How to Meaningfully Explain Neurofeedback
I often get asked – How do you explain neurofeedback to clients? To your family? To just about anyone who hasn’t heard of it before. And this is what I find works. It’s not an elevator pitch.
This is for people who genuinely want to understand it.
Neurofeedback, in many ways, is like yoga for the brain – it’s a practice where you learn to change your mindset, emotions, brain, etc. In Yoga, you don’t get into postures so you can stay there all day, you get into postures for what you can learn from them and take with you the rest of your day. The same idea applies to neurofeedback.
Neurofeedback uses learning principals and EEG biofeedback to help you change how the neurons in your brain fire, communicate with each other and much more – right in the office. Often you want to make less slow wave, less fast wave and more calm content waves. This affects the underlying arousal level and optimizes how our nervous system organizes all our functioning. You do this through the feedback provided to you in a computer game – with your brain as the controller. As you adjust your brain waves based on the feedback you’re getting, your brain and nervous system become more regulated and targeted symptoms can reduce or go away completely.
A lot of the process of learning is unconscious, much like Yoga. By setting the intention of wanting the game to work and trying to relax, while still staying focused, your brain will try different things until it gets the reward and take care of the deep learning.
After your session, much like after your Yoga class, you don’t try to go around all day imagining the pose or in neurofeedback – the game, but rather your brain learns a new way of being that you just exist in – with enough practice.
This is why we call neurofeedback a “bottom-up” process. Neurofeedback engages the body (which includes the brain) to change the whole system. The brain is at the root of almost everything that goes on in the brain, body and mind. So rather than using our thoughts (ie: CBT Therapy) or body (ie: Yoga, Deep Breathing, etc) to try and change the brain – we go directly to the source and show it how to change. Those other aspects are important too but they work a lot better when the source – the brain – is cooperating rather than fighting the healing you’re trying to provide.
Neurofeedback is often the catalyst for all other therapeutic work to finally make an impact or take hold.