Point of View


Point of View

The Rise of Neurofeedback

November/December 2017


While technology continues to transform almost every profession, even rendering many of them obsolete, the practice of psychotherapy has remained largely untouched by hi-tech equipment. Sure, most therapists these days have their websites and spend more time than ever communicating with clients via digital devices. But if you were to go into their therapy offices, you’d see little evidence that much has evolved beyond the conversational exchange that’s been our field’s hallmark since the days of Freud—except, of course, if you were to visit a therapist who provides neurofeedback.

Neurofeedback was first developed almost 60 years ago to help people control epileptic seizures by learning to regulate their brainwave activity. Since then it’s developed into a technology that helps clients change their brainwave frequency as a way to reduce symptoms ranging from anxiety, phobias, and depression to personality disorders and PTSD. Prominent among neurofeedback’s advocates has been trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score, who’s tried to shine a spotlight onto the growing evidence of its therapeutic potency. Commenting on neurofeedback’s effectiveness with a group of traumatized children, he said in a recent workshop, “I was blown away by their development. There’s nothing I know that can do that. When you see something like that, you pay attention.”

Since the 1990s, psychotherapist Sebern Fisher has been a pioneer in bringing…

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