Janis Norton, LCSW

PHOTO: Janis NortonJanis Norton has focused her career around her interest in stress, anxiety, and family relationships.  As a freshman at Miami University (Ohio!) she made a decision to pursue study and training in family therapy. A bachelor degree in psychology followed by a masters in social work at The Ohio State University provided some foundation for understanding what the mental health field had to offer.  A move to Northern Virginia in 1983 opened up the opportunity to study family systems theory and this proved pivotal.  She enrolled in a post graduate program at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family (called the Georgetown Family Center at the time) and the ideas she found there resonated at a personal and professional level.  Reading and learning Bowen Theory was like being handed a blueprint for the human condition, a blueprint still being developed and refined, but with a balance of science and practicality to it that promised much.

Continued study and application of systems ideas over many years has sparked interest and research in the areas of cancer, recovery of health, chronic pain, anxiety in all its varied forms,  parenting in today’s world,  the central and autonomic nervous systems, and more. In the past ten years much energy has gone towards learning and practicing neurofeedback and some forms of biofeedback.  She first studied with Adam Crane, a biofeedback pioneer in Tarrytown, New York in 2003 . More recently she has invested in NeurOptimal, a “whole brain” approach to training that operates on the assumption that the brain is a self-regulating system that responds as a unit to information provided through a feedback mechanism. This type of training is consistent with a view of the individual whose physiology is a system embedded in a relationship system.

Another area of interest that has influenced her work is the practice of insight meditation and mindfulness. First introduced to the science of mind/body medicine through Bowen Theory and then later at the Benson-Henry Mind/Body Institute in Boston in 1990 (then called the Mind/Body Program at Harvard/New England Deaconess Hospital) the techniques and methods seemed like a good fit with Bowen Theory and its emphasis on developing the ability to think clearly and neutrally about life problems.  Currently she uses the methods in her personal life, teaches the techniques to clients, and periodically offers training in a class format.