Frequently Asked Questions about using Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback is not something many people have heard about before. So I expect that you would have some questions about how it's used and how you would access it.
I've tried to anticipate many of your questions here, but if you have a question I haven't answered -- Please feel free to give me a call or send me an email using the form on my contact page.
Here we go!
How do I know if NF training is for me?
The people I work with most often are willing to explore new strategies and are actively seeking assistance to get beyond current blocks.
They generally fall into one or both of these groups:
Personal Evolution clients are exploring spiritual development/personal growth strategies that will help them make a difference to their world and to enhance their own self-development and evolution of consciousness.
Health Focused Clients are exploring resolution of a health issue to regain or acquire a state of physical, cognitive, or emotional health that permits them to move to their next stage of personal development.
What do you do that is different from other psychologists?
There are a couple of differences I would highlight:
1) Neurofeedback is a training technique. It is not a specific treatment for any particular disorder or set of symptoms.
Treatment implies diagnosis of a specific condition and an intervention that is different depending on the diagnosis.
Neurofeedback using the CARe model doesn't require this kind of "medical" diagnosis. So while I am providing training using information from your brain, I am not providing "treatment" for any one specific condition.
Instead, we create a kind of "wish list" for what you are hoping will change and we track changes using primarily these "wish list" items.
2) I don't do "therapy" with you. I find that when most people think of seeing a Psychologist, they imagine lots of "talk therapy" and emotional struggle.
Although I will check in with you each session on your wish list" items and track other changes you may be noticing, I do not spend a lot of time discussing the history of these concerns or making suggestions for how to handle them between sessions.
Neurofeedback is unique in that by teaching the brain about itself, changes seem to "just happen". So there is little need to go through "hurting to heal".
Certainly people can feel some discomfort from the changes they go through and I will support you through those changes, but the biggest thing we can do to help is to carry on with giving your brain information about how it is handling your change(s).
Are there side effects or could I get worse?
Side effects are rarely described in the literature or among practitioners using the CARe approach. I personally have never worked with anyone who has gotten "worse" in any area on their "wish list" or other areas of functioning.
Do I need a physician's referral?
No, you can contact me directly for an appointment.
If you have a health condition or use medications that require medical monitoring (e.g., seizures, heart problems), of course I will want you to remain in contact with the physician(s) you are already working with.
Is it covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)?
No. OHIP only covers the services of medical physicians for specific medical services.
Neurofeedback is not a medical procedure.
How many sessions will I need?
This is the toughest question. There is no good way to predict how quickly your brain will respond or how far you could go.
I generally recommend starting with 10 sessions. Most people use 20-30 sessions.
It depends on:
- what/how much you are hoping to change,
- how chronic a condition is (how long has your brain been "stuck" there?), and
- how your individual brain responds to the feedback.
I recommend that you decide whether you want to continue based on how helpful you believe the neurofeedback training is. The best way to judge this is by the changes you recognize in your daily life (directly or by feedback from others around you).
We can sometimes do more formal measurements of where you started and where you are at the end of a number of sessions.
For an interesting article on the number of sessions needed for mild brain injury, read this note from Dr. Siegfried Othmer of the EEG Institute
How long do effects last?
As long as you take care of your brain, the effects of brain biofeeedback should be relatively permanent.
That means that you could get some "slippage" if you:
- drink a lot of alcohol (which is a toxin - a poison - for the brain)
- skip a lot of sleep
- malnourish your brain with a chronically poor diet
- have a condition in which the health of the brain is deteriorating (e.g., a dementia)
- experience a long period of high stress or an extremely stressful event
Does this mean it won't work for you in these conditions?
No - this just means you may need more "tune-ups" or more ongoing support.