HOW DOES IT WORK?
We apply electrodes to the scalp to listen in on brainwave activity. We process the signal by computer, and we extract information about certain key brainwave frequencies. (All brainwave frequencies are equal, but some are more equal than others…) We show the ebb and flow of this activity back to the person, who attempts to change the activity level. Some frequencies we wish to promote. Others we wish to diminish. We present this information to the brain in the form of a video game or DVD. The case of the video game, the person is effectively playing the video game with his or her brain. Eventually the brainwave activity is “shaped” toward more desirable, more regulated performance. The same process occurs when watching a DVD. The frequencies we target, and the specific locations on the scalp where we listen in on the brain, are specific to the conditions we are trying to address, and specific to the individual.
WHO PROVIDES NEUROFEEDBACK?
Neurofeedback (EEG Biofeedback) is typically provided under supervision of mental health professionals such as psychologists, family therapists, and counselors. The training may also be provided by nurses, clinical social workers, rehabilitation specialists, and educators. MDs also provide the service, but with the exception of psychiatrists, will usually have the service provided by a trained staff person.
IS NEUROFEEDBACK A CURE?
In the case of organic brain disorders, it can only be a matter of getting the brain to function better rather than of curing the condition. When it comes to problems of dysregulation, we would say that there is not a disease to be cured. Where disregulation is the problem brain-regulation may very well be the remedy. But again the word “cure” would not apply.