Neurofeedback is a specific intervention that we use at the NeuroTherapy and Trauma Center of Utah. Sometimes people wonder what a typical session looks like, so I thought I’d break it down.
First, you either come to our office or we come to your home. We use only licensed (or students pursuing licenses) mental health therapists or counselors to provide Neurofeedback. We first will talk to you about how things are going in your life since we saw you the last time. If we are meeting with a child, we will often first ask the parents how they feel the child has been.
These first few minutes of check-in are very important. The therapist is looking to see if the parent/client feels like there has been progress or any side-effects. We listen for cues like “I’ve had a bad headache lately” or “I’ve been having nightmares” as a sign that maybe we need to do something differently with the Neurofeedback training. If there is no negative side-effects, we will typically ask if there’s been any noticed improvements.
Typically, negative side-effects (including headaches, dizziness, nightmares, or difficulty sleeping) can occur within the first 24 hours of the first 1-3 training sessions. Most people don’t experience any side-effects, but they can happen and usually mean that we need to train the brain more slowly or train a different area of the brain. (Anyone who says Neurofeedback has “No Side-Effects” is mistaken.) Positive results from Neurofeedback are typically seen within the first 1-10 sessions, with sleep being one of the most common areas we first see improvements.
After we do a check-in with you to see how things are going, we will set-up the computer to your specific brain-wave Neurofeedback training (determined off of a Quantitative EEG done previously, we do not recommend symptom based trainings). We will place EEG sensors in the specific location that your brain needs development and will ensure that there is proper connection between the sensors and the computer. This set-up time is approximately 10 minutes.
Once set up, the computer will then read your current brain-wave activity and will provide you a reinforcement noise when your brain makes a healthy brainwave pattern. This reinforcement strengthens the brainwave pattern which is similar to strengthening a muscle, once it practices making the healthy brain-wave pattern, the pattern will continue on its own without the need for the computer training. This typically takes 20-30 sessions with mild cases, and as many as 100-200 with complex brain trauma (having part of the brain removed due to a tumor or TBI, etc.).
The training screen will run for around 20 minutes and during the training the client can meditate, read, watch a movie, color, journal, or play games on a tablet. This is an easy training for children and we have had children as young as 3-4 years old who have benefited from Neurofeedback training.
The therapist will prompt you to practice deep breathing and will typically teach you a specific breathing technique, diaphragmatic breathing which will allow your brain to better process the training.
The session will end with the therapist ideally asking you to call them or notify them if there are any negative side-effects between this session and the next session. Then you will schedule your next session.
For clients who are using insurance, the therapist will then have the client engage in 20-30 minutes of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, goal setting, problem solving, and traditional therapy. We combine traditional therapy with Neurofeedback therapy to help clients have the best outcomes. This is done in 60 minutes.
Sessions are typically done 2-3 times a week, with 2 times a week seeming to have the best therapeutic outcomes. We offer payment plans through PayPal and have packages that provide discounts to clients without insurance. If the client is not using insurance, we typically only provide the Neurofeedback training unless the client specifies that they would like traditional counseling. Neurofeedback only typically is done within 30-45 minutes.
Call us for a free consultation to see if Neurofeedback training is going to be helpful for your situation! 801-855-7999