Psychologists use a number of different therapies to treat their patients. That’s because everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. That also means that it’s helpful for patients to be associated with a practice that is familiar with several different kinds of therapeutic interventions so that a wealth of options for treatment are available.
Neurofeedback – sometimes known as EEG biofeedback – is one such intervention that can assist both adults and children/adolescents, providing immediate feedback by assessing the client’s brainwave activity, which provides a plethora of helpful insight into the working of that particular person’s brain.
Who benefits from neurofeedback?
The therapy known as neurofeedback has been used to alleviate symptoms of various neurological and mental health disorders. Some of the individuals who benefit from this therapeutic intervention include those with:
- Seizure conditions
- Attention deficit disorders like ADHD
- Behavior disorders
- Acquired brain injuries
- Stress-related issues
- Age-related cognitive loss
Neurofeedback is often used in conjunction with other therapies to help clients learn to regulate and improve their brain function. The therapist sometimes recommends neurofeedback after several sessions of a different therapy, simply because they believe it might lead to further improvement.
What does it involve?
Neurofeedback is a simple and painless therapy and those who have used it often report great success. But just like any mental health-related therapy, the individual must be invested in their recovery and committed to making it work.
Typically, neurofeedback involves just one session a week, usually for about 20 weeks though that timeline could be shorter or slightly longer, depending on the patient.
To begin, the patient sits upright in a chair and small sensors are attached to the scalp. These sensors cause NO discomfort. The sensors are connected to a computer EEG (electroencephalogram) program that processes the brain signals and provides information to the therapist about the client’s brainwave frequencies. This moment-to-moment information allows for instantaneous information as to whether brain activity is within the designated range.
Participating in neurofeedback is sort of like a game that requires your utmost concentration. By playing this game, you will be able to view your brain activity on the computer monitor in front of you. Your therapist will show you how to decipher and interpret what you see including which patterns mean your brain is engaged and which patterns mean your brain is less engaged in what you’re doing.
When your brain gets closer to the desired state, you’re rewarded. For example, the images, movie, or music may stop playing when your brainwaves aren’t where they should be and start again when you reach a more desired state.
How does it work?
Simply put, neurofeedback assesses your brain and your brainwave activity. That’s important because the activity in your brain dictates everything you feel and do. As such, by observing where brain imbalances may be occurring, the program used can then begin to direct your brainwaves towards more desirable and productive patterns and activity. Sounds like futuristic science fiction, right?
Not at all! Neurofeedback has been used for decades, with initial studies going all the way back to the 1920s. It’s also perfectly safe and has benefited thousands upon thousands of patients dealing with mental health issues, brain injury, and more. And though it’s not a cure, it does help the brain return to functioning in a healthier manner.
The computer neurofeedback program your therapist is using teaches your central nervous system to reorganize and regulate brainwave frequencies through use of repeated training
sessions. Because the program provides information about where the dysfunction is occurring, the therapist, with your help, can directly treat these specific issues, getting right to the heart of the problem without wasting time.
This feedback, combined with other techniques the therapist is applying, should result in positive changes in physical, emotional, and cognitive states. The patient is then taught how to access these positive changes outside of his or her therapy sessions.
The advantages of neurofeedback therapy
One of the prime advantages of neurofeedback therapy is that it is simple to administer and involves no medication of any kind. That’s a huge plus for individuals who do not wish to take drugs (or more drugs) to address their difficulties.
Furthermore, while patients report improvement in memory and focus, reduction in stress or anxiety, improved mode, and more restful sleep, what they don’t report is side effects. There really are no negative side effects associated with the use of neurofeedback. Many even report the therapy as fun…kind of like playing a game with the ultimate reward being positive changes in their everyday life.