Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback. It is a technique that utilizes sophisticated technology to read electrical brain activity and provide immediate feedback about brain states. The information gathered allows an individual to train, unconsciously, toward optimal functioning and user-desired physiological states.
Brain states heavily influence executive brain functioning; stress response, decision-making, self-awareness, sleep, relational interactions, focus and attention, and planning and organization. Most commonly, it is being utilized to treat symptoms of anxiety, depression, ADHD, post-traumatic stress and injury, as well as migraines, addiction, compulsion, and sleep. It is also often used for enhancing performance and abilities. It is currently utilized by professional athletes, artists such as musicians and composers, military pilots, and professionals in executive positions.
What should a client expect?
The clinician will place sensors on the client’s scalp with paste to ensure it stays throughout the assessment or training. The sensors read brain activity. Nothing goes into the client’s brain/scalp and the clinician cannot read thoughts or cognitions. It simply reads brainwaves in the same ways that a doctor or nurse would read heart rate. It can give the user valuable information to utilize for training.
The client will train by utilizing videos, music, or games that keep them engaged while moving toward more optimal brain states. The more regulated the client becomes, the better the picture or sound or the better the client does at the game.
How long will the client train?
Every brain is different so there is not a set number of trainings or time that the client will train for. It depends. However, a rough estimate would be approximately 10 sessions for noticeable changes. It is ideal that the client train for 30-45 minutes, however, sometimes it takes time to reach that length of time. Some sessions, the client may train for only 10-20 minutes as their physiological responses begin to shift. It is also ideal (but not required) that a client engage in neurofeedback training/biofeedback twice per week.
Will I need to continue seeing my individual therapist?
Yes, it is highly recommended that client’s continue seeing their individual therapist. There are exceptions when the client and his/her individual therapist decide to take a break while the client participates in neurofeedback training, however, the client will return to their individual therapist to either continue therapy services or discharge.