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Neurofeedback Overview

Neurofeedback is a treatment intervention that makes it possible to see how each person's brain works and because of that, how to train it to function more effectively. Neurofeedback Therapy, (sometimes called EEG biofeedback), is a non-invasive, non-drug therapy which records and then trains brainwaves. These brain waves reflect the activity of the nervous system as well as the electrical activity of the brain.  Neurofeedback has been used for decades to effectively reduce the symptoms of various conditions, including:


Neurofeedback can help other therapies progress at a faster rate and can help to develop new neural pathways to develop faster and lessen the need for some medications.

The process of neurofeedback at Higher Ground starts with a brain map - which involves connecting sensors to the person's head (which is painless), allowing the neurofeedback monitoring equipment to create a comprehensive readout of how the brain is functioning. Through the information gathered, we devise a treatment plan using the brain map and monitoring device to use training sessions to correct problems and make the brain work better. We have seen exciting results in our clients especially those with stubborn problems that don’t seem to get better with regular talk therapy.

“Nuts and Bolts” of Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback began in the early 1950s and is best used as an addition to therapy or with practice of skills in-between sessions. It can be compared to riding a bicycle or piano lessons. Consistent sessions lead to lasting change. The sessions are eventually unnecessary as the brain remembers the patterns being taught or reinforced. Most clients see changes in anywhere from 10 to 40 or more sessions. Neurofeedback training teaches people to control their brain rhythms and to increase or decrease patterns in order to help the brain functioning differently and more efficiently.


So what is neurofeedback really like?

During Neurofeedback training sessions at Higher Ground, the client is connected to a computer program with sensors on the head that monitor electrical brain activity. When the brain changes in whatever ways are needed, the computer responds by giving a reward…such as a tone. The brain responds by continuing to change to get the reward. This type of neurofeedback is customized to the client’s needs. For example, if the goal is to help the anxious brain become calm, each time the person’s brain has a calmer pattern, a tone will sound at that exact millisecond (real-time feedback) and the brain will respond by increasing the calming pattern. This is an unconscious reinforcement of the feedback pattern. Brain training can target a wide range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, sleep difficulties, a racing mind, obsessive thinking, managing emotions, PTSD, nightmares, panic attacks, sensory processing disorders, dyslexia, etc. Anything related to EEG brain patterns can be targeted by neurofeedback. Outcomes may be modest or significant and are tied to healthy practices during the week between neurofeedback sessions.


There are some cases where neurofeedback may not work or is not effective. Some of the contributing factors to neurofeedback being ineffective can include:

  • Having poor diet and nutrition 

  • Poor sleep due to routine or sleep apnea

  • Stopping training sessions too soon

  • Training too irregularly

  • Using conflicting medications such as benzodiazepines, or substances such as alcohol or recreational drugs.

  • Poor family support

  • Other conflicting medical issues

Published research shows 70-85 percent of the time improvements are significant among clients who train regularly and for as long as their situation requires. – Cohen (Cohen, Michael P. Neurofeedback 101: Rewiring the Brain for ADHD, Anxiety, Depression and Beyond (without medication). 


How long does it take?

Each session is approximately an hour long which includes the setup and actual brain training.  Neurofeedback is most effective if done regularly, on an ongoing basis.  Some people may begin to experience results after 5 sessions but typically 10 to 40 sessions are recommended in order to see lasting results. 

What can neurofeedback help with?

Neurofeedback has been shown to help people with a wide range of issues including but not limited to:

  • ADHD

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Anxiety

  • Chronic pain

  • Depression

  • Sleep disorders

  • Headaches and/or Migraines

  • Peak performance for athletes

  • PTSD

Are there side effects?

Neurofeedback has been studied for decades and is considered a safe practice.  If you have any side effects let your counselor or neurofeedback technician know right away.  Side effects such as headaches or training results that are not intended (i.e. low energy when relaxation is intended or high energy instead of increased attention), are easily corrected and avoided.


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