Brainfeedback is the feedback for the brain. Simply put, it exercises and helps ‘strengthen’ the brain, calms it, and improves its stability. It’s easy – virtually anyone can do it. Using computerized feedback, the brain learns to increase certain brainwaves that are helpful for improved function. The brain can decrease excessive fast or slow brainwaves that interfere with good function. Over time, the result is a healthier and better regulated brain.
For example, if someone has excessive amounts of certain EEG frequencies, (theta or alpha) in the frontal lobe, they might experience depression or OCD (Obsessive /Compulsive Disorder). By training the brain to reduce slower brainwaves and increase faster brainwave activity, symptoms are often reduced. Over time, the new brain behaviour is ‘learned.’
Brainfeedback, psychotherapy, and medications work hand- in-hand. Training can be used for patients on or off medications. There are no known lasting side effects after 30 years of research and clinical use. As the brain stabilizes, other modalities can become more effective.
BFB Outcome ?
The brain helps regulate sleep, emotions, thinking, behavior, and much more. The training doesn’t directly change sleep or other problems. It helps the brain become better regulated. Since sleep, emotions or behavior are regulated by the brain, improvements are generally seen after training. Therapists report that changes can be profound .When you give the brain information about itself, it has an enormous capacity for change. Brainfeedback makes the information available to the brain almost instantly, and asks it to make adjustments. This gives the brain a greater ability to self-manage or regulate. Changing the EEG improves activation, inhibition, and cortical stability, while impacting regulatory mechanisms such as thalamocortical connections to sub- cortical brain structures. These functions are fundamental to brain regulation.
We’ve all seen someone go from dejected and depressed (the other team just scored) to wild elation (your team just scored and took the lead) in seconds. State flexibility is inherent in the brain. A lack of state flexibility (being stuck in a particular state) causes problems – front impulsivity, to ADD, to anger, to OCD. Brainfeedback increases state flexibility. EEG training also helps activate specific regions of the brain.
Is Brainfeedback New ? :
BFB (Brainfedback) is not new .In the 1960s, when a lab taught cats to change their EEGs with operant conditioning, NO ONE guessed that it would improve brain regulation and inhibit seizures. Yet that research launched this field. Brainfeedback is built on the foundations of ‘alpha trainers’ from the 1970s. But brain science during the 1990’s advanced the field of EEG Brainfeedback by using information from MRI’s, PET scans and other brain imaging techniques. This information has helped identity sites for training.
How does BFB work?:
First, a special Brainfeedback EEG Headbox (amplifier) and software is set up with a computer. Electrodes are placed on the scalp to record the client’s brainwave activity. The client is then given visual and / or auditory feedback such as with a specially designed computer game. As certain frequencies increase or decrease, the trainee gets increased or decreased feedback – including auditory & visual feedback.
Results reported by Clinicians. A survey of psychologists and therapists who use this therapy report three common findings:1. It is effective for use with mood disorders, depression, anxiety and ADD/ADHD, improving concentration , learning disabilities ; 2. Adding Brainfeedback improve outcomes significantly when compared to psychotherapy or medications alone; 3. Medications are often reduced or stopped / not required.
Helping Brain Regulation:
Many psychotherapists comment that it makes them ‘better therapists.— When the client’s brain is more stable, they are more ‘available’ for therapy. Neuropsychologists report that it is effective as a cognitive rehab tool with Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD.