A Brief Explanation of Neurofeedback
On a fundamental level, electrical activity in your brain determines everything we feel, think and do. Electrical activity in one section of the brain produces feelings of sadness, while activity in a different area results in focused, logical thoughts. However, abnormally low or high levels of activity in specific sections of the brain can accompany a variety of cognitive, emotional and behavioral issues, including attention problems, depression or anxiety, and addictive behaviors.
Neurofeedback provides a way to train brain activity in an effort to alleviate these issues. It encourages the brain to increase or decrease specific types of activity in particular sections of the brain.
Brain activity is assessed by measuring brainwaves, which are the electrical impulses that brain cells generate when they communicate with one another. Measuring brainwave activity can provide quantifiable insight into an individual’s emotional state, thought patterns and other aspects of brain function.
Neurofeedback uses electrodes placed on your scalp to measure brainwave activity. During an initial assessment, your brainwave activity is compared to the average levels for individuals of your gender and age. Comparing this data to symptoms you report can help match specific variances in brainwave activity to your symptoms. This information translates into a neurofeedback training plan to help your brain achieve a more comfortable functioning state.
Training Your Brain
This is where neurofeedback training comes in. During a neurofeedback session, a computer compares your current brain activity to the activity we want to encourage. When your brain produces a desired activity—such as increased brainwaves in a particular section of the brain—you see or hear positive feedback. This feedback takes the form of a video game, a movie, or a music recording. When your brainwaves match the desired brain activity, your video game score increases, the movie displays a clear picture, or the music volume increases to a comfortable level. When your brain moves away from the desired activity, the video game progress slows, the movie picture dims, or the music fades out. Over time, the brain responds to this feedback pattern by increasing the desired activity. With no conscious effort on your part, your brain learns to adjust its brainwave activity.
Just as physical exercise develops muscle strength and consistent performance, neurofeedback helps your brain exercise its way to a more stable, comfortable, and efficient activity pattern. Like any new skill, developing new brainwave patterns requires repetition over time. Most neurofeedback training programs range from 20 to 60 training sessions, which are typically 45 minutes long.
While some people engage in neurofeedback to address specific mental health issues, others use it as a means of training their brains towards peak performance. Business professionals, students and world-class athletes have reported improved focus, reduced stress, better sleep and enhanced ability to shift gears mentally after neurofeedback training.
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF NEUROFEEDBACK
Neurofeedback training can be incredibly relaxing, and many clients report they enjoy their training sessions. However, it is possible you may experience some unwanted side effects during neurofeedback training. These can show up during the session, such as a rapid heartbeat or drowsiness. Other unwanted effects may show up later in the day, such as fatigue, irritability, difficulty sleeping or a headache. Our goal is to keep you as comfortable as possible at all times. The most important thing you can do to help minimize unwanted effects and optimize the results of your neurofeedback training is to let us know how you are feeling during and after sessions.
Renew Counseling, LLC
214 Breckinridge Lane, Suite 114 Louisville, KY 40207
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Research Supporting Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback has decades of history and many research studies supporting its efficacy, but it is still considered an experimental treatment for many mental health issues. The research literature currently provides the best support for efficacy in disorders such as ADD/ADHD, insomnia, epilepsy and addiction disorders. There is also research supporting its efficacy in the treatment of other disorders, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, autism, mild traumatic brain injury, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. For an expansive bibliography of neurofeedback studies, you can consult the website of the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research .
Insurance and Payment
Because many insurance companies still classify neurofeedback as an experimental treatment, it is often not covered by health insurance plans. For that reason, we require direct payment from clients for all neurofeedback-related fees. We are happy to provide documentation to clients to assist them in filing insurance claims for these fees directly with their insurance providers.
Renew Counseling, LLC
214 Breckenridge Lane, Ste 114
Louisville, KY 40207
p. (502) 653-7211
f. (502) 416-0723