Perhaps you experienced a disturbing event such as a motor vehicle accident, or a sport's injury that affected your brain. For example, if your head/brain was hit (a brain injury doesn't have to involve a concussion) you may have symptoms such as having difficulty with memory, concentrating, working, or a sudden change in your emotional state.
Possibly the disturbing situation is having to live with Learning Difficulties, Attention Deficit Disorder or Autism Spectrum Disorder that affects the functioning of your brain. You may prefer to have your or your child's brain function better using self-healing methods that are long lasting and have no chemical side effects.
You may have ADD/ADHD, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI), anxiety, depression and PTSD. You may want your or your child's brain to function better so that you or your child can perform more effectively at home, school, or at work. You may want to change your brain with the help of a non-invasive therapy like Neurofeedback (Neuro = brain) (feedback = information to itself). Neurofeedback or Brain Biofeedback is a self-healing therapy, which facilitates healing yourself through the use of information given back to the brain by a computer. This information allows your brain to grow different and healthier pathways resulting in changes in behaviour, such as less impulsivity or reactivity; more focus and attention; better reading and/or math skills, less anxiety, or depression. As in EMDR, where the brain did all the work almost automatically, Neurofeedback also helps you help the brain do the work to fix itself, hence a self-healing therapy. Neurofeedback training is training in self-regulation, that is, you learn how to control your brainwaves. Research on Neurofeedback has reported significant improvements in people who have difficulties with attention deficit, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disorders, seizure disorders, closed head injuries, mood disorders, PTSD, and many other conditions. The outcomes using Neurofeedback as reported in research articles are significant and extraordinary.
Biofeedback has been around since 1875, and is endorsed by the American Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin as a viable therapy. Neurofeedback is a subset of biofeedback that deals exclusively with the brain.
Neurofeedback is a non-invasive therapy resulting in more effective functioning brains. With Neurofeedback, you can perform more effectively and efficiently, whether it involves behavioural, mental or emotional functioning.
EEG Neurofeedback is a form of EEG Biofeedback that allows an individual to retrain their brain using a computer-based technique. Sensors are placed on the scalp and the computer converts the brainwaves into game-like images coinciding with sounds. The individual controls what is happening on the computer screen by changing their brainwave patterns in the desired direction, thus learning to change and normalize their brain state.
There have been numerous research studies regarding the treatment of ADD/ADHD showing that EEG Neurofeedback is at least as effective in reducing symptoms as psycho-stimulant drugs. Most studies have reported treatment success rates of between 70 to 80% for those children who show abnormal brainwaves in the EEG brain maps. Long-term follow-up studies with children have shown they have improved attention, which remains stable long after treatment has ended.
This information on EEG Neurofeedback was adapted from www.drmueller-healthypsychology.com.
Some examples how Neurofeedback helped my patients:
- A 15-year-old male who had fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and spent 9 years in school being unable to read even the word "the". Also, he would get into fights at school. He came to see me for Neurofeedback (NFB) to help him read. I worked together with a tutor and behavioural specialist who helped him practice reading between NFB sessions. After about 4 sessions (4 weeks) he could read 30 words. After about 3 months (12 sessions), he could read over 300 words and spell them correctly. After a year of NFB and tutoring (45 sessions), he could read at grade 9 level. For that school year, he won an award for being the most improved student in the school (no more fights since his behaviour improved) and an award for Automotives (for being the only student in the school who was able to solve a very difficult automotive problem).
- A three-year-old who had Autism Spectrum Disorder who was unable to talk after his parent's diligent efforts to teach him came to see me for NFB sessions. After about four months (16 sessions) he could look me in the eye and say "Hi, Dr. Allison!", something he was unable to do at the beginning of therapy.
- An eight-year-old girl came to see me since her mother had difficulty with her reactive, destructive and verbally abusive behaviour. Her mother wanted her to calm and settle down at home and at school. In 20 sessions she calmed down, however, she also had ADHD so more sessions were needed to increase attention. After 20 sessions, her mother said the child was a changed girl, her behaviour was much improved and she was doing much better in school.
- A thirteen-year-old young man came to see me since he was teased and fighting in school and he had difficulty with his schoolwork. He refused to go to school. When he first came to see me his cognitive ability was in the Low Average range. After an assessment he was diagnosed with ADHD. He came to see me for a year and a half for NFB and he also needed EMDR to resolve his anxiety about returning to school. At the end of therapy, his cognitive ability was measured again, indicating that he had increased his scores by 10 points, going from Low Average to Average in cognitive ability and that he was now proudly going to school.
- A six-year-old who was adopted from Russia: His mother wanted me to see him, since he was showing signs of ADHD, being over-stimulated, and was having difficulty focusing. He saw me for over a year (about 50) sessions. This is what his mother emailed me about him a year after his sessions were done: "(He has) decreased hyperactivity. He can sit and colour or look at a book for an hour without interruption! Better sleep. He sleeps in on weekends. Hard to believe, since he used to be up in the morning at the slightest movement in the house. Better self-control. He seldom loses control anymore. Lots of friends. He is popular with the other kids at his school."
- Three years later the same adopted boy had difficulty with nightmares and sleepwalking. His parents wanted him to see me since he was starting to lose control at school and he had fits of shouting. He came to see me for 12 sessions. At the end, he had no more nightmares, no more sleepwalking, had gained control of himself at school and was not shouting anymore.
For additional information on Neurofeedback, refer to the following websites:
- The ADD Centre & The Biofeedback Institute of Toronto - www.addcentre.com
- Mayo Clinic - www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=SA00083
- Biofeedback Foundation of Europe - www.bfe.org
- EEG Info - www.eeginfo.com/what-is-neurofeedback.htm
- Low Energy Neurofeedback System (LENS) - www.site.ochslabs.com/
- Nova Tech EEG - www.NovaTechEEG.com
- Brain Science International - www.brainsinternational.com
You may also find the following books helpful in understanding Neurofeedback and also how our brain can heal itself: