twitter facebook Google+ LinkedIn

Neurofeedback – What to Expect

NeurOptimal NeurofeedbackI’m going to do my best to give you a sense of what to expect during your neurofeedback training. You’re also welcome to call me at 212-877-6923 or email with questions.

Your first neurofeedback appointment

When you come for your first neurofeedback session, the first thing I’ll do is ask you what you’d like to have happen. I’ll also ask you a lot of questions so that we both have a clear understanding of what you want to see change. Usually in the course of this interview, we discover at least a few and sometimes several more possibilities for what might change in addition to the list you came in with.

For those of you who have come across an assessment process known as qEEG (quantitative electroencephalogram) that is often used with neurofeedback, there is no need for this tool when using NeurOptimal®. That’s a substantial cost savings for you. The qEEG is used to establish protocols for training. With NeurOptimal® your CNS (central nervous system) will be using the training in the way that is intrinsically right for you. There’s no guesswork involved.

We’ll also address any questions you have about neurofeedback and the process.

The neurofeedback training itself

Next, we’ll do our first neurofeedback training. You’ll be sitting in a comfortable chair with small sensors attached to your head with a water soluble conductive paste. There will be two sensors on your right ear, one on your left ear, and one on each side of the top of your head. The sensors read the electricity on the surface of your scalp. During your first training, I’ll show you what your EEG looks like on the screen that I’ll be viewing. There are many ways I can look at your EEG. This video shows one of them.

During the actual neurofeedback training you’ll be watching a graphic (or, if you prefer, you can close your eyes); and you’ll be listening to music. You’ll hear very brief pauses in the music — this is the system giving feedback to your brain — and the image will also change. The pauses in the music are the primary feedback (which is why it’s fine to close your eyes). Actual training time, not counting attaching and unattaching the sensors, will be a little over half an hour.

This is a video of the kind of graphics you can watch during your neurofeedback training.

What you, the client, will be doing

One of the first questions most people ask is, “What am I supposed to do?” The answer is that there is nothing to do — consciously. Your central nervous system — your brain and spinal cord — will do it all. Your CNS is hard-wired to take in information and use it to organize itself — with no conscious intervention required. It does this masterfully and in the way that is right for you. Nothing will be pushing your system in a direction. That is part of why this state of the art neurofeedback training is virtually side effect free.

Because the CNS is utilizing the information it is given during the training in the way that is right for each person, changes in people’s lives usually take place quite seamlessly. (Click on Client Comments for examples of this.) Usually, your only job will be to notice in between sessions what is changing in your life

Here is a short video about sleep deprivation and getting off sleep meds that shows NeurOptimal® being used.

How will change happen?

Since every CNS is unique, the type, order and pace of change are also unique to the individual. We’re training for increased flexibility and resilience. Most often, people first report those changes showing up in improved sleep and lessened anxiety and reactivity, with other changes coming later. But your brain will do it in the order and at the pace that is right for you.

Very occasionally, things that appear to be side effects can happen but they are transient and usually just part of the change process. An example of a side effect might be feeling “spacey” for a short while after a session. Most people feel relaxed and calm after their training.

New York Neurofeedback 10024How often should you come for sessions?

Some clients start out coming for neurofeedback training twice a week, but once a week is also fine. The main difference is how quickly you will see changes. But either way, what we expect to see is that the changes you experience after each session begin to hold from one session to the next, whether you start out once a week or more often.

How many neurofeedback sessions will you need?

Most of my new clients ask this, understandably. Because of the uniqueness of each CNS, it’s not possible to predict with precision. There’s usually not a ceiling on how much benefit a person can get, so the answer to this question is really up to you. Average is probably around 15 or 20 sessions. I have had people complete their training, happy that they got what they came for, having done just a handful of sessions. And I have had people keep coming just because they were curious to see what would change next.

In my experience, if your problems are a recent occurrence in your life, you’ll likely come for less than ten sessions. If there are multiple problems or conditions that go far back, you may want 20 or more sessions, especially as you start seeing changes in your sleep, your moods, focus or other things you came for. The more sessions you have, the stronger and more comprehensive the results.

Does it ever not work at all?

Of course. Nothing works for everyone. Occasionally someone comes wanting to change something that just doesn’t respond, or there may be life circumstances in the way of change that can’t be adjusted.

How soon will you see changes?

Most people experience changes after one to four sessions. If it’s taking longer than that, we’ll look for the reason why. Often that turns out to be something in your life that you’re able to adjust (and benefit from the adjustment).

Some clients choose to come back occasionally for a “tune up” or if they’ve had a particularly stressful set of circumstances in their lives. The majority, though, tell me they are ready to stop and then go on about their life with a brain that has learned to be more efficient, more flexible and more resilient.

What does it cost?

Giving this training to yourself can make a dent in your budget, just like a great vacation does. It is an investment in yourself, in your well-being, in fewer health problems, in getting more out of your life, in being more fully you.

Health insurance

If you have an out-of-network benefit, you may be reimbursed for a portion of the cost, possibly the majority of it.

Cancellations

If you need to cancel a neurofeedback appointment with less than 24 hours’ notice, our agreement is that you will be responsible for the fee.