Sonoma County Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback in Petaluma

Neurofeedback in Context

While many people know about biofeedback, and the word conjures to mind yogis sitting in full lotus pose hooked up to machines, not as many are familiar with neurofeedback. To explain neurofeedback, let me start by first describing biofeedback.

In biofeedback, computer technology is used to obtain certain biological measures—things like body heat, muscle tension, sweat on the skin—and this information is translated into some form of feedback the individual can understand consciously. Most often, feedback is offered in the form of an image on a computer screen. When the individual changes her biological state in the desired manner (e.g., reducing muscle tension), doing so affects the measure, which in turn affects the image. When the image changes, this is registered consciously by the individual and acts as a reward. The individual comes to learn that when she makes desired subtle biological shifts, she can change the image. In the process, she increases control over her biological state.

In essence, traditional neurofeedback is biofeedback for the brain. Sensors are placed on the scalp and the neurofeedback equipment measures brainwave patterns and translates these into a form of feedback, often an image or a tone. When the individual consciously produces the desired brainwave frequency (e.g., a relaxed alpha), the image changes and, as with biofeedback, acts as a reward. Over time, the individual comes to learn how to consciously change brainwave states, which in turn affects how she feels.

New generation neurofeedback approaches, such as HPN and LENS, offer a different form of feedback. Rather than a form of feedback that is consciously registered by the individual, in HPN the feedback is offered directly back to the brain in the form of an electromagnetic wave. Rather than involving the active participation of the individual during treatment sessions, the individual is passive, as the neurofeedback works directly with the nervous system, guiding it out of inflexible brainwave patterns into a more regulated state. Because the feedback works directly on the brain, the course of HPN treatment tends to be shorter, and results tend to occur more quickly.

If you would like to learn more about neurofeedback, or make an appointment for neurofeedback, please contact meSil Machado, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist who offers psychotherapy, counseling, and neurofeedback in Santa Rosa, CA. He works extensively with individuals struggling with mood- and anxiety-related issues. Dr. Machado takes an integrative approach in which he blends depth and experiential psychotherapies with evidece-based practices in a manner suited to the unique needs of each client.