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Neurofeedback. If only we had known.

September 15th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized

Wendy Lalli, Marketing Communications Director, Mind Source Solutions

For the last few months I’ve been writing about various studies, primarily dealing ADHD where neurofeedback has continued to gain ground in terms of acceptance by established medical authorities and organizations. This recognition by the traditional scientific community would undoubtedly help neurofeedback be seen as a viable option to pharmaceutical therapy – and qualify for insurance coverage. The importance and value of this acceptance has become more and more apparent to me as I see my son Jeff’s progress since his neurofeedback training.

Jeff has been in some kind of therapy since his third birthday. Although we always knew that he was intelligent, had a sense of humor, and displayed affection to relatives, friends and animals, it was clear he didn’t relate to people the way most babies did. He could talk, but had a very small vocabulary which he seldom used. He walked late too. Still, Jeff was able to attend regular classes in school and did very well academically. In elementary school he had several close friends of both sexes and took part in activities like school plays and the boy scouts. But by the time he started college, his challenges led to several serious episodes of depression and acting out.

When he was a college senior, Jeff had the opportunity to try neurofeedback training and it made a tremendous difference. Aside from helping him develop a greater awareness of the body language of others and enhancing his own ability to communicate non-verbally, neurofeedback enabled him to get more out of psychotherapy. The difference in his progress in therapy before and after neurofeedback was the difference between trying to use an iron before – and after – it’s plugged into a socket. After neurofeedback Jeff was indeed “on” and able to absorb and understand the theoretical concepts presented by his therapists and to act on them to change his behavior.

I can’t help thinking how much more effective those years of therapy would have been for Jeff if we had tried neurofeedback while he was still in elementary school. Yet even if his therapists had thought to recommend it to enhance their work with him, I don’t know if we could have afforded it since we depended on insurance to cover the cost of therapy. But I don’t think it ever occurred to his therapists to suggest neurofeedback in the first place.

The rationale usually given for not considering neurofeedback is the supposed lack of objective data on its effectiveness. But there are decades of anecdotal evidence that it works. And one thing is certain, it doesn’t do any harm. (Unlike many pharmaceutical remedies that doctors don’t hesitate to prescribe for patients of all ages.) There is no real downside to trying neurofeedback. What’s more, for patients like Jeff, NOT trying it might waste time and money spent on therapy that makes little or no difference.

If we had to do it all over again, we would have taken Jeff to a neurofeedback provider when he was still in elementary school. Hopefully, as neurofeedback gains greater acceptance, other parents will have a chance to consider the benefits of this remarkable therapy sooner rather later.

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