Focus Training for Mental Health
Feeling frazzled and overwhelmed by life? You’re likely not alone. In Principles of Psychology, William James writes, “My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items which I notice shape my mind – without selective interest, experience is an utter chaos” (1, p. 402).
Many people struggle with the inability to focus, which in turn, affects their motivation and ultimately affects them reaching the goals which are meaningful to them. More so, this inability to focus can have detrimental effects on areas related to mental health, such as an increase in poor feelings of self or low self-esteem. What we attend to can shape our experiences, good or bad.
Rigorous research studies have found that people who have undergone extensive training on how to focus their mind on various meditative techniques have shown improvements on cognitive performance (2) and mood (3). However, most individuals do not have the time or resources to participate in extensive meditation interventions on their own. More so, individuals with emotional disorders often lack the knowledge and skill set they need to focus and shift their attention or to control their emotions (4). Fortunately, despite individual differences that do exist in the ability to regulate attention, recent literature has suggested that the processes involved in focus training, or rather attentional regulation can be trained and improved through working with trained professionals (5). Individuals, including those without diagnosed emotional disorders, can be effectively trained to reorient their maladaptive attentional patterns towards more focused content, which results in them being more able to effectively control their emotional states and focus on the tasks at hand. This allows individuals to reach their full potential.
The staff at Dr Eliana Cohen Psychology Professional Corp have all undergone rigorous training to ensure that they are able to use the most up-to-date and scientifically-proven focus training methods that illuminate the unique types of attention-based regulation strategies that individual clients may need. This also involves ensuring that all training sessions comprise of distinctive focus training procedures with components of attentional processes that are employed and modified during each session of training. Different types of focus-training practices can modify emotion regulation processes, regulation outcomes, or both (6). And because we all know the type of world that we live in, our focused-training allows you to improve on divided attention. While all different techniques and training sessions on focused-training initially require some degree of effort to acquire, it is likely that with repeated sessions, the attentional processes that you are trained in can become more automated over time, requiring substantially less effort to execute (5).
We live in a world that has more distractions than ever before. There are moments when life spirals out of control and we are faced with more than we can focus on—that’s just what it does. Through this all, we still have a house to maintain, jobs to hold (and do well), and relationships to reserve. Focus-training with a trained provider can help you to take charge of your attention and have a plan to maintain a sense of inner calmness to deal with those moments. With the proper training and support, you will be able to take your concentration to a whole new level and prevent depression and anxiety symptoms.
Within the work on focus and attention we offer:
- Neurofeedback training to learn how to meditate and get feedback on your progress. Our neurofeedback allows you to track the number of times you recovered your focus, as well as how long you were calm, alert, and focused. Neurofeedback is an excellent tool to begin your practice.
- Working Memory Training: We have a scientifically validated training tool to expand your working memory or sustained attention.
- James W. The Principles of Psychology. Vol. 1. New York: Henry Holt and Company; 1890.
- Cahn BR, Polich J. Meditation states and traits: EEG, ERP, and neuroimaging studies. Psychological bulletin. 2006 Mar;132(2):180.
- Davidson RJ, Kabat-Zinn J, Schumacher J, Rosenkranz M, Muller D, Santorelli SF, Urbanowski F, Harrington A, Bonus K, Sheridan JF. Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic medicine. 2003 Jul 1;65(4):564-70.
- Mohlman J. Attention training as an intervention for anxiety: Review and rationale. Behavior Therapist. 2004;27:37–41.
- Lutz A, Slagter HA, Dunne J, Davidson RJ. Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 2008b;12:163–169
- Wadlinger HA, Isaacowitz DM. Fixing our focus: Training attention to regulate emotion. Personality and Social Psychology Review. 2011 Feb;15(1):75-102.