Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is Neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback, has been studied and practiced since the late 60’s.   It is exercise for your brain; allowing you to see the frequencies produced by different parts of your brain in real-time and then through visual and auditory feedback, teaches the brain to better regulate itself.  Neurofeedback can be used to help detect, stimulate, and/or inhibit activity in the brain safely and without medication.  It can help restore a wider “range of motion” in brain states, much like physical therapy does for the body.

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How does a “beep” or sound train my brain to work better?

The auditory or sound reward that corresponds to an increase or decrease in desired brainwave activity affects the brain on a neurological level. Auditory reward stimulates auditory pathways, impacts the vestibular system, and has many connections to the reticular activating system, which modulates wakefulness and attention. These systems operate in our brains without conscious effort. Therefore, neurofeedback teaches your brain through automated learning with little or no behavioral effort. Another way to say this is that neurofeedback involves operant conditioning or learning. This type of learning teaches us through a reinforced reward system. The auditory reward (beep) is delivered on a schedule of reinforcement that promotes optimal learning; not too hard and not too easy. This schedule of reinforcement or reward provides just the right amount of resistance to evoke a positive learning pattern. The goal of this learning is not to force your brain into a different state, but rather to teach your brain how to shift states. Learning to shift states in a controlled setting allows your brain to “practice” shifting in appropriate, “life” settings. Your brain won’t be great at this right away, it takes practice and time.

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How do I know if it’s working?

As the brain learns, you will see the changes.  However, everyone learns at different speeds, so it cannot be determined how quickly someone will learn.  On average, children take about 10-20 sessions to see changes and we can discuss what to expect during the intake appointment.  For adults, changes are usually noticed within 10 sessions.  Total treatment is an average of 40 sessions however, we individualize treatment – some people need more and some less. 

As mentioned before, the goal of Neurofeedback is to achieve balance and flexibility so recognizing that it is working can be a challenge.  First, as no two brains are alike, no two people have the same experience with Neurofeedback or learn at the same speed.  Second, setting up treatment goals can also vary from person to person and as you are unable to control how fast your brain changes, so first you must learn how to observe.  This ability to observe can be quite challenging for some people.  Up to this point in life, your brain hasn’t been behaving the way you would like it to.  So, observing changes requires a bit of practice.  We will be discussing your experience with you when you come in for each session.  And third, you’re going to be looking for an absence of symptoms.  Looking for something to “not” be there definitely requires reflection rather than observance.  We’ll teach you how to look back at the end of an event, day, month, and even couple of months, to see if you notice things are different.  And most importantly, we listen to you telling us how you “feel”.

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Are there numbers I can see or a test to show progress?

Neurofeedback measures brain waves in several different ways.  It measures the frequency of neuron firing in HERTZ and the size of the signal or amplitude in MICROVOLTS; it can also measure coherence or connectivity of the waves in SYNCRONY.  There are several quantitative measures of dysregulation that we correlate to symptoms.  However, you’re not coming in for quantitative relief, you’re seeking treatment for symptom relief.  

There are different Neurofeedback systems available for a practitioner to use and new ones continue to be developed.  New systems claim to teach the brain more efficiently, therefore producing faster results.  Unfortunately, we cannot control how fast the brain learns and we end up back to the same situation of “as no two brains are alike, no two brains learn at the same speed”.  There are tests for functioning that may be done at the onset of treatment, if needed or desired.  Tests for levels of processing functioning, attentional functioning, behavioral functioning, mood functioning, and more may be administered to provide the client with a baseline.  However, regardless of the outcome of these tests, or regardless of the printout from a Neurofeedback session, results only count if they are observable. 

A QEEG (Quantitative EEG) can be performed at any point during treatment to identify dysregulated brain patterns and some practitioners will perform a second or third throughout treatment to quantify progress.   Analytical measures are available however, we caution our clients on the misinterpretation of these measures and instead want them to focus on how they are “feeling”.

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What is an example of improvements I may see?

At our center, our goal is to teach you how to tune into your own functioning.  With children, we also teach the parents how to look at overall functioning rather than piecing together events or moments.  We help you open your mind to possibilities with Neurofeedback rather than give too many examples that confuse the process or feel like a placebo.   Changes you may experience or observe after a session are indicative of a learning process that will lead to improved functioning. 

Examples of those positive changes may be:

  • Sleep patterns/quality of sleep
  • Energy levels, calmer or more activated
  • Ability to focus or concentrate
  • Physical symptoms such as pain, headaches, migraines, tics, balance issues
  • Mood or emotions
  • Motivation and organization
  • Feelings of Well Being
  • Obsessive behaviors or thoughts
  • Memory/cognitions
  • Anxiety patterns or trauma patterns
  • Coping
  • Regulation
  • Learning, communicating, and/or performance

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How many sessions are needed to begin seeing results?

As the brain learns, you will see the changes.  However, everyone learns at different speeds, so it cannot be determined how quickly someone will learn.  On average, children take about 10-20 sessions to see changes and we can discuss what to expect during the intake appointment.  For adults, changes are usually noticed within 10 sessions.  Total treatment is an average of 40 sessions however, we individualize treatment – some people need more and some less.

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What types of conditions does neurofeedback help?

Symptoms of these conditions, among others, can improve through neurofeedback training:

  • ADD/ADHD
  • Addiction / Eating Disorders
  • Anger / Rages / Mood Swings
  • Anxiety
  • Auditory/Visual Processing
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder/Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Chronic Pain/Fibromyalgia
  • Cognitive Decline/Memory
  • Concussion / Traumatic Brain Injury / Stroke
  • Depression
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Migraines/Headaches
  • Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder
  • Oppositional Defiant / Behavioral Disorders
  • Peak Performance
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder
  • Seizure Disorders
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Sleep Disorders / Insomnia
  • Tourette’s Syndrome / Tic Disorders

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Can I do Neurofeedback and take medication?

As your brain begins to work more efficiently, medications also work better.  For those who cannot take or are only marginally responsive to medication, neurofeedback can offer an alternative or supportive role to drug therapy by stimulating or inhibiting brain activity at the same basic neurological level as medication.  Eventually with training, many people find they are able to reduce the dosages or cease taking some prescription drugs, but only after careful consultation and planning with the prescribing physician.  For this reason, neurofeedback practitioners advocate consistent communication between clients and their physicians during training and encourage discussion of their neurofeedback experience with therapists and doctors so accommodations can be made as training progresses.

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What is a QEEG or brain map and do I need one?

The QEEG is a quantitative EEG.  It’s also called a brain map and does just that…it gives us a map of what is going on with the entire brain at one time.  We attach electrodes to the whole head, 19 spots, and then record the brain waves with eyes open for 5 minutes and with eyes closed for 10 minutes.  This recording is then sent to Advanced Psychological Services in North Carolina to be read and analyzed.  They not only give us a summary of significant findings, but the report also shows the results of analyzing the data several different ways.  The brain activity is not only compared spot by spot over the entire head, but we can also look at connections, symmetry, how different parts are communicating and all of this data is compared to a database of peers (same sex, handedness and age).  It can help us see what areas need to be addressed more efficiently than just training spot by spot. 

We don’t always need this data to make improvements in your symptoms, but we do recommend it in certain situations. A QEEG can also be helpful information when diagnosing and/or trying to decide the best medication/supplement recommendations.

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Is there enough research?

Neurofeedback has been researched since the 60’s.  Here are some resources for research.  We have several journal articles, studies and books in our office for you to enjoy, however because of the amount of information out there, we cannot possibly have everything.  Here’s a few resources.

Look up the work of:

  • Dr. Joe Kamiya and Dr. Barry Sterman (Credited for earliest development of Neurofeedback)

Look for specific researched conditions:

Print Resources:

  • Journal of Neurotherapy
  • Neuroregulation
  • Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
  • A Symphony in the Brain: The Evolution of the New Brain Wave Biofeedback (Curtain Up) Paperback – 31 May 2001 by Jim Robbins
  • The Healing Power of Neurofeedback: The Revolutionary Lens Technique for Restoring Optimal Brain Function Paperback – 1 Mar 2006 by Stephen Larsen
  • Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: Calming the Fear-Driven Brain Hardcover – 13 May 2014 by Sebern Fisher
  • Healing Young Brains: The Neurofeedback Solution Paperback – 15 May 2009 by Robert W. Hill, Eduardo Castro

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How much does it cost?  Is insurance accepted?

We charge $295 for an intake appointment that includes a clinical interview and 2 neurofeedback sessions.  The intake takes about an hour and a half.  Typically, at the intake, we not only gather information about your brain and how it is working or not working for you, but we can also determine a treatment plan, frequency of sessions, determine if further testing or brain mapping is needed and explain how neurofeedback works. 

From then on, sessions are $95 each, however, our office works with you to provide discounts and ways to reduce that price.  As for insurance, we can bill Cigna directly, but are out-of-network with all others.  As a courtesy we can send a claim to your insurance to see if they will cover and then we can reimburse up to what you paid out-of-pocket.

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Do you offer in-person or telehealth appointments?

We offer in-person appointments only. We believe neurofeedback is best done in-person to give you the best possible treatment.

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