“There is power inherent in committing yourself to the process of creating health in all levels of your life.”
Christiane Northrup, M.D.
How does NeuroHealth Coaching help?
The ways that functional neurological symptoms impact your life can be greatly helped through NeuroHealth Coaching Sessions. NeuroHealth Coaching treats symptoms as expressions of a hyper,-hypoactivated nervous system. By working with those states of nervous system dys-regulation directly, Dr. Moenter treats clients with functional neurological symptoms. The focus of NeuroHealth Coaching is not on achieving “control of” the symptoms but on changing underlying psycho-biological mechanism which lead to those functional changes in the brain experienced by clients with FND.
The loss of control over your body and/or mind and the unpredictability of functional neurological symptoms and/or epilepsy can have a significant emotional impact on your life.
As a person with epilepsy and/or FND, you are most likely familiar with feelings of helplessness, depression, anxiety, loss of control, overwhelm, shame and guilt. You might feel as if you don’t fit in and have to depend on others for support and daily care. This is a lot to hold for any person, and is especially difficult to deal with when those feelings arise in addition to having epilepsy and/or FND.
Dr. Moenter, as the lead clinician at the Boulder Center for NeuroHealth, can help.
Over the years, Dr. Moenter has helped many individuals and families to step out of the secrecy, shame, and fear often experienced as a result of their own or a family member’s epilepsy or FND.
In her work with individuals, couples, and families, Dr. Moenter supports and challenges each person in a life-affirming, person-centered, joyful, and mindful way. She will help you explore and transform the challenges many individuals diagnosed with epilepsy and/or FND know quite intimately.
The main focus of the NeuroHealth process at the Boulder Center for NeuroHealth is to help you master the skill of nervous system regulation. Through relational mindfulness you will learn how to self-regulate your emotions, thoughts, and physical experiences.
Through your work together, Dr. Moenter will help you:
- Learn how to use mindfulness and self-awareness to create a more contemplative “nervous system-friendly” lifestyle.
- Identify pre-symptom warnings, including subtle changes in your physiology, thought patterns, and feeling state.
- Learn stress management techniques individualized to your lifestyle
- Reduce possible symptoms of PTSD, including hypervigilance, intrusive thoughts, feeling detached or dissociated, hypersensitivity, irritability or angry outbursts
- Explore ways to self-regulate states of hyper or hypo activation of the nervous system.
- Identify emotional, behavioral, physiological, and environmental challenges and learn how to be with rather than to avoid.
- Discover a greater quality of life while implementing a healthy lifestyle, including: exercise, nutrition, sleep, mindfulness, connection to nature, gardening, community, animal companions, independence, emotional health, and more.
- Recognize and cope with feelings of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, anger, shame, avoidance behavior, isolation and loneliness, and suicidal thoughts.
Healing happens on many levels: emotionally, spiritually, and physically. When you develop an understanding of the interconnectedness of your symptoms with other aspects of your life; both in your past and present, you enable true healing to begin.
Let’s explore and understand those influences and de-link them, so you can experience greater emotional freedom, joy, and confidence. Referencing Ron Kurtz, we believe that “the impulse to heal is real and powerful and lies within the you…We are not the healers. We are the context in which healing is inspired.”
Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)
Developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is an auditory intervention designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience. Based on Dr. Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, by calming the physiological and emotional state, the door is opened for improved communication and more successful therapy. The SSP is a research-based therapy showing significant results in the following areas:
- Social and emotional difficulties
- Auditory sensitivities
- Anxiety and trauma related challenges
- Stressors that impact social engagement
- Regulation of the Autonomic Nervous System
Dr. Moenter has been using the Safe and Sund protocol successfully as part of her treatment approach to FND.
This non-invasive intervention involves listening to music that has been processed specifically to retune the nervous system (regulating state) to introduce a sense of safety and the ability to socially engage. This allows the client to better interpret not only human speech, but, importantly, the emotional meaning of language. Once interpersonal interactions improve, spontaneous social behaviors and an enhanced ability to learn, self-regulate and engage are often seen.
If you are curious and would like to learn more, feel free to call Dr. Moenter at 303.258.1116
Breathing, Stress, and Seizures
Breathing is a behavior essential to human life. The body’s homeostasis, especially changes in arterial carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration, is greatly influenced by an individual’s breathing behavior. As early as in the 1930s researchers have been investigating the relationship between breathing, brain waves, and seizure activity.
Chronic hyperventilation, or over-breathing, can trigger and exacerbate epileptic and psychogenic non-epileptic seizures.
Chronic hyperventilation is a learned behavior leading to Hypocapnia. Hypocapnia is a CO2 deficiency in the blood and other body fluids, leading to cerebral vasoconstriction. Hypocapnia can trigger and exacerbate a wide variety of physical and functional neurological symptoms including physiological slowing of brain rhythms, interictal discharges, and epileptic and/or non-epileptic seizures.
Bringing awareness to and regulating your breathing to a level of optimal health can lower seizure frequency.
Many people who over-breathe, which triggers a variety of symptoms such as seizures, are not aware of their behavior. Fortunately, optimal breathing behavior can be learned. At the Rocky Mountain Center for Epilepsy we use Respiratory Biofeedback to teach you about your breathing behavior. We want you to be knowledgeable and empowered to regulate your over-breathing and consequently Co2 levels.
We use the CapnoTrainer® , an educational instrument to identify, evaluate, and teach you about how optimal breathing behavior can positively impact your life. On this journey of breathing education you will learn how to identify your own behavior and how it impacts your emotional and physical health. You will be able to detect deregulated breathing chemistry through experience, notice subtle shifts in your behavior and shift your breathing behavior towards health and optimal body chemistry.
If you are curious and would like to learn more, feel free to call Dr. Moenter at 303.258.1116
As with any condition, knowledge is not only empowering, but will help you cope with your epilepsy or functional neurological symptoms. Below is a compilation of resources. Some are specific for Colorado, some are nation-wide. If you know of an organization, resource, blog you would like to add, please feel free to email the Rocky Mountain Center for Epilepsy and we will add your information.
Colorado Epilepsy Resources
The Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado is a non-profit organization leading the fight to stop seizures, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy. The organization works to ensure that people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences; to improve how people with epilepsy are perceived, accepted and valued in society; and to promote research for a cure.
Seizure360 is a Colorado-based 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity for those who deal with seizures. Seizure 360’s main goal is to start support groups around the country, provide financial assistance for medical bills and other health options and provide opportunities for work for those who are having trouble finding jobs because of this disorder.
Seize the world a Denver, CO based charity empowers people with seizures to lead active and fulfilling lives through community–based programs that raise public awareness of epilepsy.
The Chelsea Hutchison Foundation is a Colorado non-profit corporation formed by Julie and Doug Hutchison to provide help and support to individuals, particularly children and young adults, who have epilepsy. CHF raises awareness about Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) and provides trained seizure-response dogs as well as Emfit and SmartWatch monitors to people with epilepsy.
Outdoor Mindset a Boulder, CO based organization with the mission to unite and inspire people affected by neurological challenges through a common passion for the outdoors. Outdoor Mindset connects people through a membership community, providing one-on-one inspiration through their Guide program.
Nationwide Epilepsy Resources
MyEpilepsyTeam is a social network and online support group for people who are living with epilepsy. MyEpilepsyTeam gives you the easiest way to find the best team of providers and peers who are living with epilepsy. Share with others like you, and learn from their experience.
The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with more than 47 affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against seizures since 1968. The Foundation is an unwavering ally for individuals and families impacted by epilepsy and seizures. The Foundation works to prevent, control and cure epilepsy through community services; public education; federal and local advocacy; and supporting research into new treatments and therapies. The Foundation works to ensure that people with seizures have the opportunity to live their lives to their fullest potential.
The Charlie Foundation for Ketogenic Therapies was founded in 1994 to provide information about diet therapies for people with epilepsy, other neurological disorders and tumorous cancers. The foundation is a great resource for everything related to the Ketogenic Diet.
The Epilepsy Network (TEN) is a worldwide community of people with epilepsy, family and friends, uniting to talk about their experiences. Learn facts and information about epilepsy. Ask questions and get points of view regarding epilepsy and so much more.
The Epilepsy Foundation provides a list of all the anti-seizure medication. Click here to read more.
Citizens United for Research is the leading nongovernmental agency fully committed to funding research in epilepsy. The organization was founded by Susan Axelrod and a small group of parents of children with epilepsy who were frustrated with their inability to protect their children from seizures and the side effects of medications. Unwilling to sit back, they joined forces to spearhead the search for a cure.
Functional Neurological Symptom Resources
Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures
is a great website by the North east Region Epilepsy Group providing guidance and support to individuals with PNES.
is written by a neurologist with a special interest in functional neurological symptoms, aims to give you a better understanding of these symptoms.