JoAnne McFarland O'Rourke, Ph.D., LMSW
There is a saying that your path finds you, and this is my belief about how I came to discover neurofeedback.
While in training for my clinical social work degree I began to wonder if traditional counseling techniques were really effective, and so I shifted my career focus to research. I was later injured in an auto accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Gratefully, I recovered from the effects of the TBI except that I was left with severe migraine headaches.
I pursued every avenue of migraine treatment for the following 20 years, from treating with top neurologists specializing in migraine to many types of holistic methods. Several types of treatment helped but neurofeedback completely resolved my headaches and handed me back my life.
This led me to realize the reason talk therapy does not work for everyone — we are trying to overlay purely cognitive approaches onto a brain that cannot receive the information and attempting cognitive or behavioral methods for problems that first and foremost require a physiological reset.
Once I healed from migraine and fully healed from TBI, I knew I had no choice but to provide this help to others. I founded Kalamazoo Neurofeedback and Counseling Center in 2013, and I’ve never looked back.
My clinical focus is on patterns that get in the way of a fuller life
- neurofeedback based on patterns of the EEG,
- Enneagram assessment and insight based on personality patterns,
- and talk therapy based on patterns of behavior.
While neurofeedback is the single best approach I’ve found for healing unhealthy patterns in the brain, it does not solve every problem. The integration of the Enneagram and examining behavior patterns is the most complete package of tools I have found to help address issues, even those that are long-standing. Also, the inextricable link between physical and mental health is increasingly recognized through evidence-based research. For example, deficiencies in the gut microbiome have been linked to anxiety, depression, OCD, and ASD, as well as general mental health. Therefore, I often recommend clients seek assessment by a functional or integrative medicine practitioner as an adjunctive strategy to neurofeedback and counseling. I am also PANS/PANDAS and Lyme informed.
With this holistic approach to therapy, I provide honest guidance, complementary therapies for independent practice, and referrals to trusted partners. If you want to learn how my approach to therapy can benefit you, let’s have a conversation. More brain health is always better than less!
Background and Experience
- Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences from Western Michigan University (WMU)
- Board Certified in Neurofeedback (BCN), Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA).
- Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) with an MSW degree with honors from the University of Michigan
- Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, magna cum laude, from WMU.
- 25 years as a researcher, including 16 years at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and 2 years as Director of Research at WMU’s College of Health and Human Services.
For more information, see my ePortfolio.
Kalamazoo Neurofeedback and Counseling Center is welcoming and affirming regardless of race, ethnicity, sexuality, or gender identity.