It’s the number of electrodes you had on your head. For example: Serin Center uses a 19-channel neurofeedback which means that 19 electrodes will be reading your brain’s electrical activity. You want as many electrodes as possible to get a good reading. Many offices use older equipment and those machines only incorporate 2 or 6 channels. If you only have 2 channels, then you can only see 2 areas of the brain which means more sessions and longer time before results.
So, more electrodes are good?
It would be ideal, yes. It maps the brain better.
If there are only 2 channels, then that means we can only train the areas between the 2 sites.
Neurofeedback uses that data of you sitting still at the beginning to figure out what parts of your brain are deviating from the norm. Which parts aren’t activating the way they should? Is there too much activity in one area over another? That’s a lot of electrical impulses to measure. You want as many channels as possible to capture that data to get an accurate reading.
What happens next?
During neurofeedback sessions, the trained therapist will have the patient revisit the negative event or memories that may be the cause of their anxiety. They will have you revisit the past experience that started your anxiety in the first place. It is vital for them to know these details so later on they can have you recall the memories or thoughts associated with your anxiety.
By doing this treatment in a more controlled and pleasant environment, the brain will be less stressed. Instead, the brain will associate other stimulation with this new set-up which will give it a chance to better adapt and cope. The overwhelming feelings of fear caused by anxiety are believed to be the result of unresolved trauma. The person cannot cope with what they’ve experienced and so they turn to substances to self-soothe. That is why people turn to drugs, alcohol, even food when they’re suffering from severe anxiety or depression. They’re struggling to survive with a hurting brain that is unable to cope or heal on its own, the way it’s supposed to.
Why is it important for me to recall the event at all?
Because it’s important to begin a new neural pathway in the brain that won’t cause distress. We will add something new to your way of thinking about the event that you didn’t in the past.
What will be new?
The bilateral stimulation (BLS) step, is where you not only remember the event but also preform specific eye movements or other forms of stimulation while thinking about the event.
Operant conditioning is used to help the brain. Operant condition also known as Skinnerian conditioning plays a powerful role in everyday learning. Specific consequences are associated with a voluntary behavior. For example: Smile and get a treat. No smile, no treat. The subject will learn to smile more.
The introduction of a reward increases and encourages the desired behavior.
Your brain gets a visual treat (like a picture) as a reward. During neurofeedback sessions, when the brain is function spontaneously on its own properly, it is given as positive reinforcement. Your brain likes this and wants it to happen again, therefore it will do the healthy behavior (thinking) again. Over time, the brain starts to learn how to function more in a balanced and healthy way without needing a reward. When the brain is able to cope on its own again, this means it’s able to move past the tripwire of negative feelings and thoughts that, in the past prior to EMDR therapy, would trigger their anxiety.