Rapping It Up: NeurOptimal®‘s Palm Springs Conference

IMG_2879When you think of the desert, compassion isn’t the first descriptive noun that springs to mind. Instead, you begin to think in superlative adjectival phrases – things like: harsh conditions, glaring sun, chilling winds, and lost wages (if you’re in Vegas). Yet, no such phrases need apply when describing the NeurOptimal inaugural Research Conference in the heart of the Mojave. History will record how, in late February of 2012, compassion came into fashion in one of the earth’s harshest climate zones. OK, OK – we were in Palm Springs and hardly roughing it, but still….

What has always set NeurOptimal® apart is the unparalleled expertise of its staff and trainers. That fact was thrown into high relief during the conference, as trainers traveled from as far away as Australia to present their research findings re: the NeurOptimal® neurofeedback system. Many attended the conference to further hone their skills; others to attain advanced training certification. Personally I was struck by conference participants’ plethora of credentials. M.A.s and Ph.D.s where in abundance among the attendees. Many held degrees in psychology, natural sciences, and the social sciences. These are NOT the kind of people who are going to be susceptible to the latest fad or accept claims without a dose of healthy skepticism. These are folks who expect results, period. And for them and their clients, NeurOptimal® has clearly delivered.

Palm Springs was the kind of gathering where there simply was not enough time to take in all the fascinating assembled expertise. Excellence started at the top with NeurOptimal®‘s founders Dr. Sue Brown and Dr. Val Brown, who instructed and inspired the conference attendees. Researcher/presenters were equally as impressive and spent the week sharing exciting, innovative new ways to use the NeurOptimal system. Dr. Lise DeLong of Walnut Creek, CA has combined NeurOptimal® with cognitive exercises – a innovation she calls NeuroCognitive Processing, to help children struggling with autism. Edward O’Malley has created a highly effective training organization in New England that specializes in using NeurOptimal® to address sleep disorders. Another researcher, Lori Kochevar, has investigated the psychology of adopted children and discussed how to address their special trauma with NeurOptimal® neurofeedback.

Presenters inspired everyone with their personal stories. A few years ago, conference attendee Stephanie Rudy had a benign tumor removed from her brain. The surgery successfully removed the growth, but left her with reduced  cognitive function. NeurOptimal® has been so effective in helping her recovery that Stephanie attended the conference just to share her positive NeurOptimal® experience with others. And Val Brown, the head man himself, made our film crew’s collective jaw drop when he hit an mind-blowing thirty foot putt on cue for their cameras at the nearby Indian Wells Golf Club. Someone’s been brain training!

But the common ingredient you gathered from milling around the conference or chatting with the attendees was an overwhelming sense of compassion and empathy. Everyone at this conference; the Drs. Brown, the NeurOptimal® staff, the presenters, the trainers and the researchers- all described a strong personal sense of mission and deep commitment toward those they were trying to help. Across the board, attendees described their work with NeurOptimal as a means of helping to make the world a better place. That’s why NeurOptimal®‘s “peeps”  are perhaps our greatest asset and best endorsement for the NeurOptimal® neurofeedback system itself.

So dry deserts be damned!  In Palm Springs, for the first annual NeurOptimal® research conference, compassion was definitely in fashion. We can’t wait for the 2013 version!

Given the conference’s overwhelmingly positive reception from users and trainers, Zengar Institute is already planning a second annual NeurOptimal® neurofeedback research conference for early 2013.

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