CASE STUDY ONE - COLLEGE BASEBALL PLAYER OVERCOMES "YIPS"
During fall baseball season, a college pitcher suddenly found himself unable to complete the most routine task–throwing the baseball accurately. This somewhat common condition is known as the “yips." When trying to throw a routine bullpen session, he either sailed a pitch over the catcher’s head or threw the ball directly into the ground barely half way to the plate. During games he frequently walked batters and couldn't field ground balls, since he couldn’t throw accurately to first base. It got to the point where the pitching coach had to remove the pitcher from the game in bunting situations.
After ten Neurofeedback/Guided Imagery sessions with Dr. Schuessler, the pitcher was able to overcome the “yips” and had a successful spring season posting impressive stats and gaining the respect of his coaches and teammates. His walks-per-innings-pitched were among the lowest on his team’s pitching staff. He was no longer removed from games in bunting situations. His season was so strong that toward the end he became one of the coach’s “go to” pitchers in key games.
CASE STUDY TWO - YOUTH GYMNAST OVERCOMES PERFORMANCE ANXIETY
A 12 year old girl who is involved in gymnastics on a competitive level, developed anxiety about her performance. She suddenly refused to do any gymnastics routines which required her to go backwards including: back handsprings, back tucks on the beam and back flips on the bar or on the floor. Previously she had not had any problem performing these moves. Her refusal to do these routines was interfering with her ability to compete.
To address these problems, the gymnast worked with Dr. Deborah Schuessler, a psychologist who coaches athletes, performers, and executives to help them achieve peak performance. Dr. Schuessler used Neurofeedback, Guided Imagery and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to help the gymnast reduce her anxiety and develop a feeling of confidence.
Within the first ten sessions, the girl’s anxiety decreased significantly. Her willingness to do backward tumbling was much improved. She also made progress with “giants” on the strap bar and then on the pit bar. She needed less prodding from her coaches to perform these moves. Shortly after she finished her Neurofeedback/Guided Imagery sessions with Dr. Schuessler, she was able to perform “giants” on the appropriate apparatus without a problem. She is currently performing exceptionally well in competitions.
CASE STUDY THREE - GRADUATE STUDENT OVERCOMES ANXIETY AND PANIC ATTACKS
A graduate student at a top University suffered from debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. These problems made it difficult for him to make progress on his dissertation and to present his work in front of an audience. In addition, he was impaired in social situations, often worrying that he would lose control and be overcome with anxiety or have a panic attack in front of others.
After just a few Neurofeedbacksessions, the student noticed that he was feeling much less anxious in social and professional situations. He was able to engage with others in a way that had previously been impossible for him because of his crippling anxiety. The introduction of Guided Imagery, Relaxation Techniques and Coaching enhanced the student’s progress. Gradually, over a number of months, he became more confident and was able to make presentations to his colleagues and professors with minimal anxiety. In addition, the student noted that his ability to focus improved and that he finished his work more efficiently. Finally, Dr. Schuessler created a special Guided Imagery Exercise which helped the student visualize himself defending his dissertation successfully. This targeted Guided Imagery, along with Neurofeedback, and coaching enabled the student to perform very well at his dissertation defense. He was able to graduate and earn his Ph.D. He continues to experience much lower levels of anxiety than in the past and has not had a panic attack in several years.
SOLUTION TECHNIQUE DESCRIPTIONS
NEUROFEEDBACK is a powerful tool that helps regulate brainwave functioning. It is safe and noninvasive and works by guiding the brain to identify new and more effective brainwave patterns. Neurofeedback enhances performance by improving focus, reducing anxiety and helping the brain function more efficiently.
GUIDED IMAGERY is based on the concept that your body and mind are connected. It is a program of directed thoughts and suggestions that guides your imagination toward a relaxed, focused state. While in this relaxed state, athletes, artists, business people and others imagine themselves feeling confident and performing well in high pressure situations. This kind of mental rehearsal has a profound positive effects on “real life” performance. Guided Imagery used in combination with Neurofeedback is more powerful for achieving Peak Performance than either approach used alone.
MINDFULNESS-BASED STRESS REDUCTION TECHNIQUES are easy to learn and help promote relaxation while decreasing the effects of stress on the mind and body.
COACHING is a process which helps performers identify goals and the necessary steps they need to take to achieve those goals. It may also help performers recognize obstacles which can get in the way of progress. Developing greater awareness about goals and obstacles is an essential component of achieving Peak Performance.