We know that the infraslow fluctuation is linked to autonomic nervous system function and that infraslow training can make the autonomic system much more flexible. In terms of working with clients, if we can make their autonomic nervous system less ‘stuck,’ they are better able to identify and sit with their own cognitive distortions for longer periods of time and move more quickly through the remediation of those distortions compared to somebody who is only using psychotherapy. A psychotherapist, then, is able to shorten the duration of time that they spend with each individual client; resulting in improved outcomes, intervention efficiency, and greater cost effectiveness for the client.
Further, moving through distressing storylines and histories is also gentler and more accessible to a client whose autonomic responses are more regulated. Due to the regulation effects of neurofeedback training, clients are less ‘stuck’ in an excitatory (sympathetic) state. Their responses to triggers become less potent, and they become more quickly able to identify the triggers from a ‘witness’ perspective.
Using ISF therapy, a client may walk in the door rating their anxiety as 7/10 (where 10 is the most anxiety they have ever experienced). Following a training session (i.e., within the space of 30 minutes), the client’s anxiety may be significantly reduced by several points, if not entirely resolved.
The impact of this is powerful to clients; not only in that it brings them back to regulated state, but because clients often feel a significant sense of relief that contributes to the therapeutic relationship. This relationship can be restorative and analogous to the caretaker bond. The therapist is then able to use the relationship and newly-regulated state as tools to support further recovery; particularly if there is a need to delve into older traumatic material so that the distortions are not triggered when away from sessions, or to support behavioural modifications.
The therapist is able to proceed with the work that they normally do, however, the platform upon which the client is able to build skills and develop insight is more stable and regulated, resulting in higher degree of efficiency and success.