Do you have trouble focusing on a specific task? Does your mind wander off into tangents? Perhaps you forget information quickly and need to reread a line a few times before it sticks.
Maybe you want to try therapy but aren’t keen on traditional approaches such as psychodynamics or talk therapy.
If you’re curious if any other treatments can help, Neurofeedback may be the therapy for you.
BetterHelp has hundreds of licensed professionals who practice neurofeedback therapy and many other therapies. For more information about Neurofeedback, click the link below.
Before we dive into its benefits, we first need to break down what neurofeedback therapy is and how it can help.
What is Neurofeedback Therapy?
Neurofeedback therapy is a type of therapy that tracks brain function and uses stimuli to retrain itself to achieve more favorable circumstances.
Therapists use EEGs or electroencephalograms to track the brain’s electrical activity. Patients will watch something on a computer screen like a movie or music video while the EEG is strapped to their head and reads their brain’s activity.
As it detects your electrical activity in real-time, the therapist will note patterns that show up and create a system to encourage or discourage these brain waves associated with an unfavorable emotion.
Neurofeedback is centralized on two principles regarding the brain.
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to adapt and rewire itself. Whenever you’re learning a new skill or subject, neuroplasticity explains the brain’s ability to retain further information and create new neural connections.
Have you ever tried to play the guitar or attempted to learn a new sport? If you have some transferable skills, like playing another instrument, or are already athletic, you may have an advantage. But if you’re starting from zero, chances are you will struggle during the first few weeks or months to learn.
At one point, you may reach an ‘aha’ moment where the repetitive movements or practice starts to make sense. Your brain has made new neural pathways and the electrical impulses that tell you how to play a G chord, for example, travel faster.
The second principle is operant conditioning. This principle states that consequences can reinforce or weaken behaviors with rewards and punishments.
An excellent example of this is training your dog to stop barking. Whenever your dog barks, you scold them to discourage barking and give them treats to reward their silence. Using rewards and punishments, dogs exhibit operant conditioning by adjusting their behavior to receive treats and avoid scoldings.
Let’s take these principles and apply them to how Neurofeedback Therapy works.
A person who wants to improve their focus will work with the therapist to discuss their needs. The therapist will then track the electrical signals associated with focus while the patient watches a movie.
When the patient loses focus, the screen’s image will fade or alter itself. In theory, the brain will adjust its brain waves until the picture is vivid again. Clear images are rewards for the brain to correct itself.
To sum up, neurofeedback therapy is like Pavlov’s dogs but for the human brain. The treatment involves live feedback of your brain activity, and its activity is either rewarded or punished with visual stimuli. This technique helps the brain adjust itself unconsciously to receive the reward.
Does Neurofeedback Therapy work?
The verdict is still out.
Many people have claimed neurofeedback changed their life. The cause may or may not be neurofeedback therapy, as the placebo effect has also affected study findings.
The good news is that neurofeedback therapy does not have known side effects and is generally safe for everyone.
Who does Neurofeedback Therapy help?
Neurofeedback therapy can help people with \physical symptoms caused by emotional and psychological issues. Studies show that neurofeedback therapy has helped patients with the following disorders:
- Learning disabilities
- Sleep disorders
Neurofeedback isn’t just for people with disabilities or disorders. The therapy can also help athletes, artists, business people, and even students. Many people can benefit from neurofeedback therapy who are otherwise without any major disorder or disability.
Neurofeedback is fitness for your brain. In theory, everyone can benefit from neurofeedback therapy in some way.
Benefits of Neurofeedback Therapy
Neurofeedback therapy has many benefits that can lead to lasting change. Here are some of the benefits below
Reduces symptoms of Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, and others
Neurofeedback therapy has shown to dampen symptoms associated with anxiety-based disorders. People who have PTSD can also use neurofeedback therapy as an added therapy paired with EMDR or talk therapy.
Neurofeedback Therapy has been shown to help patients with attention deficit disorder by helping the brain retrain itself to improve the neural pathways associated with concentration and focus.
This therapy also helps people with ADHD and students or employees who feel their attention weakens throughout the day.
Increased Mental Endurance
Patients can also develop their mental endurance and resilience to work better under stressful circumstances and deliver better results and focus. Whether they’re in the workforce, school, or in their art, mental endurance can give patients an edge in their field.
Regulates Sleep Patterns
Irregular sleep patterns like insomnia or sleep apnea may result from anxiety. Neurofeedback therapy may help rid stress and allow the brain to reprogram itself to promote better sleep patterns.
If you think you can benefit from Neurofeedback therapy, consult with a licensed therapist today to see if this therapy is a good fit for you.