Treatment Method Profile: Neurofeedback
Written by Stephen Mardell, Neurofeedback Specialist at A Healing Place – The Estates
The brain governs all physical, emotional, and cognitive functions, and in an ideal state, it can naturally do its job quite well. Environmental, emotional, behavioral, social, and physical problems can compromise that ideal brain state and can shift the brain into permanent patterns of dysfunction. Neurofeedback training is a well-researched, highly-effective brain training method that helps clients with an array of problems such as:
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Decreased mental functioning (memory, alertness, concentration)
- Sleep Management Problems
- Aspergers Syndrome symptoms
- Chronic Pain
- Irritable Bowel
- Chronic Fatigue
During the first meeting, an initial assessment is taken and symptom tracking software is completed. Symptoms are recorded and measured to establish a baseline or starting point. Symptoms are again measured at different intervals to illustrate positive treatment trends and to ensure strong outcomes that further support treatment efficacy.
Based on each client’s assessment and symptom profile, training protocols will be created, and the most helpful types of neurofeedback will be used. Most clients will start with standard 2 channel neurofeedback and progress into other forms of neurofeedback (Alpha/Theta) specifically developed to treatment trauma.
Sensors are placed on the scalp over specific regions of the brain associated with a given symptom profile, which then monitor the person’s actual electrical brainwave patterns. There is nothing that is invasive, as the sensors only serve to read brainwave activity.
The sensors along with neurofeedback software process and illustrate how the brain is functioning on a computer monitor. What appears on the screen can be either simple or complex, and the client can choose from various feedback programs that are pleasant and engaging. Something relatively simple, such as the flame of a candle or snow falling on a Celtic countryside are among many feedback programs that can be chosen.
The “games” one plays in a Neurofeedback training session are not like the ones played on a PC, Play Station or X-Box. With more balanced and targeted brain functioning, the space ship will fly faster and pick up bonus points, or the flame of the candle might rise, or a gentle summer rain shower may fall. Based on the specific goals of the client, the brain is rewarded for regulating itself and inhibited from becoming dysregulated.
Everything happening in the game is offering to the brain as information about its own functioning so it can regulate itself. Your job is to just to sit back and allow the brain to respond to the feedback.
What to Expect
Neurofeedback training is both physically and mentally relaxing. You may find an enhanced ability to be present with your ideas and thoughts, allowing them to flow at will. This contrasts with the intense concentration or “driven” nature of our minds as we go about our busy days. You may perceive a greater ability to focus, an increased sense of clarity, or a general feeling of calm. Many report feeling like they had just left a day spa as their mental and physical stress seem to fall away during training. It is all part of the brain working to restructure its functioning.
Neurofeedback is very gentle with change occurring gradually. Usually by the tenth session you will be aware that your symptoms have waned, or may even be gone. Mostly, the changes and shifts are felt as you go about your daily life. Often clients are surprised after the fact, as they become aware that their symptoms are no longer present.
Related article: 10 Holistic Non-Pharmacological Ways to Alleviate Chronic Pain
About Stephen Mardell, LMFT
EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE: Stephen Mardell, LMFT has been licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences since 1996. In preparation for licensure, he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and then obtained a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Stephen is the owner and clinical director of Child & Family Therapy Center where he and his staff provide comprehensive psychotherapy and Neuro-feedback services to children, teens, adults, and families.
COMPREHENSIVE SERVICES: Stephen has been delivering comprehensive, strength-based therapeutic services to children and families since 1989. He has a wide range of experience in providing individual and group therapy as well as Neuro-feedback services to clients that struggle with: anxiety and mood; psychosis; ADHD and Learning Disabilities; defiant/disruptive behaviors; substance use; grief, loss, and trauma; attachment and separation; parent-child conflict; families of divorce; autism and pervasive developmental disorders; chronic pain; crisis management, and other mental health challenges.
Meet the rest of our A Healing Place – The Estates team here!
Also, learn more about Stephen Mardell here.