Neurofeedback Training for Therapists

Why Should Therapists Learn to Incorporate Neurofeedback Therapy into their Practice?

In the last five years, the, the siloed way that we go about identifying psychopathology has begun to collapse. Bessel Van der Kolk has been very central to the idea that that most of what we treat has roots in complex trauma. This is not to suggest that there are not variations of traumatic presentation and etiology, however, it does imply that clients do not typically come to us with simple anxiety or depression.  When these symptoms are generated, it is believed to be a part of a process that may initiate with individuals early in life and is related to an insecure bond with primary caretakers, or a bond that is not facilitating for normative development. Underlying that presentation is the knowledge that these symptoms are often driven by a poorly functioning autonomic nervous system.

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.

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Cost-efficiency and Learning Curve

There are two primary methods of ISF training.  One is ISF bipolar training, a two-channel intervention that involves a bipolar montage. The other is ISF sLORETA, a nineteen-channel intervention that utilizes the “inverse solution” to train deeper regions in the brain.

ISF Bipolar training is a powerful tool to support full system change (i.e., balancing the autonomic nervous system, the appropriate parasympathetic and sympathetic response).    The cost efficiency and comparatively gentle learning curve of bipolar ISF training are attractive key features.  For the equipment cost of a couple of thousand dollars and the price of a workshop, the therapist has an extremely effective regulation tool that quickly reduces client symptomatology. While both interventions (bipolar and sLORETA) benefit from QEEG analysis, ISF Bipolar a is more symptom-driven intervention and is often applied in clinical practice by clinicians without QEEG analysis.

ISF sLORETA, on the other hand, requires a larger amplifier and many more electrodes. It is, in some ways, a more complex form of ISF training, although it also balances the autonomic nervous system. While the protocols are quite easy to apply, the theoretical construct of the applications of sLORETA training is more complicated.  Some clinicians have expressed the opinion that it is better suited to QEEG analysis.   Those who already employ QEEG analysis in their practice may find this form of ISF training more compatible with their previous training. It is a more targeted form of ISF neurofeedback than bipolar training and is aided by focus on and knowledge of large behavioral networks.

For providers who wish to begin with ISF sLORETA but have limited knowledge of large-scale behavioral networks, the needed information is provided in our workshops. We have a simple, research-tested, and successful formula of applying this intervention with a broad swath of clinical presentations.

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Why Neurofeedback Training for Therapists Through ISF Associates?

The team at ISF Associates is committed to incorporating the most current concepts in neuroscience.  We have partnered with Dr. Dirk DeRidder, a prominent neuroscientist, who is working with us to identify strengths, future direction, and areas for further investigation and development. 

In addition to allowing neuroscience to guide and develop our field, our team is works research-supported educational techniques and instructional design to provide you with the best and most efficient learning experience to support skill development in this very complex field of practice. 

Lecture for infraslow neurofeedback

Summary

Ultimately, ISF training is a cost-effective, accessible, and powerful tool to support autonomic regulation and psychotherapeutic success.  Efficiency of client recovery and therapeutic success is improved as the autonomic platform upon which the client builds their life experiences is regulated and stabilized. 

ISF Associates is committed to ongoing research and development in order to maximize the tool’s success and ensure best outcome for therapists and clients.  Our educational approach is based on best practice in instructional design with the goal of providing an enjoyable and effective learning experience.

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Testimonials

See what our customers have to say:
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"Since first meeting Mark around this time last year, working with him has been a wonderfully motivating experience. Aside from his pioneering work in the field of Infraslow frequency neurofeedback, his intelligence and dedication to the field of mental health is nothing short of inspiring. Having a research background myself, I highly respect Mark’s attention to detail and loyalty to evidence-based knowledge. I hope to continue working with Mark as a I grow in this field myself as he is undoubetly a role model for young aspiring researchers and mental health and/or neurofeedback practitioners."
- Susanne B.

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