Since each person’s symptoms are different, every neurofeedback experience is different. Typically, a full package of 20 sessions is recommended for a good degree of symptom resolution. Keep in mind, the more sessions a person gets, the longer the effects will last. After 20 sessions, a “maintenance” session is recommended every once in a while to keep the brain’s self-regulation active.
You may continue taking any medications you’re currently taking while you undergo neurofeedback therapy. You may find that when your brain begins to work more efficiently, there isn’t such a need for medication. We will track your progress and discuss with your physician the possibility of lowering or eliminating a medication.
The clinician attaches a few computer sensors to your head with conducting paste. While connected to the sensors, you can watch a movie or play a game. The technician monitors your brain wave patterns as you watch the movie or game, and adjusts the computer feedback, encouraging balanced brain waves. When your brain waves are in sync with the desired computer pattern, the image becomes clearer and the sound is louder; when your brain waves are out of sync, the volume drops and the screen goes dim. Over the course of treatment, your brain waves learn to achieve equilibrium, which leads to optimal functioning.
Neurofeedback is typically provided by highly trained clinicians, MD’s or licensed health professionals (nurses, clinical social workers, rehabilitation specialists, educators, psychologists, family therapists and trained clinicians).
If the problem being addressed is one of brain disregulation, then the answer is yes, and that covers a lot of ground. Neurofeedback involves learning by the brain and if that brings order out of disorder, the brain will continue to use its new capabilities, and thus reinforce them.
Matters are different when we are dealing with degenerative conditions like Parkinson’s or the dementias, or when we are working against continuing insults to the system, as may be the case in the autism spectrum. In such cases the training needs to be continued at some level over time. Allergic susceptibilities and food intolerances make it more difficult to hold the gains. Poor digestive function will pose a problem, as does poor nutrition. A child living in a toxic environment (in either the physical or the psychological sense) will have more difficulty retaining good function.
Through our twenty years of experience with neurofeedback, we have reached the point of having very high expectations for success in training. When such success is not forthcoming, or if the gains cannot hold, then there is usually a reason for that which needs to be pursued. In the normal course of events, neurofeedback ought to work with everybody. That is to say, nearly everyone should make gains that they themselves would judge to be worthwhile. Our brains are made for learning and skill-acquisition. On the other hand, we are working with many families whose expectations have been lowered by their past experience. And they need to see progress before they will share our optimism. We understand that.
It turns out that among the vast majority of clients (>95% in one clinician’s experience) the actual outcome exceeds the prior expectations. Against such low expectations, the changes that can be produced with neurofeedback may even appear miraculous. One EEG Biofeedback office has a sign on its front desk: “We expect miracles. If none occur, something has gone wrong.” What appears miraculous in all of this is really nothing more than the incredible capacity of our brains to recover function when given a chance.