The Hopeful Counselor Issue 1: Training Your Brain to Thrive with Neurofeedback

As a mental health clinician here at North Range Behavioral Health, I recently had the opportunity to train on an evidence-based treatment called neurofeedback. I’m excited to share how neurofeedback can be a unique intervention to add to your treatment plan that supports positive mental health. First, let’s ask an important question: “Are you ready to do some exercise and build some new neuropathways?” Great! Then this could be a terrific way to do it!

So what is Neurofeedback, you ask?

Neurofeedback has been around since the idea came to two researchers back in the 1950s. Since then, it’s been shown to be effective in helping to increase the quality of life for many people. Just like any therapy technique, this treatment is individualized and based on your specific mental health needs.

What sets this technique apart from other trauma-based and therapeutic treatments out there is that incorporates a process called operant conditioning. Operant conditioning relies on the premise that actions followed by reinforcement will be strengthened and more likely to occur again in the future. A simplified example of this might be joke-telling. If you tell a joke and people laugh, you will be more likely to want to tell a joke again.

During Neurofeedback training sessions with your therapist, you are reinforced for engaging and practicing healthy mental strategies that help your brain respond better to internal and external stressors. Through this process of repetition and reinforcement, your brain then learns to create new patterns and neuro connections that support overall better mental health.

One way I like to view neurofeedback is through the idea of exercising. Exercising takes commitment, motivation for change, and consistency. Neurofeedback is similar in that it’s a type of “exercise” for your brain. By engaging in neurofeedback training sessions, you are exercising “muscles” that are not used often, and over time, these muscles grow stronger and healthier.

Now that you understand the basic concept behind neurofeedback, I would like to share with you how North Range takes this a step further. North Range Behavioral Health offers an opportunity to combine talk therapy with neurofeedback training. Our sessions are unique because our clinicians prioritize and combine the needs of each client with the intervention of neurofeedback therapy. In conjunction with other treatment modalities like DBT, CBT, and motivational interviewing (to name a few), you can broaden your skillset and utilize multiple resources in your weekly therapeutic sessions. This is ultimately important because it provides an opportunity for you to continue to work through and process everyday current and past experiences with your therapist while simultaneously “exercising” your brain and creating healthier responses to these experiences.

The most exciting part about neurofeedback for me as a clinician, aside from it being a unique form of treatment for trauma and mental health, is that I get to watch a “light bulb” (so to speak) go off in my client’s head when their “muscle” gets stronger with consistent exercise. The best thing about being a counselor for me is, and will always be, seeing a client make significant progress over time and witnessing them feel a sense of accomplishment for taking the “drivers’ seat” to their mental health. Neurofeedback is a wonderful tool that helps us make this more possible.

For more information about Neurofeedback:

Visit Watch our Train Your Brain to Thrive Series on YouTube

Kelsi MIller

Blog Contributor:
Kelsi Miller, MS, LPC,
North Range Behavioral Health

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