1. What Is Neurofeedback Brain Training & Brain Mapping?
Neurofeedback (NFB), also known as EEG biofeedback, Neurotherapy, and Neurobiofeedback is a technique that presents the client with ‘real-time’ feedback about his or her own brainwave activity.
Neurofeedback Brain Mapping is the process of using EEG technology to record brainwave activity across several different locations of the scalp, so that a comprehensive report can be prepared to show where and in which ways the brain is performing well vs not well. Brain mapping is a valuable way to identify and quantify brain performance issues helping individuals, parents and service providers to better understand the underlying root cause of the behaviours or symptoms listed below. Sometimes Brain Mapping is used as a foundation for Neurofeedback Brain Training or to monitor the effects of medications.
Cost for the full Brain Map is $1,000, Click here to learn more…
Neurofeedback Brain Training on the other hand, is a gentle, painless, and non-invasive brain training process that has two major goals: first, stabilizing overall brain function by strengthening the brain’s ability to routinely produce brainwaves in healthy ranges; and second, improving the ability of the brain to shift from one brainwave state to another smoothly and effectively and remain there as long as needed. As the brain learns how to regulate itself with increasing efficiency, flexibility, organization, and resilience, individuals can experience significant improvements in their lives. As a result of regular training, the brain and Central Nervous System are able to return to their own natural, healthy rhythms from various states of imbalance and dysregulation. Neurofeedback Brain Training does NOT require a Brain Map.
Cost for each Brain Training Session is $135, to get started, complete Explore Mental Health
Neurofeedback Brain Mapping can help people to better understand brain performance related to the conditions and symptoms below, whereas Neurofeedback Brain Training may be used to produce significant and lasting improvements in these conditions and symptoms:
2. What Is Pivot Point’s Approach To Neurofeedback Brain Training?
The goal of Neurofeedback is to get the whole brain working as a cohesive and unified entity, taking advantage of the multiple communication routes that exist within the brain.
The elegance of Neurofeedback brain training lies in the fact that it does not require the client to consciously work at changing his or her mental functioning. As opposed to cognitive- behavioural therapies, Neurofeedback Brain Training works directly with the client’s central nervous system and “unconscious” brain, thus bypassing any unhealthy and habitual patterns of thinking and feeling that so often thwart other therapeutic techniques. The brain’s response to the information it receives in Neurofeedback is so fast and complex that the conscious mind only recognizes the stream of feedback later, often upon realizing important improvements in the how well the brain works. It may be “stuck” on thoughts and actions less often, or able to sustain focus more easily… resulting in a greatly increased sense of personal control and freedom.
Pivot Point employs a comprehensive approach to Neurofeedback training which trains the whole brain, not its individual parts (historically referred to as ‘site training’). This approach harmonizes the brain within itself and avoids any overtraining in one specific area or in one specific frequency range relative to others. For the brain, this means that while the areas needing the most attention are being trained the most, the rest of the brain parts are being trained concurrently to function more harmoniously together.
3. A Typical Neurofeedback Brain Training Session
During your initial session at Pivot Point, a detailed history of your physical and mental health is gathered and your goals for Neurofeedback Brain Training are discussed. This intake process enables the practitioner to provide you with the best training possible for your unique needs and situation. After we have assessed your suitability for Neurofeedback Brain Training and answered any questions you might have, we will begin your first training session.
A typical session involves approximately 45 minutes of Neurofeedback training and 10 minutes of discussion and setup. Each session begins with an assessment of the client’s internal and external experience since his/her last visit. Due to the fact that Neurofeedback training is a learning process, and the fact that everyone’s brain is different, individual progress is monitored closely in order to best train each client from session to session.
When setting up for a Neurofeedback session, the practitioner places EEG sensors on the client’s scalp using a small amount of conductivity paste. These sensors transmit the client’s brainwaves to a computer where they are monitored. The sensors are safe and painless, and it is also important to understand that the sensors are “passive instruments”. This means that they only pick up and transmit the electrical activity of the brain – they DO NOT introduce any electric current to the client’s ears or scalp.
The actual training session for the client consists of sitting in a comfortable chair, watching a variety of visuals on a television screen, and listening to a variety of tones and music. The audio and visual feedback is specifically engineered to alert and inform the client’s brain how to regulate itself for optimal health and efficiency. For the Neurofeedback trainer, sessions consist of monitoring the client’s process, and making adjustments to the information being fed back to the client in order to ensure that the training is as effective as possible.
4. How Many Brain Training Sessions Will I Need?
This is really two different questions:
A) “How long will it take before I know it’s working?” Every individual is different in their presenting concerns and in the amount of change they hope to accomplish. As such, the number of sessions needed before obvious results appear will vary considerably from person to person. However, noticeable results often occur within the first 10 sessions. Some changes, like improvements in sleep, often emerge within 4 to 6 sessions! Generally, we recommend a minimum of 20 sessions to start, before deciding if the training is creating meaningful results.
B) “How long in total will it take before we are finished?” Some individuals may have reached their goals within 15-20 sessions whereas others may need 30, 40, or even 50 sessions before all of their desired results have been achieved. Although some practitioners have observed that symptoms in some clients are resolved in a shorter time, it is difficult to predict for any person. Some require more training (as typically seen in clients with Aspergers’s and Autism), some less. The goal is to complete enough training – enough learning – to insure consistent and lasting benefits, and to end training sessions once progress begins to stall.
5. Is Neurofeedback Safe?
Neurofeedback Brain Training is very safe and has been used for over 40 years clinically, with millions of training sessions all around the world. Brain Mapping is a very brief 45 minute recording session that simply gathers information about brain performance. There are no known situations where a long term adverse effect has been identified. Unlike the use of medications for treating various symptoms, Neurofeedback training rarely produces any negative side-effects other than occasional fatigue after the training session… because the brain is getting a workout! Other temporary side effects may include small increases in anxiety, fatigue, irritability, and headaches or tension. However, these symptoms are brief (lasting only minutes or hours after a session) and usually disappear within a couple of sessions after the brain has become used to the training. It is this absence of side-effects that makes Neurofeedback training so appealing.
6. How Can Neurofeedback Training Help With So Many Problems?
The answer to this question lies in the simple fact that all behaviour is based in brain functioning. Learning disabilities, attention and focus problems, unhealthy mood patterns (depression and anxiety), addictions, redundant behaviours, sleep disorders, etc. are all different examples of a brain carrying out specific performance features poorly. Often these problems can be seen as a result of different ‘timing’ and/or regulation issues in the electrical circuitry of the brain which in turn effects the transmission and re-uptake of the brain’s neurotransmitters. These disorders are all alike in that they are characterized by dysfunction and mismanagement of the brain’s energy. The difference among these disorders is the location within the brain, and the manner in which the brain is mismanaging itself. With Neurofeedback training, the source and frequency of the neurological inefficiency is identified and then the brain is assisted in healing and repairing itself via the feedback it receives. As a result of this process, the symptom(s) are either significantly reduced, or eliminated altogether.
7. Training vs. Treatment
A “treatment” is the use of specific methods to relieve specific symptoms and illnesses, wherein something is done to you. Alternatively, “training” is learning, whether it’s physical or mental. In Neurofeedback training, the client establishes the goals, and the practitioner works with the responsiveness of the brain to help the client achieve those goals, promoting optimal brain function.
As mental function progressively improves, symptoms, illnesses, and disorders naturally diminish and dissolve. Neurofeedback brain training, like physical fitness training, has very specific goals, but also results in a wide variety of benefits throughout one’s body and mind.
8. Neurofeedback and Medications
You can take your regular medications while having a Neurofeedback Brain Map OR while receiving Neurofeedback Brain Training. While many medications can “dampen” the amplitude of certain brain wave frequencies, these and other frequencies can still be effectively measured (in the case of mapping) or trained. The brain’s primary function is to detect things in the environment, process that information, and adapt in order to minimize discomfort. Introducing manufactured substances (i.e., medications) into the bloodstream and central nervous system circumvents the body’s natural processes, while doing almost nothing in and of itself, to improve the underlying condition. If it did, a course of medication would remove the problem, and the need to take the medication would go away. This is exactly what Neurofeedback Brain Training tries to do.
IMPORTANT: Although many people select Neurofeedback training to help significantly reduce or eliminate the need for medication, it is essential to consult with your doctor before altering your prescribed medication. Additionally, it is strongly encouraged to be in contact with your doctor while receiving Neurofeedback training if taking medication so that your medication levels can be closely and professionally monitored.
9. How do I get started with Neurofeedback at Pivot Point?
A) Brain Mapping: Click here to learn more about Brain Mapping and to see the dates and times available in your community. Select a date to secure it, and to send your contact information to our Neurofeedback supervisor who will reach out to you to answer all of your questions. If you don’t see dates in your local community, select the option at the bottom of that page to let us know you want to see us in your home town!
B) Brain Training: Complete our Explore Mental Health form to tell us who you are, who will be receiving Neurofeedback Brain Training, and one of our Counsellors will contact you and set up a free consultation meeting with you to discuss your questions and scheduling.
- If you are using Autism Funding to pay for Neurofeedback Brain Mapping or Brain Training, the child must be over 6 years old, and an RTP will need to be signed to include Counselling as the service.
- The Brain Mapping page outlines all that is included in that service, for one price.
- Brain Training is typically set up in packages of 10, 20, 30 sessions, etc. based on funding and funding terms.
- Pivot Point offers a package price for two Brain Maps & 50 Brain Training Sessions, for a savings of $675.
- If you are paying privately for Neurofeedback Brain Mapping or Brain Training, we will help you plan your financial contribution, and process a credit card for 10% of the Brain Map or 10% of the first 10 Brain Training sessions.
- We look forward to watching your brain performance steadily improve! Please view other families’ experiences here.