Neurotherapist Shelli Myles found her career passion and the Institute for Attachment and Child Development just like many of the parents we work with found us—through adoption. Shelli’s family was nearly complete with her husband and three biological sons for a time. Yet, Shelli still yearned for a daughter. That’s when they decided to adopt two girls from Ukraine.
Shelli and her husband felt prepared for the challenges of adoption. They had taken classes through their adoption agency and knew about all the potential pitfalls ahead. Yet, they quickly learned that they weren’t actually prepared for the realities they suddenly faced. Collectively, their daughters battled attention deficit disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, and reactive attachment disorder.
Both girls were challenging. Yet, their youngest was the most difficult. “I still remember bringing Madison home from Ukraine. I actually cried nearly the whole flight home,” Shelli said. “I could not console her. She was hitting her head, rocking, and crying.” Things didn’t change upon returning to their home in the United States. “She was the most difficult child I have ever been around,” said Shelli. “We recognized her symptoms of reactive attachment disorder from our adoption classes. Yet, nobody educated us on how the disorder would impact the entire family. Many days I wondered what I had done.”
Meanwhile, Shelli and her husband had three boys and their other daughter whom they needed to raise (not to mention another surprise baby boy on the way). But it was all too much. Due to the immense stress they endured as parents, Shelli and her husband ultimately divorced.
Moving forward and with strength
Shelli persisted in her passion for adoption and family though—despite her confusion, disappointment, heartache, and loss. Throughout all of her transitions, Shelli began helping other parents from the United States to adopt children from Ukraine. While doing so, Shelli met her oldest daughter in an orphanage in Ukraine and adopted, yet again.
As a single mother of seven children, Shelli knew that she needed to take care of herself to stay strong for her family. She started going to counseling to work through her divorce and single parenting. She began to feel strong. That’s when she realized that she wanted to help others feel strong too and began graduate school to become a counselor herself.
During graduate school, Shelli had a professor who did neurofeedback and she was eager to learn about the modality for her family. Together, she and her professor worked with her daughters to help them overcome their trauma. “I will never forget how it felt to transition my daughters off their medications,” said Shelli. “Their personalities and demeanor changed as they opened up to me in ways I had never experienced. That’s when I became a believer in neurofeedback. I saw how important it is to physically change the brain.”
Shelli’s full circle back to children with trauma, from a different perspective
After Shelli attained her Masters of Arts in Counseling, she went on to work for nearly five years at Porter Hospital as a mental health counselor on the psychiatric unit. In the meantime, however, her passion and belief in neurofeedback continued to grow. She completed further neurofeedback training and began practicing full-time at Allied Neurofeedback Services, Inc. Shelli continued to learn and incorporate a variety of therapies and holistic healing techniques in her practice, including mindfulness therapy, neurofeedback, and biofeedback.
Today, we are ecstatic that Shelli has chosen to join our team here at the Institute for Attachment and Child Development. She continues to persist for her seven children, as well as the children who come into her life everyday through her career. Shelli is that puzzle piece for which we’ve been patiently waiting. We’ve referred clients to neurofeedback services for years but were looking for someone with compassion to join our equally passionate team. We’ve finally found all of it—persistence, expertise, heart, and passion—in Shelli. “The fact that Shelli has adopted and understands trauma, has passion, and commitment fits into the circle of security we provide to our kids here at the Institute and enables her to better understand our parents as well,” said Forrest Lien, Executive Director at the Institute for Attachment and Child Development. “Adding neurofeedback is another gift for our model.” Though her journey was long, winding, and painful, it has led Shelli to everything she felt inspired to become—long before she even knew it. And for that, we are so grateful.
Shelli’s explanations of neurofeedback
- Neurotherapy is a contemporary mental health option and is recommeneded for people who suffer from ADHD/ADD, depression, learning disabilities, attachment disorders, addictions, and insomnia
- Neurofeedback is often recommended for individuals who struggle with a mental illness, want to regulate brain functions to improve attention, focus, cognition, and overall stress, struggle with depression and anxiety, do not respond well to traditional medicine or therapy, or desire a natural alternative to medication
- Neurofeedback (NFB), EEG biofeedback, or brainwave training displays real-time EEG activity through sensors placed on the head to assist in alleviating certain symptoms an individual is experiencing. Once initial information is gathered, neurofeedback can be used to teach the brain to operate more effectively by providing auditory and visual feedback that rewards the brain.
Additional resources to learn more about neurofeedback:
Neurofeedback: A treatment for reactive attachment disorder – Sebern F. Fisher, M.A.