The first step involves an initial assessment achieved through a clinical interview. We are understanding of your symptoms and how other factors including health and family history are impacting you. It is also helpful to complete a QEEG which helps identify your brainwave functioning to inform your treatment plan. The initial interview and QEEG will take approximately two hours and are scheduled in two separate appointments.
Neurofeedback sessions are each 30-60 minutes long and take place from one to three times a week. No surgery, no medication; Neurofeedback simply trains you how to better utilize your own brain to overcome challenges that come from within, as well as your environment. Over time and with consistent training, your brain will learn how to achieve the desired brain waves. This “learning” will transfer into your daily life. Depending on the type of Neurofeedback used, improvement is typically seen within 20 to 40 sessions. Once learning is consolidated, the benefit appears to be permanent in most cases.
The brain is incredibly adaptable and capable of learning. It can be trained to improve its own performance as well as overcome often debilitating conditions by providing the brain with cues for what to and how to change. Each session makes information available to you (and your brain) about how it is functioning and asks it to make adjustments – which it does do.
Results vary depending on the type of Neurofeedback that an individual undergoes. Your Neurofeedback training will be chosen and developed based on your initial assessment, and the treatment plan is frequently monitored and adjusted based on your report and experiences between sessions.
Below are some examples of the changes seen in research studies:
ADHD: Studies have shown that individuals show improvements in impulsivity, distractibility, and hyperactivity, which may lead to much more successful school performance. In several controlled studies, increases of 10 points in IQ score were found for a representative group of ADHD children.
Anxiety: Individuals are more able to control/regulate their emotions and can see a reduction in the frequency and severity of panic attacks.
PTSD: Individuals notice a decrease in their anxiety symptoms and an improvement in their overall functioning. An exciting and recent study has also shown that Neurofeedback results in changes in brain functioning in PTSD clients that correlates to their increased sense of calmness. Read more Neurofeedback research articles.
Only a small number of studies have examined the lasting effects of Neurofeedback. Dr. Lubar, a pioneer in the field, has reported clients enjoying the benefits of brain training 20 years after they completed a full course of treatment. Other studies have shown continued improvements two and five years post-treatment. As far as is evident from the research and practitioners’ experiences, the brain holds the effects long-term. However, there are many factors that can influence an individual’s ability to maintain the positive effects and at the Toronto Neurofeedback and Psychotherapy Centre, we will work with you to train at an appropriate frequency for your brain and your symptoms, to gradually reduce session frequency, and to optimize and maintain your recovery once your treatment is completed.
While we’ve seen great success with Neurofeedback, the fact remains that just like with any form of treatment, Neurofeedback may not work for everyone. A small percentage of people don’t respond to the training while a majority will. We use the initial assessment to ascertain whether you are indeed a good candidate for Neurofeedback.
A Quantitative Electroenecephalograph (QEEG) is an extensive analysis of an individual’s cortical activity used to help us understand brain function, arousal and pathways. During the QEEG acquisition, you will come into the office for one hour so we can place a cap with EEG sensors on your head to acquire the digitized EEG. This EEG is the a multi-electrode, multi-channel measurement of your cortical activity that we utilize when completing our statistical analyses. We analyze your raw EEG (e.g., looking for EEG phenomenon that could contribute to your symptoms, such as beta spindling associated with anxiety), compare your brain functioning to a ‘normative’ database, as well as to evaluate your individual EEG ratios (e.g., theta:beta ratios that can help understand ADHD), neural pathways (e.g., important for concussions and autism spectrum disorder) and EEG morphology. All of this information is used to help us understand the underlying brain function that could be contributing to your identified symptoms. Taking all of this information with the history you provided us during your intake consultation, we will collaboratively form a treatment plan with you during the feedback session. You have the option to receive your QEEG results in the feedback session verbally or with the addition of a written report (6-10 page write up of the results with corresponding photos of your brain).
Our services are covered by most employee benefit plans under psychological services.