Neurofeedback

Georgetown Psychology Associates offers neurofeedback as part of our integrative treatment approach for children, adolescents and adults. Our neurofeedback team is led by Dr. Caroline Spearman who is board certified in neurofeedback through the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA). Our treatment protocols often combine neurofeedback with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness training, and other lifestyle behavior changes, such as exercise, sleep hygiene and nutrition. Neurofeedback (also known as EEG Biofeedback) is a non-invasive, computer-based technique that teaches the brain to function with optimal brain wave patterns. It is like physical exercise for the brain, strengthening its ability to regulate activation patterns in the brain.

The Process

Evaluation: The first session begins with an evaluation utilizing a clinical interview, questionnaires, and an Electroencephalography (EEG) assessment to gain a thorough understanding of the patient and their unique symptom presentation. The EEG assessment involves placing sensors on the scalp to measure the brainwaves underneath. No current goes into the brain; the sensors just read what your brain is doing. With this information, a targeted, individualized protocol is created to help train your brain into a comfortable, efficient state.

Training: Sensors are placed on the scalp and send information directly to a computer. When the brainwaves are functioning within a predetermined threshold, a reward is provided to reinforce these more optimal brainwaves patterns. The reward is typically a particular sound and visual stimuli provided through a ‘game’ on the computer. For example, many individuals choose to watch a television show or movie. When the brainwaves are functioning within the threshold, a tone sounds from the computer and the movie is clear. When brainwaves exceed the limit, the tone stops and the movie becomes cloudy, which signals the brain that it needs to adjust. As soon as the brainwaves adjust, the brain is rewarded with a tone and the movie clears up. Neuroplasticity, the ‘muscle building’ part of the brain, strengthens these new, more optimal connections, which may result in numerous positive benefits.

You can find out more about neurofeedback by watching this video.

Who Can Benefit:

Neurofeedback can be used for those who are hesitant to try medication, do not respond well to medication, and/or want to try an alternative form of therapy.

Neurofeedback with psychotherapy can be effective in the treatment of:

  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Mood Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Brain Injury
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches

There is a significant amount of research on neurofeedback, although current research does not support conclusive claims about its efficacy. However, anecdotal evidence suggests positive effects for a range of conditions.

How long are the training sessions?

The length of the neurofeedback training session varies on the individualized protocol selected. Sessions typically range from 30-60 minutes. When training is combined with psychotherapy, sessions are 60 minutes.