Neurofeedback Therapy

Neurofeedback in State College

Neurofeedback Therapy, also called EEG biofeedback or neurotherapy, makes use of the brain’s capacity for change to reshape brain networks. Neurofeedback is a training tool.  It is a way to help someone learn how to regulate their brain. Neurofeedback is a research-supported treatment to sharpen attention, relieve anxiety, enhance mood, and improve learning, and behavior…without medication.

Neurofeedback is painless and non-invasive.  Though we use technology, it is just a tool to be able to “see” what your brain is doing and then provide feedback on how to perform better.  Neurofeedback does not put anything into your brain to change it.  Neurofeedback provides a way to receive information or feedback moment to moment about how your brain is working.  Goals are set and when your brain meets the goal, you get a “reward”.  This reward is a visual and/or auditory change in the “video game” you are watching.  Neurofeedback can challenge your brain to change old or unhelpful ways of firing and create flexibility and balance.  Flexibility in the brain is the key to healthy brain function.

Amelia McGinnis is trained in neurofeedback therapy which is a modality that is able to be integrated into traditional talk therapy. Neurofeedback therapy offers a non-medicinal treatment option for central Pennsylvania residents. Typically, clients have success with this well-researched treatment for ADHD, ADD, autism, attachment disorders, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and migraines.

Neurofeedback FAQs

What is Neurofeedback Therapy used for?

Neurofeedback is used to help train or retrain flexibility in the brain both by persons interested in Peak Performance and by persons seeking treatment for problem conditions and injury. These include Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, sleep disorders, tic disorders, TBI, and migraines. It also helps mood disorders, trauma, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and seizures.

How is Neurofeedback done?

An initial interview, health history and testing is done to assess brain function, understand symptoms, and to plan a protocol. Comfortable sensors are placed on the scalp. The brain waves are monitored by means of an amplifier and a computer that processes the signal and provides the proper feedback. This is displayed to the trainee by means of a video game or display along with audio signals.
As activity in the desirable frequency band increases, the video games move faster, or some other reward is given. As activity in an adverse band increases, the video game is inhibited. Gradually, the brain responds to these cues, learning new and optimal brain wave patterns. The aim is greater stability, greater flexibility and faster recovery from anything destabilizing.

How long does training take?

Each session involves about 30 minutes of training plus 15 minutes hook up and discussion. EEG training is a learning process. Therefore, the results are seen gradually over time. For most conditions, initial progress can be seen within about ten sessions. Improvements are often seen in behavior, mental and athletic function and sense of well-being. Initial goals may be met at 20 to 30 sessions. In very severe chronic conditions and cases of hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Disorder, training may take 40 or more sessions. Progress is monitored and tested along the way to maximize effectiveness.

How frequent should sessions be?

In the initial stages of learning, the sessions should be regular and frequent, at two or three sessions per week. Later, one or two sessions per week will suffice.

Can Neurofeedback compliment other therapies?

Absolutely! Collaboration with your current therapist, tutor, coach or physician is advised. We support them as they are helping you. Scientific research documentation is available for your provider.

Can I do Neurofeedback while on medication?

Yes.  I do not expect people to stop the medication that they are currently on while doing Neurofeedback. However, I do ask you to limit medication changes early on in the training process while I am first observing the effects of the neurofeedback. If two factors (medication and neurofeedback) are changing at the same time, I do not know how to interpret any changes you observe or experience.  If doing neurofeedback while on medication, it is important for us to work collaboratively with your prescribing doctor and for me to know when you are changing medications.  It is my experience, and that of many other neurofeedback providers, that neurofeedback often seems to make trainees more sensitive to the effects of medication.

Home Use with EEGer

McGinnis Counseling & Consulting offers neurofeedback training that can happen at home. This is a good option for kids with supportive parents, more than one client in a family, or a client who lives a distance from the office.

  • Convenient: EEGer can be installed onto most existing home computers, making it easy to get started. Files are sent via the cloud, so no waiting for emails or need to manually download files.
  • Self-Paced: Many clinicians train their Home-Users to operate the system on their own or with the help of a family member. Training can occur in a comfortable environment at times where training is most effective, rather than when an appointment is available.
  • Clinical Supervision: Training plans are created by me, a board certified clinician. I can help evaluate your needs and choose the specific type of training for your needs. I also offer guided training by remotely connecting to the Home Use system, allowing for real-time adjustments.
  • Cost Effective: There is an upfront cost for equipment and a monthly subscription for access to the sofware. Despite this cost, the flexibilty and accessibility to train at home without travel or the need to pay for my time for each session allows for a faster, less expensive course of treatment.

Functional EEG evaluation

Additional assessments and information can be a valuable tool that allows us to tailor treatment specifically to the needs of the individual. An evaluation is an option at the beginning of treatment or if treatment is not progressing as desired. I can refer clients to a clinic in Phoenixville, PA to get this additional evaluation.

What is a functional EEG evaluation?

A functional EEG evaluation is a comprehensive assessment comprised of

  • Analysis of the EEG by a board certified neurologist,
  • A qEEG which compares a EEG to a normative database and
  • An Evoked Response Potential analysis (ERP Analysis) which evaluates how the brain receives and processes information.
  • A Visual Continuous Performance Task that measures response time, attention, and performance consistency.

This allows the identification of biomarkers which allows allow us to provide recommendations about how to improve brain functioning that includes life style changes, biofeedback and neurofeedback training, and traditional interventions such as medication and psychotherapy.