You’ve heard of neurofeedback, you think it could be a good fit for you, but you’re unsure how to get started on finding a provider in your area. We’re here to reassure you that, firstly, you’ve already taken the first step to beginning your journey with neurofeedback by doing the research in the first place, so congrats! Secondly, we want to help you take the following steps, to make your search for the right neurotherapist as seamless as possible.
What exactly is neurofeedback?
To get an idea of what you should be receiving from your provider, it’s important to have a grasp on what neurofeedback is.
Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback, is a non-drug treatment, and belongs to a group of therapies called biofeedback. Biofeedback works on the principle that if a person can see their bodily functions in real time, they can learn to control them.
Biofeedback is applied by measuring physiological changes in real-time and retraining them. These include muscle tension, body temperature, heart rate variability (HRV) and blood pressure. It is used to treat a variety of conditions including anxiety, migraines, chronic pain, and incontinence.
With neurofeedback, however, what is measured and retrained is the brain activity. That's done using EEG electrodes, hence it is also called 'EEG biofeedback'.
The goal of neurofeedback is to train the brain to regulate itself, and to help the person training to understand when their brain is in the desired state. Eventually, the patient can control these processes without being monitored. The feedback as a reaction to the measured brain wave activity in the form of games or videos.
Over time, the ability to control the brain waves can be applied in real world situations, for instance, by helping them relax in stressful situations, or concentrate during class.
If you’d like, you can do some additional reading on neurofeedback using these links:
What does a neurofeedback provider do?
Your neurofeedback therapist will design a protocol based on your initial assessment and the goals that you’ve set to achieve with your training. Throughout your training, they will monitor your progress and adjust your training parameters if needed to make sure you're on the right track.
Some providers offer more comprehensive assessments than others (such as qEEG) which might be a factor in the success of the therapy - make sure to ask about the enrollment process.
Providers usually have multiple specialties, including:
Sport and peak performance
We do recommend, however, that you ask your provider what is their main specialty and check if it is inline with what you're looking for.
Know your end goal for neurofeedback treatment
After you’ve done the required research on neurofeedback and decided that you’re ready to look for a provider in your area, consider the goals that you’re aiming to achieve through your training sessions.
Perhaps you’ve been experiencing difficulty with concentration and want to improve your attention levels. Or you’ve been dealing with anxiety and want to make that your focus. Perhaps you’re just looking to use neurofeedback to practice mindfulness and overall wellness. Whatever the case, make sure to set your intentions because it will make finding a suitable neurofeedback therapist and designing your treatment program easier.
Professional associations and online neurofeedback listings
Professional associations such as the International Society for Neuroregulation and Research (ISNR) and the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA) have a vast range of digital resources to help you find credible professionals in the neurofeedback field.
Choosing the right provider
Take into consideration that some neurofeedback therapists in your area may not have a website, or possibly just aren’t showing up in your Google search. Referrals from your general practitioner or close friends and family could also be a helpful way to narrow down your search.
FYI, Myndlift might already be working with a provider in your area. You can check using our 'Find a Provider' tool to see if you can locate the right expert for you.
Lastly, affordability is also an important factor when it comes to choosing your therapist. Some medical and psychological insurance plans now cover neurofeedback/biofeedback depending on the provider and your plan.
“Trying out” neurofeedback
Once you have focused your search, you will likely have a few candidates to “meet,” either in person or online. Of course, you will first need to be sure that these therapists have room in their schedule for you, and that they have appointment times that work for you. You’ll also want to see if they offer payment plans that fit your budget.
This might require a phone call to the therapist’s office, which can feel intimidating. But a quick phone call like this is actually a good way to see how you “vibe” with a particular therapist.
It can be stressful the first time you start your neurofeedback program, but remember most folks who have tried it felt nervous or tired the first time. This training requires a lot of mental power, and it is natural to feel especially tired/confused when you are starting a new program, especially if this is your first time.
Your first sessions
Remember that the first few sessions with neurofeedback are a time for you to “feel things out.” Your gut instinct about a particular therapist and the training program can be very powerful. You don’t want to rush to judgment if you don’t immediately hit it off with your therapist or the program.
If you find that your first few tries are not what you’d hoped they’d, don’t give up. Sometimes it can take tries runs before you the program grows on you. But the good news is that most people who enter therapy begin to feel better after as little as 12 sessions.
The neurofeedback journey
What a relief! You’ve finally found a therapist near you or online who you feel comfortable with and who you can supervise your neurofeedback training program. Congratulations! It really was worth taking the time to do this careful search, wasn’t it?
If you are not there yet, however – or if the therapist that you were working with does not seem like a good match – don’t despair. Finding a therapist near you might sound daunting at first, but there are so many resources to help you.
Keep in mind, too, that you have choices. You may find that there are no therapists near you that are quite what you are looking for. Many therapists these days offer remote therapy and neurofeedback services, so that is something to consider. You can also sign up for an online training company like Myndlift that you helps you find the right match and offers more flexible options for checking in with your expert or scheduling video sessions.
Your mental health and wellness is worth it. In the end, having a supervised neurofeedback program should not be an added stress. Remember to keep looking until you the right match with an expert that suits your needs and fits into your life.
What about Myndlift's Remote Training?
Myndlift has a directory of providers that offer remote neurofeedback which you can find here.
In the event that you cannot locate a neurofeedback therapist near you, you can opt to use Myndlift’s Remote Program, which enables you to receive professional training from home. You will receive your Myndlift kit, have access to the Myndlift mobile app, and also be matched with a professional neuro-coach who will monitor your training.