I am interested in Neurofeedback but how do I know it is an efficacious intervention for my patients/clients?
Busy practitioners may not have time to investigate research supporting new interventions such as Neurofeedback so may be unaware that there is ample research to support its efficacy. Our research section can help you make your decision.
Bessel van der KOLK, MD, Director of the Trauma Institute in Boston is quoted as saying, “neurofeedback is the best thing to happen to psychiatry since medication.” This is because it provides the necessary bridge between the biochemical and bioelectrical systems that make up the central nervous system. Traditional treatments such drug therapy or psychotherapies are beneficial but may not be the best starting point for a person, depending on the longevity and severity of the health concern. Balancing the bioelectrical system first may be what is required to help other interventions work more efficiently. Further research can be done by consulting our research page or in the scientific literature found in such journals as The Journal of Neurotherapy; Journal of Applied Psychophysiology and Bio-feedback; Biological Psychiatry; Child Study Journal; Brain and Cognition; Clinical Neuro-physiology; Neuropsychology; International Journal of Psycho-physiology; Canadian Journal of Clinical Medicine; Journal of Head Trauma.
Will my patient/client need to receive neurofeedback training continuously to sustain the reduction of symptoms?
No. Once it is fixed, it remains fixed provided that neurofeedback continues until the brainwave changes are stable. This is in sharp contrast to some other forms of symptom control, such as the use of medication for conditions of anxiety and depression, in which discontinuation results in relapse, often at exacerbated symptom intensity.
The exception is for people who wish to pursue peak or optimal training. Those wishing to maintain optimal brain functioning receive neurofeedback session on a continuous basis, just as one does gym workouts on a continuous basis to maintain physical well-being. Elderly clients often receive periodic neurofeedback treatments to mitigate age-related declines in brain efficiency.
What is the relapse rate of neurofeedback?
Relapse rates differ with different disorders or symptoms. Compared with other forms of treatment, neurofeedback has a remarkably low relapse rate.
A poignant example is that the relapse rate for conventionally treated chronic genetically-based alcoholism is extremely high close to 80% after a four year follow-up whereas the neurofeedback training group had a relapse rate of less than 20%.
Are there side-effects?
A robust body of past research has documented that psychotherapy can occasionally have negative effects. Similarly, data has been accumulated which shows that neurofeedback also has the potential to cause side effects if it is misapplied. Most commonly side effects associated with neurofeedback tend to be mild, infrequent, and can be quickly reversed by competent clinicians. However, there is evidence that inappropriate neurofeedback training has the potential to exacerbate symptoms. Thus individualization of treatment and clinician competency is essential. (D.C. Hammond, The National Psychologist, May/June 2008) See side-effects for access to the entire article.
How long with the therapy last?
As neurofeedback training is a learning process, training length will vary among individuals. Many individuals make significant progress after 10 to 20 sessions, while others require 20-40 sessions depending on the longevity and severity of the symptoms.
How frequently will neurofeedback sessions occur?
Sessions should occur once to twice a week at the onset of therapy. Each Neurofeedback session is retraining the brain’s bioelectrical system, just like training the muscular system in the gym. Once it has had sufficient training, the person feels and behaves in a way that makes them feel like themselves again. As the individual progresses with training, the frequency of the sessions is systematically reduced.
Is Neurofeedback training covered by insurance plans?
Most insurance companies cover NFT under EEG Biofeedback.