduced over the past fifty years are no more effective than the original prototypes – such as Haldol for schizophrenia, lithium for bipolar, and nardil for depression. We are keep to prescribe the newest drugs, and patients assume that much progress has been made in psychopharmacology over the past several decades,but… this profess has been overblown…. Even our newer drugs’ supposed advantage – fewer side effects – is being called into question.

· Our diagnostic process is shallow and is based on an elaborate checklist of symptoms, leading us sometimes to over-diagnosis patients with disorders of questionable validity, or, conversely, to miss the underlying problems in our rush to come up with a discrete diagnostic label that will be reimbursed by the insurance company. We tend to treat all psychological problems the same way – with a pill and a few words of encouragement. Because of this rote approach to treatment, patients are often misdiagnosed and medications are overprescribed…We have been seduced by the constant encouragement from drug companies to prescribe more medications and an insurance reimbursement system that discourages therapy… Pulled by both drug companies and consumer demand to provide immediate drug fixes to life’s difficulties, the field of psychiatry has become unhinged, pried away from its original mission – to discover the causes of mental illness and to treat those causes, not merely the symptoms.

In Unhinged: The Trouble With Psychiatry – A Doctor’s Revelations About A Profession In Crisis (Free Press, 2010) Daniel Carlat, MD has produced a scathing indictment of the profession to which he has dedicated fifteen years “in a small town north of Boston.” A member of the faculty of the Tufts Medical School and a solo practitioner, Carlat trained at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also the editor of The Carlat Psychiatry Report, a monthly newsletter for clinicians in the US.

By his own admission, Carlat experienced a series of epiphanies that caused him to begin questioning his role as a shill for Big Pharma, the validity of many of the “scientific research” and “medical” reports that provide the basis for psychiatrists prescribing practices, and the efficacy of the “15-minute medication session” that is the basis for much of what now passes as as psychiatric “treatment.”

Chapter by chapter, dissects the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – IV, the bible of psychiatric diagnosis – diagnosis by committee consensus without scientific basis and by checklist; the role of drug reps and so-called “experts” in the PR selling of new drugs to prescribing physicians; sham therapeutic treatments; and the innate weaknesses of contemporary psychiatry – including the loss of clinically proven counseling skills and an almost myopic focus on prescribing psychoactive medications that necessitates more and more prescriptions to offset side effects.

The bottom line is; An MD psychiatrist can earn two, three or four times as much by scheduling 15 minute medication prescribing/reviewing sessions than he can with a 45 or 50 minute hour of psychotherapy.

That’s one of the most critical points made by Daniel Carlat, MD in Unhinged: the Trouble With Psychiatry – A Doctor’s Revelations About A Profession In Crisis (Free Press, 2010).

At The Brain Training Centers of Florida we help people resolve these issues every day. We offer lasting relief without the use of medications. Our Brain Wave Optimization and Cognitive Behavioral approach is noninvasive and extremely quick acting. Please call our office at 305-412-5050 to schedule a consultation.

_____

In 1973, while studying for the Roman Catholic priesthood with the Maryknoll Fathers, I was arrested and held for eleven days as a political prisoner in Latin America. Upon my return to the US, I immediately requested and received counseling from Dr. Thomas Stauffer, an outstanding psychiatrist. To this day, I remain grateful for his assistance and empathic support. Despite the fact today I would be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress disorder, I did not request and Dr. Stauffer did not prescribe psychoactive medications.

Nonetheless, as a result of my work with him, I greatly appreciate the role of the well-trained and highly competent psychiatrist. When appropriate, I refer clients for assessment and medication. I also encourage clients to work closely with their prescribing psychiatrists and, as quickly as possible and if possible, withdraw from medication – if that is consistent with their desires and their on-going progress.

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.

Posted in: Anxiety, Brain Wave Optimization, Depression

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