brain mapping and neurofeedback for changing brain habits
Neurofeedback is a completely natural, non-invasive way to change brain habits that get in the way of healthy ways of feeling and relating to others/ourselves.
The neurofeedback process begins with a brain map. This is where tiny stethescopes in a special cap that is worn measures brain electricity. There are 20 parts of the brain measured while eyes are opened, eyes are closed, and while in a "working" state (silent reading, repeating back numbers, etc.). The data collected in that (approximate) 30 minute time is then rendered.
The rendering process compiles your brain data and identifies patterns effecting mood, behavior, or performance. Clients are given a full report describing these patterns in words and showing them in graphs. The map comes complete with a training plan (recommended protocols) for neurofeedback that targets changing brain patterns that are causing the brain to work inefficiently or in patterns known to be correlated with unhealthiness in emotions or learning.
Brain Training Plan
When you get your brain map results back, you also receive a training plan. Every training plan is broken down into five training sessions. Each session focuses on/targets a specific area or training issue. Some sessions therefore are longer than others, but usually are completed within the hour. The training plan is meant to be followed in order, cycling through through the five sessions before repeating the plan from the beginning.
Protocols are extremely specific to the client’s brain and vary in which sites to train (1-4 brain sites at a time), which training design/protocol to use, which frequencies to train (sometimes parts are trained to speed up while others to slow down), and whether eyes are to be closed or opened during it. There is no guesswork or "winging it" on the practitioner's part. It is all completely based on map results and not on symptoms reported by the client.
This approach recognizes that brain habits are stabilized by interlocking relationships. Yes, it is possible to achieve change by working a single site or pattern (as some forms of neurofeedback do). However, working all related findings from the map in an organized way (like circuit training in a gym), shows faster, more stable responses, with minimal negative reactions.
The training plan covers multiple brain systems in the brain's four quadrants: sensory-motor cortex, anterior cingulate, default-mode network, and salience network. Patterns of the brain's frequency/amplitude and the efficiency in their linkages together help identify the key issues that result in the training plan.
All of that to say, the brain mapping is the essential foundation for all neurofeedback sessions.
what happens during a neurofeedback session?
Your brain speaks a different language than your mind. We must speak to your brain directly to help it change it’s current patterns. Neurofeedback scientists have discovered this language. What makes sense to your brain makes absolutely no sense to your mind so many people have dismissed neurofeedback as a viable option and turned to medications, etc. which do tend to make more sense to our minds to understand. That said, your brain really does speak a language and is willing to change to healthier patterns once you show it what it needs to do differently. Neurofeedback is the language your brain speaks.
Sessions typically include wearing a cap (with brain sensors inside of it) that is connected to a computer. Most people watch a movie while their brains are being trained. Yes, you read that correctly! The "feedback" part of neurofeedback is a shadow that flickers lighter or darker over the screen that plays the movie. The flickering is based entirely on if the brain is firing within the training targets (that have been set on the computer based on the brain map results). The volume also fluctuates as a way of giving the brain feedback.
Don't worry that this sounds very strange to your mind! Remember, the brain speaks it’s own language that our minds do not speak. Brains figure out that we are asking the frequencies at certain brain sites to become higher or lower. This is all without any intentional trying on the client’s part! Trust that your brain can understand what it’s being asked to do and in time will change to the healthier patterns.
what is heg neurofeedback and does every person get it during their sessions?
In addition to the cap (EEG), there is also an additional "peak performance" HEG headband that is used at the beginning of most sessions. It trains the front part of the brain called the executive center. This forehead part of the brain is difficult to train using the EEG way due to it’s proximity to eye blinking muscles. Using an entirely different method, this front part of the brain can now be trained!
It comes in the form of a video game where your character is controlled only by your brain's blood oxygen levels in it's executive center. This improves the ability of the brain to activate/focus/perform as well as to de-activate/let go. Professional athletes (such as professional quarterback Tom Brady) and top gun pilots are just a few groups of that have openly reported utilizing this form of peak performance training.
is neurofeedback natural and safe?
Yes! There is nothing "zapping" or entering the brain whatsoever. Neurofeedback is simply holding a mirror up to your brain to show it where it needs to make changes. It is entirely natural and not considered a medical device for this reason, though the results are absolutely amazing!
Neurofeedback works because it is simply the brain being rewarded for entering wavelengths that are more beneficial to it (again, all based on the map).
By training the brain (think of it as weight training workouts), it can learn begin working more effectively without the heavy use of prescription medication, costly treatments, diagnoses, or using a pathology model. Over time, the brain can shift into these new patterns and then neurofeedback is no longer needed!
The training and system used is from a company called Brain-Trainer:
"Brain-trainer’s Whole-Brain Training approach to neurofeedback is based on the fact that common patterns of activation in the brain tend to be linked to specific sets of strengths and weaknesses. We are constantly tracking the work of researchers who identify such EEG patterns and adding them to our system. Our assessment tools link subjective (strengths and weaknesses) and objective (brain patterns) information to suggest training strategies. Our assessment service provides expert assistance in determining likely training strategies for your brain."
You can read more on the Brain-Trainer website about how neurofeedback may help here and then click on the subsequent links at the end of that article.
Neurofeedback is often an add-on service for in-home coaching but can also be a stand alone service.
$100 brain mapping (includes a detailed report that you keep)
$40 per session "block": usually 1 hour (depending on what your recommended protocols are, all based on your brain map)
For those utilizing in-home coaching service, neurofeedback pricing is completely different (for details, click here)
All fees are out-of-pocket expenses/non-insurance refundable as this is not considered a medical treatment.
I am a parent and family coach as well as a neurofeedback provider. One of my favorite things to do is to laugh with other just as crazy parents as myself about all the wild things that happen on our parenting journeys. My family means the world to me. I believe that in all the pain and sorrow this life brings that there is still redemption to be had, every single day and simultaneously that no one should have to travel a hard journey alone. I’m not gonna lie: I also believe that the little things like chocolate covered espresso beans and watching the Bourne Identity movie for at least the twenty-fifth time can help me get that perspective. Read more...