For those of you who do not recognize the Swingle name, I am a neuro-brat, generation 2.0. I did not find the field, the field found me, or rather was just there … I grew up with the clicking and flipping of switches and amusing myself soldering in my father's university lab, mostly wire sculptures, bracelets, and such (my mother was an artist, after all), but also the odd connection or two on what were then wall-to-wall computers. Being a neuro-brat also meant I matured professionally in the frenetic energy of innovative minds. It took 25 years or so, and some digressions into other fields, namely, art, fashion, and education, but I was eventually drawn in fully at a Winterbrain conference in the 1990s.
These were fascinating years wherein I mostly observed and listened to the great minds that rooted us, great minds that clashed (as titans do) as much as they drove the profession forward. In these cerebral jousting matches, however, I fear many were left behind. Over time I have witnessed fewer and fewer people pick up the excitement of research and exploration and more wanting a road map, finding the paths of their forefathers and foremothers (our pioneers) harder than expected to follow. As this brilliant first generation slowly leaves us to retirement and beyond (the Budzynskis, Tooman, Judith Lubar, Michael Thompson, Stu Donaldson, Larry Klein, Joe Kamiya, and a few more), their legacies should be accessible and foundations strong for us to continue to build upon. It might also be time to put down the swords, to address conflicts that no longer push us forward before we fracture further, not through loss of persons, but loss of standards, knowledge, and skill.
To preserve and move neurotherapy forward, three things are critical for our discipline to address: (1) conflict and division, (2) the red herring of the double-blind imperative and its little cousin the placebo effect, and (3) perhaps most important, practice and equipment standards.