Does Neurofeedback Really Work? And How Can I Tell?

By Renee Chillcott, LMHC

Does Neurofeedback Really Work? And How Can I Tell?We are frequently asked to explain Neurofeedback and then to show the results of training.  This isn’t the easiest task for us to master and I am writing this article to attempt to explain why.  The easiest way for me to relate information is through anecdotal metaphors so here it goes:

My father, at the request of my mother, goes to the doctor and they run bloodwork. The results revealed elevated PSA levels.  Prostate cancer was indicated, however, it was at a very early stage, so the Doctor advised my father to “get healthy” and come back in 6 months.

“Get Healthy” is a very broad term that is heard every day and you are supposed to know what it means.  But what exactly does it mean?  Does it mean just lower PSA count? Or a lower weight on the scale?  What in the world does HEALTHY mean?

What his Doctor didn’t explain more clearly is that there is no one value for “healthy” and that it means different things for different people.  What we measure in body can fluctuate and change from day to day and should be used as a guide rather than being taken literally.  Mental health is no different.

Neurofeedback works to make your brain “healthier” the same way that diet and exercise work to make your body “healthier”.  It’s difficult to put a number to health as it is a “STATE” rather than a goal.  The state of being physically healthy or mentally healthy means several systems working together in a positive harmony.

When you’re working to achieve physical health, the results can be difficult to quantify.  You may see some numbers change, however, the most significant indication that you are getting healthy is by how you “feel”.
If you feel healthy, you are healthy.  If you don’t feel better, you seek out another avenue or treatment.  Feeling better is the ultimate goal.