The cornerstone of personal development, and the first step on the road to health and wellness, is the ability to understand one’s current circumstance. The only way that we can secure knowledge about anything, is to first have reliable information. If there is a destination in mind, somewhere we want to get to, the journey to reach it would have no meaning without some idea of the starting position. To get to point B one must first have knowledge of where point A is. The often understated relationship between the destination and the journey, is revealed by the knowledge of the origin.
In cases of illness or disease, the roadmap to recovery and healing depends on having information about the particulars of that affliction. The different approaches to treating a headache versus a stomach ache rely on identifying which exact symptoms are currently presenting.
Modern science has made remarkable strides toward understanding the vast subject of health. One of these impressive advancements has been in the domain of neuroscience, and specifically the ability to decipher how electrical brain activity is related to mental and emotional health. Quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG), or “brain map” is the scientific method of measuring electrical potentials of the brain at various sites, and statistically analyzing them within the population average. This method of obtaining clinically relevant information from brainwaves was pioneered by a German psychiatrist, Hans Berger in the late 1800s. The procession of time, clinical trials, and technological advancements, have produced a preponderance of data that are currently used to identify everything from the architecture of sleep, to epilepsy, to brain injury. Specific brainwave signatures have also amassed significant recognition in identifying mental states, cognitive performance, as well as psychological traits. This gives the quality of how the brain and mind function, a quantifiable basis, which means that the multi-faceted and polychormatic emotional and mental life of an individual can be identified in an objective and measurable manner.
Why is it important to know how someone’s state can be identified by objective and measurable markers? Isn’t it sufficient to have the testimony of the individual in expressing what it is they’re struggling or suffering from? Cognitive and emotional wellness is afterall, how we experience the quality of our lives. But unlike our muscular system, the brain exists in the darkness of our skull, and gives no sign or warning of dysfunction, other than the effect it has on our cognition or emotion. When the brain fails to do something in an adaptive, healthy, and efficient manner, the individual doesn’t experience it directly, but rather through the phenomena of cognition and emotion. As conscious and reflective beings, people always prefer to have answers when it comes to their current state of health. To know why someone has trouble paying attention and sitting still in a classroom, gives the individual and their healthcare provider knowledge about how they may be helped. In the absence of this certainty, returning to a state of health becomes more distant.
When it comes to the function of the brain, and its effect on the mind and emotions, it can be much more complicated to attribute how a certain property of the brain is related to a certain mental or emotional state. It can be unsettling and scary to not have insight into the reasons for any mental or emotional dysfunction we experience. Something like depression, has a variety of functional underpinnings from one person to another, even though it is still reported with similar symptoms. We cannot directly feel blood circulation issues in the brain, or if glucose is being metabolized well, or especially if any part is producing faster or slower brain waves than necessary. We experience brain dysregulation with stress, depression, or an inability to focus. When these subjective phenomena do not disclose the true source of their existence at the level of the brain, this eventually leads individuals to treat the phenomena, instead of the root of the problem. Prescription medication, psychiatric/behavioral therapy, or lifestyle changes, are often aimed at the presenting symptom, while overlooking the physiological mechanisms of the brain. This leads to time and resources being misspent, and leaves individuals frustrated and hopeless about any possibility of improvement. By offering individuals objective findings and answers for why they may be experiencing a mental or emotional hardship, the QEEG brain map alleviates the ambiguity and hopelessness that often accompany these difficulties. This can be therapeutic in itself because shame and guilt are the most common experiences for individuals who have cognitive, behavioral, or emotional challenges. In a way, what the QEEG shows is that an individual’s inability to feel positive, focused, calm, or motivated, has nothing to do with their personality or character, but just the mechanisms of their brain.
By discovering that there is an actual physical brain reason that we’re feeling the way we’re feeling, we automatically unveil any ambiguity about how to address it. The most important advantage that a QEEG brain map provides is that you no longer have to wonder about why your current experience is what it is. ADHD has a different brainwave signature than PTSD, and both are different from someone suffering a migraine, and different still is the brainwave profile of relaxation and focus.The ability to have reliable information on the current state of the brain, shines a light on how to proceed forward toward a more desirable mental and emotional life.