Debra Burdick, LCSW, BCN, also known as ‘The Brain Lady’, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a board certified Neurofeedback practitioner. She is a national speaker and author and has provided outpatient psychotherapy and Mindfulness skills to her clients since 1990. She added Neurofeedback to her psychotherapy practice in 1999.
Debra specializes in ADHD, depression, anxiety, stress, sleep, cognitive function, relationships, mindfulness, and traumatic brain injury.
Besides her private practice, Debra also worked at the Child Guidance Clinic, Family Services, Child and Family Agency, and Lawrence and Memorial Hospital. She also teaches all day workshops including: A Holistic Approach to Success with ADHD and Mindfulness Toolkit: A Practical Experiential Workshop of Mindfulness Skills.
Debra has extensive experience helping children and adults with ADHD. In addition to helping hundreds of clients with ADHD over the past twenty years, she parented a daughter who has ADHD, was married to a man with ADHD, and was business partners with someone with ADHD. She combines knowledge gained from her own personal healing journey, her parenting experience, her clients, and her professional study of ADHD and brain dysregulation to teach a holistic approach to creating success with ADHD.
Debra incorporates mindfulness skills in all areas of her practice. She initially became interested in mindfulness to deal with a chronic illness (now thankfully healed). She found it so helpful in her own life that she started teaching her clients the skills she was using. She went on to develop clinical material on mindfulness skills and created a 4 step process for working with clients using mindfulness that she perfected in her private practice and in an intensive outpatient program. Her clients have shown her that mindfulness skills improve the rate and quality of treatment outcomes.
Her books and CDs include:
- IS IT REALLY ADHD? ONLY ADHD? How to Get an Accurate Diagnosis for You or Your Child
- ADHD and Sleep
- ADHD Treatment Options. How to Choose the Right Treatment for You or Your Child
- A Holistic Approach to Successful Children with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder – A Home Study System for Parents
- Meditations for Concentration
- Mindfulness Toolkit CD.
- Mindfulness Skills Workbook for Clinicians and Clients. 111 Tools, Techniques, Activities and Worksheets
Debra has presented numerous presentations, workshops, and teleseminars. She is often interviewed on internet radio and her work has been featured in The Day newspaper, Self-Improvement Magazine, and Parenting Powers television show. She is an expert author on SelfGrowth.com.
Click on a question to see the response or simply scroll down to read all of the responses.How did you become a Brain expert known as The Brain Lady?
To answer this question, I would like to share with you a variety of important experiences that brought me to where I am today, helping people like you feel better, think better, and perform at your peak.
First, in my 20’s, after a very painful relationship breakup, I realized I needed help and sought out a psychotherapist. He helped me so much. I felt the work I did with him was the best thing I ever did for myself and it truly changed my life for the better.
Secondly, after spending 16 years working as a computer software engineer mostly on defense contracts, I realized I wasn’t happy with my work. I decided to go back to school to get a Masters Degree in Social Work. I felt that if I could help even one person as much as my therapist had helped me years before, then it would all be worthwhile. I now feel very grateful to have helped hundreds and hundreds of people.
Thirdly, I got sick in 1984 and no one could figure why I was ill. This began a healing journey that led me to learn about many alternative healing modalities. Among other things, I had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. At one of my Neurofeedback Conferences I discovered that Neurofeedback was being used to help Fibromyalgia. When I returned from the conference I did 30 Neurofeedback sessions in 40 days and was able to eliminate the medication I had been taking – and the symptoms are gone!
And finally, my daughter was diagnosed with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder. In elementary school she started taking stimulant medication and her grades improved. Then when she was 13, she did Neurofeedback training. She was able to discontinue her stimulant medication and her grades remained good. She graduated from college after spending 3 years on the Dean’s list – no medications needed.
This personal journey helps me understand how to help people of all ages, from diverse backgrounds that are ready to make positive changes in their life. I know what it takes to make personal change as I have made significant changes in my own life. I also have first hand experience with being helped by the treatment modalities I offer to you.Besides a BS in Applied Mathematics and 16 years as a computer software engineer, I have a Master’s in Social Work, 16+ years as a psychotherapist, and I am board certified in Neurofeedback and the brain.
I became known as The Brain Lady when many of my clients started calling me that. One man told me he would tell his wife ‘today is my appointment with The Brain Lady’. Parents would tell their kids, time to visit ‘The Brain Lady’. My clients benefit from my specialized training concerning the brain which I incorporate in psychotherapy, mindfulness, and Neurofeedback. I adopted the name for my practice and my website.
I have been doing psychotherapy since 1992 and have worked at Family Services, Child and Family Agency, The Child Guidance Clinic, the Care Center and have been in my private practice since 1999. I also added Neurofeedback to my practice in 1999.
I help people just like you and your children who have decided to make positive changes in their life. I have helped clients from a huge variety of professions and life situations. A sample follows:
- Administrative Assis
- Authors (Best Selling)
- Banking Professionals
- Billing Professionals
- Business Coaches
- Casino Professionals
- Child Care Directors
- Event Planners
- Graphic Designers
- Guidance Counselors
- Insurance Professionals
- Law Enforcement Officers
- Military Personnel
- Nurse Practitioners
- Office Managers
- Patent Experts
- Professional Organizers
- Pet Sitters
- Sales Representatives
- Students: Nursery
- Students: Elementary
- Students: Middle
- Students: High School
- Financial Planners
- Students: College
- Substance Abuse Counselors
- Truck Drivers
My clients have worked at many businesses and organizations. Here is a small sample:
- Day Care Centers
- Dept of Transportation
- Dept of Environmental Protect.
- Ship Yards
- US Postal Service
- Psychiatric Hospital
- Naval Submarine Base
- Pharmaceutical Manufacturer
- Self Employed
- Food and Drug Administration
- Family Service Organizations
- Law Firms
- Nuclear Power Plants
- State of Connecticut
- US Coast Guard
- US Navy
- United Postal Service
- Beauty Salons
My background and training are unique. I have studied psychotherapy, as all therapists must, but I have 300+ hours of specialized training in Neurofeedback and Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology of the Brain. I have also trained extensively in Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, mindfulness, health, depression, anxiety, relationships, and addictions, and am continuously updating my skills.
I utilize Brief Treatment/Solution focused techniques to help clients identify how they feel, understand why, and explore options for change. I describe myself as an ‘options’ person, and continually help clients expand their view of possible options. I combine therapeutic techniques and I teach Cognitive/Behavioral techniques to help clients become aware of their thoughts and how these impact how they feel and how they act. I help clients make positive change with insight, empathy, understanding, and encouragement. I teach mindfulness skills to help clients manage stress and reap the emotional and physical benefits gained from incorporating mindfulness into their daily lives.
Unlike some therapists, I am direct and active and will give you expert feedback on issues you are dealing with. I want to make sure you get your money’s worth, so therefore in a holistic, kind and supportive way, I will help you explore your belief’s, your feelings, and your behavior and explore options for positive change. If I feel you would benefit from other treatment modalities, I will let you know and make referrals where appropriate.
My holistic approach is designed to help people who are serious about making positive change in their life. Often, but not always, my clients have tried almost everything else and feel desperate for improvement in their lives or the lives of their children. My clients get excellent results because they are motivated, they want change now, and they make this treatment a priority in their lives. Often they do not know where to start, so I work with them to understand where they’ve been, how they got where they are, and explore options for changing their future.
Clients are expected to keep their appointments on a consistent basis, be interested and motivated to explore how they got where they are and what options they have for change.
The only clients who do not seem to benefit are those that don’t keep their appointments, who give the treatment a very low priority, or who are unable or unwilling to do any work on themselves. Clients must want to get results and have goals. If not, this program will not work for them.
This program is not geared for the severely mentally ill. A more intensive program with more frequent sessions is usually needed.
Clients come for a variety of reasons. The major issues include:
- Anger management
- Behavior Issues
- BiPolar Disorder
- Cognitive Decline
- Decision making
- Learning disabilities
- Life coaching
- Life transitions
- Medical illness
- Panic Attacks
- Parent/Child conflict
- Peak Performance Training
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Relationship problems
- Stress management
- Sleep disorders
- Social Skills
- Traumatic Brain Injury
The Brain Power System is a 10 step proprietary system. It consists of these 10 simple steps for success and results:
- Use ‘talk therapy’ to change thoughts and feelings
- Use cutting-edge brain technology to correct underlying problems
- Understand how exercise improves brain function
- Get clear on what to eat and avoid to achieve personal peak performance
- Make the best use of important supplements
- Protect your brain by avoiding toxins, chemicals, and head injury
- Incorporate Mindfulness Skills and manage stress on a daily basis
- Exercise your brain as you would your body
- Improve your sleep
- Change those behaviors that don’t serve you anymore
The steps can be used separately or in conjunction with each other but best results are obtained when they are all addressed.
Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy (talk therapy) has a long record of effectiveness and is the preferred modality of psychotherapy by most health insurance companies.
The Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America states that Neurofeedback meets their clinical guidelines for treatment of ADHD, depression, anxiety (including OCD, PTSD, Generalized anxiety, phobias), depression, reading disabilities, addictions and seizures. Studies show that Neurofeedback works as well as stimulant medication for ADHD, and improves concentration, depression, panic attacks, anxiety, sleep, learning disabilities, addictions, stress, anger, impulse control, hyperactivity, and much more.
A meta-study (study of the studies) published in the May 2009 edition of Clinical EEG and Neuroscience1b found that “Neurofeedback treatment for ADHD can be considered ‘Efficacious and Specific (level 5)”. The Guidelines for Evaluation of Clinical Efficacy of Psychophysiological Interventions used for this study are similar to those from the American Psychological Association (APA). To meet the criteria for this highest level of efficacy, Level 5 – Efficacious and Specific, the treatment needs to be demonstrated to be statistically superior to a credible sham therapy, pill, or bona fide treatment in at least two independent studies.
You can expect to feel better, think better, and perform better. Ninety-three percent of my clients (who attended at least five sessions) have reported improvements in their symptoms. You can expect to address your specific issues and symptoms, have an individually tailored treatment, and meet your treatment goals.
- Initial visit – During the initial visit I will ask you, “‘So what’s going on? Why are you here?” We will do a simple verbal question and answer assessment. I will take notes on my computer so I can organize and remember the information. I do not take notes on my computer in subsequent sessions.
- Assessment – Assessment is done during the initial session and is an on-going process. For therapy sessions, the assessment entails answering my verbal questions about why you are here, mood, concentration, energy, sleep, medications, treatment history, suicidal ideation, hallucinations, paranoia, health, and treatment goals. For Neurofeedback, this same process is done during the initial visit, plus other visits are used to: complete a detailed symptom checklist that is organized by brain function, to take a computerized Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA) to assess how well the brain is regulating itself, and if warranted, to record the Quantitative ElectroEncephalograph (QEEG) to get a detailed electrical picture of the brain and compare it to a database of normal brains.
- Defining Treatment Goal – I always ask my clients “How will we know that this is helping?”
For therapy clients, we will define your treatment goals depending on why you are here.
For Neurofeedback we will define between 5 and 10 symptoms you would like to improve and rate these symptoms on a scale of 1-10 on how severely they impact your life. We rate these symptoms again at each visit to monitor what changes are occurring and what still needs improvement.
- Treatment Recommendations and Plan – Based on the assessment, we decide on the recommended treatment plan. This might include weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly individual therapy sessions depending on the need. This might include a decision to do Neurofeedback or Heart Rate Variability training instead of therapy, or to combine these. It might include a referral to your primary care physician if there is a health issue, or to a psychiatric nurse practitioner or psychiatrist if medication is indicated and desired. Sometimes a referral is made to an inpatient facility for stabilization in severe cases or for detox for substance dependence. This is tailored to your individual needs.
- Therapy sessions are usually scheduled once per week unless there is a need for more or less frequent sessions. The national average for outpatient therapy is 12 visits per episode of treatment. This is highly individual. I have clients who get what they need in a few visits and others who will continue for a year or more. Clients feel comfortable to end when it feels right and to come back whenever they feel the need.
- Neurofeedback sessions are scheduled twice per week after the assessment process is completed. When symptoms have abated and improvements are holding, we will slowly decrease the frequency of sessions to once per week, then once every other week, to once per month. If the improvements are holding for a month then we can end treatment. Typical Neurofeedback treatment lasts between 20-50 sessions which may take up to a year to complete. Simple issues may resolve in fewer sessions. More complicated issues such as Autism may benefit from on-going treatment.
Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is covered by insurance. Neurofeedback is not covered by most insurance per se. We do our best to combine psychotherapy with Neurofeedback and thus can charge it all as psychotherapy.
An initial CBT session costs $175 and subsequent sessions $150. I am an out-of-network provider for most insurance plans. If your insurance plan has no out-of-network benefits, then at your request we will refer you to an in-network provider whenever possible. You may need to meet your deductible before insurance starts to pay. You will be responsible for my full fee at each visit. We will bill your insurance company for you. Typically, the insurance company will send reimbursement for covered services to you. I take cash, checks, and Master Card and Visa credit cards.
An initial Neurofeedback session costs $175 and subsequent sessions $150. Some prepayment plans are available. See the previous paragraph for further information about insurance coverage.
Yes, I accept Master Card and Visa. I also accept checks and cash.
There are several excellent books about Neurofeedback which are available at my online store under Recommended Products (most of these resources listed are available via links to Amazon).
Written for the general public:
- A Symphony in the Brain: The Evolution of the New Brainwave Biofeedback by Jim Robbins
- Getting Rid of Ritalin: How Neurofeedback Can Successfully Treat Attention Deficit Disorder Without Drugs by Eduardo Castro and Robert W Hill
- The Neurofeedback Solution by Stephen Larsen
There are two excellent books available. www.TheBrainLady.com/onlinestore
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Dummies by Rob Wilson and Rhena Branch
- Thoughts and Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life: A Workbook of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques by Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning, and Martha Davis
Call to set up a time for a brief Get Acquainted phone call to answer the rest of your questions.
Call to set up your first appointment. Leave a message if you get voice mail. Expect a return call within 24 hours (If you don’t hear from us by then, please call again. Sometimes the phone number gets garbled on the message). Thanks!
Washingtonville, NY office 860.460.6899
Stone Mountain Center New Paltz, NY office 845.658.8083
I look forward to hearing from you soon.