Neurofeedback: A Complement to Psychotherapy and Medication

How does Neurofeedback work?

Neurofeedback was developed from an imaging tool called the electroencephalogram. The process involves electrodes placed on the individual’s skull. They are Neuro-anatomically placed to ensure no errors occur.

Scientists can view brain waves through neurofeedback. It is an efficient tool to use for brain mapping. The human brain has an electrical system pulsing inside it. The energy propagates millions of neuronal impulses.

Every action that a human being takes generates an electrical impulse. The combination of many impulses creates brain waves. These brain waves have distinct characteristics. They spike when the characterized stimulus for them is present. The mode of this technique involves no medications or invasive procedures.

It gives mankind the ability to view behavior and cognition while they are taking place. The method has been quickly gaining attention and praise. Psychotherapeutic methods that use it, such as talk therapy and its sub-types, show better results.

What is Psychotherapy?

In simplistic terms, psychotherapy is called talk therapy. The aim of talk therapy is to help an individual identify issues in their mental health without the use of medication. It is a highly effective and vast method suitable for dealing with many mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma, and attention problems.

There are many subdomains of talk therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy. Psychologists assess various domains of mental health through psychological tests. These tests are aimed at figuring out which areas the person has issues in.

Talk therapy enables an individual to recognize their flawed thought and behavioral patterns. Sufferers of mental health problems are unaware of their issues. This is a common occurrence and leads to declining daily living.

There are some mental health disorders that are unmanageable without medication. Except for these, the majority of mental disorders are easy to tackle. Various practitioners use different techniques. In all of them, the concept of talk therapy still applies. The combination of both gives the most optimal results.

Mental disorders come with positive and/or negative symptoms. They make individuals unable to use cognition. Medications are useful to bring the intensity of the symptoms down. After they regain some level of cognition, the process of therapy can begin.

Depression, anxiety, trauma, and attention problems appear in cognition and behavior. When you don’t check for these problems, symptoms can become life-threatening.

Neuro-modulators regulate the processes of the brain, including its anatomy, physiology, and chemistry. Neuro-modulator imbalances are prominent in depression, anxiety, trauma, and attention problems.


Brain Mapping and Neuro-modulators

The brain’s functioning is mainly electrical, and it generates brain waves. The brain contains billions of neurons, and all of them have gated channels. In the form of vesicles, neurons contain neuro-modulators. Release of them happens only when the potentials of the channels meet.

Disturbance in the secretion of Neuro-modulators causes changes in brain waves. In depression, anxiety, trauma, and attention problems, the brain have abnormal levels of Neuro-modulators. The issues manifest in thought processes and behavior.

Mentally ill individuals do not comprehend their problems easily. They also have issues with constantly assessing their progress. They hyper-focus on the insignificant and negative aspects of their lives.

Due to disturbed behavior, impaired daily functioning becomes a constant. All these occurrences are visible through brain mapping.

Can Neurofeedback help with Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, and Attention Problems?


Neurofeedback is the most accurate form of brain mapping. Psychotherapists use the technique in accordance with talk therapy. The goal is to help the patient, so he becomes aware of their flawed thought processes.


Anxiety disorders most commonly manifest in the form of impossible scenarios. On the notion that a hurricane would happen every day, a person could damage their entire daily functioning. When these behaviors are happening, the electrochemical map that they create can be seen in brain mapping.


Neurofeedback helps in showing patients what happens in their brain. Normal levels of brain waves are compared to their own. This helps them realize the existence of the problem. More importantly, it motivates them to work for their betterment.


An altered form of thinking occurs very commonly in depression. Individuals believe that they do not have any worth in life. This happens as they completely ignore their own competence.


Neurofeedback may help them see that they are competent. We often focus on what we are unable to do. People believe that the pain they suffer from is unique. This can make them feel isolated from society.


In truth, human beings are unique but have similar characteristics when it comes to problems. For an individual, losing insight is an incredible loss. It takes away the perspective of the good from us.


When we see a good thing happen, we believe in it. Neurofeedback can help bring that belief and insight back. People suffering from anxiety can see firsthand how their brain reacts. They can choose to change the negative associations they have made. They can become fearless of the things they feared before.


Sufferers of depression can regain their self-esteem. They can work on improving their insight. It will help them when they fail again. Strong insight helps in reconciling with failure and limitations.


For maximum benefits, neurofeedback requires multiple sessions. Depression, anxiety, trauma, and attention problems are on a long list of mental health disorders. These problems require a very long period of time to resolve.


Behavioral and cognitive therapy focuses on bringing back insight. Neurofeedback can show people what insight looks like and how it feels.


People who suffer from mental health disorders can rest easy. The treatment is very effective if you do it in sessions. For neurofeedback training, patients will wear electrodes. Feedback from the electrodes shows up on the monitor screen. Patients undergoing treatment is given cues. The cues help tell the patient when they have reached the desired frequency.


Patients who suffer from depression, anxiety, trauma, and attention problems can see the frequency of brain waves. The arousal levels for stimuli reception are a very crucial factor. Once they alter their symptoms, they will see the difference in cognition and behavior. The patient will gain awareness of flawed thinking and understand its prevention.


Talk therapy with neurofeedback may give the most benefits. Mental health disorders are effectively manageable with neurofeedback. Patients can learn to develop positive associations. They can reduce or remove the negative associations previously made. The progress of individuals is steady and consistent, and we can see visible changes in brain mapping.


The symptoms that depression, anxiety, trauma, and attention problems give are significantly reduced. Permanent changes can occur if patients continue to take neurofeedback sessions regularly. Optimal cognitive and behavioral functioning is achievable through this method. Thought processes and insight building are possible for efficient regulation of behavior. Adequate levels of neuro-modulators are required for normal brain functioning. The correction of behavior and thinking can cause neuro-modulator levels to stabilize.

Written by Richard D. Abbey, Ph.D.

Dr. Abbey is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist. He provides neuropsychological evaluations for infants, children, and adults. He is the director of neuropsychological services and is involved in every case in his clinic. His research focuses on learning disorders, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and the neurocognitive effects of cancer treatments.

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