Saul Rosenthal, PhD

Boston Area Health Psychologist

Neurofeedback is a specialized type of biofeedback focused on training the brain to work more efficiently. It is a noninvasive approach for treating anxiety, attention deficit, chronic headaches and migraines, traumatic brain injury and other brain-based conditions. 

Neurofeedback is on the cutting edge of high tech approaches to health care. With advances in our understanding of how the brain continues to change throughout life, an evidence-base is growing for neurofeedback’s efficacy in a wide range of conditions. Like biofeedback, I individualize neurofeedback training based on my client’s presenting condition and their current brain activity. 

Fine tuning the brain

In practice, neurofeedback follows a training model in which preferred patterns of brain activity are reinforced during a session. Clients watch a dvd, animation, video game or listen for tones, while a sensor picks up brain activity. When a desired brain pattern occurs, the screen advances or a tone sounds as a reward. As an information processor, the brain wants to keep the rewards coming and slowly shifts into the preferred pattern of activity. 

  • Clients with attention deficit can often have too much slow activity in the part of the brain controlling focus and attention. Neurofeedback trains the brain to produce more higher speed activity, improving the brain’s ability to filter out unnecessary information and stay focused on what’s important.
  • Anxiety is often associated with too much rapid activity, particularly in the middle and back of the brain. With neurofeedback, slower activity is reinforced, allowing the brain to calm itself more effectively.
  • Chronic pain sometimes results in dysregulation of activity in the center or peripheral parts of the brain.

In general, neurofeedback training is designed to strengthen the brain’s ability to shift from an extreme level of activity (either too fast or too slow) into a healthier state of self-regulation.

I utilize a number of different types of neurofeedback. I work with traditional 1 and 2 channel electroencephalography (EEG) training that focuses on shifting electrical activity. I also use hemoencephalography (HEG), which uses as feedback the heat put off by neuronal activity as feedback. Finally, I am now integrating 2 and 4 channel Z-score training, which continuously measures hundreds of variables, training the brain towards age-adjusted typical activity.

I first integrated neurofeedback into my practice as a clear evidence-base emerged supporting the use of neurofeedback for a number of conditions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit
  • Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Internet Addiction
  • Post Traumatic Stress