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What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a way of training the brain to function better. Through this feedback clients learn to better self regulate their brain activity. Many illnesses, and even unwanted behaviour patterns, are due to dysregulation of brain activity. With neurofeedback, clients can learn to better compensate for these dysregulations and function better.
A typical session involves the client interacting with a computer programme, for example a movie or computer game, while brainwaves are monitored using electrodes attached to the scalp. (No input goes to your head via the electrodes; only information travels to the computer). As the person interacts with the game, the computer provides an accurate portrait of how you respond to it in real time. Your brain benefits from this information and can change in view of the feedback.
The technique has been in use since the 1950s, but it’s only in the last decade or so, thanks to the power of personal computers, that it’s become practical for use in places like psychologists’ offices.
Who is it For?
At Doctor Ana, we use neurofeedback as part of our overall intervention plan.
Most commonly, in children, it is used to treat ADHD, emotional and behavioural issues, learning and developmental delays, and struggles in school.
In addition, we specialise in the treatment of trauma related dysregulation along the lifespan. For more information regarding the use of neurofeedback working with trauma thrivers please check this interesting interview with Lou Lebentz of Trauma Thrivers: https://youtu.be/cgNJ5dDBBU4
After discussing your goals and putting a plan together for you, we may suggest neurofeedback as part of a treatment plan.
Why Doctor Ana?
Setting up and administering neurofeedback is much easier today than it used to be, but it is important to be under the supervision of experienced psychologists when using it. At Doctor Ana, we have the experience and specialist staff required to ensure that neurofeedback sessions are administered properly and utilised effectively.
Frequently Asked Questions
More information about Neurofeedback
What happens in a session?
1. Symptom Tracking
Your therapist will ask you to complete a Neurofeedback Symptom Checklist identifying those areas that you may wish to focus on during your training. Your therapist will set up a symptom checklist for you to access on line so you can record your experiences in between sessions, letting your therapist know in a timely way how you are feeling.
Usually when someone comes for a neurofeedback training session they sit in a comfortable chair in front of a computer screen while a therapist puts electrodes on their scalp. The therapist puts a little bit of cream on the scalp, then a bit of a white cream on the electrodes then put both together: the electrode on the area of the scalp where the cream is. The electrodes can then measure the subtle electrical activity of your brain.
During this time you are expected to simply relax and tell your therapist how you may be feeling with regards to your target goals for your training. This information is valuable and helps design the next steps in the training.
The training follows a set of guidelines that have been identified through both research and clinical experience. The protocol suggests a number of strategies to follow after each training session, for example,
• what frequency band may be trained,
• the specific location on the scalp where the electrodes are placed • the time of the training in each different site
3. Training Session?
The training begins once your electrodes are in place and you are sitting comfortably. Your therapist will start the programme to run once all is ready.
Information captured from the electrodes on your scalp gets to the computer.
There the programme interprets the information gathered by the electrodes and provides video, sound, and often tactile feedback on what your brain is doing.
When your brain is engaging in desired activity it continuously receives feedback regarding what it is doing. The brain will take that information and respond to it. For example, when you are concentrating and engaging with the activity say flying an airplane, the computer will provide images, sounds to reflect this: The plane will be flying higher and faster. When you get distracted or disengaged from the activity then the screen may get a bit foggy. In time, the brain recognises what brings reward and what brings a foggy screen. This learning process will eventually translate into new neural connections and self-awareness leading to changing in behaviour and remission of some of your symptoms.
How long does a neurofeedback session last?
A neurofeedback appointment will always be an hour, but the session duration can be shorter. It is sometimes advisable for sessions to start out short, and ramp up in duration and training protocol as you get more used to the programme.
Want to know more?
Find out about Neurofeedback, the benefits and how it works in action with real life case studies.
Fascinating conversation about trauma and neurofeedback with Lou Lebentz, Trauma Thrivers and Dr. Ana Aguirregabiria.