What is Neurofeedback?
The Biofeedback Certification International Alliance defines neurofeedback (i.e. brainwave biofeedback) as a technique used to alter the brain’s electrical activity in the subcortical and cortical regions. Neurofeedback is a training process by which patients alter brain wave activity to achieve a desired outcome. This training is based on the premise that your brain can learn to optimize brain waves if it receives immediate feedback on brain waves changes. This is important as brain waves are associated with specific states, such as restfulness, agitation, sleep, and attentiveness. The purpose of neurofeedback is to normalize brain waves so that a reduction of symptoms occurs.
Neurofeedback utilizes behavioral learning principles to treat psychological issues and to improve performance. Neurofeedback relies on advanced software and computers to monitor brain wave activity and to provide instantaneous feedback to an individual.
Neurofeedback is commonly used to improve the symptoms of the following:
- Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
- Anxiety and Stress
- Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
Furthermore, neurofeedback can improve cognitive functioning, including attention, focus and concentration.
What Happens During a Neurofeedback Session?
Dr. Mazzei, Clinical Health Psychologist, is Board Certified in biofeedback and is specially trained to provide neurofeedback. She incorporates neurofeedback into treatment for specific conditions, most notably ADHD, anxiety and depression.
After educating you about neurofeedback and answering your questions, she will place sensors on different areas of your scalp to monitor brain wave activity. This instrumentation is called an electroencephalograph (EEG). The EEG data is transformed onto a computer screen in the form of readable data, moving images and video games.
When you first start, Dr. Mazzei will conduct an assessment to determine a treatment protocol. Once this is done, you will start neurofeedback sessions. Your brain will learn to alter brain wave activity based on immediate feedback from the computer. After multiple sessions, your brain is able to achieve a desired state (i.e. reduction in symptoms) without instrumentation. Once you’ve mastered the training, just like with anything else you’ve learned, you are unlikely to need more sessions. For optimal results, neurofeedback should be conducted once or twice per week.
How Effective is Neurofeedback?
The American Psychological Association (APA) considers neurofeedback an evidence-based intervention, meaning that there is research to support its effectiveness. Randomized controlled studies have found neurofeedback to reduce symptoms of ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, migraines and substance abuse. Neurofeedback is an advancing field as more advanced equipment and protocols are developed.
How Can I Start Neurofeedback?
If you are interested in starting neurofeedback, please contact Dr. Mazzei’s office (480) 448-6755 . Her staff can answer any questions you have and schedule an initial consultation.