Neurofeedback: The Art of Mapping the Mind

            In many ways, neurofeedback seems like a treatment from the future. In reality, though, it made its debut in the 1950s. This treatment technique was first developed by Dr Joe Kamiya and Dr. Berry Sterman and was soon incorporated into the training used for astronauts, but had not yet attracted much widespread attention in the medical field. That has changed in the last two decades as our understanding of the brain has further developed, which is bringing neurofeedback into the mainstream treatment options.

            Neurofeedback is a relatively simple experience for the patient. It starts with creating a brain map using EEG. This is a noninvasive process. That brain map is compared to the average brain map for the person’s gender and age to see if there are any areas of the brain that are not functioning at the healthiest level. Any areas that are flagged become the focus for treatment.

            At all subsequent sessions the patient’s job becomes even easier. All they have to do is sit back, relax, and watch a DVD for approximately 30 minutes. The EEG sensors are hooked up during this time. When the patient’s brain waves are within the target range the patient receives an auditory and visual reward. It doesn’t matter what show the patient is watching, just that they are watching something. Treatment usually lasts between 20 to 40 sessions. By the end of that time, the patient’s brain has retrained itself to keep brain waves in the healthier range.

            Neurofeedback is useful for a wide range of psychological problems. Studies have shown it is successful in treating ADHD, substance abuse, anxiety and worry, depression, sleep disorders, PTSD, autism spectrum disorder, and brain injuries. In many cases, it is paired with psychological counseling. Think of it as neurofeedback giving your brain new tools to use and counseling teaching you how to use those tools.

            Hurley Counseling Center is partnered with Establish Wellness to create Magnolia Mind Mapping. This collaboration between Andrew Hurley and Bethany Brenes brings neurofeedback therapy to the Gulf Coast. For more information about the work they are doing, visit their website. If you have any questions they can be contacted by email at or by phone at (251) 272-9606

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