Neurofeedback in Petaluma, CA
"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
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. We offer a state-of-the-art approach to neurofeedback training, called High Performance Neurofeedback.
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 30 sessions, depending on the particular issue they hope to address.
Issues Neurofeedback May Address:
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.
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
Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, & Pain
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 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
Neurofeedback helps to improve concentration and reduce distractibility, making it easier for clients to focus on and complete tasks
Clients with OCD report that when their anxiety increases, OCD symptoms worsen. By coaxing the brain out of anxious states, Neurofeedback helps to reduce the intrusive thoughts and compulsive behavior associated with OCD. Together, psychotherapy and Neurofeedback help clients feel a greater sense of efficacy in managing symptoms, while at the same time, examining the important messages these symptoms often carry.
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 HPN 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.
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
Overwhelming Emotions & Impulse Control
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.
Areas of Applicability for LENS & HPN
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.
Possible Diagnoses: AD/HD, traumatic brain injury, Autism spectrum.
Underlying Dysfunction: Problems with sequencing, memory, providing and maintaining attention, concentration, clarity, organization.
Possible Diagnoses: Depression, unresolved grief, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, explosive disorders.
Underlying Dysfunction: Dysregulated anger, sadness, and explosiveness.
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.
Possible Diagnoses: Depression, AD/HD.
Underlying Dysfunction: Problems initiating tasks, shifting from one activity to another, and/or completing tasks.
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.
Possible Diagnoses: Personality disorders, seizures, various sensitivities (e.g., chemical, sound).
Underlying Dysfunction: Hyper-reactivity, hypersensitivity, multiple chemical sensitivities.
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.
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.
Possible Diagnoses: Chronic fatigue syndrome.
Underlying Dysfunction: Primary fatigue, or fatigue secondary to trying to cope with the above brain dysfunctions.
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.
Benefits of NeurofeedbackSome of the benefits of Neurofeedback, which are often immediate, include:
- 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?
- 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).
- 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.
- Results with traditional neurofeedback are usually attained after 40 sessions. With LENS and HPN, long-term results are seen within 12 to 30 sessions.
- Home practice is not required to increase success of LENS and HPN.
- LENS and HPN are effective for individuals struggling with multiple symptoms, including physical issues such as chronic pain and fibromyalgia.
- 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.
For more information on LENS and HPN Neurofeedback, please see my Neurofeedback FAQ's page.
For more information on the use of Neurofeedback in the treatment of PTSD, see my article on Neurofeedback for PTSD & Traumatic Stress .
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 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.