Neurofeedback Basics

Neurofeedback basics, qEEG, and Infra-slow neurofeedback therapy description.

Neurofeedback Basics

Portland Neurofeedback Computer

What is Neurofeedback?


Neurofeedback (brainwave biofeedback) is a behavior therapy that has shown to be successful in alleviating symptoms from a wide variety of psychological disorders.  Many studies have reported positive results while utilizing neurofeedback as an intervention for ADHD, anxiety and panic disorders, depression, sleep disorders, migraines, and traumatic brain injury.  I utilize several types of non-invasive neurofeedback techniques in which the primary goal is to guide the brain towards optimal self-regulation.  


My Neurofeedback Approach

During a neurofeedback session, the client is guided to bring their brainwave patterns into a more regulated state.  The training is based on the principles of operant conditioning, in that when the brain moves toward the desired state, the client receives a pleasant feedback reward, either audio or visual.  By repeatedly being guided to this state the neural pathways strengthen, with the brain learning this behavior and beginning to naturally regulate on its own.  

The type of neurofeedback that I most frequently use is called Infra-slow fluctuation neurofeedback (ISF).  ISF focuses on the some of the lowest frequencies produced by the brain.  During the session, the client hears a tone that is a reflection of their own slow brainwave frequencies.  These infra-slow frequencies are important for physiological and emotional regulation.  They are also believed to play a role in helping the brain switch from rest, or its default state, to activity.  Addressing these frequencies with neurofeedback can have profound implications for balancing the autonomic nervous system, dealing with chronic autonomic stress and regulating attention networks.  When treatment begins, the goal is to determine the optimal frequency for the client, where the nervous system is in a state of balance, and the client feels calm and relaxed.  Physiological state shifts are often noticed within the session.  Once the optimum frequency is established we continue to guide the brain to this state until it naturally stays there on its own.

Portland Neurofeedback Session talk.jpg

What is a qEEG?

When beginning treatment, it can at times be helpful for clients to receive a quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG). The qEEG is a thorough assessment of the electrical activity taking place in the brain. During this session, a cap that contains 19 sensors is placed on the client’s head. The client rests comfortably while activity is recorded, both in an eyes open and eyes closed state. This data is then analyzed and the client’s values are compared to a database of normal values. The resulting information is displayed as a “brain map”, where the scores are interpreted as z-scores, showing statistically how the activity at each site compares to the values in the normal database. This information can help guide the treatment plan for the subsequent neurofeedback sessions. 

Jessica Weimer, LPC, BCN