What is Neurofeedback?
Everything that happens inside you is mediated by your body. Your brain is a part of your body. Your brain is unique in that most of the activity has to do with the ways in which your nerve cells talk to each other. We believe we can describe the overall way the brain functions by using a concept called “arousal model.”
Arousal Model of the brain takes into account the idea that at different states, different parts of the brain fire at different speeds. For instance, during deep sleep, the arousal model says the nerve cells in the brain fire at a very slow rate (less than 1 and up to 4 times per second), but very much in relative unison with one another. In contrast, during a good game like Tennis or Soccer, different parts of the brain will be firing at different rates. When measured from the scalp, it will look like they are firing around 12-20 times per second and not necessarily in unison. This is, of course, an oversimplification. The point is that we can link the speed at which neurons fire and communicate with each other to different emotional states and capacities we experience.
When we let the brain see what it is doing, and then we reward the brain whenever it fires in ways that are useful and beneficial for the brain, we train it to do it automatically. That beneficial rate of firing, we believe, makes it easier for the brain to solve problems, take care of the body in more efficient ways, offer suggestions to us, and in general, do a better job. The process of giving the brain positive feedback when it operates efficiently is brain feedback – Neuro-feedback.
How does it work?
Let’s say your amygdala – the part of your brain designed to make sure you detect potential danger around you – has gotten used to over-working. One of the rules governing brain function is: whatever is used more, gets stronger. Your fear-triggering part of your brain is, now, loud and is bullying the other parts, and it has grown and gotten bigger because of over-use not allowing you to get some needed rest. Sometimes we call this PTSD. When this part of the brain butts in on every thought and interpretation or interaction you have, it will color them the way it knows how to influence them. The amygdala can’t speak any other language but the language of self-preservation and stress. What if we could reward your amygdala every time it decided to quiet down and not be a bully to the other parts of your brain? Eventually, your amygdala will return to its original size and ‘loudness’, and you would be able to think about things and see things not through the Amygdala’s screams and threats, but as they really are. That is how Neurofeedback can be beneficial.
The same way it works for overactive parts of the brain, it can also work for the under-active parts of the brain. Aside from dealing with disease-like states (such as PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, etc.), Neurofeedback can also be helpful with performance enhancement. A lot of people’s brains are already doing a good job, and we find the brain can do even a better job with minor tweaks. In 2006, the World Cup winning team was reported to have used Neurofeedback as part of their training. The team members reported that it helped them keep their focus under pressure, and they were more able to maintain their focus during typically stressful situations, like making penalty shots, etc.
Initial Assessment 60 min: $125
Follow Up 60 min: $95
Follow up 30 min: $65
Please call 410-742-6016 to find out if your health insurance plan would cover this service.
Mehryar “Mike” Tabib, LCSW-C, Therapist and Neurofeedback Clinician
Mehryar “Mike” Tabib holds a license as a Certified Social Worker – Clinical in Maryland and Virginia. He has been in the Mental Health field since 1984. After completing his Bachelor’s in Psychology from University of Colorado and receiving his Masters in Social Work from Norfolk State University, in Norfolk, Virginia, he began practicing independently in 1993. He uses Neurofeedback, Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy, as well as spiritual counseling to address issues of complex trauma, depression, anxiety, and anger. He works with adults, adolescents and even with children. While in Colorado his practice as an EAP for the Military One Source service, involved treating those returning soldiers stationed at Fort Carson Army Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.