What Happens During a Neurofeedback Session?

Neurofeedback is a drug-free, reward-based training system that teaches your brain how to identify adverse brainwave patterns and replace them with balanced, beneficial brain activity patterns. 

When your brain learns how to shift out of the dissonant activity patterns that contribute to a mental health disorder like anxiety or help drive negative actions like impulsivity, it breaks free of the very cycle that leads to negative emotions and unhealthy responses.   

The team at TMS & Brain Health uses neurofeedback to help patients of all ages overcome the detrimental brainwave patterns that give rise to problematic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Here’s how this simple, noninvasive therapy works, and what a typical session is like.  

Understanding neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is a mind-based (cognitive) training technique that teaches you how to identify counterproductive brain activity patterns so you can consciously disrupt and replace them with healthier, more balanced brain activity patterns.

The ultimate goal of neurofeedback is to give you the tools you need to re-establish neural equilibrium, reverse unhealthy thought patterns, and help you take charge of your mind. In short, it helps you — and your brain — self-regulate more efficiently and effectively in virtually any situation.  

To appreciate how neurofeedback works, it’s important to understand how brainwave patterns shape your thoughts, feelings, and actions. When your brain cells (neurons) convey information to one another, they generate congruous electrical impulses called brainwaves. 

When your brainwave patterns are balanced, you’re more likely to feel centered, clear, calm, and in control. When they’re off kilter, the effects can unfurl through your brain and give rise to any number of mood problems, behavioral issues, and functional challenges.

Practicing mind over matter

Neurofeedback is a noninvasive therapy that harnesses the power of neuroplasticity to help you create a more harmonious “brain activity orchestra” that includes an optimal balance of low-frequency brainwave patterns and mid-to-high-frequency patterns. 

During a neurofeedback session, you sit comfortably in a chair with electrode sensors on your scalp. These sensors only read the electrical signals produced by your brain and transmit them to a computer, they don’t transmit any type of signal to your brain.    

Depending on your treatment plan, you may be asked to watch images on a screen, listen to music, or play a video game. As you engage in this simple activity, your doctor monitors your brainwaves and sets targeted training parameters using specialized brain mapping software. 

When you engage in neurofeedback, you actually get to see a visual representation of the ebb and flow of your brainwave patterns in real time as your brain responds to the images, sounds, or game you’re presented with. 

If you’re watching a movie, for example, the screen will become brighter and you’ll hear special musical tones when your brain produces favorable brainwave patterns. When it produces less harmonious brainwave patterns, the screen dims. 

This instantaneous feedback helps your brain learn, on a subconscious level, what it needs to do to make the screen brighter. Over time, your brain figures out how to develop and sustain the helpful brainwave patterns that keep the screen active — and promote healthier thoughts and behaviors. 

As your brain continues to subconsciously practice efficiency, coordination, and balance, your brainwaves gradually improve and you get better at controlling your thoughts and actions. Like any new skill, neurofeedback therapy works over time, through reinforcement and repetition.  

Neuroplasticity paves the way 

Your thoughts, emotions, reactions, and behaviors change as you grow, learn, discover, and understand, thanks to neuroplasticity, or your brain’s capacity to reorganize itself and build new pathways in response to your experiences and environment. 

Neuroplasticity is essentially the “muscle building” part of your brain that strengthens desired neural pathways and creates new ones in response to repeated thoughts and actions. 

When you practice neurofeedback, you actively reinforce the helpful brainwave patterns that give rise to healthier, more balanced thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Most people achieve optimal results after an average of 40 sessions conducted over the course of 20 weeks. 

Whether you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, depression, or something else, neurofeedback can help you take control of your life. 

To learn more about neurofeedback therapy at TMS & Brain Health, call your nearest office in Los Angeles or Santa Monica, California, today. You can also use our easy online booking tool to schedule a visit with one of our experienced neurofeedback experts any time. 

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