For Clinicians

I enjoy talking with medical doctors and psychotherapists about the healing power of neurofeedback. If you are a clinician and would like to learn more or have a demonstration, please email me at susan.smiley7@gmail.com. I would be happy to come to your office and share this remarkable technology.

Here are some common reasons why clinicians recommend neurofeedback:

  1.  They want more help than what medications and psychotherapy can offer some patients.
    Most experienced clinicians are well aware of the limitations of medications and psychotherapy and they run out of options. Though biofeedback is an established and successful modality, few clinicians have a good understanding of brain wave biofeedback (i.e.neurofeedback), or the degree to which it has advanced in the last 15 years. When I have opportunities to explain the science behind it, or even do sessions with clinicians, I often hear, “It makes sense” or, “I’ve been wanting to know more about this.” They are open and curious, and often decide to recommend neurofeedback to their patients.
  2. Clients are demanding an alternative to medication.  Parents often don’t want their children on medications. They’re concerned about short-term side effects as well as unknown long-term effects of medication, especially psychotropics, on young, developing brains. They are actively seeking alternatives that work. When they learn about neurofeedback and its efficacy, they’re often open and interested in a modality that has solid success rates, a growing body of research, and no side effects.
  3. It makes sense to regulate the brain.  We intuitively know that when we are mentally or physically ill, something is “off.” We are dysregulated. Most clinicians and patients now know about yoga, meditation, mindfulness, EMDR and even tapping, to help regulate our emotional and physical state so we can come to a more balanced place. But many issues require stronger interventions.  Neurofeedback is more effective in a shorter amount of time than any of these modalities. This is because its effects immediately go to our brain and nervous system where the root cause of dysregulation is situated. Also, it’s especially effective for children, the elderly and others who cannot or do not want to commit to these other practices which require discipline and proactive determination in order to achieve results.
  4. The neurophysiology is compelling. Many clinicians are very skeptical about neurofeedback. But if they experience a really good tutorial which makes the neurophysiology understandable, it can be an “aha” moment. This isn’t simple stuff and it takes some effort to get it. When someone’s EEG changes right there in the session, by definition their brain wave activation and timing patterns are changing. It’s a physical effect, a physical manifestation of a psychological state illustrating the countless pathways and feedback loops in the brain. The thalamo-cortical axis down to the reticular activating system are affected. When these physiological mechanisms start to be understood neurofeedback becomes very compelling.
  5. Watching symptoms change quickly.  Seeing someone experience a change rapidly that cannot be explained any other way never fails to amaze. The brain can shift states very quickly. Nine out of ten people I treat experience a notable shift within the first three sessions. Changes affect sleep, mood, alertness or attention. It’s not uncommon to see a migraine or headache disappear. For some clients, changes occur in minutes – often quite unexpected changes. Experienced clinicians quickly note these unexpected changes cannot be placebo, and can only be explained by the neurofeedback. Though it’s important to remember that many training sessions are needed before any short-term, transitory changes can be expected to hold.
  6. The research is impressive.  Though the “lack of research” or its limitations are often cited, it’s usually from people who haven’t read much of it. When clinicians read enough of the research and look at some outcome studies, particularly with ADD, depression, addictions, and most recently trauma, PTSD and TBI, it’s very hard to dismiss. Also, the size of the clinical effect is impressive compared, for example, to the tiny effects seen in many studies of medications. While much more research is needed, significant research exists to confirm the benefits of neurofeedback.

Adapted from aboutneurofeedback.com