What happens during a neurofeedback therapy session?
During a neurofeedback session you’ll have two small sensors on your head and clips on your ears that measure your brainwave activity. You sit in a comfortable chair and listen to music and may also choose to watch fractal images on a screen. Many people choose to close their eyes and relax, and yes, if you fall asleep, the training still occurs. When the computer identifies brainwave patterns that are habitual, it stops the music. You may recognize it as a split second skip in a CD when this is takes place. These interruptions signal the brain to self-correct into more relaxed and effective patterns. Often clients feel clearer and more at ease by the end of the session, others have even come out feeling energized. Sessions are approximately 45 minutes long.
What changes might you expect?
Since every Central Nervous System is unique, the type, sequence and rate of change are also unique to the individual. Most often, people first report changes as improved sleep, lessened anxiety and reactivity, with other changes coming afterwards.
Occasionally, side effects can happen but they are brief and usually just part of the change process. An example of a side effect might be feeling “spacey” for a short while after a session, but most people feel relaxed and calm after their training.
How soon will you see changes?
In most cases, changes are experienced after one to four sessions. If for some reason it takes longer than that, we’ll look for the reason why. It is not uncommon that it turns out to be something in your life that you can modify.
Some clients choose to come back for a “tune up” from time to time. The majority, when they feel they’ve got what they came for, tell me they are ready to stop and then go on about their life with a brain that has learned to be more efficient, more flexible and more resilient.
How many sessions will you need?
Honestly, due to the uniqueness of each CNS, it’s not possible to predict with precision. There’s usually not a ceiling on how much benefit a person can get, so the answer to this question is really up to you. Average is probably around 15 or 20 sessions. Some people get what they’ve come for after a handful of sessions. Others stay on because they were interested in seeing what additional progress they could experience.
For the most part, if your challenges occurred recently in your life, you’re likely to come for less than ten sessions. If there are multiple challenges or conditions that go way back, you may want 10 to 20 sessions, especially as you start observing changes in your sleep, your moods, focus or even improvement in areas you may not have originally come in for. In brief, the more sessions you have, the stronger and more comprehensive the results.
How often should you come for a session?
Some clients start out coming for training twice a week, but once a week will also bring about progress. The fundamental difference is how quickly you will notice changes. Our expectation for you is that the changes you experience after each session are continuous from one session to the next, whether you start out once a week or more often.
How are sessions run with children?
Just like with adults, sensors are place on the head and ears, and the child sits in a comfortable chair. Children can listen to their own music, brought on a CD, or they can listen to our music. The feedback occurs the same way, through interruptions in the sounds and visuals (watching fractal images). The training time is also the same. Most children enjoy the process. As a matter of fact, this training is ideal for infants and very young children because of its passive nature. There is nothing that needs to be understood or even communicated verbally to the child, no “training protocol”. In fact, it is quite wonderful to be able to say that there is no activity for the child to either succeed or fail at. There is no work involved on behalf of the child other than relaxing in a chair listening to music.
Do these changes last?
Yes, because the brain enjoys running more efficiently. During the training the brain pays close attention to the feedback (interruptions) in the music to which you’ll be listening. The brain then does what it does best: utilizes the information to organize itself. Your brain is able to use this unique information to break out of inefficient patterns allowing it to run more efficiently, with more resilience, more flexibility and more stability. You become better suited to respond to life rather than react based upon previously learned stress responses. Focus typically improves; reverting to the past diminishes, allowing your body to use its resources instead for restorative and growth processes.
What neurofeedback is NOT…
- Adding anything to or “zapping” your brain. All the changes that occur originate from your own brain deciding how to optimize its functioning based on the information communicated back to it through interruptions in the music.
- Treating specific disorders. The brain training uses feedback in order to self-correct. As the brain controls all bodily functions, improvements can be seen in many areas of one’s health.