Frequently Asked Questions.
Here are some common questions about neurofeedback training
How will neurofeedback training help me?
The symptoms you are experiencing are the expression of a brain that is unable to self regulate, to find and maintain the proper balance between action and rest, to find its equilibrium. The Othmer Method that I use feeds back to your brain the information it needs to discern between useful and non-useful activity. This is an entirely organic learning process that, over time, shows the brain a better way to function, something it never learned to do properly in the first place or, due to various life circumstances, has forgotten how to do properly. Neuroplasticity, the brains ability to wire and rewire itself, the training I provide allows it to find the best way to wire for best performance and the symptoms you have dissolve as the newer, more efficient way of working becomes clear.
Is the program covered by insurance?
I do not accept any insurance but am happy to provide a superbill for you to submit for reimbursement if it is covered under your plan. Coverage varies by provider but it is often not a covered modality and unfortunately many exclude neurofeedback specifically. Please check with your carrier and ask, the CPT code for neurofeedback is 90901.
Is Neurofeedback safe?
The equipment simply reads your brainwave activity and presents it back to the brain to show it how it’s performing in real time and the decision to move to a better state of function is determined by your brain itself. Since there are no electrical currents or magnetic charges put into your brain the process is quite safe.
Is it successful and permanent?
Success with neurofeedback is judged on behavioral change reported to me by you as training progresses. It’s not possible to predict ahead of time but there are things that you can do to improve your outcome. Proper diet and lifestyle choices, good sleep hygiene, physical exercise, a supportive community,and a purposeful spiritual life can all help create an environment for best brain function.
Since neurofeedback is a learning program, as the brain figures out how best to operate itself, symptoms are vastly decreased and often eliminated entirely. Training is then complete and the results are considered permanent for most people, but there are clients who may need occasional extra sessions to maintain those results.
What does the client do during the session?
You come to my office, I attach tiny sensors to your scalp with a conductive paste, you sit in a comfortable chair and watch visual content of your choosing while your brain observes pattern changes that it learns to recognize and take control of. That training in self control is the cornerstone of the Othmer Method.
The content is wide ranging and entirely up to you to pick, the neurofeedback is built into the program. It can be enchanting digital landscapes of waterfalls and forests, rocket ships flying through tunnels, random patterns of light and sound or movies, fictional or documentary. Every client finds something that they enjoy, you will too.
Is there research on neurofeedback?
Research on neurofeedback has been going on for decades and a casual look at PubMed or a Google search will result in voluminous results on its efficacy for a variety of conditions. For a well organized look at the current state of research see this link.
How do neurofeedback and medications compare?
Medications flood the brain with chemicals that have a fast acting and powerful effect on brain function. They can be very useful for acute symptoms but there are drawbacks, the effects only last as long as you take them and there are, of course, side effects. Neurofeedback is a way to teach the brain self management techniques that optimize brain function in a natural, side-effect free way.
What are the advantages of EEG training?
With EEG training the client is empowered to take control of all aspects of brain function by training the brains regulatory networks. That is how so many symptomatologies can be positively affected, mastery over brain state is fundamental for all we do in our lives, from sleeping to working to expanding our consciousness.
How long does training take?
This a very common question and difficult to answer since every brain is different. Severity of symptoms is a variable, the general physical health of the client is another. Are you eating well? Do you have a positive social and spiritual life? Wellness is an holistic concept and we’ll discuss all of that.
Generally speaking, training takes approximately 40-60 sessions depending upon the person and their goals. Frequency of training is usually two to three times per week and can taper to once a week until training is finished. Sessions are booked by the hour and clients generally receive approximately 45 minutes of actual training. The key is regularity and frequency, like any other training.
How soon will progress be noticed?
Noticing progress depends on the flexibility of the individual brain as well as the clients ability to self report. Some clients feel immediate results and some can take anywhere from ten to twenty training sessions before any changes are noted.
How long do the results last?
Here’s the good news! Long term studies indicate the results are permanent which makes sense — the brain has reorganized to work in a more efficient way and needs no reminders to continue.
Are standardized tests used to help evaluate progress?
Yes. I utilize the QIK test, a test of variable attention, to assess baseline performance data at the beginning of training and at various followup points.
Can neurofeedback be combined with other approaches?
Yes, absolutely. Multi-modal approaches are quite common, many clients are doing psychotherapy, are pursuing rigorous nutritional programs, body work, and many others. Neurofeedback, with its focus on self regulation, is a valuable tool for overall physical and mental health and I welcome coordinating with any other health practitioner my clients have on their wellness team.
If your particular situation calls for it, the team here at Hope Psychiatry is well suited to that multi-modal approach and we can talk about other services that can be integrated into your treatment plan.
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