Neurofeedback: An Effective Non-Talk Therapy Approach for Men
It's a fact. Men's brains are wired differently than women's brains. Because of this, in general, women tend to be more verbal than men do.
Many of the men's therapy approaches out there are talk therapy approaches. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the more well-known talk therapy approaches.
Talk therapy for men is well and good for someone who can connect with their inner experience and convey it through words. And many men can do just that.
And there are some men who would benefit more from a non-talk therapy approach. For example, I had started working with young man in talk therapy. He started therapy due to his depression and anxiety. He was unhappy, unmotivated, struggling socially and it was impacting all areas of his life.
A few sessions in, it became apparent that he was struggling to verbally express what he was experiencing regarding his depression and anxiety. He was trying hard and making a great effort but simply did not have the words to describe what he was feeling. We talked about this, and I introduced him to neurofeedback.
We changed therapy approaches and started neurofeedback. Through neurofeedback, he was able to resolve his challenges with depression and anxiety and went on to be very successful socially and throughout college.
Neurofeedback Vs. Talk Therapy
Talk therapy for men has been around as a science since the late 19th century. Neurofeedback has been around since the 1960's. Neurofeedback has started to gain notice during the last couple of decades as our technology has advanced which has made it readily available.
Neurofeedback as a Top-Down Non-Talk Therapy Approach for Men
Neurofeedback is a non-talk therapy approach that is supported by research and has shown be effective. Neurofeedback is a top-down approach to men's therapy vs. talk therapy which is a bottom-up approach.
Neurofeedback identifies in the first or second session just where in the brain your symptoms are stemming from. From this first or second session, we create a training protocol. The remaining sessions are spent training your brain to perform or communicate differently to resolve the symptoms you may be experiencing (more on this later).
Neurofeedback is a "top-down" approach as we start off with a clear understanding of where the symptoms stem from. Then the rest of the sessions are spent treating the symptoms.
Talk Therapy as a Bottom-Up Therapy Approach for Men
Just like neurofeedback, many talk therapy approaches are supported by research and shown to be effective.
Talk therapy for men starts out with roughly the first 2-6 sessions exploring and asking questions to get a clear clinical impression of what is driving the symptoms. Starting out in talk therapy, the men's counselor must get to the drivers of the symptoms, and this is done through questions and answer and the Socratic method of interviewing.
Once the talk therapist has a clear understanding of what is driving the symptoms, they can then start to provide the therapy approach that will help resolve the symptoms.
Talk therapy is a "bottom-up" approach to men's counseling as it starts out not knowing exactly what is causing the symptoms and through collaborative interviewing, eventually identifies what drives the symptoms. Then at this point, the therapy in full can begin.
So, What is Neurofeedback & How Does It Work?
For both of our neurofeedback therapists, they are seeing a 90%-95% success rate in seeing moderate to significant changes with neurofeedback. While neurofeedback may not be effective for all people, we are seeing a high success rate when compared to other approaches.
Brain Mapping: The Guide for Brain Training
All of our emotional or behavioral challenges stem from brain functioning. Our brain functions through electrical impulses that are sent between neurons.
These electrical impulses direct neurons on how to perform. And depending on how our neurons perform, dictate our overall brain performance.
Neurofeedback starts out with recording the electrical impulses of your brain. This is done by placing sensors on your head that pick up the electrical impulses your brain produces. Much like an EKG to record the electrical impulses of your heart, an EEG records the electrical impulses of your brain.
Through sophisticated software, a neurofeedback therapist will create what's called a brain map. This brain map shows how your brain is performing.
In order to see how your brain is performing, your brain map is compared to a normative data base of other brain maps. These other brain maps are of people your same biological gender and age. These individuals are people without your symptoms and who are high performers.
When this comparison is completed, the brain map will show which areas of your brain may be "overperforming" or "underperforming". When we explore the symptoms that bring you into starting neurofeedback, we can identify the regions of the brain that may be creating these symptoms.
It should be noted that not all neurofeedback therapists do a brain map. One of our neurofeedback therapists use brain maps. Our other neurofeedback therapist uses a different approach to neurofeedback and does not use brain maps.
Both approaches have shown the same success rate.
Brain Training: Where the Changes Happen
Once we have the brain map and identified the main symptom that we would like to resolve, we select the training protocol specific to that symptom. Because neurofeedback has been extensively researched, there are training protocols available that have shown to be effective.
Now that we have our training protocol, the training can begin. Neurofeedback training is a noninvasive, comfortable, and relaxing experience. The person sits in a comfortable chair with their feet up and simply needs to watch the screen.
We use two different approaches for neurofeedback training. We use shows or movies, and we also use a video game for training purposes.
How Does a Show or Movie Train My Brain?
It is not the particular show or movie that trains the brain. Rather, we use sophisticated software with the show or movie being the vehicle for the training.
During neurofeedback training, you are sitting in a comfortable chair and focused on relaxing your body. The optimal condition for brain training is when your body is relaxed.
We will start a show or a movie. When your brain is performing like a brain without the symptoms you would like to resolve, you get to hear and see what is on the screen.
When your brain goes back to performing like a brain with the symptoms that you experience, the screen and sound fade and may disappear altogether.
Through this process, your brain starts to pick up on patterns. Our brains have a strong survival drive to understand the patterns in our world. It largely happens on an unconscious basis but it's always present.
As your brain picks up on these patterns, it will start to change to match the patterns it discerns through the training. Over time through the neurofeedback training, your brain changes the way it performs so you no longer have the symptoms, or the symptoms decrease to a manageable level.
How Does a Video Game Train My Brain?
The short answer is the exact same way as a show or movie will through the sophisticated software we use. There is a difference with the video game.
One of the games we use is a flying game. There is an avatar on the screen where the goal is to fly them through rings on the screen to earn points.
When your brain is performing without the symptoms that you came in to resolve, you get to control the avatar on the screen, and it flies through the rings. When your brain goes back to performing like a brain with the symptoms you want to resolve, you are unable to control the avatar.
Through this process, your brain starts to pick up on the pattern and change accordingly. With the game, you are also rewarded with the point system. The more points you earn, the options for flying options increase.
What Can Neurofeedback Help With & Are the Changes Long Lasting
There are many emotional, behavioral, and physical conditions that neurofeedback has been effective for. The following is just a sampling of what neurofeedback can help with.
Symptoms Neurofeedback Can Help With
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Reasons the Changes Experienced in Neurofeedback Can Be Long Lasting: Life Enhancement & Peak Performance
Because of the training approach taken with neurofeedback that is based on a "reward" system, the brain learns to change according to those rewards. Once the symptoms have been resolved or alleviated, your brain continues to receive rewards that helps the changes be long lasting.
When the symptoms are resolved or alleviated, usually a person is able to function at a much higher level in life. Because of this, there are ongoing external and internal rewards that occur.
As the symptoms are resolved or alleviated, people find that almost all areas of their lives are enhanced as a result. The symptoms that you came in to resolve usually hold people back in many different areas including their:
As people find more life satisfaction because the symptoms are no longer impacting them at previous levels, the brain continues to receive ongoing positive reinforcement for the change.
This is one strong element of what helps the changes to be long lasting. Another is the pathways that the brain lays down as neurons communicate differently with each other.
Reasons the Changes Experienced in Neurofeedback Can Be Long Lasting: Neurons That Fire Together, Wire Together
There is a saying in neuroscience, "Neurons that fire together, wire together." Think of it this way:
You're forging a new path through the Amazon rain forest. When you first start off in creating a new trail, there is a lot of work. You may have to hack at leaves, branches, and undergrowth.
But the more you travel that path and the more you clear the way, the more established the train becomes. Soon, there is nothing to clear as the pathway has been well trodden and is established.
Neurons are similar. When we are starting a new neuronal pathway, there is a lot of work up front. But the more we train, the more the neurons fire together, or communicate with each other, and overtime, lays down a new neural pathway that is well established.
Neurofeedback as a Great Option to Create Peak Performance in Your Life
Men, neurofeedback is a great option all around. Whether you would do well in talk therapy or whether talk therapy simply isn't your thing.
If you are finding that you experience emotional or behavioral obstacles in your way of performing at your peak levels, neurofeedback may be the answer for you.
Things like depression, anger, anxiety, panic attacks, imposter syndrome, social anxiety, ADHD/ADD, and other challenges will block your ability to access your full potential. Once these obstacles are removed, it leaves you with the ability to access inner potential that was before inaccessible.
We have two neurofeedback therapists. Jason Drake, LCSW-S, BCN, CBHP is Board Certified in Neurofeedback through the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA).
Amy Galpin, LPC-S, has been providing neurofeedback since 2013. A specialist in neurofeedback, Amy is one of the go-to neurofeedback therapists in the Katy, TX and Houston area.
Katy Counseling for Men: Specializing in Neurofeedback in Katy, TX & Houston
You don't need to live with anxiety, imposter syndrome, panic attacks, depression, anger, or other challenges any longer. Neurofeedback is a great option to help you regain your life back and help you perform at peak levels.
At our Katy, TX location of Katy Counseling for Men, we have a therapist Board Certified in Neurofeedback and another specialist in neurofeedback who can help.
If you are ready to start building a stronger future together, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Counseling for Men
Meet with one of our neurofeedback therapists
Start your journey in building a stronger future today
Other Wellness Services Offered at Katy Counseling for Men: Katy, TX & Houston
At our Katy, TX location of Katy Counseling for Men, we have a variety of both talk therapy and non-talk therapy approaches in counseling for men. Below are a few of what we have to offer: