Through the use of technology, neurofeedback reinforces and teaches the brain how to self-regulate so a person can focus, be calm, and learn. Without the regulation of the nervous system, a person can’t pay attention, learn, or take action in an effective or optimal way. Neurofeedback safely and effectively creates lasting change in the brain over time, as it learns to rewire brainwave activity and get into a calm, focused parasympathetic state, and this is what we want for our kids. Every parent wants their child to have a healthy brain and body so that they can continually feel good and confident in themselves. Children can’t achieve success in life, academically or socially, when they don’t have self-confidence, which is hard to obtain when their brain and behavior are dysregulated.
Can Neurofeedback Help Improve Attention and Executive Functioning?
Sasha was a straight A student but always struggled with executive functioning and focus to the point where her mom had to always remind her about deadlines. It really started to break down their relationship and the two were always bickering with both ending up frustrated. Eventually, despite getting great grades, Sasha started to feel “stupid” because she never could get her work in without constant nagging. Her lack of confidence started to hold her back socially and her parents really started to see low self-esteem during the college application process. Sasha would only apply to “safe schools” because she was feeling so negative about herself. That is when her parents decided to start neurofeedback and use my BrainBehaviorReset™ Method virtually, through our center. Sasha learned how to regulate her brain so she could be more focused and organized and then we paired it with new learning strategies to change her behavior. Remember, you can’t just make someone more focused without addressing their behavior! They need to calm down that nervous system and then learn new behaviors to really rewire the brain and behavior. Once she was managing her own work, her confidence soared!
What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a safe, natural, and highly effective way to regulate the nervous system and directly impact how our brain waves function. We all have the same brain waves, but they change depending on what we are using them for. For example, when we sleep, we are often in a Delta state. If we are relaxed or chilled out, we may be in an Alpha state. Beta waves are important waves because they are tied to focus. Our brain waves can start to become low in certain areas or excessive in other areas and that is when dysregulated behaviors show up; problems with focus, irritation or moodiness, learning issues, difficulty following direction, behavioral issues, and so on. Most behavior results from dysregulation of the nervous system and the good news is we can regulate the brain and behavior by regulating brain waves with neurofeedback.
It is important to realize that there are many things that can shift our brain waves out of whack, such as genetic components, chronic stress, and infectious disease. Even stress in our daily lives can create change in our brain wave functioning. We have been falsely led to believe that all behavioral, attentional, or mood problems are caused by a neurotransmitter problem, when these issues are much more likely to be caused or exacerbated by long-term stress, inflammation, or toxins and infectious disease. In today's stressful world, even the happiest of kids can be affected by chronic stress.
Neurofeedback helps to regulate the central nervous system and change how our brain waves function, which helps improve symptoms related to different mental health symptoms and clinical disorders such as executive functioning and attentional problems, OCD, PANS/PANDAS, and anxiety. You may be wondering, “What happens when my child starts neurofeedback?” Let’s discuss.
How Do You Start Neurofeedback?
When we prepare someone for neurofeedback, we start with something called a QEEG brain map. This allows us to see what kind of brainwave activity is going on in certain regions of the brain and takes the guesswork out of understanding what is causing the behaviors you are seeing. Instead of wondering, “Is this ADHD?” or “Why is my child acting like this?,” the results of a QEEG or a brain check lets us get to the bottom of what is going on.
With a QEEG, you can see brain wave activity over the structure. For example, you can see what the frontal lobes, our executive functioning and attention job manager, or the limbic system, your emotional center, are actually doing, rather than guessing. You can also see the interconnections between the brain sites, which allows you to see what is happening between the left and right regions of the brain. This is where a lot of communication takes place which helps our kids be able to learn, be alert, and take action. These are all things with which many kids today are really struggling.
A QEEG tells us where the brain is underperforming or where the brainwave activity may be hyperactive. That underactivity is often related to poor attention, slow processing, or withdrawn behaviors and over activity is related to anxious, obsessive, moody or irritated behaviors. A QEEG or braincheck provides us a path to which areas of the brain we want to train in order to improve focus, calm, and processing. So, after the brain check or QEEG, we give you my trademarked BrainBehaviorReset™ Method protocol that is unique to each client and each client’s brain functioning.
For those that come to our center, we perform a QEEG brain map, in which you are hooked up with sensors and brainwave activity is recorded. If you are working with us remotely, we do a brain check where we take statistical averages that guide us to which areas to train your brain for remote, home-based neurofeedback. You can learn more about in-person and virtual training, here or by contacting our center, here.
What Does a Neurofeedback Session Look Like?
You may have heard of neurofeedback but, like most, you have no idea of what a neurofeedback session looks like or how it works. With neurofeedback, a person’s subconscious receives reinforcement every time they produce a healthy combination of brainwaves, which rewires the brain and central nervous system. The good news is that the subconscious does the work and within two to three seconds from the moment you begin neurofeedback training, the brain wants the subconscious auditory and visual reinforcement it receives, so it instantly produces a healthy, regulated response. It needs time to “learn” and adapt to this new healthy response, so most people are doing forty or more sessions to train the brain to regulate consistently, which means a child or person is more focused, calmer, and can learn more efficiently.
During our in-person or virtual neurofeedback sessions, you will watch a movie and your neurofeedback technician, or you at home, will place the sensor on the area of your brain that is being trained. Your subconscious brain has to produce a healthy combination of brain waves in order for it to receive visual and auditory feedback, in this case the movie that is playing. Your brain desperately wants this “feedback” and will change itself in order to get the move to play, which resets your brain waves and the nervous system.
In other words, the movie will not play properly until your brain produces this healthy combination. Neurofeedback is based on operant conditioning, which means your brain is learning how to regulate itself based on the positive feedback it receives from the neurofeedback training equipment. When your brain learns to get into a healthy rhythm to create more healthy brain functioning, you see positive differences in behavior.
Neurofeedback involves consistency and it cannot be “fixed” overnight. Similar to working out a muscle, your muscle can’t just grow bigger overnight and one has to do two to three sessions a week, over time, in order for the brain to learn and sustain the changes. Over a series of sessions, normally no less than twenty, negative symptoms and behaviors begin to decline and changes in stress levels, behavior, and attention occur.
Does my Child Need Neurofeedback?
Every child can benefit from neurofeedback, especially those with attentional, learning, and behavioral symptoms that are interfering with their ability to learn, focus, and interact with others. There are a range of conditions that neurofeedback is used for, and I use it for everything from ADHD, anxiety, PANS/PANDAS, OCD and many other conditions. Neurofeedback is safe, effective and can really create lasting change in behaviors and learning and all parents should consider neurofeedback as a research-tested and much safer alternative to medication.
Is All Neurofeedback the Same?
NO, not all neurofeedback is the same! People all over the world seek me out to help their children who are “treatment failures” when medication and talk therapy have not provided lasting relief. Neurofeedback is an integral part of my trademarked BrainBehaviorReset™ Method Program. It is highly dependent on the experience of and quality of care you receive from your neurofeedback provider, which is why so many people seek care from myself and our trademarked process.
Central to our BrainBehaviorReset™ Method is using neuroscience to achieve symptom reduction. Healing and symptom reduction cannot happen if our bodies and nervous system are in a stress hyper-activated state. Neurofeedback regulates the nervous system and changes the function of the brain. Neurofeedback helps the brain work in a healthy way, which is why almost everyone gets a sense of calm and increased focus so they can learn a different way to respond, learn, or respond in their environment. Once the nervous system is reset with neurofeedback, kids can experience improvements such as better grades, greater self-confidence, improved sleep and mood, and better communication skills.
How Long Does Neurofeedback Last?
A lot of parents wonder if neurofeedback produces lasting change. Well, research shows it produces structural changes in the brain and that months and years later, behavioral change and symptom improvement is lasting.
From my three decades of work and as I discuss in my book, It’s Gonna Be OK!, I can tell you that incorporating lifestyle changes such as healthier eating, learning stress management skills, and unlearning maladaptive behaviors not only enhances neurofeedback but deepens the change. It is what we teach in our trademarked BrainBehaviorReset™ Method and why people from all over the world chose the best care possible from the recognized leader in children’s mental health, Dr. Roseann, for their children and themselves. With neurofeedback, their brain is not only stabilized, but the health of their nervous system improves and symptoms decrease so they can feel confident, focused, and calm.
We want our kids to have a healthy brain and body, so that they can not only feel good today, but they can continue to feel good in their future endeavors; and neurofeedback is an incredible way to improve their mental health.
To learn more about neurofeedback, check out my Youtube video on How Neurofeedback Can Help Your Child
Check out my blogs on Neurofeedback:
Are you looking for SOLUTIONS for your struggling child or teen?
Dr. Roseann and her team are all about solutions, so you are in the right place!
There are 3 ways to work with Dr. Roseann:
- In-person at her Ridgefield, CT center
- Virtually with her home-based neurofeedback and coaching programs
- By following along with her Get Unstuck Program
You can get her books for parents and professionals, including: It’s Gonna Be OK™: Proven Ways to Improve Your Child’s Mental Health, Teletherapy Toolkit™ and Brain Under Attack: A Resource For Parents and Caregivers of Children With PANS, PANDAS, and Autoimmune Encephalopathy.
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Sign up for her Professional Webinars and CE-Based Courses or purchase her book, Teletherapy Toolkit™: Therapist Handbook for Treating Children and Teens.
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Dr. Roseann is a Children’s Mental Health Expert and Therapist who has been featured in/on hundreds of media outlets including, CBS, NBC, FOX News, PIX11 NYC, The New York Times, The Washington Post,, Business Insider, USA Today, CNET, Marth Stewart, and PARENTS. FORBES called her, “A thought leader in children’s mental health.” She is the founder and director of The Global Institute of Children’s Mental Health and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge. Dr. Roseann is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) Practitioner, a Board Member of the Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS), Certified Integrative Medicine Mental Health Provider (CMHIMP) and an Amen Clinic Certified Brain Health Coach. She is also a member of The International Lyme Disease and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The American Psychological Association (APA), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) and The Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB).
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