Maybe you have already wondered if neurotherapy via neurofeedback has any side effects. It is really important, especially when looking for solutions to disorders, to be aware of its advantages and real effects, including the benefits and possible side effects.
A positive feature of neurofeedback systems is that, unlike drug-based solutions, neurotherapy via neurofeedback is not invasive. This means that it does not resort to drugs and hence to the use of chemicals. But this does not stop the therapy from causing undesirable consequences if the considerations necessary for its exercise are not respected.
Neurotherapy via neurofeedback is not an invasive therapy, but is an “active method”, which means that it is linked to biological mechanisms and/or established mental processes and will affect biological, psychological and behavioural functions meeting the “therapeutic conditions of follow-up”.
The treatment has certainly been the subject of recognised efficacy studies, but it is based on ‘strict therapeutic conditions’ such as:
- The treatment must be carried out by an academically trained professional specialised in the clinical treatment of disorders and therefore possesses the clinical knowledge and skills that are essential for providing such treatment.
- The treatment must be performed by a professional experienced in the technical handling of treatment systems of neurotherapy via neurofeedback, in order to better exploit the possibilities of the processes of the systems in the treatment.
- Neurotherapy via neurofeedback must be carried out on equipment that is regulated and controlled for this type of treatment – certified and qualified medical equipment. All devices, equipment and accessories (including software), used singly or in combination, must have obtained medical device (MD) certification, which is a category of product oversight for strict health purposes.
- Before starting treatment, the professional must perform a ‘quantitative electroencephalogram’ (QEEG) examination of the patient in order to locate and identify atypical neuronal activity matching the symptoms, and establish a unique, individualised treatment protocol for the patient’s brain rehabilitation.
These requirements all aim to lay the ‘ethical and structural foundations’ for ‘devising a respectful treatment under the best conditions for success’ that will have an effect on, and direct consequences for, the patient’s biological, psychological and behavioural functions .
In fact, all neurofeedback systems are ‘active systems’ with varied functions, so that people undergoing treatment will see that their brain is being steered towards the most appropriate functional evolution (‘change, evolution, and recovery’), ‘thus remodelling the brain’s structure and connectivity’.
As a result, the treatment has a strong effect on the brain and its functions, and a significant effect on the indicators of health, behaviour and quality of life. implementation of therapy via neurofeedback thus calls for skills as well as clinical and technical experience, in addition to ethical elements, otherwise there may be undesirable negative and, in some cases, even disabling effects on the patient’s brain function.
For treatment, the EEG neurofeedback sensors must be positioned according to the specific functional areas of each patient – the areas that have been identified by the QEEG as ‘atypically functioning locations’ (after cerebral QEEG-mapping so as to be able to rehabilitate and modify only the areas of the brain that need it). This important aspect is crucial: no brain rehabilitation should be carried out without a QEEG being performed on the patient at the start of treatment and having established which areas of the brain are functioning atypically, since we only have to rehabilitate the atypically functioning areas (we should not touch areas of the brain that are functioning in a neurotypical way).
The sensors will transmit information about the patient’s neuronal activity. The sensors act as filters. They are completely painless, do not cause any discomfort and will help to rehabilitate and restore the atypically functioning brain operations.
Therapy must therefore be tailored to the needs of each patient. If the therapy does not follow a course of treatment that is adapted by professionals to the needs of each patient, this may lead to undesirable and drastic changes in brain function and to deterioration of the disease, sometimes even putting the patient’s life in danger.
People interested in this approach are therefore recommended to make their ‘choice of a therapeutic practice’ carefully and cautiously, in particular jn order to identify:
- The choice of a neurotherapist clinician
- The initial academic training of the professional therapist, their clinical skills and specialisation in pathologies and their knowledge of the brain and psychoneurology.
- Clinical experience in the treatment of neurotherapy via neurofeedback and their knowledge and in- depth understanding of systems and their technical possibilities in their treatment
- The technical handling of imaging software and knowledge of image reading
- The therapeutic approach that is contemplated for the treatment. Will there be a QEEG before treatment? We must be careful: scientific methods make it possible to devise therapeutic courses based on ‘findings, not suspicions’ (discovery rather than hypothesis)
- Equipment, accessories and software: The systems used must always be medically certified
Finally, within an ethical therapeutic framework that meets the objectives and requirements of the treatment, Neurotherapy via neurofeedback requires rigour and personalisation of the treatment and may use other therapeutic methods to support patients’ progress.
The areas in which I practise are cognitive and mental pathologies, neurodevelopmental disorders, the human brain and therapeutic solutions. In particular, my neurofeedback treatments draw on:
- My range of professional experiences in highly qualified contexts. Specialised hospital centre (psychiatric disorders); psychological expertise (criminology – psychic disorders); university education (psychopathologies); clinical and specialised cognitive research (human brain, psychic disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders and related psychoneurotherapies). Fields of operation that have contributed widely to the development of my therapeutic solutions.
- My brain rehabilitation treatment systems are the most advanced and innovative existing in the field and are certified neurofeedback medical systems, incorporating leading brain research software and very sophisticated imaging software.
- 1st generation ‘Neurofeedback Excellence’ with Z-Score, treatment on the cortex, wide amplitude. It is a method that I created from my experience of over 25 years, involving 3 high-level systems of technological sophistication with different but complementary requirements, which will gradually incorporate my treatment in keeping with my patients’ clinical progress. The protocols are personalised and drawn up according to individual needs.
- 3rd generation ‘Neurofeedback swLORETA’ with 3D, deep-amplitude processing and Z-score, allowing me to rehabilitate 40 brain-mapped areas simultaneously. Employing 19 and 21 sensors, it connects 4,000 points of the brain and uses new, intelligent algorithms supplemented by still more precise imaging software. It is the most advanced brain rehabilitation treatment system in existence, is regarded as one of the major therapeutic breakthrough in the last 20 years and is used by only a handful of professionals worldwide. My practice is the only one in France to offer this approach.
In order to support the patient’s psychological progress, a ‘therapeutic palette’ is incorporated into my treatments. My treatments also include meticulous follow-up of re-readings of sessions and careful clinical correlations.
The effects of neurotherapy via neurofeedback are long-lasting, even permanent, one reason why it is essential to ensure ‘compliance with the strict therapeutic conditions required’ for this type of treatment, otherwise effects may be produced that run counter to each patient’s objectives.
We can thus conclude that this scientific and non-invasive treatment, provided by a professional who meets the requirements indicated in the * “choice of a therapeutic practice”, holds out hope for the treatment and care of various pathologies where traditional medicine offers chemical substances, sometimes merely to ease the symptoms.
The main disorders that I treat with this approach are: autism, hyperactivity (ADHD), ADD, anxiety, emetophobia, bipolar disorder and psychoses, borderline disorder, depression, chronic fatigue, Epilepsy, OCD and sleep disorders (the list is non-exhaustive).
Expert clinical skills and a high level of technological sophistication, acting on a broad spectrum of issues, with targeted results and a high degree of relevance
Ruby Villar-Documet is a clinical psychologist with more than 25 years of experience.