Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some common questions and answers regarding neurofeedback treatment. If you have any questions or concerns not addressed here please feel free to contact me.

    • What is Neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback (also known as Brainwave Biofeedback or EEG Biofeedback) is a non-medication treatment alternative for ADHD and other neurobiologically based difficulties. The first published studies started appearing in the 1970′s. Advances in neuroscience and technology have resulted in increased research and clinical work each year.

Neurofeedback is a way to train the brain toward better functioning. One to 19 sensors are placed on the scalp and ears. There is no breaking of the skin or any discomfort. The sensors are like little stethoscopes which “listen in” and feed the brain waves into an amplifier (an Electroencephalogram machine) that is linked to a computer. The brainwaves are converted into video and audio displays. By watching the screen and listening to tones, the individual is given immediate feedback that tells whether his/her brain is making faster or slower brainwaves moment to moment. Brainwaves change as a result of this training. Read more about Neurofeedback…

      • How does Neurofeedback work?

This form of brain training involves operant conditioning and classical conditioning which are fundamental ways that explain how people learn. Operant conditioning states that behaviors that are followed by rewards increase, while those that don’t fade out. We are rewarding certain brain speeds and connections at certain locations while decreasing others. Classical conditioning (think Pavlov’s dogs) involves the associating of an EEG state with the feeling of being attentive while relaxed (“in the zone”).

Some clinicians would say that we are training the brain’s ability to self regulate by challenging the brain’s self-regulatory mechanisms and are thus impacting brain timing and brain connectivity/communication. Some researchers attribute the functional gains to the brain functioning in a more efficient and stable manner, with some researchers attributing that to improvements in cerebral blood flow. Learn more about how Neurofeedback works…

  • Is Neurofeedback is an appropriate intervention?

Some clinicians feel that neurofeedback is an appropriate intervention for anyone who has a psychophysiological based attention, learning, or mood disorder that is creating significant life difficulties. Other clinicians would say that neurofeedback is an appropriate intervention if there are significant brainwave abnormalities relative to the general population. An example is ADD/ADHD individuals who may have a higher percentage of slower brainwave activity (e.g theta waves) in comparison to faster brainwave activity (e.g. beta waves).

At the initial appointment we will review the advantages and disadvantages of the various treatment options. Depending upon the problem we will try to obtain some objective measures when feasible. As an example, prior to starting neurofeedback for attention problems a computerized test of attention may be used to help to determine the type and degree of attentional difficulties. This is also used as a baseline and outcome measure to help assess progress later.
Quantitative EEG (QEEG) measures will be done. An individual’s performance on these measures will be compared to a normative database. This can be used to help predict whether a person is a good candidate for neurofeedback training. These measures of brainwave activity are also used to help determine the most efficient training protocol.

  • Will Neurofeedback change my personality, change who I am?

No. Neurofeedback will not change who you were created to be, your innate strengths, or who you are. However, Neurofeedback may make it less work to be you and easier to function in your life without the interference of bothersome symptoms of inefficient brain function (or side effects of medications). Your sense of humor or interest in favorite activities will not suddenly go away, but you are likely to be calmer, or less irritable, or more present and focused, or have greater access to your intelligence. These are not personality changes but rather improvements to your day to day performance. Neurofeedback can help remove the barriers that are getting in the way of your most efficient functioning.

  • Can I stay on my meds while doing this?

    Medication decisions should be made by you and your physician. Many patients start neurofeedback while on medication(s), and then we collaborate in helping their physician titrate the dosage down. If a patient is considering starting neurofeedback while starting medication, we recommend that they either start the neurofeedback without medication or start medication first prior to the neurofeedback so we can isolate what treatment is doing what.
    We can train while on medication without difficulty, although some medications may slow down the training process. If a brainmap (Quantitative EEG) is done, we prefer to do that off medication if possible, although we recognize that some patients cannot safely go off of their medications for even a couple of days.

  • What is a brainmap and how does it help?

Read our QEEG page to find out.

  • What is the benefit of obtaining a Brainmap (QEEG)?

A Quantitative Electroencephalogram (QEEG), also known as a Brainmap is a diagnostic technique that has potential benefits for neurofeedback. An elastic net with 19 sensors is placed on the head so that the brainwave activity for the whole scalp can be measured. There is no piercing of the skin. Brainwaves are then recorded with eyes closed and again with eyes open. This data is then compared to one or more normative databases. This results in a series of tables and graphs which indicate which areas have brainwave abnormalities, the degree of abnormality, and the brainwave frequencies that are involved. This leads to specific neurofeedback protocols. The benefit is that it may reduce the number of neurofeedback sessions and increase the effectiveness of treatment. Read more about QEEG.

  • What do you mean by “traditional” Neurofeedback?

Traditional Neurofeedback is where only 1 to 4 sensors are used on the scalp to train the brain to only make more or less of a particular brain frequency.  This is different from Z-score Neurofeedback where the assessment data from the QEEG is used to guide the feedback for up to 19 different sensors and variables such as frequency and type & degree of communication between brain regions can be trained.  By way of comparison the maximum number of variables that can be trained with a 4 channel non-Z-score system is 248, however up to 5700 variables can be trained with a 19-channel Z-score Neurofeedback system.  This makes possible a much more dynamic  neurofeedback training experience with more being accomplished in less time, thereby making the Z-Score Neurofeedback process much more efficient.

    • Why should I choose Applied Neurotherapy Center?

  • Cutting-Edge technologies
  • Sustainable results with fewer sessions
  • Individualized treatment
  • Personalized client service
  • State Licensed and Board Certified in Neurofeedback
  • Competitive pricing
  • Convenient north Scottsdale location just off the 101

 For more information on how ANC is unique in how it provides neurotherapy services visit our page:  We’re Different, Here’s Why

  • What led you to become a Neurofeedback clinician?

The short answer is that when my son was 11, I found Neurofeedback as an alternative treatment for his then ADHD , and as a result of seeking treatment for him, a series of events led me to becoming a Board Certified Neurofeedback therapist.  For the long answer with more details of my “story” visit my blog post about how I was a mom of an ADHD child before I became a Neurofeedback clinician.

  • Where can I get more information?

Our list of research on neurofeedback is here.

  • How can I know when new content is added to the website?

Any time new content is added, such as a new blog post on the News & Noteworthy Items page, or a new FAQ item is added, then a post is made to the ANC Facebook page which is then automatically Tweeted to the ANC Twitter feed. And so if you have a Facebook account then you can simply use the icon in the upper-right corner to “like” the ANC page, then you will get the notification feeds on the updates. Or you can simply “follow” the @AppliedNeuro Twitter feed, and get the notifications of updates that way.