What to expect during a program of Neurofeedback Training
At Your Initial Consultation (c.2.5/3 hours)
When you come to us for your assessment at your first visit, there are three main elements involved:
An EEG measurement of brain function;
An assessment interview with a Clinical Psychologist, and
A consultation with a member of our Neuroscience team, who will be able to talk you through the assessment findings immediately after your assessment.
The first thing that will happen is you will have a qEEG assessment taken. This is entirely painless and non-invasive. You will have an EEG cap put on your head and some conductive gel introduced. Please come with clean dry hair and no hair products, as clean hair and scalp make for the best contact for our the electrodes. It is also advisable to bring a towel as you will have gel in your hair.
Once this is complete, you will have an intake interview with a Clinical Psychologist to identify history, symptoms, diagnoses etc. as well as your goals for Neurofeedback Training.
The qEEG assessment will give us information about your brain function. It’s a very simple and relaxed process where we put the EEG cap on you (see What is EEG to see a cap in use). We then take two recordings of your brain function; one with your eyes closed and one with your eyes open. You just sit and relax as this happens. You can learn more about EEG here. We also have a number of videos depicting what happens which you can find here.
What happens next?
After this visit, we work to link your symptoms and goals to your brain function. We can do this utilising the latest 3-D source localisation software (including LORETA and LORETA Progress Report Tools). These tools allow us to look at your brain activity in great detail, including allowing us to compare your brain activity to that of other people your age.
We utilise a range of important standard EEG indices, including amplitude, coherence, phase, phase coherence, phase lock and amplitude asymmetry. Our team will discuss these finings with you after your qEEG and assessment. All of these steps take place in one visit.
To read more about maps you will see at your consultation only, see our Brain Maps page.
At your first session
Based on the recommendations made to you at your consultation, and when you are satisfied you have all the information you require, you may decide to begin Neurofeedback Training. Following consultations, we ask all prospective clients to take at least three days to digest all the information from the consultation before making a decision. A member of our team will call you during the week after your consultation.
At sessions 1 and 2, there are a number of resources you will be given, including diaries to keep a regular account of your changing symptoms. You will also put the EEG cap on again (as you will do at every session) and we will begin the process of explaining how you will engage with the training.
On the first day we will take it slowly, taking breaks to ensure all questions are answered and that the process is understood. It is essential to Neurofeedback Training that you engage fully with the process. NFT is not a passive experience and you are required to work hard during your sessions.
During your NFT programme
In general, our clients require roughly 20 one-hour sessions. These are carried out over 12-20 weeks. We then have tapering sessions, scheduled at 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months and 3 months after the last session of our first block.
A recent service evaluation carried out at Actualise found that those who had 20 sessions or more tended to maintain benefits.We recommend a minimum of 12 sessions to begin. The timing of this varies from client to client, but can be an initial intense six weeks of two sessions a week.
Following this, we assess change and make a decision regarding your progress. The number of sessions needed differs from person to person, and particularly from children to adults. Traditionally, the ‘industry standard’ for traditional NFT was roughly 60/80 sessions, but with our more advanced technology and improved protocols, our clients generally require much fewer.
We continually monitor your data, and take regular baseline EEG readings and re-analyse the data to make updates and any necessary changes to your protocol. All reviews are carried out with your key worker, and all data will have been reviewed by our multi-disciplinary team.
It is important to note, we do not want clients to view their 12th session as ‘the last one’. Different conditions require different numbers of sessions. For instance, an adult with depression or anxiety will generally require more sessions (20 and over) compared to a child with ADHD.
People go to 15/20/25 sessions, so recommendations are made on a case by case basis with reviews at regular intervals to guide your training sessions. We will never recommend unnecessary sessions and it is up to you if you wish to take our recommendation on board.
Neurofeedback Training is learning a new skill. It is impossible to predict how many sessions an individual may require to not only make changes to brain function, but to consolidate these changes.
Worse before better
In some instances, some people feel a slight disimprovement in symptoms during the course of training. It has not been reported, however, that these disimprovements last. We would ask you (1) to let us know as soon as possible if these happens to you and (2) to be patient as we work together to improve your symptoms, your brain function and your overall quality of life!