Dr. Frank H. Duffy, M.D., a Professor and Pediatric Neurologist at Harvard Medical School, stated in the Journal of Clinical Electroencephalography (January 2000) that Neurotherapy "should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas. In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy it would be universally accepted and widely used" (p. v).
What is Neurotherapy?
Neurotherapy, Neurofeedback, or EEG Biofeedback is an effective intervention for many physical and psychological difficulties in children and adults. A client learns to change his / her own brainwave patterns to improve symptoms such as attention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, sleep, cognitive flexibility and mood. The client's EEG is monitored and analyzed. The latest computer equipment provides the client with real-time, instantaneous visual and auditory feedback regarding what is happening in their brain. It enhances the brain's ability to respond with healthy patterns of functioning.
It is a non-invasive, painless method of treatment and creates flexibility of brainwave states. The clinician cannot read the client's mind or change any beliefs. It does not inhibit creativity or change personality.
After a process of Neurotherapy, the new brainwave patterns are maintained when not in the setting of the Neurotherapy session. We require very different brainwaves to be dominant when we sleep in comparison to when we need to focus on a complex maths problem. The goal of Neurotherapy is to allow the client to willfully move from one brain state to another to accommodate each new task. We use the most reliable FDA approved equipment available.
What can it help with?
Neurotherapy is effective for many conditions where there is a dysregulations of brainwaves, such as:
- Sleep Disorders
- Pervasive Development Disorders / Autistic Spectrum Disorders
- SI (Sensory Integration)
- Psychiatric Disorders
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Stress, Fatigue and Burnout
- Learning Disabilities
What happens in a Neurotherapy session?
Electrodes are placed on the client’s head with paste to hold them in place and to conduct the electrical signal. One or two of these are also placed on the client’s earlobe. These sensors measure the electrical activity coming from the brain at the specific, predetermined site being monitored. No electric current is passed into the brain! This information is fed into a computer to analyze and is converted into game-like displays on the client’s screen. The client plays computer games with no mouse or keyboard – only by controlling the different frequencies of their brainwaves. The better the client’s attention, the more stimulating the feedback on the screen and the more points will be earned. The client is constantly fed back information regarding the state of their brain with auditory and visual signals.
After practicing this over a period of time, the improvement in symptoms because of the neurological changes that happen in the brain because of Neurotherapy will be maintained without the computer feedback.
How long is each session and how many sessions are needed?
Each Neurotherapy session lasts for 30 minutes. The number of sessions in a process depends on the type and severity of the client's symptoms. On average, 30-50 sessions must be done for the changes to have lasting benefit. Two sessions per week are recommended.
Initially, the changes produced in Neurotherapy session are short-lived, but as more sessions are done, the changes are sustained for longer, until the brainwaves are changed permanently in most cases. Change is seen between the first and the tenth session.
It is essential for a successful process that sessions are kept extremely regular. Breaks in therapy can cause delayed progress or a need for additional sessions.
I am on medication. Can I still have Neurotherapy?
Neurotherapy can be done with clients on or off medication – many clients start on a cocktail of medication. As the brain becomes more stable, medication and other therapies seem to work better as a result of better blood flow in the brain. The need for medication is often reduced or eliminated completely. It is important not to change any medication without the supervision of your medical practitioner.
What research has been done?
What is the process?
The parents of the child (or the client if he/she is an adult) will have a consultation with the therapist in order to discuss the concerns in detail and obtain a clinical history. At this session, different types of assessments to be done before commencing Neurotherapy will also be discussed. Various questionnaires must be completed in order for us to obtain as complete a picture about a client as possible. A qEEG is often suggested. This assessment gives a wealth of information often necessary for a successful Neurotherapy process. For more information on qEEGs, please contact us. The results of the qEEG may recommend other interventions in addition to Neurotherapy. Once this has been correlated with the symptoms that the client is experiencing, a process of Neurotherapy will begin with the client, usually twice per week. Feedback regarding progress will be given often. Constant feedback from those involved in the client’s life is extremely important.
What changes can be expected?
- Better quality sleep
- Increased alertness
- Improved mood
- Reduced anxiety
- Improved sustained attention
- Reduced hyperactivity and impulsivity
- Reduction or elimination of tics
- As a result, better self-esteem!