Life experience is a wonderful thing, it exposes us to the many facets of human personality. Noel Eastwood is one of those people who looks further than face value and listens to more than spoken words. Noel grew up in suburban Sydney, after leaving school he worked in the food industry as a food laboratory technician. Wanting to do something more useful with his life he enrolled in teachers college, specialising in special education. During this period he also found time to teach tai chi, astrology and meditation classes. In 1991 Noel studied clinical hypnotherapy and biofeedback, opening a private practice on the NSW South Coast. He went back to university in 1994 to study psychology and then began work as a school psychologist before entering private practice. Throughout this period he continued teaching and running workshops on meditation, tai chi, and astrology. Through all of this, Noel kept up his interest in herbal and natural remedies, published fiction and non-fiction books, and he remains a well-respected astrologer and psychotherapist.
What do I do best?
After many years as a psychologist, I guess the thing I do best is listen. During a consultation I ask lots of questions to uncover my patient’s personal / psychic terrain. Understanding where someone comes from is my first goal in therapy. I then put my Sherlock Holmes hat on to determine the best therapeutic approach for this particular person.
My process is information first, developing strategies second and finally to expand those strategies to prepare my patient to move forward independently, with only minimal help from outside. These days I have focused more on my writing, and that, I have found, is very fulfilling.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I’ve spent a lifetime working on myself using my own form of psychotherapy. I was fortunate to have been mentored in psychotherapy; taoist meditation and tai chi; and astrology, by experienced and caring individuals. When I find something that inspires me, and it’s path is pure, then I stick to it, I don’t let go until I have embodied it. It’s the same with psychotherapy, I practice therapy that works. My goal has always been to do whatever I can to help my patients.
I am fortunate to have a very inquisitive mind, it inspires me to fully explore the various interests I have: meditation, spiritualism, astrology, tarot, mythology, and Jungian archetypal depth psychotherapy. It certainly makes for an interesting and diverse life.
What are my aspirations?
Now that I have retired from psychology practice, my current aspiration is to write. I write fiction and non fiction, particularly related to psychology, astrology, tarot, spiritualism and meditation. I have 13 published books and aim to write at least another 5 this year, 2018.
I have written the first of a 5 book series on the Fool’s journey through the tarot. I am currently writing the other four suits: Pentacles, Swords, Cups and Wands. Rather than writing another tarot manual, I thought I would write it as a fantasy series that incorporates the meanings of each suit’s cards. It’s a challenge but fulfilling to see the story come to life.
My other project is to write a series of psychotherapy books based on my experience as a therapist. That includes, self-hypnosis, biofeedback / neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback), psychotherapy, archetypal and inner-child therapy.
Personally, my gal is to expand my own spiritual world. Soon after I began practicing tai chi back in 1980, I began to astral travel and have since had many strange and enlightening experiences. In my retirement I am going back to my roots and pushing these experiences to see where they take me now that I don’t have the pressures of a day job and running a business. Now that is an exciting aspiration.
My Biggest Success?
I am fortunate to have been in a position to help many people. To help someone on their journey out of depression and debilitating anxiety is always my ‘biggest success’. But I would like to relate a story that shows what can be done with biofeedback, namely ‘neurofeedback’ or EEG biofeedback. It is a system that has been around since the 1990’s and yet still one of those ‘hidden miracle workers’ that appears to be shunned by most traditional therapists.
Some years ago I was asked to help a young man with a severe brain injury, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). He was 24 years of age, injured in a motor vehicle accident where he received severe brain trauma. The core problem was a significant brain-stem injury. The injury occurred over 2 years prior to his visit, this was outside the range where any change could be expected. He had not improved in those 2 years and I was very uncertain that I would be able to help this family and their loved one.
The family had renovated the house where he lived with his brother, and they provided 24 hour care for him. It was a heart-breaking, full-time job caring for someone as completely dependent as this young man.
On his arrival at my clinic, I was introduced to a young man in a wheel chair with his family gathered around him. I was rather dismayed, he had all the signs of a major brain trauma: no conscious movement, no evident cognition, he was fed through a tube in his stomach because he couldn’t swallow, and, although his eyes were open they didn’t register any sign of recognition of people or his surroundings. For all intents and purposes there was little traditional psychotherapy could do for him.
I told the family that I wasn’t sure I could help but they wanted me to try.
I set up my neurofeedback system and we began training his brain. This is an instrument that amplifies brainwaves and through the use of special software provides feedback as to what the brain is doing. I set the system to inhibit the production of certain brainwave frequencies and to reward other brainwave bands. The feedback was a sound - ‘beep’.
The young man lay in his wheelchair and we persevered three times a week. After two weeks his mother said that her son was showing signs of awareness and moderating his sleep patterns better. It was encouraging, so the family purchased their own home training system and began daily training under my supervision.
The last time I saw him was about 7 years after we began brain training. He was eating his favourite - meat pies, singing to tunes he knew prior to his TBI, he was learning to stand up and move his limbs. His sleep was better regulated and he could recognise his family and friends. Most importantly he smiled when he was told a joke – believe it or not, this is a very good indicator of cognitive function in someone who has a brain-stem injury. The name for this sort of injury is ‘Locked-In Syndrome’.
The changes this young man made were almost ‘miraculous’, neurofeedback made a difference, as did the 24 hour care from his loving family. The most fulfilling moment for me was that first Christmas when his mother said, “Thank you for giving me back my son.”
My Most Challenging Moment?
My current retirement is perhaps my most challenging moment. I leave the security of a regular income, doing something I am very good at, to enter the unknown world of the full-time author. Learning the craft of writing is a challenge for someone with dyslexia, like me, who has always struggled to structure a sentence, or work out where to put those darn awkward commas. Thank goodness for editors and the internet.
When I began my career in psychotherapy, my mentor, Neville Andrews, taught me two keys to a successful practice. Firstly, don’t be afraid of a patient crying, people cry, it’s natural; secondly, don’t be afraid to take a patient into their unconscious, we do it all the time, just trust the process.
My motto since then has been to ‘trust the process’. Over the years I have done enough psychotherapy, walking people into their inner world to rescue their inner child(s); interacting with their archetypes ; as well as others that dwell on that plain of existence; to fully trust what I am doing.
Whenever I am in a situation where I am unsure, I remind myself, ‘trust the process’. I have never had a single negative reaction in all the work I have done with my patients using this depth psychotherapy process.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
I have to admit that I have no single hero or favourite person. My role models are those simple mothers and fathers who go to work to keep a roof over the heads of their families, day-in and day-out. Being a parent can sometimes seem to be a thankless task, especially when ill-health and financial hardship dashes the dreams we have for ourselves and our family. Sadly the innumerable sacrifices parents make is rarely recognised by our leaders.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
I just love the Australian desert. I crossed the Simpson Desert some years ago and keep being drawn to that wild, still and silent world. I guess it’s much like the silent stillness of the inner worlds I enjoy visiting in my meditations.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
My laptop, it seems that my life revolves around sitting with my laptop to write, research and communicate. Apart from that it would have to be my espresso coffee machine, a Rancilio Silvia. I roast my own coffee beans too. Silvia makes the best-tasting morning coffee ever.
My Current Passions?
I am excited by my writing, I get to share the experiences and knowledge I have gained throughout my career as a psychotherapist. I can write about tarot and astrology and the inner worlds of the mind and spirit; plus I receive wonderful emails and posts from my readers all around the world.
In my retirement, aside from writing, my passion is gardening. I love to grow plants, especially those that I can share with my family at meal time.