02. Experts Corner

A Clinician's Journey with NeuroTracker

April 12, 2021

I've been a clinician working in the field of psychology for 13 years now. For almost a decade of that time I've been putting NeuroTracker to use across my practices. Here I'd like to share insights on how that journey was transformed by utilizing this 3D multiple object tracking technology, and how it led me to expand my services from therapy all the way into elite sports. If you are new to NeuroTracker, then here is a short video to watch for an overview.

From Therapy to Neuroplasticity...

Historically my specialty as a clinician was based around Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), where I was working a lot with kids and teenagers. Accordingly, a lot of the focus was on changing behaviors and patterns within the brain across many different psychological disorders. But when I started my PhD I wanted to go beyond traditional psychotherapy, to try and really understand how the brain actually works in order to optimize the services I offer.

I was particularly interested in neuroplasticity, and around that time discovered NeuroTracker. Just from the science that was available I saw its potential as a tool for measuring and stimulating functional plasticity. The opportunity to put this neurotechnology to use actually influenced the direction of my business from that point.

In fact it’s a big part of the reason why I founded Synapse Plus. , a center dedicated to improving human performance and wellness. I chose the name because synapses sit in the nerve firing space between the dendrite and axon - where all the action happens in the brain! I was already using Neurofeedback, but it was actually the opportunity to get on board with NeuroTracker that really allowed me to transition my business to become dedicated to cognitive enhancement.

...to Athletics

With this new focus on cognitive performance I started getting demand to work increasingly with athletes. This was not as big of a jump as I’d expected, because I was surprised to learn that a lot of athletes have issues with things like ADHD, OCD, anxiety and phobias. Then there’s the cognitive rehabilitation side of sports injury – the field of sports medicine has shown that it can be as important to rehabilitate the brain, as the physical injury itself. Lastly, even with athletes, we don’t only work with NeuroTracker for sports performance, but also for benefits in their daily life and overall wellness.

This led me to want to become a specialist in sports psychology, and for that reason I completed studies in both Canada and the US. From putting what I'd learned academically into clinical practice, alongside harnessing the latest neurotechnologies, I feel I'm now in a strong position to offer really comprehensive services. Its resulted in services with numerous high-profile clients, including NHL and NFL teams, as well as professional teams in Europe. It's opened-up a lot of opportunities I wouldn't have imagined were possible.

So a big takeaway with NeuroTracker is that I found a natural crossover between therapy and performance enhancement, which is why I apply it across such a diverse range clients. It’s a great testimonial for a product when it actually shapes your career and drives the evolution of your business in completely new directions.

A Window into the Brain

One of the things I found is that when I use NeuroTracker with clients it's much easier to interact with them in a meaningful way, especially with children. It just open ups a lot of their interest from their perspective about how their minds actually function. Likewise, over the years I’ve found that NeuroTracker is a good predictor of the way people respond in real life situations. For example if they get frustrated or annoyed at missing three trials in a row during a session, then that's how they are prone to react more generally. This makes it a nice way to gain insights on how people respond to challenges they face in daily life, and more importantly, when mindset changes are happening over time.

I use a lot of neuropsychology tools which test various components of cognition, such as attention, working memory, and so on, which is great when you want to isolate certain brain functions. However, the flip side is that we don't get the picture of how they actually integrate in a functional way. In contrast, something I really like about NeuroTracker is that it activates a lot of different functions across the brain, requiring them to be integrated at a high level. It's quite unique in this respect, and as a clinical psychologist, it really helps when you can put all the pieces together to see how a patient is progressing overall. It also makes a big difference when you want to know how well someone is functioning when it comes to real world demands.

A Tool for Performance Readiness

It’s especially important when it comes to high-performance sports, for example a hockey player on the ice has to process a massive amount of information they have to constantly coming in. They have to analyze this, evaluate options, decide how to react, and then execute the right action. And this happens on a continual basis. The bonus is that now I can not just test how well an athlete can put these combined systems to use, but I can also train them to be integrated under the pressure of NeuroTracker’s speed thresholds.

This is invaluable for assessing performing readiness on the field in a controlled setting. It's actually one of the biggest reasons I found the technology to be so useful in my practice. It’s just so useful to be able to bring all these cognitive elements together to test and train them for either a competitive edge, or to improve wellness and quality of life.

In a follow-up to this blog, I’ll dig deeper into where NeuroTracker benefits can go with advanced forms of training like dual-tasks, and explain why the 3D component is so important. In the meantime, if you’re interested to learn more on how to put NeuroTracker into practice, then check out my 3-part blog guide for trainers.

Tips for NeuroTracker Trainers - the First Session

Tips for NeuroTracker Trainers - Managing Sessions

Tips for NeuroTracker Trainers - Advanced Programs

Witness the benefits of NeuroTrackerX. Start Today!