What is Neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback, also called EEG Biofeedback, is a learning technology that enables a person to alter his or her brain waves. When information about a person’s own brain wave characteristics is made available to him, he can learn to change them. You can think of it as operant conditioning of the brainwaves and as exercise for the brain.

What is it used for?

Neurofeedback is used for many conditions and disabilities in which the brain is not organizing itself as well as it might. These include ADHD and more severe conduct problems, specific learning disabilities, sleep problems, and chronic pain problems including migraine.
The training is also helpful with the control of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, as well as for more severe conditions such as PTSD, Developmental Trauma, bi-polar illness, uncontrolled seizures, minor traumatic brain injury, stroke or cerebral palsy.

How is it done?

Before neurofeedback training begins, the therapist will ask the client for a thorough description of his or her symptoms, health history and family history in order to determine the best training approach. In most instances, clients will train at least once a week. Training sessions may be anywhere from 15 (sometimes less) to 45 minutes in duration. It is not unusual to see improvement within the first ten sessions. Neurofeedback is a learning process. Once this learning is consolidated, its benefits are generally long-lasting and usually enduring.
The EEG biofeedback training is a painless, non-invasive procedure. One or more sensors are placed on the scalp, and one to the ear, using a salt-based conductive paste. The brain waves are monitored by an amplifier and a computer-based instrument that processes the signal and provides the proper feedback. This is displayed to the trainee by means of a video game or other video display, along with audio signals. The trainee is asked to play the video game solely with his brain. The trainer has set frequency bands to increase in amplitude (rewards) and others to decrease in amplitude (inhibits). As activity in a desirable frequency band increases, the trainee will receive information that she has done so through auditory and visual feedback in the video game. If activity in a frequency band that is not helpful (the inhibits) increases, the video game is inhibited. Gradually, the brain responds to the cues that it is being given, and learns new brain wave patterns. The new pattern is measured by how the trainee responds to the training. We assess progress through changes in symptomatic and other behaviors.

Therapeutic Applications

A growing number of studies and clinical reports have shown that neurofeedback training may be helpful in alleviating the symptoms associated with a wide range of cognitive disorders, brain injuries and negative affective states.
Neurofeedback has been shown to be an effective tool for:
• Memory Enhancement
• Peak Performance
• Stress Reduction

Conditions for which studies and/or published clinical data indicate the efficacy or possible efficacy of neurofeedback:
• Anxiety Disorders
• Autistic Spectrum Disorders
• Seizure Disorders
• Substance Abuse
• Traumatic Brain Injury

Conditions for which there have been published clinical reports of the efficacy of neurofeedback:
• Attachment Disorders
• Developmental Trauma
• Depression
• Dyslexia
• Learning Disorders
• Migraine
• Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
• Sleep problems
• Stroke

Conditions for which the use of neurofeedback appears to be promising and further study is indicated:
• Borderline Personality Disorder
• Conduct Disorders
• Pre-Menstrual Syndrome
• Sleep Disorders
• Tourette’s Syndrome

The choice of which training approaches are appropriate for a particular individual depends on a professional assessment of symptoms. Neurofeedback training should only take place under the supervision of a properly trained professional.

Can a successful outcome be predicted?

It is not possible to predict with certainty that training will be successful for a particular individual. The effectiveness of the training, however, can usually be assessed early on in the course of training. Adverse effects are rare and when they do occur they can be reversed. This is the principle of brain plasticity on which all of neurofeedback relies.

Why does this training procedure work?

The brain is amazingly adaptable or “plastic” and capable of learning. It can learn to improve its own performance, when it is given cues –feedback-about what to change. By making information available to the brain about how it is functioning, and asking it to make adjustments, it can do so. When the brain is doing a good job of regulating itself, the person will be calm, alert and attentive. Each session challenges the trainee to maintain this “high-performance” state. Gradually, the brain learns, just like it learns everything else. And as with other learning, the brain tends to retain what it knows.

How long does training take?

EEG training is a learning process, and therefore results are seen gradually over time. Indications of progress, however, can be seen usually within ten to twenty sessions. Developmental trauma can require over a hundred sessions but the trainee will know it is helping them long before all symptoms remit.

How frequent should training sessions be?

In the initial stages, the sessions should be regular, optimally two times a week. Think of learning to play the piano. After the brain begins to consolidate its new learning, sessions can be less frequent. There is no way to anticipate how many sessions an individual will need.

My doctor is skeptical about neurofeedback. What should I do?

Your doctor may not know of this specific type of biofeedback. He or she should maintain a healthy skepticism about any new approach claiming these kinds of benefits across disorders. Ask your doctor to examine the recent research on the effectiveness of neurofeedback in treating various disorders such as attention deficit disorder, PTSD and epilepsy. It is available.

Neurofeedback websites:

Some helpful sites include
You can find many testimonial videos on YouTube.

Enjoy this journey into the regulation of your brain.