About Us

Past, present, and future

We are dedicated to combining the best knowledge ancient wisdom traditions have to offer with current scientific findings to help people create a brighter future. From research, study, and experience, we know that individuals can liberate themselves from unhelpful thoughts, destructive emotions, and painful life circumstances so that they are free to fulfill their potential. Our mission is to not only help heal human consciousness, but also to advance its evolution.

The Institute for Applied Neuroscience operates a mental health clinic, participates in ongoing research projects, and trains other professionals internationally to incorporate neuroscience into their practices. Please explore our website to learn more about how we can help you.

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Mary Ammerman, Psy.D., BCN

Dr. Mary Ammerman earned her undergraduate degrees in English and Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. Mary believes that all people possess both the power and the ability to heal themselves. To assist with this process, she uses a combination of mindfulness cognitive skills training, acceptance and commitment therapy, neurofeedback, applied neuroscience, warmth, and humor in her practice. Mary also teaches introductory neurofeedback courses with Dr. Hamlin and mentors other neurofeedback providers throughout the U.S, Canada, and Australia.  In her free time, she loves spending time with her husband and friends, taking advantage of Asheville’s live music scene, beautiful hiking trails, and incredible restaurants whenever possible!


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Kristy Barlow, PhD

Dr. Kristy Barlow is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in psychological assessment, diagnosis, and evidence-based treatments, specifically, for trauma-related disorders.  Dr. Barlow earned her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University. She later earned her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Western Carolina University and Ph.D. from Fielding Graduate University.  Dr. Barlow completed her APA-accredited doctoral internship at the Charles George VA Medical Center where she later held the position as PTSD Clinical Team Coordinator. Currently, she is active with the internship training committee and provides key administration of the research program at the CGVAMC.  Her clinical interests include neuropsychological assessment and trauma-informed therapies while she also engages in research on PTSD and traumatic brain injury.


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Mary Grace Bigelow, M.S., LPCA

Mary Grace earned her undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in neuroscience from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and received her graduate degree from Western Carolina University in clinical mental health counseling.  She is experienced working with college students and adolescents. Her approach to counseling is holistic and collaborative, believing that the client is the expert in their lives.  Mary Grace values the client relationship, believing it to be of upmost importance in her work. She combines authenticity, humor, mindfulness, and cognitive skills training to assist her clients on their journey of healing. In her free time, she loves live music and experiencing all that the social world of Asheville has to offer.


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Steve Gold, PhD

After earning his doctorate at Purdue in 1969, Dr. Steve Gold worked for nine years in residential treatment. The first three years he specialized in working with children and the last six he worked with drug abusing adolescents. To escape the demands of adolescents, he turned to teaching psychology. He taught for 12 years at Western Carolina University and then 12 years at Northern Illinois University, where he was Director of Clinical Training. After moving from Illinois to North Carolina in 2001, he began working in private practice with his good friend Ed Hamlin. For the past 16 years he has been doing individual and couples therapy. When he's not seeing clients, he enjoys running and horseback riding.


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Pat Hamlin, MA, LPCA

I am a life-long learner as exhibited by my 2017 graduation from WCU in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at age 64. I spent most of my life working in mental health including directing a program for those with severe and persistent mental illness in Raleigh, NC. Since moving back to Asheville in 1990, I have worked for Highland Hospital and The Pisgah Institute. Before returning to graduate school, I performed intake and administrative work with the Institute for Applied Neuroscience. My undergraduate major was psychology and I completed a Master’s in brain-based learning from Nova Southeastern University. I often think of the saying “if I had known then what I know now”. I feel I bring life experience with new knowledge into my work. It is an honor to be trusted with someone’s story and I take that very seriously. My approach includes mind/body integration and have trained in neurofeedback. I believe knowledge of ourselves is always a source of surprise and insight for hope and laughter is a vital ingredient for growth. In my time off, I enjoy exercise, hip hop classes, and reading.    

“In youth we learn.  In age we understand”.  Marie Ebner


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Ed Hamlin, Ph.D., BCN

Dr. Ed Hamlin is a psychologist and the Clinical Director of the Institute for Applied Neuroscience in Asheville, North Carolina. He has taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Duke University and currently holds an adjunct faculty position as Professor at Western Carolina University and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina Medical Center. In addition to his clinical work, he conducts research and presents workshops regarding applied neuroscience and brain/mind relationships. He serves as a consultant and supervisor for the clinical staff at a number of facilities throughout the world. He has practiced neurofeedback and applied psychophysiology since the mid-1980s and has taught and utilized these techniques in a variety of settings. He has a particular interest in neuroplasticity and the potential for changing maladaptive brain organization patterns. His current research projects involve examining the impact of early abuse and neglect on the developing brain and examining the brain activity in people with eating disorders.


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Illysa Hamlin, B.A.

Illysa Hamlin graduated from University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2007. She began working for the clinic in 2011 doing neurofeedback and Quantitative EEGs. She has worked closely with Dr. Ed Hamlin researching the treatment of eating disorders in partnership with Avalon Hills in Logan, Utah. This work utilizes QEEGs to analyze and help recognize trends, as well as looks at the benefit of using neurofeedback in residential treatment settings. Outside of the office, she stays busy teaching dance classes and fitness courses, and enjoys regular TexMex outings with her baby sister.


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Jordan Hamlin, B.A.

Jordan is an Asheville native who graduated from Georgia State University in 2015. She has been working for the clinic since 2016 as a Neurofeedback Technician. Her client approach is to help support efforts toward preferential states through a scientific lens. Jordan's goal in the field of psychology is to increase awareness of alternative support systems like neurofeedback and create a clinic in which anyone is able to get the help they need. She is interested in integrated approaches to wellness and seeking individual's true human potential.


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Sarah Mims, MA, LPC

Information Coming Soon…


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Eric Ralston, MA LPC

Eric offers neurofeedback brain training to his clients, along with talk therapy heavily influenced by the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approach. "Neurofeedback and ACT psychotherapy work very well together. An overarching objective of both is increased cognitive flexibility, which translates into increased wellness and quality of life for clients." He is thrilled to be in Western North Carolina to work at the Institute for Applied Neuroscience. His prior experience includes wilderness therapy for juveniles and working in a private practice in Chattanooga, TN. He specializes in working with ages 14-40 years old.

When he's away from the office, Eric enjoys spending time with his wife and son, often hiking, biking, or paddling in the beautiful Carolina mountains.