Are you looking for new ideas and alternative ways of dealing with emotional and physical health issues? Perhaps you want to get off some of your medications or try alternatives to using yet another drug? You might want to look at the option of neurofeedback treatment. Neurofeedback trains the brain to work more optimally.
Neurofeedback is a technique in which we train the brain to help improve its ability to regulate bodily functions and to take care of itself. When the brain is not functioning well, evidence of this often shows up in the Electroencephologram (EEG). By challenging the brain, much as you challenge your body in physical exercise, we can help your brain learn to function better. It is amazing how much is tied to the brain and its ability to function.
A better functioning brain can improve sleep problems, can help with anxiety, depression and with symptoms such as migraines or chronic pain, can be helpful in managing attention – how well you can persist even at a boring task, and can help you manage your emotions.
Emotions may feel like the real you, but your brain has a lot to say about how you feel and react. If the emotions are out of control, that’s trainable. If they aren’t there –as in lack of empathy, for example – that too, is trainable with neurofeedback.
Finally there are some specific issues where EEG neurofeedback training can be helpful such as in cases of seizures, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and autism. In these instances the training does not so much get rid of the problem as it simply re-organizes the brain to function better in the context of whatever injury or loss exists.
With neurofeedback we actually put sensors on the scalp in the area that we want to read the brainwaves and make changes. The sensors are connected to a computer which allows us to read the EEG brain waves in that area of the brain. From that data, we make changes to train the brain to work more optimally. For instance, if we are working on the issue of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the brain EEG will show higher alpha and theta brain waves. These are the slower brain waves that we want when we are relaxing and/or trying to rest. This would not be the brain waves that we want if we are trying to focus and work, such as with school or work tasks. So we would train the brain to speed up those brain waves to increase the brain’s ability to focus and complete tasks.
The training is done by having the client watch a second computer with video games on it. Every time the brain goes to the frequency that we want it to, the game beeps and works. The beeping is reinforcing to the brain so it continues to go the desired frequency. There is no input into the brain. It is all done by reinforcing the brain with beeps when it is working more optimally.
We have been offering neurofeedback services since December 2005. We have three sets of neurofeedback equipment and four therapists trained to offer these services. I continue to be amazed at how so much of everything is all about the brain. Often when neurofeedback treatment is implemented, the first symptom that improves is sleep (whether this is the treatment issue or not). With enough training of the brain, the brain can be taught to maintain its more optimal state which means that we actually can train the brain to change and as Dr. Amen says, “Change your brain, change your life”! I find this quite exciting. If you would like more information about this, please call our office at 308-382-5297 x 110.Tags: Brain training, neurofeedback, training the brain to be more optiumal
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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