Psychological Services

Neurofeedback

United Psychological Services strives to be at the forefront of treatment that is new, proven and effective in the behavioral health arena. Our neurofeedback system is state of the art in computer technology and patient comfort.

Neurofeedback is called neurotherapy; a type of biofeedback to address and retrain brain function, or the use of feedback to enhance brain function. Neurofeedback’s foundations are based in functional neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. It essentially involves pinpointing the area of the brain related to the specific type of issue(s) an individual is trying to cope with and designing a program that addresses that brain region.

At United Psychological Services, we use neurofeedback as an enhancement to our long established and clinically proven attention program.  Neurofeedback treatment involves wearing a cap fitted with electrodes that allows the brain to be connected to the computer program mapping brain waves and pinpointing the area of the brain where feedback is most expected to effect change. We use a “dry cap” system; no messy gel is required with the cap to map the brain waves. A vast improvement over the gel- based system used by most other practitioners.

Each neurofeedback program is individualized and based on neuropsychological evaluation, symptoms, QEEG maps and consult with our experienced clinical staff to achieve the best possible results for that child, adolescent or adult.  For example; if an individual is dealing with ADHD, neurofeedback is programmed to reward specific brain waves in targeted brain areas to improve attention and the symptoms that often accompany ADHD. From a patient’s point of view, neurofeedback amounts to sitting down to play a game or watch a movie. The patient is rewarded with enhanced game performance/and or having the movie play continuously when they are using designated brain areas and brain waves. This program does not involve any subliminal suggestion (nothing is directed into the brain), but instead relies solely upon rewarding brain activity based on pre-determined targeted brain areas and brain waves.

Neurofeedback or neurotherapy is not new to behavioral medicine; in fact, it was first introduced in the 1960’s as a type of biofeedback to encourage self-regulation of brain function and has continued to produce positive results, especially as the important connection between physical and behavioral health is recognized. Neurofeedback as a treatment for ADHD is graded by the American Academic of Pediatrics with their highest Level 1 rating for evidenced based treatment for ADHD.  It is quick, noninvasive and cost effective; 80 percent of the time showing relief of symptoms for ADHD without the side effects of medication. The results and ease of providing this treatment has driven its increased availability throughout the country and here in Michigan.

Neurofeedback takes advantage of the brain’s capacity for change and by rewarding specific brain waves in specific brain areas, it allows individuals to improve their attention and the symptoms that accompany ADHD.

Some additional points about Neurofeedback:

  1. The human brain is a constantly evolving organ capable of stretching its capacity to change and strengthen throughout its lifetime. This remarkable ability can be harnessed and focused on certain areas in the brain through neurofeedback to help individuals struggling with brain disorders like ADD, anxiety and depression, to name a few.
  2. Neurofeedback “is based on two tenets: that brain electrical activity, the electroencephalogram or EEG-reflects mental states and that the activity can be trained”. “Advanced electronics and mathematical computations have made it possible to convert EEG patterns into images on a computer monitor.  Learning to change the computer image reflects self-regulation of the EEG.  Self-regulation of the EEG requires that the client self-regulate underlying mental states that were responsible for that EEG pattern.”   In this regard the person learns self-regulation of complex and dynamic neural systems in the brain.[1]
  3. “Neurofeedback is a comprehensive training system that promotes growth and change at the cellular level of the brain.”. “Large numbers of those diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been studied with QEEG.  Their brain wave patterns were found to be discretely different than those of the normal population”.[2]
  4. Research has proven that neurofeedback encourages the use of specific brain areas and waves proven to be important in attention, showing improvement for ADHD and has been approved by insurance as a treatment for attention related issues. While research has found improvement and efficacy in treating many issues from psychiatric to brain function this has not been approved by insurance.
  5. Recent large-scale studies have noted the limited long-term effects of stimulant medication. Neurofeedback has been researched in the ADHD population since 1976.  An increasing number of well controlled studies have demonstrated the well-established efficacy of the use of neurofeedback for ADHD symptoms.  There are comparable effects of neurofeedback and methylphenidate for measures of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity; studies revealed effects maintained for six months and methylphenidate (stimulant medication) was not better than neurofeedback in treatment of ADHD.  Neurofeedback is considered a level 5 efficacious and specific treatment for ADHD.[3]
  6. “Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback training that uses the EEG (electroencephalogram) also known as the “brainwave” as the signal used to control feedback”. Sensors applied to the person’s scalp connects to a computer and using specific software provides a human/machine interface.  Neurofeedback consists of the following key elements:  production of the EEG by the brain, recording of the EEG, digitizing of the EEG into computer form, computation of EEG characteristics, production and presentation of feedback (visual, auditory, tactile) and resulting learning by the brain, leading to change on a physiological basis.  As a learning tool, neurofeedback provides the brain with “the unique opportunity to pair internal brain states with reward events, providing the opportunity for internal change”.[4]

[1] Thompson, Michael and Thompson, Lynda, (2015) The Neurofeedback Book, An introduction to basic concepts in applied psychophysiology, Second Edition, Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback

[2] Demos, John (2005) Getting Started with Neurofeedback, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, London

[3] Meisel et al 2013; Duric, et al 2012, Arns, Martijn, Heinrich, Hartmut and Strehl, Ute, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Level 5: Efficacious and Specific, in Evidence based practice in Biofeedback and Neurofeedback, 3rd Edition, Tan, et al., 2016, AAPB.

[4] Collura, Thomas F., (2014) Technical Foundations of Neurofeedback, Routledge, Taylor & Francis, Ne