Neurofeedback Frequently Asked Questions
Questions and answers on neurofeedback treatments, insurance options and process
“Neurofeedback” is both exercise and therapy for your brain.
It is a process in which basic auditory and visual feedback teach your brain to make more or less of specific brainwave frequency bands. When the brain produces desired, normal patterns of brainwaves, we function at our best, cognitively and behaviourally. However, when dysregulation of these patterns occurs, we may experience various unwanted psychological symptoms. Neurofeedback targets these patterns of dysregulation, and teaches the brain to produce desired brainwave activity, which results in improved functioning and alleviation of symptoms.
Everything we do here at Zone Performance Psychology is evidence-based and research-validated.
Your first session will begin with learning the self regulation skills that balance your nervous system, starting with proper diaphragmatic breathing and active self awareness of thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations.
We will then begin the neurofeedback therapy. This will entail having several electrodes placed on your scalp, as well as clips on your ears. This process is entirely non-invasive and painless.
We will introduce you to a variety of brain training games and/or tv shows or movies that will provide you with the feedback that we use to rewire your brainwave circuitry during the neurofeedback session. Based on the principles of operant conditioning, our software will reward your brain for producing the desired brainwave patterns. This is how we train your brain to produce brainwave activity associated with reducing adverse symptoms and promoting peak cognitive performance.
The cost of neurofeedback sessions varies depending on the amount of sessions required, the severity of symptoms, and the billing method chosen. For more information, please contact our office. We offer discounted rates for university/college students and senior citizens.
Unfortunately our services are not eligible for coverage under Alberta Health Services, as we are a private psychology clinic.
However, our clinic does provide direct billing with several healthcare insurance providers. Direct billing to your health insurance company allows you to avoid out of pocket expenses for our services. Please contact your insurance provider to see if you are eligible for coverage on psychological services. In addition, we offer payment plans, as well as discounted session rates with the purchase of a multi-session package.
All of our services may be covered by insurance providers, depending on what your plan entails. We are able to direct bill our services with most insurance providers, however, some providers do not allow direct billing for psychological services.
Health Insurance Providers that we direct bill for:
- Blue Cross
- Chamber of Commerce Group Insurance
- Desjardins Insurance
- First Canadian
- Green Shield
- Great-West Life
- Industrial Alliance
- Johnston Group Inc.
- Maximum Benefit
- SSQ Financial
- TELUS AdjudiCare
We are constantly adding companies to our direct billing process. If your provider is not listed above, contact us and we will review options with you and see if we can get direct billing set up!
While this varies from client to client, it typically takes anywhere between 20-60 sessions for neurofeedback to produce noticeable and sustainable results. The amount of time it takes is dependent on lifestyle choices (eg. sleep, exercise, diet, medication, alcohol and drug consumption habits), frequency of sessions completed per week, and the type and severity of symptoms being treated. In conjunction with neurofeedback, we recommend and provide 5-10 free counselling sessions to address specific needs, concerns, and personal goals for clients receiving neurofeedback therapy.
Factors that affect the success of neurofeedback therapy:
- Stress Levels
- Water Intake
- Metabolic Conditions
- Electronic Usage
If you have any questions about these factors and how they can impact your treatment, please do not hesitate to ask our staff.
You do not need a referral to start treatment. Based on your comprehensive assessment results, our Registered Psychologist will know what treatment plan is right for you.
In the 40 years since its discovery, neurofeedback has never produced any serious negative side effects, when properly administered. Some clients may experience mild drowsiness following their first few sessions, but this effect is temporary, if it occurs at all. If clients are dehydrated prior to completing a session, they may experience a headache during or after training. While neurofeedback is extremely unlikely to produce side effects, it does often result in a range of side benefits, including improved focus, memory, concentration, and an overall enhanced sense of well being.
While neurofeedback training is safe to do while on anxiolytics and antidepressants, it is crucial to inform both your prescriber and our clinicians of any medications or changes in medications. This will help you avoid adverse effects.
Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback known as EEG Biofeedback. Biofeedback is used to increase awareness and control of bodily functions. This is done by providing the user with real time feedback on a specified function (eg. heart rate), usually through the use of physiological measurement technology. Neurofeedback focuses on brainwaves, and is used to teach the brain how to correct patterns of dysregulation. By giving users feedback on how their brain waves are regulated, the brain learns to produce healthier, desired brainwave patterns.
Often in children who express the signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD, neurofeedback therapy teaches them how to put their brain into a state that is primed for learning. In most cases, children produce excess Delta, Theta, and Alpha waves in the frontal lobes, leading to symptoms such as having trouble focusing and paying attention, impulsivity, and memory issues which all impede academic performance. Neurofeedback may be used to train the brain to produce less of the unwanted brainwaves, which will allow them to perform desirably in an academic setting.
If you are planning on bringing your child to neurofeedback, you may use the following information to introduce them to the process. We will also explain it to them in more detail prior to beginning their first session, most often during the initial assessment. Sit your child down and explain to them that they are having issues with ______ (ie focusing, memory, etc). Next, tell them that there is “good news” in the form of a powerful treatment called neurofeedback. This treatment is non-invasive, doesn’t hurt, and is actually fun. It involves playing video games and watching their favourite shows, while their brain learns to stay relaxed and focused. As your child goes to more sessions, they will begin noticing improvements in their performance on our programs, as well as reductions in unwanted problems they are experiencing.
The effects of neurofeedback have been shown to last for up to 10 years. We offer a discounted maintenance package to clients who have completed their neurofeedback sessions, which helps them sustain the progress they have made.