(Brainwave or Neurofeedback) Services
(neurofeedback) is a physiological feedback modality that I have been
involved with since 1972 both as a trainee (use it for myself) and as
a clinician training others. I continue to train myself.
The attention that EEG training has been getting in the media for states
of consciousness work and ADD work is exciting. I feel those who promote
"Neurofeedback" as the answer to a vast array of problems
are being irresponsible and doing a disservice to the field of biofeedback
in the long run. Certainly, the training of an individual to focus,
to concentrate, to attend, and to "self-regulate" more effectively
is well within the purview of this tool. Results come with training
and often many sessions are needed.
My orientation towards training individuals diagnosed with Attention
Deficit, anxiety disorders, or those simply training to learn mental
quieting and self-soothing skills is to train the whole person. I do
not blindly hook a person up and leave them to sort out the feedback.
I design and tailor a multi-modality feedback package that honors an
array of physiological signals that are critical to the integrity and
efficacy of successful physiological training. I train children and
adults with the BioIntegrator©.
EEG is easily contaminated and distorted by muscle tension in the face,
by eye movements, scalp activity and neck and shoulder tension. The
muscle tension can fool a clinician into seeing "false beta"
or false "theta" activity. If arousal states as measured by
the electrodermograph, and muscle tension of the individual are incorporated,
the path being trained is not arbitrary nor shortsighted but is much
A much richer context is being ignored in the individual trainee if
multiple modalities are not being employed. I think that this distinction
is crucial to the work with children and adolescents diagnosed with
ADD. Certainly a goal of the training is being able to shift states
of attention easily, be less distractible, less impulsive, and to be
able to focus, calm oneself, and self-soothe more effectively. My experience
dictates that feedback of a system that emphasizes the most meaningful
"channel" for a child or an adult is more quickly learned.
For some, this channel may be EEG or brainwaves, for others this may
be muscle tension of key muscle groups, and for others this may be general
"arousal" as a function of sweat activity of the hands. Within
a session or from one training session to the next, each modality may
offer a different "window" of control that is more meaningful
and dynamic to the child, adolescent or adult.
Currently the EEG training protocol of ADD applications is 45 to 50
sessions. With multi modality training progress is often seen much more
quickly. Considerable progress is possible in 12 to 20 sessions.
For ADD applications, I do like to have an introductory and "baseline"
session typically demanding 90 minutes. In the second session, I like
to have the individual participate in the taking of three or four assessment
measures along with a paper an pencil questionnaire: The TOVA, the Stroop
Color/Word Test, and the Gordon Diagnostic System. Subsequent biofeedback
sessions require 45 to 50 minutes. Some individuals also like to train
on the Interactive Metronomeä (IM) for a minimum of 15 sessions.
Learn more about IM by clicking on that icon.
An additional but related service that I offer only in my San Francisco
office is "brain mapping". A cap is placed firmly on the head
of the client and 19 channels of EEG are recorded from the scalp. The
assessment takes 90 minutes and can be useful for diagnosing ADD, head
trauma, seizure activity and other neurological assessments. I contract
with a laboratory and a board certified neurologist for doing a QEEG
or quantitative analysis. The analysis compares the individual's EEG
with a database of similar age and handedness to assess normalcy over
the entire cranial surface. From the QEEG, specific EEG training sites
and training protocols are suggested. The tool provides a more comprehensive
and quantitative baseline and assessment, when that is desirable. It
can also be used in post-training to evidence specific neurological
The consumer needs to be aware that most insurance companies consider
EEG biofeedback for a variety of disorders as "unproven" or
"experimental" and may not cover the services. A medical referral
for biofeedback with a diagnosis of a "physical condition"
such as muscle contraction headaches, insomnia, migraine headaches,
chronic pain, myositis, myalgia, seizures or other conditions where
biofeedback's efficacy is more accepted is likely to gain coverage.
Mental/emotional conditions and diagnoses such as anxiety, or phobias
will likely push the biofeedback coverage into the insurance domain
of psychiatric benefits.
Dr. Bill Barton enjoys working with children, adolescents and adults
and has a unique skill at making each of these populations feel comfortable.