person laying down hooked up to ECG for a neurofeedback session

You may have tried more traditional therapy in the past but aren’t getting the results you were hoping for, or you are curious to try something new. With science constantly evolving, we see many new and exciting forms of therapy emerge. Neurofeedback is gaining more attention and causing people to ask,

What is neurofeedback?

Cellular biologists say 95% of what we think, feel, and do is unconscious and is from earlier conditioning. So, if we want to change these innate and developed behaviours, we need to work to train the unconscious mind– neurofeedback helps us to do exactly that.

Neurofeedback helps people’s brain gain awareness of their typically involuntary responses/ behaviours. We’ve all experienced a rush of emotions and behaviours in response to someone else’s actions– such as a driver cutting you off on the highway. This action may have led to an undesired response and left you feeling angry for far longer than you would have liked.

Neurofeedback works by using non-invasive techniques to get your brain to recognize its behaviour so that it can bounce back from a stress state quicker.

In this article, we break apart neurofeedback to allow you to understand better how this form of therapy works; we dive into what significant benefits a person can expect and answer some of the common questions we get asked.

Prefer to skip the reading and jump right to a free 15-minute consultation where we discuss whether Neurotherapy may be right for you? Book your free session today!

Jump To The Section You Want Most

  1. How Are Neurofeedback And The Brain Related?
  2. How Does Neurofeedback Work?
  3. What Does Neurofeedback Treat & What Are The Benefits?
  4. Do The Effects Of Neurofeedback Training Last?
  5. FAQs About Neurofeedback
  6. How Neurofeedback Can Help You Get The Results You Want
  7. Learn If Neurofeedback Can Help You Today!

How Are Neurofeedback And The Brain Related?

The brain is responsible for everything we think, feel, and do. At the core, it’s responsible for all the internal processes that keep us alive. On top of that, our brain works constantly to evaluate the world around us and uses that information to tell our body how to react.

Imagine if all the tasks and functions your brain carried out weren’t unconscious and needed your conscious attention. You’d spend all day focusing on telling your lungs to breathe, your heart to pump blood, and your body to stay balanced in space. You’d spend so much time just trying to focus on keeping yourself alive that you wouldn’t get anything done. This is why most of what we do is managed unconsciously.

Some of these unconscious actions are developed early in life. How we respond to a lot of the situations around us– such as a driver cutting us off or a partner doing something to irritate us– has been hard-wired into who we are.

So, if you want to change how you react and work on becoming more mentally flexible– you need to do more than talk about the problem. You need to tap into your unconscious programming.

Our goal is to help your brain move from a stressed state to a more resilient state, where it can bounce back from the difficult situations life throws at it.

Neurofeedback is the tool that helps people regulate their Central Nervous System by accessing and allowing their brain to become aware of their unconscious behaviours. Once your brain learns how to be in a balanced state, it can change how it reacts.

Let’s Break Down How Behaviours Are Created In The Brain

Let’s pretend you’ve recently gotten a new job, which is located on the other side of town where you never visit. In order to navigate yourself to your new job, you need to plan how to get there. This can involve a lot of very voluntary actions, such as route planning, figuring out what time to leave home, how much gas you’ll need, where to park, and so on.

Much like learning a new driving route, a series of neural pathways and actions are created in the brain when we learn a new behaviour. At first, this new skill may take a lot of mental capacity to do. With repetition, though, these pathways are strengthened and become more easily activated/ accessed. Making your new commute to work, or newly learned behaviour, become almost completely unconscious and involuntary.

Once a behaviour is established, we can’t just forget it. Have you ever been driving and accidentally driven to your old work office or house? Just because you moved jobs doesn’t mean you forgot the route to your old one.

That’s why when we want to change a behaviour, we can’t just flip a switch and forget it. Those pesky habits you just can’t seem to break are hard to eliminate for a reason. They have been repeated and strengthened over time. To shift these unconscious reactions and behaviour, we need to work on developing a flexible brain.

Our brain may still remember the old behaviour, and that’s okay. What we want is it to be able to change its reaction when the current one is no longer serving us. So that when we start driving to our old office or get stuck in a reactive stress state, we can shift and reroute to our new destination– a place that serves us better.

Common Behaviour Patterns Neurofeedback Can Help With

If you’ve ever:

  • Felt like you have a “short fuse” and jump right to anger when irritated
  • Felt like you can’t focus on anything for very long and like you have a racing mind
  • Felt like the tiniest triggers can send you into an overwhelmed state

You’re not alone. We hear this from our clients all the time.

Your brain is getting stuck in a stress state and unable to get out. That’s why no matter how much you want to change, you can’t.

Neurofeedback helps our brain to develop flexibility. So when something triggers you, your brain can move into a more relaxed state instead of getting stuck.

How Does Neurofeedback Work?

Neurofeedback measures your brain activity and provides real-time feedback about how your brain is reacting to different stimuli. This form of therapy work by telling your brain if it is changing too quickly or not quickly enough in response to what is being presented. Over time, this training allows your brain to be more resilient by being able to bounce back quicker from a stress state.

Neurofeedback is non-invasive brain training and is done in three easy steps.

Step 1: Measure Your Brain’s Activity

The electrical activity generated by the Central Nervous System (CNS) can be detected by sensors placed on the scalp and displayed on a monitor in real-time. This is called the Electroencephalograph or EEG.

Once these sensors or electrodes are placed, you will listen to music (or see different visual stimuli in some forms of neurofeedback therapy). These sensors are used to capture electrical information produced by the brain– giving us insight into your brain’s activity. No shocks are given to your brain. These sensors are solely used to capture information.

Step 2: Provide Feedback To Train Your Brain

With specially designed computer software, information about the performance and behaviour of the brain is then presented back to you in the form of a pause or brief disruption in the auditory–or, in some cases, visual– information.

The interruption is a cue for your brain to pay attention to what is happening. Your brain correlates this feedback with its activity with either being too active or not active enough. It then shifts its response to better adapt to the stimulus being presented. This is training your brain to course correct itself so that it can bounce back quicker in the presence of stress, allowing you to be more flexible and resilient.

Step 3: Continue Brain Training

Much like building muscle or strength, these skills are not developed overnight. It takes multiple neurofeedback sessions for your brain to learn how to self-regulate and respond to what is occurring instead of just reacting.

Many people start to notice changes — like feeling better rested, having a better outlook, and engaging more effectively in relationships — after just ten sessions. Most achieve their goals completely within 20 to 40 sessions. You can stop your sessions whenever you like, but the more training you do, the more flexible and resilient your brain will become.

What Does Neurofeedback Treat & What Are The Benefits?

We recommend neurofeedback training for anyone–from business professionals to athletes and parents– looking to overcome mental obstacles and achieve growth. Think of neurofeedback as an exercise for the brain that can help with:

  • Overcoming anxiety and depression
  • Racing thoughts
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Emotion dysregulation,
  • Stress

Neurofeedback is especially powerful when paired with hypnotherapy or self-hypnosis. As neurofeedback can help your brain be more present and flexible, and hypnotherapy helps reprogram your brain— opening the door for lasting transformation and meaningful change.

Some of the typical benefits people experience after 7-10 sessions:

  • Better energy levels & feeling more rested
  • Engaging more effectively in relationships
  • Better focus & alertness

With 15-25+ sessions and supporting hypnotherapy sessions, people typically experience:

  • Feeling more resilient to stress
  • Changed behaviours & patterns that they have been trying to change for years and haven’t been able to
  • Overcoming anxiety & depression
  • Better mental health

Most achieve their goals completely by 20 to 40 sessions.

Depending on where you are starting from and how susceptible you are will change how many sessions you will need. If you’re unsure if neurofeedback is right for you, you can always book a free 15-minute consultation where we can discuss your goals and treatment options. There is never any obligation from these calls.

Do The Effects Of Neurofeedback Training Last?

Neurofeedback training is a learned task. Just like learning to read, it can’t be unlearned. You may get rusty, but the effects will stay with you throughout your lifetime. If you feel your training slipping away, know that it’s easy to get back on track with just a few booster sessions. A previously trained brain responds and recovers quicker than an untrained brain.

FAQs About Neurofeedback

Q: Can I Do Neurofeedback At Home?

A: Some systems allow you to do neurofeedback at home, but they can be expensive and not as effective.

Although we do not provide any software for you to use at home, we do teach acupressure techniques to lower your stress.

We also do a cognitive writing exercise that helps you identify your unconscious/subconscious beliefs, feelings and coping behaviours. This is an exercise you can continue to do at home and helps increase the effectiveness of your neurofeedback treatment.

Q: How Much Is Neurofeedback?

A: In BC, neurofeedback usually typically costs $110 – $140. At Vital Synergy, we offer a first-time discount for people who want to try neurofeedback. We also offer packages at reduced rates. Visit our rates page for all the details.

Q: Is Neurofeedback Evidence-Based?

A: In 2018, the FDA designated NeurOptimal® neurofeedback as a General Wellness Product. According to the American Psychological Association, neurofeedback training has been shown to change brain function and, in some situations, has proven more effective than cognitive behavioural therapy. Note that there are still plenty of studies and research to be conducted, as this is a newer field and treatment option compared to more traditional methods.

How Neurofeedback Can Help You Get The Results You Want

At Vital Synergy, we use NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback– designed by Zengar Institute Inc. in British Columbia, Canada. Although this form of neurofeedback alone can be very effective at helping people get out of undesired states, we believe that neurofeedback training is most effective when paired with either counselling or hypnotherapy.

“One of the most effective things I’ve done is to combine neurofeedback with hypnotherapy sessions. The neuro helps open me up, making the hypnosis extremely effective and effortless. I’m blown away by how quickly I’m able to access deeper parts of my mind without judgement or self-doubt. What surprised me even more was the reaction from my medical team – ALL of them firmly believing in the treatment.” – Karen

When you use a treatment plan integrating both Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) and NeurOptimal Neurofeedback, the results are 90 – 100% effective without any negative side effects!

When you are in a more relaxed open state, your brain is more susceptible to retraining “habits” and behaviour that have been programmed into our unconscious thought. Doing neurofeedback just before hypnosis greatly helps reduce the resistance and ensures greater benefit the first time with the hypnosis.

This is why we offer 75-minute sessions where we first 45 minutes are spent doing Neurotherapy. This allows your brain to become more adaptable so that you are more successful when trying to tap into your unconscious thought.

Learn If Neurofeedback Can Help You Today!

Neurofeedback is newer in psychology, but we are seeing it grow in popularity as a technique to train the brain away from undesired behaviours. It is especially popular due to it not having any side effects, unlike some treatment options. Neurofeedback trains people to respond to situations by being present rather than reacting to situations in an uncontrolled and involuntary manner.

At Vital Synergy, we are experts in this field and would love to chat with you to determine if this form of therapy may be right for you. So if you’re tired of leaving a situation wishing you could have behaved differently, we recommend giving this newer form of therapy a try.

We offer free 15-minute consultations that are commitment-free, so you have nothing to lose. Book an appointment today where we can answer all your questions and find out if we’re a good fit for you.

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