We understand that most people have questions about neurofeedback or may even be nervous about trying it. We can’t tell you how many times someone has told us that their friends and family think they are silly for trying this. Most people who come to see us say they feel like “Guinea Pigs” as their friends and family watch on to see if neurofeedback is going to do anything. Many times those same friends and family come to us after they see what neurofeedback can do.
In an attempt to give you enough information to comfortably make a decision about training, the following is a brief description of what you might expect coming to visit us.
What Happens When I Come for the First Time?
- You will be greeted by one of our clinicians who will ask that you fill out our consent form and intake paperwork. For convenience and to ensure more time with your clinician, this paperwork can be filled out before your visit here.
- After completion of paperwork you and your clinician will have a discussion about your medical history, the issues you would like to work on, and your training goals. In the process of this conversation your clinician will explain training options and will discuss a Quantitative EEG.
- The clinician will place non-invasive sensors on your scalp to collect baseline brain wave data.
- Your clinician will begin the process of planning your training.
How does training work?
During training, non-invasive sensors are placed on the scalp with conductive paste. Clients are then asked to relax and watch one of our many computer animation screens as we monitor your brainwaves. As the brain moves toward a healthier state you are rewarded by having the computer animation move and the sound play. Gradually through the process the brain “learns” a healthier brain pattern.
Are you shocking my brain?
Absolutely not; nothing is introduced into your brain or body. Neurofeedback is non-invasive and does not involve electricity going through the sensors. The sensors are like small microphones, simply recording and amplifying the brain activity that you are already making.
How is training done?
By responding to cues provided by a computer. A sensor picks up brain wave signals from your scalp and transforms them into images on the screen and tones. The client learns to move the images around by focusing on both the screen and the tones. In the process, the brain learns to work much better.
How long does the training take?
Because this is a learning process, it takes a number of sessions of practice so that it becomes second nature. The normal training takes 30-40 sessions lasting about 30 minutes each. Most people begin to notice improvement after only a few sessions. If they stop the training before it is complete, the improvement doesn’t last.
How long does the improvement last?
It is usually long-lasting or permanent. Persons below the age of 60 are less likely to require additional sessions later in order to keep the gains they have made. Older individuals can maintain the gains they have made by having a few “booster” sessions once or twice a year.
What about side effects?
There are normally no side effects, and people usually find the exercise pleasant. Occasionally, a few people have a mild, temporary headache after the training. Because the brain uses lots of energy during the training, it is not unusual for a person to feel physically tired after a session.
Does the computer read my thoughts?
No. It only reads the energy given off as the brain goes about its business. In other words, the computer reads how effectively the brain works. Your clinician then creates targets for your training. As you work at reaching those targets, the brain learns to work more effectively.
Can everybody do it?
Almost everyone can learn to respond to neurotherapy. However, there are some people who are considered non-learners of neurofeedback. These are individuals who, for various reasons, don’t respond to the training. Research tends to show that 15-20% of people don’t respond well or are “non-learners.” It is difficult to tell who will respond and who won’t, however, we monitor results closely to make sure the people we help are making progress.