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Western Connecticut Center For Neurofeedback And Counseling Expands To Meet Demands



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Karen Wilk, a former educator at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was among the many impacted by 12/14 who sought mental health care. She went to the Western Connecticut Center For Neurofeedback And Counseling (WCCNC) and, touched so much by the care she received, has recently joined the WCCNC staff as part of its ongoing expansion.EMDR in Family Systems: An Integrated Approach to Healing Trauma.www.neurofeedback-ct.com.

"It helped me so much with my PTSD. It's been a really great place to be," said Ms Wilk, who worked 18 years at Sandy Hook School as a paraeducator, and has found a new work home at WCCNC. "Everybody is just so loving and so passionate and compassionate."

Ms Wilk is an assistant neurofeedback technician/technician-in-training, and also continues to get treatment at WCCNC. She came on board as a staff member in August as part of an increase from five to 18 employees, as the business expanded.

Following a recent expansion in both building/office space and staff size, the WCCNC is in the planning process for even more growth this winter and, if all goes as planned, will double its already significantly increased space by the summer.

Located at 13 Berkshire Road in Sandy Hook, the center has about three times the space and nearly four times the staff it had from its previous location on Church Hill Road, after a move that was completed in the summer of 2015. This winter, WCCNC's space will increase from 2,500 to about 5,000 square feet by way of expansion into more of the Berkshire Road location.

The reason for all of this growth is an increasing need to provide services to members of the community struggling with a wide array of mental health issues such as depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and anxiety.

"Given what we're able to do, I feel like we need to grow. We need to get the message out there that we can evaluate the brain," said WCCNC Executive Director and owner Jeffrey Schutz, MA, MA, LMFT, BCN, ORD. "Mental health treatment needs to get better. It needs to provide actual healing."

Mr Schutz, a board certified neurofeedback clinician through the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance, notes that people with mental health issues are not being treated as they need to be if they have to continuously go back to therapists, or if medications do not work for them.

Mr Schutz argues that there is a place for medications to serve as treatment, but believes medications are not the answer in most instances.

"The reason they're drawn to us is people want an alternative to medication," adds Mr Schutz, also pointing out that parents are concerned about the potential for side effects and long-term damage medications may cause children and want to avoid medicinal treatment.

"We also get a lot of people for whom meds haven't worked," adds Mr Schutz, who co-owns WCCNC with his wife, Laurie; WCCNC was founded five years ago. After opening in Westport it relocated to Newtown and has been here for three and a half years, experiencing growth, in large part, through word of mouth and an increase in doctor referrals, Mr Schutz said.

Talk therapy does not always get to the root of problems, and people are "tired of the guess work and tired of being misdiagnosed," said Mr Schutz, offering another reason WCCNC is an option people should consider.

"There's nobody in New England that can match us," said Mr Schutz, adding that WCCNC integrates therapy and quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG), which allows for analyzation of the brain for treatment." It's my opinion that there is a problem in the mental health field. The ability to analyze the brain and heal the brain, in addition to all of the other modalities, is going to make a difference," Mr Schutz said.

"We actually have to help the brain reregulate so it's not an anxious brain."

As part of the expansion, there will be five therapy rooms, six neurofeedback bays, and a large multipurpose room designated for group therapy, including for Sandy Hook residents in need of support in the aftermath of 12/14.

"It's very important when you go through trauma to have connectivity," said WCCNC clinical director of therapeutic services Diana Mille, PhD, MA, LMFT, AAMFT approved supervisor, and an EMDRIA certified therapist in EMDR (eye movement desensitization response).

According to webmd.com, EMDR is a nontraditional type of psychotherapy. "EMDR uses a patient's own rapid, rhythmic eye movements. These eye movements dampen the power of emotionally charged memories of past traumatic events."

Dr Mille adds that the WCCNC is looking to develop into a trauma research facility as part of its expansion.

As a certified eye movement desensitization response therapist, Dr Mille has presented at the International Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Conferences. She is working on a book,

The WCCNC is expanding its QEEG capability to include a wing of research. The staff includes Lindsay Higdon, WCCNC's neurofeedback clinical director, who is board certified by the QEEG Certification Board as a QEEG diplomate and by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance as a neurofeedback clinician.

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The Western Connecticut Center For Neurofeedback And Counseling has undergone expansion in both office space and staff in the past couple of years. Pictured are, from left, Dr Diana Mille, clinical director of therapeutic services; Jeffrey Schutz, executive director and owner; and Jason Higdon, business administrator and office manager. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
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