Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ – Neurofeedback
What is Neurofeedback Therapy?
Neurofeedback (NF) therapy is a form of biofeedback and improves self-regulation. Working with brainwaves (i.e., electrical brain activity; EEG), NF therapy helps the brain learn to function more efficiently. Brainwaves can be observed in action from moment to moment and then feedback is provided; this feedback communicates to the brain, inhibiting unwanted patterns and rewarding more desirable change.
What Can I Expect During a NF Therapy Session?
The neurofeedback trainee sits in a chair while several sensors are placed on various spots on the head as well as the earlobes. These are held on by a thick conductive paste. The electrical signal is amplified and sent to the computer to be processed. No electricity is put into the brain; the sensors just pick up the electrical signals like a microphone picks up sound. The feedback is provided by sounds such as chimes, music, and binaural beats. When the brain is hitting its desired target, feedback is provided by way sound. Sometimes visual feedback is provided as well (e.g., for children doing NF therapy).
Appointment times vary depending on the client’s comfort levels. Typically, adult sessions are 1-2 hours and children’s sessions are 30 minutes to an hour. Since it can be difficult for some people to simply sit still and relax, we do have televisions set up to provide some relaxing stimulation and/or distraction. You may also bring a book or a tablet. We only ask that all devices be muted to allow our system to do its job.
A neurofeedback practitioner will monitor your training during the session. This typically occurs outside of your room. But when working with children, sometimes the practitioner may stay in the room. You may hear pauses in your training and that is simply because we are switching between different protocols during the session. The protocols are guided by an initial brain mapping session and tailored to each individual person. We try to stay out of your room as much as possible so that you can relax but we will enter the room if a sensor falls off or needs to be moved.
Your job when doing neurofeedback is simply to relax and listen to the feedback. You want to allow your brain to learn but try not to put too much pressure on yourself, let your brain do the work!
What are the Side Effects?
In most cases there are no adverse effects of training, provided you are well supervised by a professional. There can, however, be short-lived negative effects after sessions. For example, some people may feel a bit ‘revved up’ and it may be difficult to fall asleep on the night of the session. Alternatively, some clients feel very tired or fatigued after a session. Occasionally, clients may have a minor headache. This typically goes away within the day or by the following day.
We are not aware of any lasting adverse effects; many studies of neurofeedback have been done and no lasting adverse effects have been reported. Neurofeedback therapy is a form of learning. It takes a lot of repetition to result in neuroplastic change so that the change we see with NF therapy endures. This applies to the negative effects as well; as long as we don’t keep repeating a way of training that results in adverse effects, said effects will fade. This is why we ask questions every session (and modify protocols, if needed) to make sure our protocols are still on target and not causing any hardships.
How can I support my Neurofeedback training?
You can observe and report back on what you are feeling and experiencing. Everything is important and it is all relevant. Other than that, general factors that support brain health are encouraged including:
- Eating a balanced diet
- Drinking lots of water
- Getting enough sleep
- Exercising (moving your body) regularly
- Avoiding excessive screen time
- Limiting alcohol
- Limiting Caffeine (**applies only to the brain mapping)
How often do I complete Neurofeedback Sessions?
The most important thing here is to be consistent. If this is your first round of Neurofeedback training, we recommend a minimum of 20 hours. For optimal results, we encourage you to book 2-3 sessions per week (at 1-2 hours per session) and continue that way until 20 hours are finished. After 20 hours are complete, we find the brain is better prepared to receive less feedback and sessions can be a little more spaced out, if desired and if continuing.
How Many Sessions are Needed?
Unfortunately, there is no simple way to predict how many sessions it will take to attain a specific goal. We ask our clients to commit to a minimum of 20 hours. There can be a correlation between the severity of the problem and length of time required. Initial improvements may be noticed within the first 10 sessions. Long-term change and improvement can typically occur within 20 hours for less severe or complex problems, while more severe or complex issues can take longer.
Do I need to stop taking my medication while I am doing Neurofeedback?
No, you do not have to stop medication to do a brain map or Neurofeedback therapy sessions. After an initial period of NF therapy and as training progresses, you may start feeling more sensitive to your medication dose or overly medicated. Thus, it may be possible to reduce a medication dose or eliminate a medication. However, that is a decision you must make together with the prescribing medical professional in order to safely and appropriately make any changes to your medication. We are happy to discuss this with your doctor as well, if you would like.
Where can I find out more about Neurofeedback Therapy?
You can visit our website and view the informative video’s looking at, “What is Neurofeedback?”
You can also look at a comprehensive list of research articles looking at Neurofeedback therapy
What is the Fee Schedule?
- Initial Informative Consultation/Demo (up to 30 minutes) – $0
- Intake and Assessment (interview, brain map, questionnaires, interpretation) – $250.00
- Includes an in-person Review of Results (up to 30 minutes)
- NF Therapy Treatment – $200/hr
All NF Therapy is supervised by a Psychologist and is billed under Psychological Services. We offer some direct billing to insurance companies.
If finances are a concern please speak with us so we can discuss how to support you. Sliding scale fee options may be available.
If you have any other questions, please let us know and we will be happy to help answer them!
Sincerely The Sano State Team