Grey Matters of Carmel Takes a Unique Approach to Mental Health
Writer / Ryan Kennedy
Photographer / Sarah Browning
Courtney Boyer, RN, CHN, founder of Grey Matters of Carmel, was first introduced to neurofeedback therapy when her son Grey (and company namesake) was treated for a rare disorder called apraxia. Children with apraxia have difficulty with motor skills when it comes to forming sounds, as well as mouth, jaw, and tongue movements, necessary to form words. It doesn’t mean your child can’t understand or comprehend what they hear. They simply don’t have the motor skills to respond appropriately. Boyer was told that Grey would never be able to speak, read, or write. So at age 5, when he was still nonverbal, she tried neurofeedback.
“After the very first session my son had eye contact with me for the first time, which, in and of itself, was wonderful,” she says. “Then, within weeks, the years of speech therapy that he had been going through started to come out because the pathways in his brain were being regulated.” Today, he is 9 years old and speaks just as well as his peers – and he reads, writes, and has the fine and gross motor skills of children much older.
Boyer was so impressed with how well neurofeedback therapy worked on her son that she decided to use it on herself, to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to childhood trauma, as well as other issues. She says it completely changed her personal and professional life.
Around that same time, Boyer’s daughter was about to turn 12 and was suffering from a number of issues. She showed signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder and intense fear of germs, as well as argumentative behavior and self-image issues. Boyer discovered that her daughter was suffering from post-concussion syndrome. Through the use of neurofeedback therapy, Boyer says they were able to wipe out 100% of the detrimental behaviors that she was showcasing that, no doubt, would have eventually led to medication.
“I saw neurofeedback work in three very different ways with three really different populations,” Boyer says. “Even though it was myself and my children, it was still very, very different, so I started studying and volunteering my time at another clinic to learn more.”
Neurofeedback has been around since the 1950s. Today, it is used by professional athletes to increase their peak performance. NFL quarterbacks use it to improve spatial perception, and race-car drivers and swimmers use it to increase speed and improve reaction times.
Today neurofeedback is used by families just like yours and mine to treat and mitigate many common behavior disorders, as well as anxiety, depression, PTSD, migraines, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. People have shorter attention spans these days. If you want to increase your attention span, you need to make a conscious effort.
Boyer, a Registered Nurse and Certified Holistic Nutritionist, decided to open her own neurofeedback therapy clinic in Carmel. In January of 2021 she opened the doors to Grey Matters, with two treatment chairs. Today it includes six treatment chairs, with patients seen daily.
Neurofeedback therapy is a noninvasive, drug-free way to rewire the brain’s reward system. It’s sometimes called sound wave therapy. The Grey Matters treatment programs start with a quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG), through which the Grey Matters staff members carefully and comfortably capture electrical signals within the brain.
This qEEG data is translated into a brain-map report. This provides a clear picture of a client’s individual brain functions relating to their symptoms. Grey Matters evaluates each brain area including the executive system in the frontal lobes, which regulate decision making, impulse control and judgment. They also evaluate the parts of the brain that regulate attention,
memory, planning, language ability, focus, spatial processing and attachment.
Neurofeedback therapy is a simple and painless learning technique that involves teaching brainwaves to become more functional and effective. With gentle but persuasive training, the brain can be guided to discover new pathways of response that were previously unreachable.
Using the latest technology, Grey Matters technicians place a sensor cap comfortably on the client’s head. The cap is hooked up to a computer that reads activity in different regions of the brain, and then sends a reward back to the brain in the form of a sound played through headphones. The brain then uses that data to adjust itself in the same way that a person might adjust an out-of-place hair in the mirror. The process could be compared to teaching a dog to sit by pushing its posterior down, and giving it a cookie, 100 times. Eventually the dog learns to sit with even the shake of the cookie box.
This is similar to what’s being done with the brain’s electrical discharges, with a reward for modifying brain waves.
“We are learning this pattern the same way we would learn the words to a song,” Boyer says. “Very few people sit down and are like, ‘I’m going to write all these words down. I’m going to memorize the song.’ It doesn’t typically happen, but we hear it. It has a jingle to it. It has a pattern, so we pick that up. Unbeknownst to us, the exact same thing is happening in neurofeedback.”
Grey Matters is not a medical clinic – even though it is run by healthcare and mental health professionals. Think of it as a training facility for the brain run by experts in the human mind and body. This pairing gives you the best of both worlds with the best outcomes. Devin Reimmuth, RN, BSN moved to Carmel from the University of San Diego – California earlier in 2022 bringing with her more than 10 years of management experience and patient care.
She oversees the brain training programs with the neurofeedback technicians who were all members of the traditional health world. Together, they hope to bring holistic health to everyone with brain injuries, mood and behavior challenges, and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Sessions are done two to three times per week. For 30 minutes, the client sits comfortably in a chair with a optional blanket, neck pillow, and eye mask. The technician sits with the client and monitors the training session, making adjustments as needed to keep the client as comfortable as possible. Grey Matters frequently checks progress, optimizing to the training program as needed.
The number of sessions needed varies from person to person. Almost everyone notices changes within the first 10 sessions. Most people will require 30-50 sessions for optimal results. Some diagnoses may require more. This is discussed with the client during the brainmap review. Boyer says she’s seen a 100% success rate in mitigating the symptoms of clients for various conditions.
Like riding a bike, it can take some time for the brain to rewire itself, but once learned, it’s not forgotten. That said, getting back on a bike after 10 years away can be a wobbly endeavor, which is why Boyer recommends neurofeedback maintenance 1x a month after the initial program.
“I’m a mother with challenging kids just like everybody else,” Boyer says. “My title is literally “Grey’s Mom” — Grey is my son and he matters…and so do YOU.” Boyer says people are shocked when they find out that they don’t have to suffer with conditions like generalized anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADD/ADHD, or migraines and that it takes just a handful of months to accomplish.
“I want that message to be relayed very clearly to other parents, particularly those that are being told their children have attentional disorders,” she says. Let’s look at the brain and let’s look at the gut – it is the second brain after all — and let’s work together to free ourselves and our children from our suffering unnecessarily.
Grey Matters of Carmel is located at 13250 Hazel Dell Parkway, Suite 102. For more info, call 317-215-7208 or visit greymattersofcarmel.com.