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Neurofeedback

This specialized form of treatment is a form of biofeedback. Biofeedback uses monitoring instruments attached to the body to "feed back" to people information on the functioning of their bodies. In a very simple way, taking your temperature with a thermometer is a form of biofeedback. The thermometer gives you information about your body that you would not ordinarily know. It has been scientifically established that, once people have more detailed access to information on what their bodies are doing, they are able to learn to alter that function.

This is an important skill, as there are certain body states that are incompatible with conditions like ADD (attention deficit disorder), anxiety and depression – leading us instead into positive state of being such as focus, relaxation and happiness.

Neurofeedback is biofeedback using EEG or brain electrical activity as the target for change. When it comes to EEG, there really is a “normal” pattern of activity for a person’s gender and age. The way that a given person’s “EEG signature” may be different from normal will match his or her symptoms. For example, there are a number of different brain signatures (or patterns of EEG activity) for depression, anxiety and ADD. The assessment that compares an individual’s EEG patterns to normal is called a quantitative electroencephalogram, or qEEG. The results of the qEEG will tell your psychologist what form of neurofeedback therapy will benefit you.

Neurofeedback involves reading the electroencephalographic (EEG - brain electrical activity) signals from the surface of the scalp. Once people become aware of the subtle variations in their brain activity, they can be trained to change them toward a pattern of activity that is more optimal. Again, if an individual's pattern of brain activity deviates from usual, the result can be anxiety, depression, attention problems, difficulty with emotional control, sleep difficulty, or a multitude of other problems. Neurofeedback is a drug-free way to help people return to a more optimal level of function.

Your Brain and Neurofeedback

For more detailed information, please read Your Brain and Neurofeedback by Dr. Dana McDougall, Ph.D., Registered Psychologist (pdf document)

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