Brain Science and Mental Health

Mental health counseling is a brain-based practice.  Or at least it should be.  Shouldn’t we be looking at the organ we’re treating?  Researchers have established human behaviors and emotions as based in brain functioning (Beeson & Field, 2017).  Because of advancements in technology, mental health counselors are turning more toward the field of neuroscience.  Neurocounseling is a form of mental health treatment in which the counselor looks toward a biological basis for the experiences of the client (Beeson & Field, 2017).  The counselor investigates brain function to explain the symptoms reported by the client.  Looking at brain function involves a quantitative electroencephalography, or brain scan.  The brain scan is simply a recording of the electrical activity of the brain.  The recording is then compared to a normed database, or a database of brainscans considered to be neurotypical. 

Why is this important?

Frequencies in the brain are associated with both physiological and emotional functioning.  Lake (2017) reported that 40% of people struggling with depression have increased activity of slower brainwave frequencies.  The author went on to reveal that excessive fast frequencies are associated with symptoms of anxiety associated in many mental health diagnoses.  The brain mapping can increase the accuracy of diagnosis and is a more accurate method of diagnosis.  Researchers pointed out that advanced imaging techniques show which areas of the brain are associated with avoidance, negative thought patterns, and decision making (Collura et al., 2016).  A brain scan can help with the identification of these patterns and the development of a more targeted approach to interventions.

You might ask what this means to you.  The brain scan can be compared to a map of a city.  This map can give direction on how to get from point a to point b.  Similarly, the brain scan is a map of your brain, giving direction to a journey of personal growth and healing.  In an article featured in Psychology Today (Lake, 2016), this procedure can differentiate between cognitive impairment due to brain injury, medical disorders, and mood disorders.  An accurate diagnosis with a brain scan provides direction for your journey-a clear roadmap to live your best life.


Beeson, E. T., & Field, T. A. (2017). Neurocounseling: A new section of the Journal of Mental Health Counseling. Journal of Mental Health Counseling39(1), 71-83.

Collura, T. F., Wigton, N. L., Zalaquett, C., Chatters-Smith, S., & Bonnstetter, R. J. (2016). The value of EEG-based electromagnetic tomographic analysis in human performance and mental health. Biofeedback44(2), 58-65.

Lake, J. (2017).  Quantitative Electroencephalography in Mental Health Care.  Retrieved from

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