Dr. Jennifer Sweeton is a well-known clinical and forensic psychologist in Kansas City specializing in trauma treatment. She is considered a foremost expert in the treatment and assessment of PTSD and is also well-known as a brain optimization coach for high-achieving professionals who seek her services worldwide. Additionally, Dr. Sweeton is a speaker and best-selling author providing skills-based training and education to mental health clinicians and others on trauma recovery and the neuroscience of mental health. Having experienced her own psychological trauma earlier in life, those who seek out her expertise both as a client and as a trainee find her extremely relatable.
Her 14 years of hands-on clinical work with traumatized clients, 20 years of the study of psychotherapy, a decade of experience in training other professionals in brain-changing strategies and psychotherapeutic approaches, coupled with her academic experiences as a student of neuroscience and psychology have made it possible for her to develop Neural Desensitization and Integration Training (NDIT). NDIT is described as a new, cutting-edge brain-based approach to treating PTSD.
What is Neural Desensitization and Integration Training?
Dr. Sweeton personally developed NDIT, which she offers to her psychotherapy and coaching clients alike. She has also begun training other mental health professionals and coaches on core NDIT tools and techniques.
According to Dr. Sweeton herself, NDIT is preferred by some clients because it gives them things to work on and ways to process traumatic events outside of sessions, since trauma triggers often arise outside of session. In this way, NDIT empowers clients to continue making critical changes, both cognitively and emotionally, between sessions, unlike some other therapy approaches.
Also, unlike some other trauma-focused therapies, NDIT includes several easy-to-implement strategies that help clients work directly with the reminders, thoughts, and emotions related to traumatic events but without completely overwhelming them.
Since engaging with traumatic memories can feel destabilizing for many clients, a fear of facing the trauma often keeps them stuck in PTSD, depression, and anxiety symptoms. NDIT helps clients engage with traumatic memories and reminders in a way that doesn’t feel out of control or overwhelming. NDIT doesn’t require that clients try to force themselves to think different thoughts, as this approach can often be counterproductive to progress. It can also feel defeating for clients when they are unable to do something they so badly wish to do. After all, if replacing negative thoughts or “letting go” of the past were easy, PTSD would not remain such a struggle for so many trauma survivors.
Dr. Sweeton emphasizes that NDIT helps address mental and emotional blockages without overwhelming her clients. It is a flexible approach and can be applied to treatments other than PTSD just as well. NDIT strategies are helpful any time a client feels stuck in a particular way of thinking or feeling, making it great to utilize in a coaching context more broadly.
Although Dr. Sweeton currently uses NDIT extensively in her treatment of PTSD, its potential utility appears to extend beyond the clinical helping profession. She is hopeful for other opportunities to share NDIT and its potential to help people feel better and improve functioning at the same time.