Make an Appointment: [email protected] | (530) 388-8707

  • Reduce Anxiety with Neurofeedback Part 2

    Neurofeedback Coordinating Care

    When faced with a complex individual, I refer people to a respected and experienced licensed clinician who is Board Certified in both QEEG and neurofeedback. Dr. John Finnick conducts the QEEG, evaluates the findings, and reports the results back to me.   Although I often refer people to him and I greatly appreciate his work, Dr. Finnick and I are not partners and I do not receive any money for the referral. His fees are entirely his own and are reasonable compared to the cost in other areas.

    Similarly, for those patients whom I believe would benefit from medication or who need a neurological workup, I refer people to Dr. David Foster in Auburn. He is licensed as both a neurologist and a psychiatrist and he has many years of experience in interpreting QEEGs and using neurofeedback. Despite the popularity of neurofeedback, not all neurologists are familiar with its assessment and treatment. I am fortunate to have such an experienced and respected clinician in the area. Despite my respect for his work, Dr. Foster and I are not partners and his fees are his own.

    Nevertheless, the findings of the QEEG and the further evaluation of complex cases greatly enhances the work I do. It is especially helpful with patients who have a long, complicated history of problems that led to their current request for treatment.

    Neurofeedback Treatment Planning

    Once the assessment has been conducted and the findings analyzed, the patient comes in for a detailed discussion of the results. This is an opportunity for us to go over the specific findings and for the patient to ask any questions they may have. This conversation is very technical and can take longer than an hour’s appointment. Neurofeedback is an individualized treatment process that attempts to target the idiosyncrasies of each person’s unique condition. The assessment findings are used to develop a distinctive treatment protocol that targets the individual. This provides a unique opportunity for treatment success.

    During this meeting, we identify specific behavioral concerns and these become the target treatment goals for neurofeedback. We discuss individual neurofeedback sessions paid for at a specific rate, as well as the option of treatment packages that reduce the price per session. We identify a realistic expectation regarding length of treatment and also determine the initial frequency of visits, usually twice per week for a period of time. Once these decisions are made, we schedule the first neurofeedback session.

    Neurofeedback Training

    Neurofeedback sessions consist of an initial discussion of any major events or noticeable changes since the last session, the current state of the identified treatment goals, as well as any new concerns that may have come up. Any related changes of neurofeedback protocols are discussed and then the neurofeedback training begins. Neurofeedback training itself usually consists of 15 to 30 minutes per session. During initial sessions, the actual neurofeedback training time may be for shorter periods to ensure that the patient’s nervous system easily adapts to the training demands.

    Most conditions can be successfully treated in an average of 20 to 50 neurofeedback sessions. The frequency of training is gradually reduced as the end of treatment approaches. Some patients like to come back on a bi-weekly or monthly basis near the end of treatment to ensure that the desired effect lasts for increasingly longer periods of time.

    Neurofeedback and Anxiety

    For anxious people, their over-stimulated and dysregulated brains can often be shifted into a lower or more relaxed state through the use of neurofeedback. Once a person is calmer, their brain can move from self-protection mode in overdrive back to problem solving or even a healing mode. Disrupting the over-aroused anxious brain state and helping it return to a more regulated one can result in a much more functional brain. Neurofeedback often facilitates this brain shift.

    Case Study

    A good example of neurofeedback and its affect on anxiety relates to a woman named Kathy (not her real name) who came in for treatment because she couldn’t sleep. She rarely got more than 2 or 3 hours of sleep per night. She was beginning to fall apart. She was irritable and gaining weight. She couldn’t focus or maintain her thoughts during a conversation. She did complex paperwork for a career and her sleep deprivation was interfering with her job performance. After conducting a mini-assessment and looking at the 5 associated sites, it was clear what the problem was. Her tension and anxiety were through the roof! We began a straightforward anxiety reducing protocol and she slept well after the first night. She was impressed, but even then she needed training, not simply a one-time session. Although her brain responded to the first session, she didn’t know how to remain in that state. Her sleeplessness quickly returned and she came back for more neurofeedback. By the end of 10 sessions, the improved sleep results were lasting for a week. She was sleeping better than she remembered in years. She did 5 more sessions with gradually less frequent visits and felt as if she reached her goal. She hasn’t been back and that was 5 years ago.

    Neurofeedback doesn’t always work this well, but if you are experiencing anxiety that is interfering with your life, your relationships, or your ability to function, why not give it a try?

    Call me at 530/388-8707 or email me at [email protected] to discuss how neurofeedback could work for you.