FAQ – Neurofeedback
How long will it be before I notice results?
Most people notice change in the first one to five sessions. After that, it depends. If you start an exercise program, how long will it take to get in shape? It depends on your goal, where you’re starting from, and whether or not you have any injuries. The same is true for neurofeedback. Research shows that most people make significant and lasting change in 10 to 40 sessions, with mood problems like anxiety toward the lower end and attention problems like ADHD toward the higher.
How often do I need to meet?
Neurofeedback trains your brain to regulate itself, and frequency is important for any kind of training. Twice a week is ideal for most of my clients, but weekly sessions work well for many. If you are trying to solve a problem in a very limited time, you’ll want more sessions per week to move more quickly.
Does everyone improve?
Your brain is designed to learn, and neurofeedback is learning. Potentially anyone who can focus and attend to feedback can improve. In practice, studies show that about 80% of clients improve significantly, and it’s rare to see someone who doesn’t respond at all. Combining neurofeedback with counseling can increase its effectiveness.
Will the changes I make last?
If you stop after just a few sessions, probably not. But if you have enough sessions to allow your brain to really learn the new behavior, research shows that the effects last. Dr. Joel Lubar at the University of Tennessee has followed some clients for more than 10 years, and found that they maintained their gains.
A few conditions, such as age-related cognitive decline and peak performance do need follow up. Since you keep aging, you might want to to continue to counter the “aging” response with a few sessions every few months. And just as highly trained athletes need to work out constantly to maintain their peak condition, people who want to function at their peak need periodic “workouts” – a few sessions, a few times a year.
Does your equipment do anything to me?
No, the equipment does not send electricity or any other signal to your brain. Instead, the sensors monitor your brain’s activity, and sends back a signal to let you know when you change that activity. The sensor acts like a tiny stethoscope, or mirror, that helps you see and hear processes that are normally out of your awareness.
Can neurofeedback help if I’m already using medication?
Yes it can. Many people start neurofeedback while using medication, and many reduce or stop using the medications (with the support of their physician) over the course of neurofeedback training. I’m happy to collaborate with your doctor if this is something you want to do. However, it is best not to start neurofeedback when you’re also starting medication or changing dosages, or you won’t be able to tell which is actually working!
Is neurofeedback safe? Are there any side effects?
No studies have shown people getting worse over the long run using neurofeedback. In fact, most people feel more relaxed and alert after a session. The brain tends to move toward balance and equilibrium. However, some brains are more sensitive than others, and anything that can help can also potentially cause a problem. You might feel tired after a session, just as you might feel tired after a workout at a gym. Emotions might bubble up as your brain begins to process them. Or there might be a temporary response that is stronger. These effects fade as you get used to the process. A licensed and experienced practitioner can adjust the feedback to make changes to address these things, or look ahead and prevent them from happening altogether.
What is a neurofeedback session like?
The first session is 90 minutes long. We spend about half an hour talking about your goals and the changes you want, about half an hour collecting some basic EEG data, and half an hour doing neurofeedback. After that, we’ll design a plan that combines counseling and neurofeedback in a way that works best for you.
What else happens in a session besides neurofeedback?
That depends on what you’re comfortable with and what kinds of changes you want to make. If it feels right, we might spend a session talking, or using cognitive therapy to work on a phobia. We might use hypnosis to help you get to a deeply relaxed and creative state. We might strategize and problem solve about how to stay organized at work or home. Or we might work with imagery or dreams to get through emotional blocks. I’ve been working with people since 1987, so I have a lot of tools – we’ll use the ones that fit your situation best.
How do I know what to do to get the feedback?
The best approach is to be curious. You might try to focus, or let your mind wander. With some experience, you will get a sense of what it takes to bring yourself into the “zone” where you feel calm, focused, and alert…or deeply relaxed. When that happens, you will get better at reproducing that state even when you’re not getting feedback.
If you want to improve your focus, energy, and productivity…
…contact me to schedule a no-cost 10-minute consultation or set up an appointment.
- Call 510.277.0456
- Email Pat@LaDouceurMFT.com
- Text 510.684.2975.
- Or just click the button below to schedule a time that works
Or you can learn more about me here.