Imagine seeing exactly how your brain responds to stimuli in real-time.
Neurofeedback offers a biological approach to changing the way you respond to triggers and stress.
How Neurofeedback Works
Neurofeedback shows individuals and their therapists real-time images of brain waves.
Observing how the activity in the brain changes based on positive or negative feedback allows you to gain control of stress responses you might have thought weren’t in your control. EEG software reads your brainwaves and then provides audio and visual feedback so your brain can better understand how it is functioning.
Neurofeedback therapy can be used to treat:
- Many other cognitive and behavioral disorders
Neurofeedback is associated with dramatic positive real-life outcomes. In the context of substance abuse, studies have shown that more sessions of neurofeedback therapy lead to considerably fewer overdose deaths. Allowing people to see the visual representation of their emotions and reactions significantly increases the success rate for many different recovery programs.
The Benefits of Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback offers a perspective on mental health that most people may not have seen before. When you see what your brain waves look like during positive stimuli, you can learn to match those brain waves when negative stimuli are presented. Essentially, you can train your brain to respond how you want it to.
It Connects Physical and Emotional Responses
Sometimes, we just need to put a name or a reason to the feelings we have. Neurofeedback is a tool to understand ourselves better.
It Harmonizes Brain Activities
Everyone has an optimal range of brain activity where we aren’t over- or under-stimulated. Neurofeedback helps you find that optimal range, even when presented with a trigger.
Though neurofeedback therapy measures brain activity, it’s not an invasive procedure. Small electrodes are placed on your head that measure electricity from your brain. It’s done in a safe, relaxing room where most other therapy sessions take place.
It’s an Effective Trauma Treatment
For those who have experienced trauma, certain triggers set off the fight, flight, or freeze response. Neurofeedback therapy helps you consciously change your response to these triggers.
What We Treat
If you are struggling with your mental health, substance abuse, or both, we are here to help you regain control over your life. Our 30-day inpatient program is designed to treat a wide variety of mental, behavioral, and co-occurring disorders in a comfortable setting.
Mental Health Diagnoses
We diagnose and treat many mental health disorders, including trauma effects, dual diagnosis, depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and codependency.
Substance use disorders we treat include addiction to alcohol, opiates, fentanyl and prescription opioids, methamphetamine and other stimulants, benzodiazepines, cannabis, and other psychoactive substances.
Other Behavioral Health Concerns
A mental health crisis can be layered and confusing. If you don’t see your disorder listed—or don’t know exactly why you are struggling—reach out to us to see how we can help. We treat everyone at Sequoia on a personal level, and we’re ready to help you overcome whatever you may be facing.
Ready to Start Your Healing Journey?
Our experienced, compassionate team is here for you. Reach out to us today by calling us or scheduling a conversation at a time that works for you. All information will be kept private and confidential.
Neurofeedback: What Is It and How Does It Help?
The human brain is an incredibly complex organ, and there is still so much for us to learn about it. Just as we continue to learn about the brain, the brain continues to learn and adapt with new information, experiences, and environments.
Neuroplasticity is what allows the brain to evolve and create new neural pathways, and it is this ability of the brain that has led to the positive outcomes of neurofeedback therapy.
What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a non-invasive therapy method that uses real-time biofeedback to train the brain to biologically change the way it functions and responds to certain stimuli. Neurofeedback therapy helps harmonize brainwaves and encourages healthy development of the brain’s activity patterns and functions.
The way you think, talk, walk, feel, and everything else you do both consciously and unconsciously, is controlled by electrical impulses, or brain waves.
Biofeedback is a technique used to teach patients to voluntarily control processes they previously thought to be involuntary. It’s a mind-body process that uses different equipment to access information about physiological functions, such as blood pressure and heart rate, when a patient is exposed to certain stimuli.
Patients visually see how their body reacts to certain triggers so they can then practice changing these reactions and learn how to self-regulate.
Neurofeedback, also known as EEG (electroencephalogram) biofeedback, is a form of biofeedback that focuses exclusively on brain function, rather than all physiology.
The way you think, talk, walk, feel, and everything else you do both consciously and unconsciously, is controlled by electrical impulses, or brain waves. These brain waves are different frequencies, depending on the action or reaction you’re experiencing.
Through biofeedback, we can see these brain waves in action. When the patient is calm and relaxed, they observe what that looks like on the EEG. The therapist will then introduce stimuli meant to trigger symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other mental health and behavioral disorders. When that stimuli is introduced, the patient can see how those brain waves change.
Seeing the visualization of the reactions in our brain helps us learn to control those reactions. Neurotherapy can help patients control their reactions, and bring their brain back to baseline.
Using Biofeedback to Change Our Behavior
The way your brain reacts to certain stimuli can be changed through neurofeedback. Your brain is a muscle with muscle memory, just like any other muscle in your body.
When you practice any skill repeatedly, you get to the point that you can perform that skill the same way over and over again without any conscious thought. Think about those things you “never forget” once you learn, such as riding a bike, or even something as simple as walking.
For example, someone might turn their feet in when they walk that causes them pain in their ankles. Through training and repetition, they can learn to straighten out their gait.
The same can happen in the brain. It already has neural pathways that lead us to do things or think a certain way. However, with training and practice, the brain can create new synapses and neural pathways that change the way we do things or think and feel.
Neurofeedback presents a visual or auditory representation of our brain working in real time.
Conditioning the Brain Just Like the Body
Athletes sometimes record themselves performing a skill so they can go back to visually see what they are doing right or wrong. It’s the same reason dance studios are full of mirrors.
Neurofeedback does the same thing but for the brain in real time. While a patient is being exposed to certain visual and auditory cues, neurofeedback measures their brain activity. Those visual and auditory cues are altered by coaching people into getting the desired brain response.
With training and practice, the brain can create new synapses and neural pathways that change the way we do things or think and feel.
The changing stimuli is a form of operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is a method that uses positive and negative reinforcement to obtain a desired outcome. It creates a connection between particular behaviors and a reward or a consequence.
Who Can Neurofeedback Benefit?
While some information about neurofeedback therapy is still unknown, it has many positive outcomes and a lot of potential in a field that is in desperate need of successful treatments. A variety of mental, behavioral, and cognitive disorders can be treated using neurofeedback therapy, either alone or in conjunction with other therapies, to improve mood, focus, and brain function.
Neurotherapy can be helpful in treating disorders such as ADHD, depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, sleep disorders, developmental delays, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injuries.
Neurofeedback is essentially rewiring your brain to think and respond in a healthier manner. Therefore, the potential is limitless, and neurofeedback therapy could be used for both major and minor changes people wish to see.
What’s Like to be in a Neurofeedback Session?
Neurofeedback therapy will generally take place in a room with a relaxing atmosphere and no distractions in order to make the patient as comfortable as possible.
Once the patient is ready, the therapist will put on a helmet, cap, or headband attached to electrodes that register the patient’s brainwaves.
The stimuli can be presented in a passive or active way. The patient may sit or lay down and simply be exposed to visual or auditory stimuli. Or they may be asked to engage in an activity on a monitor, similar to playing a video game.
Like most forms of therapy, neurofeedback is individualized, and varies based on what issue the patient needs to address. The diagnosis or end goal will dictate which type of brain waves are being targeted.
Seeing the Reaction
The electrodes gather information about the patient’s brain waves, in a process called brain mapping. The therapist and patient can see these brain waves in real time. The biofeedback will change depending on the frequency of the brain waves. The live biofeedback is how the brain activity is “shown” to the patient.
For example, visual feedback may fade in color with an undesirable reaction and brighten in color with a desirable reaction. With repetition, this encourages the brain to respond to a trigger with the desired reaction or emotion.
Controlling the Reaction
This causes the brain to learn how to control its unconscious response to stimuli. Patients repeat the process as often as is necessary. One session typically lasts 30-60 minutes, and patients usually see results after several sessions. But once again, everyone responds to neurofeedback therapy differently. One person might need longer or more frequent therapy sessions than someone else.
Different mental, mood, behavioral, and cognitive disorders might affect multiple brainwaves. Neurofeedback helps the brain learn to harmonize brain waves by bringing the abnormal ones back to a normal rhythm.
Just as athletes train for a competition, patients train for triggering situations or begin to feel dark emotions.
Neurofeedback at Sequoia Behavioral Health
Here at Sequoia Behavioral Health, we have created a comfortable environment with experienced and caring professionals who treat a variety of mental, behavioral, or dual-diagnosis disorders. We provide a 30-day inpatient program for people struggling with substance abuse and mental health with a wide variety of integrated therapies, including neurofeedback. Reach out today to get more information for yourself or your loved one.