The Four Foundations of “FNDcourage”
A 12-week online mindfulness-based psycho-educational course for individuals diagnosed with FND.
The course includes weekly LIVE video lectures on Functional Neurological Symptoms related topics such as how the exposure to chronic stress and trauma affects the nervous system, how functional neurological symptoms function as a reset-mechanism of the brain, how you can learn to self-regulate an over,- and/or under-activated nervous system, etc. Further, you will be part of mindfulness exercises, weekly mindful check-ins, and a group chat. You have the option to augment the course by scheduling individual support sessions with Dr. Afra Moenter.
Body: Claiming Your Space
Functional Neurological Symptoms are an expression of your body.
At the level of body, you may experience uncontrollable shaking, difficulty breathing, clenching, paralysis, inability to speak, or stiffening of the body. Other experiences include feeling foggy, tingly, out-of-body, numb, overtaken by a strong energy, or feeling trapped in his or her body.
Within the Foundation of Body you will discover how to listen more deeply to your body, identify and stay present with physical sensations, and respond to these signals in order to interrupt the cycle of your episodes. You will learn how your nervous system works and how to down-regulate (relax) your nervous system through grounding, resourcing, breath, and movement practices.
Mind: You Are Not Your Thoughts
Functional Neurological Symptoms are an expression of your mind.
At the level of mind, you may experience racing thoughts, negative beliefs about yourself, repetitive worries, intrusive memories, constant fears about the future. The mind may tell you to avoid certain aspects of your life because of the possibility of having an episode.
Within the Foundation of Mind you will discover that you do not always have to believe your thoughts. You will become more aware of how your thoughts affect the way your body reacts and how, in turn, your interpretation of these physical sensations affects the way you feel. By being a “witness” to your internal narrative, your body can relax into the present moment rather than re-living the past or anticipating the future.
Emotions: Finding Freedom
Functional Neurological Symptoms are an expression of your emotions.
At the level of emotion, you may experience helplessness, fear, confusion, hopelessness, isolation, shame, anger, overwhelm, anxiety, or loss of control. These are very common feelings for people who have been diagnosed with PNES.
Within the Foundation of Emotion you will discover that these feelings are normal and healthy reactions to a crazy-making and often misunderstood life situation. You will become more aware of the human tendency to struggle against painful emotions and chase pleasant emotions. In learning neither to push away nor hold onto emotions, you build the capacity to experience the full spectrum of feelings and tap into their natural wisdom. This “emotional freedom” allows you to slow down and change the neuropathways of the seizure spiral.
Consciousness: Deepening Into Your Being
Functional Neurological Symptoms are an expression of your consciousness.
At the level of consciousness, you may experience a change in perception, that “something comes over you,” a weird energy, a gap in time, an indescribable strangeness, disorientation, or some kind of shift in “normal” reality. You have probably felt or experienced that others cannot relate to these experiences. Know that, among individuals with PNES, these are typical experiences.
“Functional Neurological Symptoms are real. It is explainable. It is not just “emotional” but also neuro-physiological, thought-based, and often an expression of great suffering. You are not making it up, it is not just in your head, and you can’t just get over it. And yet, you are not a victim, you can learn your body, emotions, thoughts, and consciousness to become free not only of seizures, but your limiting beliefs, emotions, and habits.”
Afra Moenter, PhD