How many of your patients still have symptoms –- even after therapy and medication?
Most clients coming to our center have already tried medication and psychotherapy in an effort to resolve their issues. Although some have experienced a reduction in symptoms with these treatment options, it’s usually not enough — many still suffer.
What else as a health professional could you offer? Could your clients function better, and with fewer or no symptoms –- using brain biofeedback? In our experience, the answer is yes.
What are eight common conditions that often get significant relief from Neurofeedback?
- Sleep Disorders
- Obsessive Thinking
- Panic Attacks
- Learning Difficulties
Additionally, we have seen success with clients suffering from a wide range of other mental, emotional, and physiological disorders including developmental delays, Autism/Aspergers, Bipolar Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.
How can Neurofeedback help such a broad array of seemingly different conditions?
All of these issues have at least one thing in common — a dysregulated brain.
When the brain is not functioning properly a host of symptoms can arise. If brainwave patterns are running too fast, too slow, or are not communicating with each other properly, this will have a corresponding negative effect on cognitive function, moods, behavior, sleep and a variety of other human functions.
What is Neurofeedback? What does it do?
Neurofeedback is a type of brain biofeedback. Through the use of specialized computer equipment, along with instruction from a Neurofeedback practitioner, clients are coached in practicing healthier brain wave patterns. It’s a simple, yet powerful process that trains the brain how to function more effectively and efficiently. Individuals learn how to regulate their own brains, which in turn brings relief from a variety of troubling symptoms. Learning to change their own brains is empowering to clients. It helps them take charge of their situation and improves the quality of their lives.
In order to provide relief for such a variety of issues, multiple areas of the brain may have to be targeted for training. We customize the training according to each person’s particular needs. For example:
Training the temporal lobes: helps positively affect emotional regulation.
Training the frontal lobe: aids with depression, mood and affect.
Pre-frontal lobe training: enhances attention, organizational skills, and executive function.
Parietal lobe Training: assists the body with relaxation, learning how to be calm, and sensory integration.
After brain training, clients who previously struggled with brain dysregulation are often pleasantly surprised to discover they are now able to accomplish more with less effort. When their brains perform better, they perform better — symptoms diminish or disappear. Overall, they experience a greater sense of happiness and well-being.
There’s a wonderful article about brain timing and brain dysregulation by a famous neuroscientist, Dr. Rodolfo Llinas, from NYU. Though he doesn’t mention Neurofeedback, he presents the core neuroscience principals from which Neurofeedback is based.
Neurofeedback is a solid, evidence based option for those who don’t want medication and for those whose medications are not completely effective.
While the majority of our clients come to the Center for Brain Training because they have already tried other approaches and still find themselves suffering, a small but growing number of clients come to our center as a first option. This group of individuals is very clear –- they don’t want medications, or they don’t want their children on medications. They want an effective, evidence based treatment that doesn’t require meds.
Neurofeedback has proven itself to be a predictable, effective therapy backed by approximately 40 years of research. It’s being practiced by several thousand clinicians country wide. See the the research links on our website to learn more about the science behind Neurofeedback.
> Contact us if you’d like us to provide some research papers and neuroscience literature.
Even though Neurofeedback is a consistently, effective approach, it isn’t a quick fix. We are not attempting to mask symptoms, we are literally teaching the brain how to function more efficiently. It involves a learning process. Learning takes time and repetition is needed in order to really maintain what is learned.
In a very large percentage of our clients, core symptoms are reduced significantly and sometimes completely with Neurofeedback. However, learning occurs at various rates for different people. The degree of malfunction can play a factor in a person’s response rate. Some people quit too early. They find relief and then stop having sessions before the learning has really had a chance to take hold. Old patterns need to be replaced by new patterns, which involves practice.
Even individuals who have solidly learned healthier brainwave patterns and have moved on in their lives, may want to occasionally come back for a tune up, particularly during or after a period of unusual stress.
If a client doesn’t progress fast enough with Neurofeedback, we usually make a referral to another health care professional. We like to make sure we rule out other possible medical or metabolic issues that might be interfering with the brain’s response.
Example case: Psychologist who had a fear of flying, coupled with claustrophobia
We worked with a psychologist who needed Xanax anytime she flew or was in a crowded space. Although she tried a variety of medications and therapies, her anxiety persisted. Fortunately, anxiety tends to respond very well to Neurofeedback. After about 15 sessions of training, over several months, she was not only able to fly, but also attended a crowded event in a small space. To her amazement she was able to do both without the use of Xanax. This was something she wouldn’t have been able to do prior to Neurofeedback. Describing the events in her own words, she said: “No problems–it just didn’t bother me.”
Working with other clinicians — the team approach
The Center for Brain Training works diligently with therapists and physicians to provide an integrative approach. Together we seek to better understand our clients and to help them target and reach their goals.
We encourage our clients to talk openly with their doctor about medications and to discuss their goals regarding recovery. It’s particularly important if the client is on medication to inform their doctor of their progress using Neurofeedback, especially noting any reduction in symptoms. Some patients have a goal to reduce medication. As they become more stable and symptoms begin to diminish or resolve, they may want a trial reduction in medication. While we are happy to speak with physicians to answer any questions they might have, we let our clients know that only their doctor should change their medication.
Another great resource in the team approach, is the client’s therapist. Therapists know their clients well and often have important input regarding clinical manifestations or reductions in symptoms. Therapists often report that as clients train their brains and start functioning better, they are able to be more present and available during therapy. This can be of great value to the therapeutic process. In addition, Neurofeedback sometimes facilitates the surfacing of feelings and issues that might not have been previously accessible. This is one of the reasons we encourage clients to continue with therapy in conjunction with Neurofeedback. Being engaged in therapy allows clients to deal with any issues that might arise after a training session.
As part of our integrative approach, we like to educate clients on the available research regarding basic brain nutrition (i.e. literature demonstrating the role of Omega 3’s and vitamin D in mental health). Good nutrition supports the health of the brain. Therefore, seeking out a good nutritionist might be useful. We also encourage screening for other potential medical issues, like thyroid problems or hormone imbalances, which can be contributing factors in some mental health issues.
Courses for health professionals
Michael Cohen, the Center’s Director, has worked in Neurofeedback for 14 years. In addition to running the Center, he is a master teacher and enjoys sharing his knowledge in the classroom. He has been teaching Neurofeedback courses to health professionals for the past 12 years and teaches an annual course for the American Psychiatric Association.
We encourage health professionals to learn more about Neurofeedback. The more you know the more you’ll be able to determine when it’s appropriate to recommend Neurofeedback. The Center for Brain Training offers a 3 day training course for professionals wanting to incorporate Neurofeedback into their practice. In addition, we offer a series of shorter courses (half day and day long courses) to explain the basics of Neurofeedback and how it’s being used for specific clinical issues.
> Professional Courses on Neurofeedback
Interviews with MD’s referring patients for neurofeedback
The video below provides interviews with Josh Prager, MD, and Karami Harami, MD. Dr Prager is Director of the Center for Rehabilitation for Pain Syndromes at UCLA Medical Plaza. Dr. Harami is a board certified family physician who teaches at the USC Medical School and who also works with autistic children. In this video, Dr. Prager describes his work with complex pain problems and discusses his use of Neurofeedback as part of a comprehensive program of interdisciplinary care for pain management. Dr. Prager points out that while Neurofeedback may yield varying results for chronic pain, an important feature is that is doesn’t have side effects. Although he has used various forms of biofeedback over the years, the real quantum leap in regards to the effectiveness of his treatments, came when he began using Neurofeedback. Patients with severe nerve pain, often associated with anxiety or sleep disorders, seem to respond particularly well. Hear how his pain patients share their positive experiences from using Neurofeedback as one element in a multi-disciplinary approach.