Neurofeedback (NFB) is a type of biofeedback that utilizes EEG technology to train healthy brain function. It teaches the brain to function more efficiently, and it helps the body and nervous system to regulate. Neurofeedback can be used to address many mental health and medical conditions.
How NFB works: NFB works by rewarding your body for being regulated. Simply put, when your body is regulated the activity (measured in brainwaves: Alpha, Beta, Theta, High Beta, Delta, Gamma) achieves a state of calm and then that calm is rewarded (through repetitive conditioning) and so we learn what regulation is and so we can match it and take it or make it our own.
““Neurofeedback is direct training of brain function, by which the brain learns to function more efficiently. We observe the brain in action from moment to moment. We show that information back to the person. And we reward the brain for changing its own activity to more appropriate patterns. This is a gradual learning process. It applies to any aspect of brain function that we can measure. Neurofeedback is training in self-regulation. It is simply biofeedback applied to the brain directly. Self-regulation is a necessary part of good brain function. Self-regulation training allows the (central nervous) system to function better.” –– Sue Othmer
After the initial intake and optional qEEG brainmapping, average treatment consists of twenty to forty sessions but can extend to eighty plus sessions depending on the condition being treated.
Types of Neurofeedback we provide include Infraslow Fluctuation (ISF), Othmer Method, Alpha/Theta training, Z-score analysis, and qEEG reports.
Neurofeedback training is helpful for a variety of mental health conditions: addictions (behavioral/ingestible), attachment/relational issues, ADD/ADHD, trauma/PTSD and stress related symptomatology (e.g., dissociation (DID, DDNOS, BPD, C-PTSD), developmental trauma and related issues, depression, anxiety, panic, OCD, bipolar, anger, suicidal tendencies, self-harm, performance/academic enhancement, autism, tics, eating disorders, and learning disorders.
Neurofeedback training is helpful for many medical conditions: chronic pain, asthma, regulating sleep, illnesses (like Lyme, Sciatica,) fibromyalgia, seizures, cancer, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy syndrome (RSD), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and concussions, MS, Stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, autoimmune issues (like RA), skin issues, vertigo, blood pressure, jaw clenching, headaches, migraines, PMS/PMDD, and end of life anxiety.)
Equipment: We use the Freedom 10 series (2 machines) that are FDA approved and DO NOT USE ANY GOO WITH THE ELECTRODES!
Neurofeedback Clinic Hours: Monday (Hudson/Chatham), Tuesday (10-2 in Chatham), Wednesday (10-2 in Albany), Thursday (10-2 in Chatham) and Friday’s (10-2 in Albany). MORE HOURS TO COME>>>
Now offering “on demand” appointments for existing clientele. No matter where you are in your care (just beginning or in the maintenance phase), if you need an appt, then contact us 24-hours in advance or day of, and we get you in…
*All NFB is coded CPT: 90875.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Is any electric shock being sent to my brain? No. the feedback (rewards) are sounds only.
How many sessions will I need to feel better? Depending on client history, we recommend giving it at least 5-15 sessions to see changes in areas of interest. We recommend 2x a week for the first month, if you can do it. Many clients continue past session 60 as we “peel the onion” of their psychological states – bodies with historical layers of stress, illness, injury, and trauma often benefit greatly trauma reprocessing (intensive model) once NFB is established. Most clients gain enough regulation once NFB is established but continue with maintenance appointments every 2-4 weeks or so. Some also continue with periodic tune ups or refreshers as the years go by. Because NFB is based on training (learning/conditioning), it training doesn’t wear off because your brain has learned efficient patterns. NFB can be used as a wellness practice like an ongoing meditation practice. Ongoing stress in your environment or new stressful events can also precipitate return to previous ways of functioning; we typically see a much shorter course of training to be effective in this case.
How long do the effects last? As your brain and body learn to access and eventually sustain more flexible response, the effects become a new normal, rather than a reaction to training. In most cases, permanency of NFB is established between 20-40 sessions.
What kind of equipment do you use? or will I have to get that goo in my hair? No! we use an FDA product called Freedom 10R from Brainmaster that is a cap with the electrodes that do not require the goo.
Is Neurofeedback evidence-based? The International Society for Neuro-regulation & Research lists hundreds of articles about the efficacy of Neurofeedback, including for conditions we support: developmental trauma, C-PTSD, PTSD, ADHD, addictive disorders, anxiety, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME, depression, dissociative disorders, OCD, pain, migraine, insomnia, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s, peak performance.
Research on ISF specifically:
How often are sessions offered? One or two sessions per week is pretty standard. We recommend 2x a week for the first 3-6 week, depending on progress, then transitioning down to 1x a week. Clients who come once a week notice significant effect and improvements but it can take longer for the effects to reach a level of permanency.
Do you treat people with my diagnosis? Neurofeedback is training, not treatment. For example, we provide brain training for people with migraines, but we don’t “treat” migraines; this is out of the scope of Neurofeedback and psychotherapy practice.
Can I still smoke/vape/drink/use weed/drink coffee with this? As the body gets more regulated, it may be more efficient in the way it processes things. We see this in increased sensitivity to the effects of substances like alcohol, caffeine, or sugar in some clients. We are sensitive creators of habit but we cannot take a coping skill away without giving you a new one. NFB is the new one.
What about the medications I’m prescribed? You will work with your prescriber regarding the specifics, but generally, antidepressants/SSRIs/mood stabilizers are fine. Clients often train while on these and often use NFB to come off of their medications. They provide regulation via chemicals; the neurofeedback allows the body to find it’s own regulation again. So, if you’re noticing an increase in side effects from the medication (whether familiar or new-to-you side effects), talk to your doctor. Your system may be metabolizing more efficiently, meaning your body has different needs.
*Benzodiazepines and/or opiates (or any medication that dampens the central nervous system (CNS)) do dampen outcomes but usually more time doing the NFB (80+ sessions) the effects become established. These can mask or confuse training effects, as they have strong effects and side effects. Depending on the quantity, length of time on, and why you’re taking them, Neurofeedback may be helpful now, or not yet. You’ll want to stay in close contact (after every 5-10 sessions or so) with your doctor to frequently evaluate the effects and what your body needs.
Can I do other therapies with NFB like EMDR/Brainspotting? Yes, our approach integrates this fully into your care. Trauma resolution therapies like EMDR and Brainspotting (and other experiential therapies like working with psychedelic medicines). We do these in a retreat format. These have the best outcome once your Neurofeedback training is well established. If you are working with another therapist, we recommend continuing to work with your current therapist. Neurofeedback is likely to both stir up new “content” to work with, and create greater ease in moving through issues you may have been working with in therapy for a while.
Can I use the qEEG as evidence of my disorder? qEEG informs your NFB treatment, but See Neurologist of you are looking for this, particularly for situations where courts are involved.