Services to Diverse Abilities throughout
British Columbia





SERVICES

Neurofeedback

1. What Is Neurofeedback?

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 is a gentle, painless, and non-invasive 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 training can produce significant and lasting results for a variety of symptoms including:

  • ADD & ADHD
  • Addictions and compulsive behaviours
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
  • Hypertension (stress related)
  • Migraine headaches
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD)
  • Sleep disorders

2. What Is Pivot Point’s Approach To Neurofeedback?

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.

The elegance of Neurofeedback 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 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 ‘catches up’ later, upon realizing that it is “unstuck” and able to operate with a new 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 Session

During your initial session at Pivot Point, a detailed history of your physical and mental health is gathered and your goals for Neurofeedback 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 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”. What this means is 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.

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4. How Many 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 can occur within 10 to 20 sessions. Accordingly, we recommend a minimum of 20 sessions to start.

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.


5. Is Neurofeedback Safe?

Neurofeedback is very safe and has been used for over 30 years clinically, with hundreds of thousands of training sessions. 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. It is this absence of side-effects that makes Neurofeedback training so appealing. Neurofeedback is not a drug or medical procedure in which something is done to the physical brain. Because Neurofeedback training only sends auditory and visual information to the brain about its own performance, there are no true side-effects. However, some short term side effects have been reported which include anxiety, fatigue, irritability, and headaches or tension; however, these symptoms are brief and usually disappear within a couple of sessions after the brain has acclimated to the training.


6. How Can Neurofeedback Help With So Many Problems?

The answer to this question lies in the simple fact that behaviour is intimately connected to brain functioning. Learning disabilities, attention and focus problems, unhealthy mood patterns (depression and anxiety), addictions, redundant behaviour, and sleep disorders 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 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.

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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 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 medication while receiving Neurofeedback training. While many medications can “dampen” the amplitude of certain brain wave frequencies, these and other frequencies can still be effectively trained. The brain’s primary function is to detect environmental stimuli, process that information, and adapt in order to minimize discomfort. Introducing manufactured substances into the bloodstream and central nervous system circumvents the body’s natural processes and relies on an over-simplification of the world’s most complex system.

Often medications are prescribed to treat symptoms rather than causes. Both the diagnosis and the drug regimen must be very precise to work accurately and successfully. Some drugs may have troubling side effects, some of which are serious and long term. In addition, drugs work only while they are taken; the effects cease after they are discontinued. The basic difference between medication and neurofeedback is that medication is chemical regulation, whereas neurofeedback trains the brain to self-regulate.

IMPORTANT: Although many people select Neurofeedback 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 and taking medication so that your medication level can be closely and professionally monitored.


9. How do I get started with Neurofeedback at Pivot Point?

A) If you are currently a client with PP, contact your Program Assistant and ask them about adding Neurofeedback to your current plan of care. The Program Assistant may want to meet with you to discuss pricing, scheduling, and your budget plans.

  • If you are using Autism Funding to pay for Neurofeedback, the child must be over 6 years old, a “Request to Pay Service Providers” form will need to be signed, and a “letter of recommendation” (LOR) is required from the Behavior Consultant or Program Supervisor assigned to your case. Once this has been approved by the Autism Funding Unit in Victoria sessions can begin.
  • If you are paying privately for Neurofeedback, your Program Assistant will discuss how to add this financial contribution to your existing budget so that everything runs smoothly. Your Program Assistant will also arrange for you to meet with one of our Neurofeedback Practitioners for a consultation.

B) If you are not currently a Pivot Point client, complete our Explore Mental Health form and one of our Counsellors will contact you and set up a free consultation meeting with you to discuss pricing and scheduling.

  • If you are using Autism Funding to pay for Neurofeedback, the child must be over 6 years old, a “Request to Pay Service Providers” form will need to be signed, and a “letter of recommendation” (LOR) is required from YOUR Behavior Consultant. If you do not have your own Behavior Consultant and require one from Pivot Point, this professional will need to get to know your child by meeting with you and conducting some assessments. They will need approximately 5 hours to conduct this work. Once the recommendation has been approved by the Autism Funding Unit in Victoria sessions can commence.
  • If you are paying privately for Neurofeedback, Pivot Point Head Office will arrange for you to meet with one of our Neurofeedback Practitioners for a consultation. Once started, you would receive invoices for any sessions received every two weeks.

 

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