Why Starting Neurofeedback May Be Your Best New Year's Resolution Yet!
When an emotional or behavioral challenge creates problems for your life, there are several options that can help. Psychotherapy or talk therapy is traditionally one of the first stops for many people. Talk therapy has been around for a very, very long time and has been shown to be effective for things like:
Self-Worth or Self-Esteem, and more
Yet another less well-known approach has shown to be more effective than talk therapy. Neurofeedback has been around since the 1960's. Neurofeedback is starting to become more well known in large part due to the advancements in our technology.
It used to be that in order to do neurofeedback, the cost of the equipment and software put it out of the range of most men's therapists. The processing power required to run neurofeedback was not available in a relatively cost affordable and compact manner.
Today, therapists trained in neurofeedback can use a gaming laptop or desktop. These gaming systems have the processing power that enables neurofeedback to be used more often in today's world.
It's still not cheap for a neurofeedback therapist to purchase the equipment and software plus the training involved. But is well worth the cost and effort for our clients.
Process of Talk Therapy & Success Rate
The traditional talk therapy process is similar no matter the men's counselor that you see. It can be shortened if you see a counselor who specializes in men's therapy vs. that of a generalist therapist.
Talk therapy requires that the men's counselor meet with their client and explore the challenge that brings them into therapy. This exploration in talk therapy is important as it's a vital piece that helps the men's therapist to clearly understand the challenge, what created the challenge, and those things that may be reinforcing the challenge today.
Once the men's counselor has a clear picture of the challenge and what is driving it, the men's counselor can then work with the client to identify a therapy approach that will best help. There are various approaches supported by research and one for each challenge.
This process usually takes anywhere between 2-6 sessions. Throughout this time, the men's therapist is providing support, feedback, tools, and tips that help. But it's when the appropriate therapy approach is selected is when the real work can begin.
The success rate of talk therapy varies anywhere between 65%-72% according to the European Association of Psychotherapy. The American Psychological Association puts the number at 75% in being helpful for those who enter talk therapy. While these are pretty good percentages, we believe that this percentage increases when you see a counselor who specializes in men's therapy.
There are those therapists who are more generalist in their practice and those who focus and specialize only in men's counseling. It's similar to seeing a family doctor for heart problems compared to a cardiologist.
Process of Neurofeedback & Success Rate
Neurofeedback is not talk therapy. Neurofeedback is brain training. We observe your brain's performance and where it may be over/under performing. Once we have this understanding, we can then begin neurofeedback training to help reduce or eliminate those symptoms.
What to Expect in the First Neurofeedback Session
With neurofeedback, the first session is spent talking about what the challenges are that bring you into neurofeedback therapy. We identify in the first session the key symptoms you would prefer to live your life without.
We also review the process of neurofeedback, how it works, the equipment and software, and answer any questions you may have.
What to Expect in the Second & Third Neurofeedback Session
The second session we record your brain's performance. This is done in a very comfortable, non-intrusive manner. The neurofeedback therapist places a cap on your head. This cap resembles a swimmers cap. The difference is this cap has 19 sensors embedded in the cap that records the electrical activity of your brain.
You will get to see your brain's electroencephalogram (EEG) as it runs. We will record a baseline performance of your brain.
Once the neurofeedback therapist has this recording, we compare it to a normative database of other men's brain performance who are your age, who are high performers, and do not have the particular challenge you are experiencing.
From this, a brain map is created in 2D and 3D. In the third session, these brain map will be reviewed with you to help identify where your brain may be over/under performing which may be causing the symptoms you're experiencing.
Once we identify where your brain is over/under performing, the neurofeedback therapists selects and reviews the training protocol that can help. This training protocol is selected and unique to your brain's performance.
Below are examples of the 2D and 3D Brian maps that a neurofeedback therapist will use. These brain maps are created from the neuroguide software:
What to Expect in the Third/Fourth Session & On
One main difference between talk therapy and neurofeedback is talk therapy typically takes 2-6 sessions to get to the bottom of what the challenges are, where they come from, and ultimately how to treat them.
In talk therapy, this information is collected through the conversation between the men's therapist and the client.
With neurofeedback, from the second session we are able to identify objectively through brain maps where the challenge stem from. We do use conversation between the neurofeedback therapist and the client to identify the symptoms wanting to be addressed. But through the software and training, we can pinpoint where in the brain these symptoms may be originating.
This means that from possibly session three and for sure session four, we are using an individualized training protocol targeting the regions of the brain where the symptoms are occurring through brain training.
What is Brain Training & How Does it Work?
Our brains are wired on a primal, survival instinct level to figure out the patterns in the world. Those brains that can identify and figure out the patterns in the environment are those that can protect themselves and others.
Neurofeedback brain training taps into the brains drive to identify and figure out patterns. We use sophisticated software that we tie into either a T.V show, movie, or video game.
We place the cap on your head and view your brains electrical signals in real time. When your brain is performing in a manner that strengthens those areas of over/under performing, you get to see and hear what is on the screen.
When your brain operates in a manner that is under/overperforming in those key regions, you cannot hear or see what is on the screen.
This back and forth fading and flickering of being able to see and hear the show reinforces the brain for optimal performance. Over time, the brain picks up on the patterns and the reinforcement for when you get to hear and see the show and starts to shift its performance.
The video game we utilize for neurofeedback training uses the same principle. When your brain is performing in an optimal state to strengthen the regions of the brain where the symptoms originate, you get to control the avatar on the screen.
When your brain is performing sub-optimally in those regions of the brain where the symptoms originate, you no longer can control the avatar on the screen. Over neurofeedback sessions, your brain is reinforced for picking up the pattern of controlling the avatar and your brain starts to shift to optimal performance.
Below is a screen shot from Zukor Air and the neurofeedback video game that we use for neurofeedback training:
Neurofeedback Success Rate at Katy Counseling for Men
At Katy Counseling for Men, we have two neurofeedback therapists:
Amy Galpin, LPC-S has been a neurotherapist since 2013.
Jason Drake, LCSW-S, BCN is Board Certified in Neurofeedback (BCN) through the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA). Jason is also a Certified Brain Health Professional through the Amen Clinics.
Both Amy and Jason are finding about a 95% success rate for moderate to significant symptom improvement using neurofeedback. One element that helps in this success is the use of brain maps in helping to select the training protocols.
While talk therapy has and will continue to help many people, it has a 75% success rate where people feel it was helpful for them. Seventy-five percent is a solid success rate. However, it's hard to beat a consistent 95% rate for neurofeedback.
Is Neurofeedback Right for You?
Neurofeedback may not be right for everyone. It is more time intensive requiring two sessions a week. We are training the brain and in order for the brain to receive the training it needs to change, two sessions a week at minimum is required.
And some people prefer talk therapy. While we talk during the first part of the neurofeedback session while we are putting on the cap, the rest of the session is spent in quite relaxation while you watch the show or play the video game receiving training.
If you have a challenge in your life that you believe neurofeedback can help with, please call us and talk with one of our neurofeedback therapists.
Katy Counseling for Men: Specializing in Neurofeedback for Men in Katy, TX & Houston
I've provided talk therapy since 2003. I have been effective in helping people overcome their challenges. Once I started using neurofeedback, this has been my therapy approach of choice for clients.
If you are struggling with a challenge in your life that is interfering with your happiness, purpose, and mission in life, neurofeedback stands a good chance of helping.
At our Katy, TX location of Katy Counseling for Men, we are ready to help. If you are ready to start neurofeedback or want to inquire into neurofeedback, 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 Support 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:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)
Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)