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Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is a way to quantify and train brain activity. Communication between groups of cells in the brain creates thoughts, sensations, actions and emotions. Sometimes our brain activity becomes dysregulated and results in inefficient processing of information.
This activity is detectable in the form of brainwaves – electrical impulses generated by your brain activity. Neurofeedback uses positive reinforcement to teach the brain to better regulate this activity.

During a neurofeedback session, sensors detect your brainwaves to see your brain in action. A computer compares your brain activity to predetermined goals that are set up for you to reach based on your personal brainwave pattern. Sounds and images tell you immediately when your brain reaches your goal and when it doesn’t – when you are activating or suppressing the target area of the brain.

Through this simple method, you learn how to quiet brainwaves associated with low performance and increase brainwaves associated with optimal brain function.

The following YouTube clip provides as an easy to understand explanation of this treatment:

CONDITIONS WE WORK WITH (but not limited to)

Mood Disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
Developmental Conditions
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism Spectrum (ASD)
Other Conditions
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Insomnia
  • Addictions
  • Learning difficulties

qEEG ASSESSMENT

In order to know which areas of the brain would benefit from training, a comprehensive assessment called a quatitive electroencephalogram (qEEG) is conducted. This involves wearing a cap with 19 sensors that will measure and record the electrical activity of the brain. After analysing the data we can determine which areas of the brain are dysregulated and devise a treatment protocol to address the issues.

01 WHAT IS INVOLVED?

Typically, neurofeedback involves an initial assessment, followed by the neurofeedback training itself. Initial assessment involves a test of brain function (QEEG) and a computerised psychological screening test to identify difficulties with functioning. This is followed by a consultation with your psychologist to explain the assessment results, plan the training, and set goals for treatment. Neurofeedback treatment may vary depending on QEEG results, presenting symptoms or other factors, which would all be discussed with in your consultation with your psychologist.

02 HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?

This is not a simple question to answer. As treatment is individualised, there are many factors that can affect the length of treatment. Neurofeedback works using the brain’s plasticity, so as such it is a physiological change process. It helps to think of it like the physiological changes brought on by exercise – it takes repeated sessions to achieve long-lasting results. In very general terms though, treatment would typically involve 20-40 sessions, usually conducted twice per week. Session lengths can vary from less than 15 minutes through to 1 hour, though again this will vary depending on the treatment type, presenting symptoms, client history, treatment goals and many other factors. A typical course of neurofeedback would generally involve 2 x 45 minute sessions per week for 20 weeks, for a total of 40 sessions. However as stated, this can vary.

03 HOW LONG WILL THE EFFECTS LAST?

Following completion of a course of neurofeedback, we would expect the results to be very long lasting, if not permanent. However, it’s important to note that major life stresses can still happen, and these can continue to impact upon physical and mental health.

04 WILL IT WORK FOR ME?

Please see our list of conditions that can be treated with neurofeedback. In general terms, we find that the majority of our clients respond well to neurofeedback training. The outcomes are affected by a great number of factors, which is why we offer an initial free half-hour information session with one of our psychologists to discuss your personal circumstances.

05 WHAT ARE THE COSTS?

Much like the length of treatment, the costs will vary depending on the treatment type. Generally, fixed costs include the QEEG, psychological screening test, and results consultation. The cost of each neurofeedback session is determined by the treatment type and length of session. Since there are many variables, the costs involved in assessment and treatment are explained during the half-hour free information session, and again during the results consultation.

06 IS THIS A NEW TREATMENT?

No, neurofeedback has been used in clinical settings since the 1960s.

07 IS THERE ANY NEW EVIDENCE FOR ITS EFFICANCY

Yes. A comprehensive bibliography on neurofeedback is available through:
https://www.isnr.org/isnr-comprehensive-bibliography

08 IS IT PAINFUL?

Neurofeedback is not painful. Some people with very high sensory sensitivity may feel some slight discomfort with the physical contact involved with the positioning of the EEG sensors.

09 IS NEUROFEEDBACK SAFE

Yes, because neurofeedback works using the body’s own physiological processes. When working with mental health conditions it is important to note that neurofeedback can help bring insight to problems with functioning. This may be concerning at first, however it is an important part of the change process, as once a problem reaches awareness, it can be worked with and improved.

10 IS TREATMENT COVERED BY MEDICARE/PRIVATE HEALTH

Unfortunately Neurofeedback treatment is not covered by Medicare however sessions with the Psychologist may be. Some private health funds do provide rebates for psychological services, depending on the fund and level of cover.