How does Neurofeedback work?
Your brain, the controller of your body, is an intricate system of chemical and electrical activities. The brain is designed to adapt to changes in the environment and body for optimal performance. However, because of genetics or the environment, the brain may get dysregulated and not function as well as it should. A dysregulated brain can sometimes look under-stimulated when it should be attentive or over-stimulated at times where it should be calm.
Sometimes, the brain self-corrects. When it doesn’t, this dysregulation becomes “the new norm”. So, it makes sense to re-train the brain to function better.
What happens in a Neurofeedback session?
Your first session will be a Brain Map. A cap is placed on your head, our software then captures the electrical impulses from your brain. This is known as a quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG). The results show your brainwave patterns in different parts of the brain. A qEEG brain map allows us to see areas of the brain where there is too little or too much activity (slow or fast brainwaves) and areas that are not communicating with each other optimally. We then convert the data into a visual report. We analyze the report and identify any areas of dysregulation. Common brain imaging techniques such as MRIs, CAT scans and X-rays are built to measure brain structure. A qEEG measures the brains activity.
Once we can see the reason for your struggles on a brain level, we can create a Neurofeedback training program to help improve it.
In the second session your Psychotherapist will complete a thorough assessment with you and have you fill out a survey listing your symptoms or challenges that brought you in. We will go over the brain map with you and show you where and if you have any areas of dysregulation. We will explain just how NFB may help with your symptoms.
During the NFB sessions you will be placed in a quiet space, in a comfortable chair. The Psychotherapist will place a 19-sensor cap on your head. The sensors measure the electrical activity coming from your brain-much like a doctor listening to your heart through your skin, and a hi-tech computer will provide you with instantaneous audio and visual feedback about your brainwave activity.
When you receive NFB, it’s as simple as watching a DVD. When your brainwaves correspond with the pre-determined brain pattern, the DVD plays as it should. If the brainwaves start to deviate from the desired pattern, the computer immediately detects this and alters the DVD, making the picture go from color to black and white. These changes in the picture are the feedback. Your brain wants to watch the show in color, and learns what the brain waves were doing to produce the color. This process is like the childhood game of hiding something and telling the person when they are getting “warmer” or “colder.”
Through this process of reinforcement, the client can learn to consciously control brainwave patterns. More interestingly, research also indicates that this learning also works on a subconscious level, meaning that the reinforcement, and thus the good behavior is instilled at an unconscious level.
A typical NFB training session lasts about 60 minutes and is noninvasive. You sit back, relax and watch a video. There is no shocking or manipulating of the brain. The process is actually very enjoyable.
We are reinforcing (through feedback) when the brainwaves function optimally.
qEEG BRAIN MAPPING
The brain is a complex organ made up of billions of cells called neurons. Neurons send and receive messages to and from all parts of your body. These messages are the electrical impulses that create brainwaves. It identifies areas of the brain that can improve communication between each other. The brain map captures a portion of brain activity, analyzes it, and creates a report for each part of the brain as well as each specific brain wave (Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta).
The qEEG brain map gives us information to help identify areas of over or under-activity to train as well as chart your progress.
A qEEG identifies brainwaves, their power, location and whether the patterns are typical, but also coherence (the quality of communication between brain regions), and phase (thinking speed). These are all important patterns involved in peak mental functioning.
Neurofeedback training for the brain is like physical training for the body.