What happens during a typical neurofeedback session?
At the start of the session we check in about your progress. Then, the skin on the head is prepared so that there will be a good connection. Then a few sensors are placed the scalp. Then feedback is provided. For LENS, the client sits still for about 30 seconds at a time while their brainwaves are recorded and a very low power pulsed frequency is sent back to the brain. For ILF, the client sits comfortably while receiving visual and audio (e.g., watching a movie or game) as well as tactile feedback. Within a few minutes the client usually begins to notice changes in their physiological and emotional states and these are communicated to the clinician throughout the session. LENS sessions are approximately 20-30 minutes while ILF sessions are about 40 minutes.
How strong is the signal that is sent back to the brain for LENS?
The strength of the frequency is far less than a cell phone and cannot be felt. The signal is 1000 times weaker than simply holding an AA battery against your head. Yet, it is designed in a specific way to effect change in the brains cortical activity.
How effective is neurofeedback?
The success rate is very impressive. Over 85% of clients benefit significantly, often dramatically. And the changes are enduring. Once enough sessions have been completed, most people have completed their training process. There is no need to receive neurofeedback on an ongoing basis, though a very small percentage of clients return for an occasional “tune-up” session.
Do I need a QEEG?
Some types of neurofeedback utilize what is called a QEEG, or a quantitative electroencephalography. A QEEG is an assessment used to understand how the brain is functioning compared to a normative database. Because LENS and ILF are highly individualized approaches, neither rely on a QEEG. Instead, a thorough assessment of the client’s symptoms is conducted each session and the training protocols are determined based on that ongoing assessment process.
How many neurofeedback sessions will I need?
A minimum of six to eight sessions is recommended to determine if you are going to respond well to neurofeedback. The number of sessions for sustained results can range between 20 and 60. A minimum of 20 sessions is recommended, at which point we can determine if more sessions would be beneficial. Problems that came on suddenly and were preceded by good functioning generally resolve more quickly. Longstanding problems usually require more sessions, while those that are degenerative or involve severe structural damage may require ongoing training to maintain or improve functioning.
Is neurofeedback safe?
Neurofeedback is very safe. There have been no reported cases of clients having been permanently harmed from neurofeedback. Nonetheless, neurofeedback can sometimes cause side effects – clients may sometimes feel wired, tired, spacey, or they may experience headache, nausea, or difficulty sleeping. In rare cases, a client may note an increase in symptoms before they settle down and resolve.
What if I am on medication? Is it okay to start neurofeedback?
Medication does not diminish the effectiveness of neurofeedback. There is no need to stop or reduce your medications. Neurofeedback is a great alternative to medication and many clients find that, under the supervision of their prescribing healthcare provider, they can reduce and even discontinue their medication after a number of sessions.
Is neurofeedback covered by insurance?
Unfortunately, neurofeedback is not covered by insurance and, because of this, I do not bill insurance for neurofeedback. It is, however, covered by many health savings and flexible spending accounts through clients’ employers.
Do you work with children and teens?
Yes! I love offering neurofeedback to children and teens. Neurofeedback is highly effective for youth for a wide range of clinical issues, including anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, oppositionality, impulse control issues, and depression.
How soon will I notice results?
Most clients notice initial changes within the first few sessions, occasionally a little longer. Clients usually complete somewhere between 20 and 60 sessions.