In Consultation


The Case for Neurofeedback: Rewiring the brain in the consulting room

May/June 2014


Q: I’ve heard that research is beginning to show that neurofeedback can be effective in treating trauma. How does it work?

A: Neurofeedback was first developed almost 60 years ago to help patients control epileptic seizures by learning to regulate their brain activity. In addition to seizures, mainstream neuroscience is now showing us that a wide variety of psychological disorders and severe emotional turmoil can be understood as firing mistakes in the electrical activity of the brain. Neurofeedback has developed into an increasingly sophisticated technology, which can teach people to make changes in their brain’s activity to eliminate symptoms of conditions including bipolar disorder, attention disorders, anxiety and phobia disorders, depression, autism spectrum disorders, personality disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Wave frequencies in the brain underlie every thought and feeling we have, as well as the behaviors they give rise to. Typically, for example, when we make more alpha waves (the frequency of 8–11 Hz), we feel more relaxed and, with time and training, can learn to spend more time in relaxation states as our default mode of brain activity. If someone with attention deficit disorder needs to pay better attention, they can learn to make more beta waves (15–18 Hz) and get better at maintaining focus. Simply put, the neurofeedback practitioner—ideally also a psychotherapist—assesses the…

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3 Comments

Sunday, July 6, 2014 12:47:45 AM | posted by jeffrey von glahn
This piece starts with the claim that neurofeedback can "eliminate symptoms of...bipolar disorder, attention disorders, anxiety and phobia disorders, depression, autism spectrum disorders, personality disorders, and...PTSD." It ends with, "neurofeedback...helps... clients learn to regulate their affect." There's a huge difference between the two claims. The latter result is the default claim of all methods of treatment. Is there research evidence for the first claim? It would, indeed, be a first for any method of treatment.

Monday, February 23, 2015 11:46:10 AM | posted by Barbara J. Slater DeSpain MSW LCSW
This cutting edge approach to psychotherapy allows the clinician leeway to heal misfirings of ones own brain which can impede healings of those coming in for help.

Monday, February 23, 2015 11:50:59 AM | posted by Barbara Slater DeSpain MSW LCSW
I have been practicing psychotherapy for over 35 years and I really do pay more attention to personal experiences of healing reported than to any clinical research I've read. What do others say?

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