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  • Neurofeedback

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    Neurofeedback in Petaluma

    “When we provide feedback to the brain we are, essentially, providing it with a mirror of its own function and ‘inviting’ it to make more of some frequencies and less of others. In neurofeedback, we seem to be nudging the brain to set up new oscillatory patterns that enhance both its natural complexity and its inherent and necessary bias toward self-regulation. In effect, we may be freeing up innate but ‘stuck’ oscillatory properties in the brain and allowing new ones to propagate.”

    -Sebern Fisher, MA

    LENS & High Performance Neurofeedback

    Neurofeedback training has been used therapeutically since the late 1960’s for problems associated with the central nervous system. Brain research has shown that when the brain is dysregulated without restoration to healthy functioning, it adopts the maladaptive pattern as “normal” and does not attempt to correct it. Many psychological and physical symptoms are associated with these stuck patterns of overactive, underactive, or disturbed brain wave activity. Neurofeedback works to train the brain out of these stuck cycles into a more flexible state.

    Low Energy Neurofeedback Systems and High Performance Neurofeedback are highly effective, cutting edge forms of neurofeedback that train the brain out of conscious awareness. During a neurofeedback session, cortical activity (i.e., brainwaves) is measured and then a tiny, imperceptible pulsed frequency is sent to the brain. This signal causes a slight fluctuation in the predominate, stuck brainwave patterns, which reduces excessive amplitude and variability in brainwave activity. This fluctuation helps the brain to reorganize itself—to get out of frozen, repetitive, and inflexible patterns. Over a series of sessions, the brain comes to adopt a new setpoint of more flexible brainwave patterns, which leads to optimal brain and nervous system functioning. Clients relax during the session and usually notice immediate relief that, over a series of sessions, becomes lasting change. Clients usually complete between 12 and 40 sessions, depending on the particular issue they hope to address.

    Reorganization of the Brain’s Cortical Functioning

    Although neurofeedback practitioners do not think in terms of diagnosis, neurofeedback has been found to be helpful for a number of diagnosable condition.

    Trauma & PTSD

    By helping to reduce both the over- and under-activation of the nervous system caused by either single-incident or chronic traumatic experiences, neurofeedback gives clients a renewed sense of efficacy over their difficult symptoms. Combined with psychotherapy, or as a stand alone treatment, neurofeedback can play a key role in resolving trauma in the body and psyche.

    Traumatic Brain Injury & Concussion

    Symptoms of TBI and post-concussive syndrome, including emotional reactivity, lack of concentration, “brain fog,” fatigue, and headaches often diminish during a course of Neurofeedback sessions. Neurofeedback has been used with professional NFL players to address concussion.

    Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, & Chronic Fatigue

    These conditions often involve a highly sensitive and reactive nervous system that is easily hyperaroused. Hyperarousal is reflected in brainwaves and Neurofeedback supports the brain to move out of hyperaroused states. Clients often find they are able to reduce medication use and become more active.

    Addiction

    Addiction is often fueled by anxiety, depression, and emotional dysregulation, and drugs, alcohol, or other behavior (e.g., sex, internet, shopping) are often used to cope. By helping to address the underlying emotional state, Neurofeedback supports clients struggling with addiction to achieve and maintain sobriety.

    Headaches & Migraines

    Migraines and headaches are associated with irregular brainwave activity. Neurofeedback trains the brain to flexibly regulate itself, and clients find that over the course of sessions, migraines/ headaches reduce in frequency and intensity, and for most clients migraines/headaches resolve completely.

    Anxiety & Panic

    Neurofeedback reduces the “fight-or-flight” response and clients are often relieved when they notice an immediate reduction in anxiety, often in the first session. Over the course of sessions, the nervous system becomes less reactive to stressors, and symptoms of panic disorder, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, and agoraphobia diminish greatly.

    AD/HD

    Neurofeedback helps to improve concentration and reduce distractibility and hyperactivity, making it easier for clients to focus on and complete tasks.

    Overwhelming Emotions & Impulse Control Issues

    Emotional dysregulation and outbursts can be aggravating and very uncomfortable. Regardless of their cause (e.g., depression, PTSD), Neurofeedback calms the highly reactive nervous system by disrupting stuck brainwave patterns at the source. Clients find they are better able to regulate their own emotional state because they are less easily overwhelmed.

    Depression

    Neurofeedback helps the underaroused nervous system to activate. Clients often first notice changes in behavior before changes in mood occur. Clients often find they are better able to engage in psychotherapy to address the underlying issues once Neurofeedback helps to “turn down the volume” on depressive symptoms.

    Underlying Dysfunction Neurofeedback Treats

    Rather than treating diagnoses, neurofeedback focuses on optimizing the brain’s functioning which, in turn, reduces and eliminates symptoms associated with a host of diagnoses. Below are “areas of applicability,” with information about possible diagnoses related to the area as well as the underlying dysfunction associated with the area that neurofeedback targets.

    Cognition

    Possible Diagnoses: AD/HD, traumatic brain injury, Autism spectrum.

    Underlying Dysfunction: Problems with sequencing, memory, providing and maintaining attention, concentration, clarity, organization.

    Mood

    Possible Diagnoses: Depression, unresolved grief, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, explosive disorders.

    Underlying Dysfunction: Dysregulated anger, sadness, and explosiveness.

    Motor

    Possible Diagnoses: Paralysis, spasticity, clumsiness, progressive diseases (e.g., Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, MS), and stroke.

    Underlying Dysfunction: Lack of grace, problems of hand-eye coordination, balance, increased muscle tone, and tremor.

    Motivation

    Possible Diagnoses: Depression, AD/HD.

    Underlying Dysfunction: Problems initiating tasks, shifting from one activity to another, and/or completing tasks.

    Anxiety

    Possible Diagnoses: Anxiety disorders, panic attacks, PTSD, AD/HD, sleep disorders, dissociative problems.

    Underlying Dysfunction: Problems with hyper-arousal, restlessness, rumination, agitation, distractability, difficulty breathing, palpitations, tremor exacerbation, and sleep disruption.

    Reactivity

    Possible Diagnoses: Personality disorders, seizures, various sensitivities (e.g., chemical, sound).

    Underlying Dysfunction: Hyper-reactivity, hypersensitivity, multiple chemical sensitivities.

    Pain

    Possible Diagnoses: Fibromyalgia, headaches, and migraines.

    Underlying Dysfunction: Brain-generated pain (i.e., mis-mapping the origins and qualities of the pain signals) and vascular pain.

    Addiction

    Possible Diagnoses: Drug or alcohol use disorder and eating disorders.

    Underlying Dysfunction: Lack of clarity about emotions, difficulty with self-soothing, defensiveness, argumentativeness, and cynicism.

    Fatigue

    Possible Diagnoses: Chronic fatigue syndrome.

    Underlying Dysfunction: Primary fatigue, or fatigue secondary to trying to cope with the above brain dysfunctions.

    Peak Performance

    Possible Diagnoses: None.

    Underlying Dysfunction: Increase functioning in several different areas of one’s life without targeting symptoms associated with any of the above brain dysfunctions.

    “We are always in a perpetual state of being created and creating ourselves.”

    – Dan Siegel

    Benefits of Neurofeedback

    • Relaxation
    • Reduced emotional reactivity
    • Reduced anxiety
    • Improved mood
    • Reduced frequency and severity of nightmares
    • Improved concentration and focus
    • Reduced distractibility
    • Greater sense of confidence
    • Improved sleep
    • Reduced severity of pain experience
    • Increased energy and mental clarity
    • Improved positive self-talk
    • Improved peak performance for athletes and executives
    • Improved resilience

    What Makes LENS & HPN Unique?

    Shorter Sessions

    LENS and HPN neurofeedback sessions take around 30 minutes, compared to traditional neurofeedback sessions, which take anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes. Because LENS and HPN sessions are brief, they are ideal for those who have trouble sitting for extended periods of time (e.g., due to agitation or pain).

    No Effort

    LENS and HPN provides feedback directly to the brain through sensor wires, so the client does not need to focus on specific retraining activities. The client is passive. This makes LENS and HPN especially effective for all ages, including children and adolescents. Home practice is not required to increase success of LENS and HPN.

    Rapid Results

    Some clients only notice results with traditional neurofeedback after 20 or more sessions. With LENS and HPN, we see results within the first few sessions and long-term results are seen within 12-40 sessions.

    Great for Complicated Cases

    LENS and HPN are effective for individuals struggling with multiple symptoms, including physical issues such as chronic pain and fibromyalgia.

    Improved Psychotherapy Outcomes

    LENS and HPN aid the process of psychotherapy by reducing the intensity and severity of symptoms that bring clients to therapy so the emotional issues underlying symptoms can be addressed.

    What is the Science Behind Neurofeedback?

    Numerous studies validate neurofeedback as an effective approach for a variety of physical and mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, AD/HD and other learning disorders, PTSD, epilepsy, concussion and TBI, PMS, and more.

    For more information, see this Comprehensive Neurofeedback Bibliography published in the Journal of Neurotherapy.

    Resources

    For more information on LENS, HPN, and other forms of neurofeedback, please check out the following links:

    The International Society for Neurofeedback Research Research Database – A comprehensive database of scholarly research involving neurofeedback.

    Ochs Labs – Website for the developers of the LENS.

    The LENS: A Clinical Outcome Study – A study on 100 clients’ outcomes with LENS training.

    The Journal of Neurotherapy Special Edition on the LENS – Several published articles on the LENS.

    The Dubin Clinic – HPN neurofeedback clinician, Dr. David Dubin, provides excellent resources related to neurofeedback on his website. Be sure to see his clients’ testimonials.

    The Mind-Brain Training Institute – Corey Snook, the developer of HPN neurofeedback, also provides useful information on HPN and other approaches to mind-brain healing.

    Neurofeedback Bibliography – Journal of Neurotherapy (2007) thorough bibliography on the use of neurofeedback for a wide range of clinical issues.