Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies


Holistic Health

First Advisor

Carol Geisler


Holistic Health Studies


Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change and adapt both structure and function in response to sensory experiences. Self-directed neuroplasticity (SDN) specifically addresses the capacity to proactively modify cerebral function through volitional control and the intentional practice of focusing attention in desired ways. In other words, the mind can consciously change the brain. Self-directed neuroplasticity (SDN) approaches are successfully used to treat a range of challenges such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, and emotional response regulation. However, no research describes the lived experiences of individuals practicing SDN across multiple modalities. Using semi-structured, in-depth interviews, this phenomenological inquiry describes the lived experiences of 13 participants practicing SDN. In addition to identifying SDN uses and multifaceted aspects to SDN practices outside of current academic literature, this study utilized thematic analysis to uncover four themes: Seeking, Empowerment, Growth in Relationships, and Transformation. Results offer insights into expanding SDN uses, broadening practice context, and life-changing transformation. Implications include the need to increase awareness, education, and integration of SDN within holistic health and other communities, as well as expand research regarding SDN uses, application among various populations, and longitudinal efficacy.