How to Retrain Your Brain with Neurofeedback
What is your brain telling you?! Join Wana + Tim Norman to learn more about Neurofeedback and brain retraining
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and what led you to what you do today.
I moved to New York City after completing my Masters of Education and started working as a public school teacher in the south Bronx. After 6 years of enjoying the many conversations with my students before/after school, I decided to return to college and become a child psychologist in private practice. Now, for over 10 years, I have specialized in ADHD diagnosis and treatment. After watching the negative effects of ADHD medication on children, I sought out a better treatment option. My search ended once I found Neurofeedback, which has been found to be as effective as medication to treat ADHD — with no side effects. Today, I run the ATTN Center in NYC for children and adults with ADHD, utilizing a combination of psychotherapy and Neurofeedback.
2. What is Neurofeedback? How does it work and what is the science behind it?
Neurofeedback is Biofeedback for the brain. It is a simple process to experience, but difficult to explain. After application of several electrode sensors to the scalp, the patient passively watches a movie on a TV screen while the treatment - an advanced computer program, with reward criteria set by the clinician - uses the patients EEG brainwaves to “re-train” the brain.
The program uses two methodologies.
- Visual feedback - the program will repeatedly dim and brighten the TV screen
- Audio feedback - low sounds emitted from the computer play in the background.
The visual and audio cues are both based on the patient's EEG readings. By feeding the brain’s own information to itself through the mechanism of operant conditioning, we can help regulate the body‘s autonomic nervous system.
3. What are the benefits of Neurofeedback? Who is/is not a good candidate for Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback replicates the parasympathetic response of the nervous system, commonly known as the state of “rest and digest”. This is when healing takes place in the body. Over time, thanks to brain plasticity, the brain can heal itself through Neurofeedback, with the ability to regulate many of the body‘s systems, including respiratory, endocrine, digestive, etc.
Among the most common successes with Neurofeedback are the treatment of seizures, ADHD, sleep disorders, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. The US military has had success using Neurofeedback to treat PTSD. There are essentially no side effects from Neurofeedback, because it conditions the brain in very small increments, slowly over time. It is a very safe, non-invasive treatment. Everyone can try Neurofeedback, and most (80-85%) can expect to see improvements of symptoms, with only about 15-20% of patients reporting no change in symptoms.
4. Top tips for starting Neurofeedback (or similar therapies).
- My advice to get started with Neurofeedback is to research online. You can watch videos from experts to see how the process works and what to expect from your sessions.
- Also consider that this treatment is a long-term investment of money and time, with treatments 2x - 3x every week for best results. Most people receive approximately 30-50 treatment sessions total, but each case is unique and treatment will depend on the patient’s specificities. Patients with ASD can often take up to 100 sessions before completing treatment.
- It is also important to find a Neurofeedback practitioner you feel safe and comfortable with, just like you would when finding a new therapist. Neurofeedback is a long journey, so consider calling around until you find a practitioner you feel is the best fit for you.
5. What do you think most stands in the way of healing?
In my opinion, what most stands in the way of healing is access to proper treatments and a lack of preventative care. Without a universal healthcare system, and without accessible research for alternative treatments and therapies, most of us are left without the knowledge and means to receive the treatments we would benefit from most.
About the Tim Norman
Tim Norman (LCSW, M.Ed) is the Clinical Director and CEO of the ATTN Center in New York City.
Offering Psychotherapy and Neurofeedback, the ATTN Center specializes in treating ADHD, PTSD, depression, and anxiety with children and adults. Because every individual is different, they employ a diverse group of therapists ready to meet your unique needs.
Wana does not directly support any claims made within this content. These are the views of the individual/organization represented.