By Clarissa Toll |Staff Writer|
Yugyeong Lee, placed a headset on and watched as her brain waves danced on the screen.
Neurofeedback, sometimes referred to as cognitive rehabilitation, has been used for the past 30 years to help reduce the symptoms of conditions like post traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit disorders, and anger.
These symptoms include anxiety, pain, and depression
The Institute for Research, Assessment, & Professional Development held an open house, within their offices located in the College of Education, on Oct. 23 to showcase programs used to reduce the symptoms of these conditions.
Dr. Connie McReynolds, director of the Institute said, “Neurofeedback works by training the brain to function at its maximum potential, which is similar to the way the body is exercised, toned and maintained.”
McReynolds explained that when individuals learn how to relax, they can optimize the way their brain works.
During the open house, students, faculty, and members of the community participated.
They had the opportunity to test the programs which were set up like video games.
While testing out these programs, participants had to wear specialized headsets with a censor resting on the individuals forehead designed to monitor brain waves
These programs are designed to test relaxation skills as well as concentration.
In the first program, participants were asked to concentrate on a barrel, the more concentrated the individual was the faster the barrel would blow up on the screen.
The next program was about relaxation, individuals focused on raising an on-screen ball.
The longer they stayed in a relaxed state, the longer the ball would be raised.
Once the exercises were complete, the individuals were encouraged by the clinicians to try and beat their time.
As stated in the Institute’s Nuerofeedback brochure, the Neurofeedback technique displays the client’s brainwaves on a screen and focuses on the client seeing and concentrating on the patterns to change or influence them.
After completing the exercises, Yugyeong Lee said “ It was interesting to see how much I can concentrate” as she referred to the barrel program.
The technique is described as a drug free way in which children can retrain their concentration to better combat their Attention Deficit Disorders.
One of the many success cases from the Institute is “Jesse” a ten-year-old boy who after just five sessions felt he could concentrate in class even when he didn’t necessarily want to.
Typical Nuerofeedback sessions take place for thirty minutes, twice a week.
These sessions are administered by trained Clinicians and are available to all Inland Empire residents.
When asked if she would return to further train her concentration, Lee said, “Sure, if I need it.”
This is a non-evasive treatment and is safe for clients from ages 5 to 95 said McReynolds.
Katherine Ellison, writer for the New York Times, explained that the procedure is controversial, expensive and time-consuming.
“An average course of treatment, with at least 30 sessions, can cost $3,000 or more, and few health insurers will pay for it,” said Ellison.
McReynolds said most children respond within 20 sessions. Each session costs $70, with a sliding scale as well as special rates for faculty and students.
As part of the session, the institute provides refreshments for their clients do to the strenuous mental activity the programs creates.
If you would like more information on Nuerofeedback, contact Dr. Connie McReynolds by phone at (909) 537-5681 or by e-mail at Theinstitute@csusb.edu.