WHAT IS NEUROFEEDBACK?
In the most simple terms neurofeedback, or EEG biofeedback, is a brain training exercise. The premise underlying most neurofeedback work is the belief that our negative and chronic symptoms arise from a dysregulation of the brainwave activity. Neurofeedback helps the brain to self-regulate and to perform at its optimal functioning. Emotional stability, increased attention, improved cognitive abilities, and increased behavioral control are among some of the areas to improve with neurofeedback.
WHAT IS A NEUROFEEDBACK SESSION AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
A typical session lasts for about 30-40 minutes. Sensors are placed on your head in order for us to "see" your brainwaves. You then watch a scene, video game, movie, or youtube for the remainder of the session. You may also have on headphones and hold a tactile device. When your brainwaves are observed to be in optimal frequency for training, the visual scene you are watching is vibrant and takes up most of the screen, the sound is clear in the headphones and the tactile device vibrates in a soothing manner. When your brainwaves are not in the optimal frequency, the scene on the monitor may shrink or fog over, the sound diminishes and the tactile device slowly stops vibrating. Therefore, your brain begins to learn to stay in a focused, calm, and alert frequency state because it is "rewarded" when it does so.
When we do this training over a number of different sessions we are reinforcing the brain to stay in a calm but alert and focused place. Many athletes refer to this as, "being in the zone," for peak performance. However, you don't have to be an athlete for neurofeedback to help you learn to stay in your optimal performance zone.
WHAT WILL IT FEEL LIKE AND ARE THERE SIDE EFFECTS?
While there is no source of stimulation coming from the sensors themselves, your brain is training to work in a different way. Most often people indicate that they feel sleepy. Occasionally clients may report feeling other mild sensations that they are not used to feeling. Dr. Hansen remains with you throughout your feedback session and may make small adjustments in order to optimize your training frequency and reduce any symptoms that may feel uncomfortable. Typically, clients notice a very quick improvement in their sleep after their first session.
HOW SOON WILL I NOTICE RESULTS?
Every brain is different in how quickly it responds to neurofeedback. Some people will notice feeling more calm, relaxed and focused after the first session, sometimes referred to as the "clean windshield effect." For others, it may take several sessions. Best results for most people are reported after 20 or more sessions, when a measurable difference may be found between pre-treatment and post-treatment assessments.
HOW LONG WILL THE CHANGES LAST?
Once our brains form new neural connections, or new healthy ways to respond, they do not unlearn them. However, if we return to the same lifestyle choices we made prior to treatment or we continue to place ourselves in toxic situations it will be difficult to continue to make forward progress in our lives. For some clients who are finding it difficult to make needed changes in their lives, it can be very helpful to also participate in ongoing psychotherapy. Referrals will be offered as needed.
DO I STILL NEED TO TAKE MY MEDICATION?
If you have already been prescribed medication, continue to take your medication, but let your prescribing doctor know when you are planning to start neurofeedback. As you progress through treatment and feel an improvement in your overall functioning, you may also wish to reduce your medication or possibly even need to stop your medication; but DO NOT stop or reduce your medication without talking to your prescribing doctor first. Dr. Hansen will be more than happy to send progress reports to your doctor or speak with your doctor, with your permission, so that they may collaborate on the necessity for any medication changes.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
A 45 minute consultation may be scheduled for free. Prices for sessions are very comparable to the cost of psychotherapy sessions. Buying session packages, such as 20 sessions at a time, will save hundreds of dollars. The most current prices will be discussed during your free consultation.
WILL MY INSURANCE COVER MY SESSIONS?
Some insurance companies do cover the cost of biofeedback sessions, however, we ask that you work directly with your insurance company. We will give you an invoice for your payment which may be submitted to your insurance company for reimbursement.
To find out if you are covered, call your insurance company and ask the following questions:
Do you cover biofeedback?
Is it under medical or psychological services?
(If psychological services, then a letter will be provided for you from Mental Ascent; if medical services then ask if you need a prescription or letter from your MD to say that it is medically necessary; then ask if the letter can be sent with the first bill you send them for reimbursement)
Do you need the biofeedback code or CPT code? If so, it's 90901
If biofeedback is covered then what rate do you pay? i.e. 80% of the billed amount.